I love when I get a Tweet or see a website that sparks thoughts. I saw a Tweet from Steven Anderson about an experiment where students go A Day Without Media. I participated in a Great Banquet (A religious reflection weekend) a couple weeks ago. Part of the weekend was leaving everything behind. That meant no phone, no watch, not even my wallet. The weekend went from Thursday night through Sunday afternoon.
Now, I want to point out that I was not where I was able to experience my normal routines. So, it was not like living my daily life without my Cell Phone or Laptop. There were instances where I would reach for my pocket all weekend like I was grabbing my phone (I really could have used the iPod function at least to drown out snoring).
The hardest, or weirdest part of the whole experience from the "connected to media" side of things, was never knowing what time it was. I don't wear a watch. My phone is my watch. So I would always go for my pocket when I wondered what time it was, but my phone was not in there. We rely so much on time and schedules and due dates. None of that mattered this weekend. When the weekend was over, I tried my hardest to fight the temptation to pick up my cell phone first thing. It worked...for about an hour!
I am the type of person that wants to know what is going on in the world. I like to watch the news. I like to keep up with sports. My phone gives me that any time I need it. My phone is how I communicate with so many friends. Whether it is Facebook, Text Messages, or Twitter, it is how I talk to people. It is how I know what is going on in the lives of my friends and family. Five years ago, knowing any of that did not matter as much. It is now a staple in so many of our lives.
Our students feel the same way. My school has a policy that if a student's cell phone is being used, or goes off in class, it is taken away and then returned at afternoon detention on Friday. This inability to have their phone so often sends many students off the deep end. Many don't care, because they just go home and get an old phone to use temporarily. That is how common they are in their life.
So much of what the students are saying in A Day Without Media I think is what so many of us adults would say as well. Many people are saying over and over that this constant media connection is a generational thing and that society is losing kids to this constant attachment to teachnology and the media. The thing is, we as adults and parents are right there next to them. The difference is, we as their parents have a job to educate on responsible use and encouraging interactive behavior.
So challenge students in you class to experiment going without technology. See how long it takes them to break. See how many can do it. See how their daily routines change. See if they even know how to live without technology and media today. What is the worst that could happen...they read a book?