This is impossible. There is no way that we will EVER get away from technology completely. We depend on it too much. We can’t live without our smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Even those of us who lived without these things, now, we can’t go without them for too long.
Fourth through seventh grade students at Convent and Stuart Hall in San Francisco did just this. My first thought here was “fourth grade?” FOURTH GRADE?!!!!!! Why does a fourth grader have a smart phone?! But my three year olds know how to use my iPad, so I can’t really say anything. These kids in San Francisco took a Tech Timeout Academic Challenge which set out to prove that technology is a distraction.
Students signed up and gave up their tech. They sealed their cell phones for three days and tried not to use them. This is meant to help them connect with classmates and family as well as “enjoy the moment” and aid in creativity. Some kids were so attached to their technology that they felt anxiety after giving up their phones. The main temptation according to the student participants was social media. Some students, however, were glad to get away from the technology for a little while.
The goal of this endeavor was to prove that students can survive without technology and social media. The students were too distracted by text messages and social media notifications during school because they are allowed to use their technology during school hours in the classroom. I for one know how distracting this can be, so I wouldn’t like this policy as I’m trying to teach. I have the policy that I’m putting my technology away and giving students my time, they should do the same. The timeout was trying to teach students to “build the life skill of recognizing when it’s time to pay attention and when it’s time to zone out”. They need to learn to participate in class and discussions instead of giving in to the distractions of social media and technology. Kids had face-to-face discussions with friends and parents. They actually talked to their families, something which “never would have happened normally”.
One student, Ryley Aceret, learned how sidetracked he gets by technology. He noticed how much longer it took him to complete homework assignments with his technology than without it. This is something that I struggle with from time to time. I find myself “taking a Pinterest or Tumbler break” that turns into an hour on either. I think that these kids learning this lesson now is a wonderful idea now because it’s a hard habit to break later.