Saturday was the last day of the New Tech City Bored and Brilliant project. I was deeply ensconced in edcamp Maryland so I did not participate in last day’s challenge nor did I really do the observational challenge. However, I did take several of the challenges quite seriously and was really interested in the results.
Day 1: Do not use phone while in motion. For me, this meant, “do not use phone while walking the school hallways.” This was a great challenge and I found myself putting my phone back in my pocket this morning while going up the stairs. This practice is definitely a keeper.
Day 2: Don’t take a picture. Ok, I did take one picture from a colleague’s classroom that was totally awesome. But on this day I took no pictures of myself or my dog. (or food or….) This wasn’t too hard.
Day 3: Delete that App. Oooh, this was hard. Delete the app that sucks the most time from your day. Obviously, I cannot delete email-that is work. However, I know full well that Facebook sucks so much time out of my day and I can waste hours on it. I almost didn’t delete the app. I was so worried about losing connection. But a friend said, “that is WHY you need to delete it.” So I did. I can still access fb via the web but I have spent significantly less time on fb since deleting the app. This, my friends, was a break through.
Day 4: Take a Fauxcation. In my job, I need to be responding to emails pretty much 24/7. I’m expected to respond within 24 hours and if it is during the school day, sooner. So this one was tough. However, I did take a Social Media free day and everything was fine. The world still turned and I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything.
Day 5: This was the Small Observation day. Honestly, I didn’t feel comfortable doing a sociologial study on my kids and since it was a school day–I didn’t do this one. However, I love people watching, so I’m going to this challenge sometime soon. Look out Ktown Starbucks…I might just be stalking you.
Day 6: (See opening paragraph about edcamp.) I will say that the power of digital connection was alive and well at edcamp and I couldn’t imagine having a twitter-free day….it’s part of the ethos of edcamp.
So what are my conclusions? I have just scratched the surface in examining my own relationship with my device. I use it for so many elements of my life and despite taking breaks from social media and deleting apps, my daily active time with my phone remains over 300 minutes most days. This seems excessive. I know where I can still cut time. I just have to make the disciplined effort to do it.
And so what is the repercussion of this for our students? For teaching and learning? For me, part of it is about a healthy balanced relationship with our devices. Frankly, I think students have healthier relationships with their screen time than many of the adults in their lives. I also think that it is about balancing time and making intentional practice to single-tasking. (This piece is important to model for our students.) I also think there is something to be said for giving students practical challenges that they can access in bite-sized portions. The way this project was organized and delivered is a model for our classrooms. (Great job NTC!)
I love learning and being reflective of my own practice. In this instance, this is project has allowed me to consider my daily use of technology and its intersection between my professional and personal life. This project may have ended via New Tech City, but it has offered me an opportunity to reflect and change my own habits and in turn model appropriately for my students. I didn’t spend enough time being bored. I definitely need to address my need for accessing creativity via boredom. So with that thought…..