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Try Going a Day Without Technology!

It's no doubt that most of us have become dependent (if not addicted) to technology. We rely on our cell phones, texting, Facebook, Twitter, and Internet searches each day. In fact, sometimes our work requires such communications. What is it like to go without?

If you live in NJ, you probably experienced this first hand. Sandy visited us on October 29th -- an unwelcomed visit by most in this state and surrounding areas. We were left without power for a week or more (some are still without power). And we found out just how well we deal without technology. Some were lucky enough to power up with generators but Internet was mostly out of the question. No power--no cable--no Internet. Even if you had power via a generator, that power didn't do anything for connecting you with the outside world. Our cell phones most of the time worked (if you could find a power source to charge them) so texting was a means of communication. Using your phone for Internet access was slow, at best. It seemed like everyone was trying to connect through Verizon! Some in my area have no cell reception and rely on VoIP for their phones. They were truly unable to communicate. So what do you do? You spend time with your family and your neighbors. It was candlelight parties with grilled food and great conversations!

Think about the times when you go out to a restaurant and people who are there to spend time with their companions pull out the cell phone and start texting. Think about your commutes using public transportation. I'll bet you pull out the cell phone or the Kindle or your laptop. Think about the times you browse to find the best deals for items you need (or want). Think about Cyber-Monday.

In our culture we rely on communication through some form of technology. But, do you really realize just how much you rely on and use technology? Try one of these two exercises with your class:

Spend an Entire Day Without Technology
As a class, define what "technology" actually means for this exercise. After the day is complete, have the following class discussions (or have the students record answers in a journal):

  • What were you forced to do differently?
  • How were your communications hampered?
  • What did you like about being technology-free?
  • What did you dislike about being technology-free?
  • How did this technology free day affect your overall mood?
  • Explore Your Digital Footprint
    In Blown To Bits, Chapter 2, Abelson, Ledeen, and Lewis discuss the data trails we leave every day. They define electronic footprints as data trails we leave intentionally; and electronic fingerprints as data trails of which we are unaware or unconscious of leaving.

  • Think about the digital footprints and fingerprints you leave behind in just one day.
    Keep a journal of ALL digital footprints and fingerprints you leave during that day. Footprints are pretty easy but you have to really concentrate on where, when, and how you might be leaving those fingerprints!
  • During the holidays, spend some technology free time with your family and friends.

    Fran Trees
    CSTA Chapter Liaison

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