Week 1

Is It Possible to “Disconnect?”  

Image Credit: Ellen Hayakawa

Image Credit:
Ellen Hayakawa

Overview:  Technology has become so prevalent in our daily lives that many of us simply could not function for 24 hours without being “plugged in.” Some of us may not even realize how dependent we truly are on technology to communicate and connect with others.

How many of you literally sleep with your phone? How has being connected 24/7 impacted our lives and how would our lives change if we suddenly had to “disconnect?” For the Week 1 blog post, I am challenging you to do just that…disconnect for 24 hours. This past summer, I went on vacation for a week in Vermont and there was zero cell service and no cable TV. I was completed unplugged from the outside world. This was an interesting experience for me, and being the lover of technology that I am, it is not an experience I want to go through again! During this time of being “unplugged” it gave me a lot of time to reflect on what my life would be like without technology and the value that I place on having access to the Internet. It was during this time that I thought about assigning all of you to a 24 hour “day of disconnect” challenge.

While I realize that you will most likely need to use your iPad during school hours, I am asking that you refrain from using your smartphone for a 24 hour period. Now I know some of you are already in panic mode and are thinking, “no way. There is no way I could go without using my phone for 24 hours,” and that is fine. Your grade will not be effected if you choose not to connect. (However, I don’t think you will be able to truly assess the role technology plays in your life unless you go without it for an extended period of time).

What I really care about for this post is your reflection on either why you couldn’t disconnect at all, or how your life was impacted by being disconnected for whatever amount of time you can commit to. On the other hand, some of you may love a challenge and may be thinking, “bring it on. I can do this” and that’s great too. However, before you unplug for the next 24 hours you need to get prepared. This is especially important if you use your cell phone to communicate with your parents. Please inform your parents that you are participating in this experiment and that you will be unreachable via text. Obviously if there is an emergency then use your phone and your reflection can discuss why it was absolutely necessary to use your phone.

So let’s see how we do. All of us. I’m going to try to disconnect also, but admittedly, it is going to be very difficult. I look forward to reading your reflections and the follow-up discussion we will have once we are all able to plug back in!


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