For a school that is built upon technology and digital media, you may find it ironic that we asked 200 of our students to give up technology for a week.
We decided to participate in the “Reconnect Project”, a project which encourages youths to step away from their passive, digitally focused lives and become young creators.
As well as confiscating the student’s mobile phones, we challenged them to stay away from their games consoles, laptops, tablets and social media.
It wasn’t just the students who participated, teachers were also challenged to deliver lessons using offline materials only.
One of the students, Abbey Laird, said “I think I’ll be more social with my family,” before she started the experiment. “Usually when I’m home I just go upstairs, put my headphones in and ignore what’s going on.”
Understandably, some of the pupils expressed concerns about having to give up technology. “We’re used to it being there for us so it’s going to be hard. Everywhere you look in this school there’s technology – it feels more like a workplace,” said Kajetan Dwidowicz.
So, how did it go?
Students found the challenge difficult at first, however agreed that as the week progressed it gradually got easier. “The first day was horrible. No social media, nothing to do. But it got easier as the week went on.”
Amy Doyle, one of the students undertaking the task, recognised the positive effect the challenge was having on her. “I’ve started speaking to my mum more, reading more and going to sleep instead of staying up all hours.”