To promote the physiological health of all students in a classroom, there are three key recommendations:
1. Keep some of the curtains open while using the Interactive Whiteboard - don't turn the classroom into a movie theatre.
2. Take a break from screened media every 45 minutes
3. Avoid the colour saturated red, or stripy moving patterns in presentations
Sit next to a window rather than under artificial light, especially when using digital media. The ‘flicker’ from fluorescent lights and screens or glare from some LED lights can make it uncomfortable to work (Harding & Takahashi, 2004). Gentle natural light is best (full sun can also cause glare). At school, teachers can keep the blinds/curtains open when using the Interactive Whiteboard (IAW). If the room is darkened when watching the screen, it increases the proportion of artificial light absorbed by your eyes and increases the risk of adverse stimulation of the brain. In the evening, watch the television or use the computer with an external light on (Furusho et al, 2002).
Sit up the back when watching large screen televisions, IAWs or data projector screens. This decreases the amount of stimulus received by each retina while viewing (Wilkins, Emmett & Harding, 2005).
Turn down the luminance (brightness) of the screen. The brighter the light coming from the screen, the greater the stimulus (Kowacs et al, 2001). Finding a gentle luminance (not so low that you have to squint to see it) is important. Turn down the contrast ratio. Contrast ratio is the ratio between the lightest colour the screen can produce (white) and the darkest colour the screen can produce (black). Evolution in monitors and projectors has used increased contrast ratios as a selling point for clearer, more vivid images. They are also more stimulative (Wilkins, Emmett & Harding, 2005; Kasteleijn Nolst Trenite, 2012).
Web Content - please preview before playing in class.
Current broadcast television (OFCOM, FAL) guidelines do not apply to all the material displayed on the web. An unfortunate incident in 2007 saw web material broadcast on the news causing seizures and other adverse reactions from large amounts of saturated red and diagonal moving stripes.
WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0) are guidelines promoting inclusive access to web content and include points regarding photosensitivity (quick reference see http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref/ ). This is one section of the Web Access Initiative lead by Tim Berners-Lee (guy who invented the web), and is rolling out conformation deadlines around the globe. For more see http://www.w3.org/WAI/