While technology seems to rule our world in numerous ways, yesterday’s digital detox day was a welcome change from 24/7 screen time. Although I kept reaching into my pocket for my phone and desperately wanted to check my email to find out what I was missing, it felt good to have more face-to-face conversations and to not be bound by the many screens that fill our world. The boys seemed to do okay as well. No one fell off the face of the planet and there were no occurrences of spontaneous combustion, that I know of. Perhaps we need to try this more frequently as an institution.
Having known about this tech free day for a while, I planned my classes accordingly. I wanted to vary the types of activities to keep the students engaged. Humanities class can really be done without technology regularly, and so there were not any big changes there. The boys wrote in their Writer’s Notebooks instead of on their laptops during our Quick Write activity. That was the only difference. In STEM class, we reviewed the anatomy of Trout using a Pin the Part on the Trout poster game I created. I used this as a sort of whole-class assessment. The boys seemed to love working together to solve a task. They only mislabeled two parts out of 22. That’s pretty darn good considering memorizing them was not an objective. Then, to reinforce the idea of abiotic vs biotic factors in an ecosystem, we explored Cardigan’s many ecosystems through a jaunt around campus. The boys took copious notes regarding their observations so that they were prepared to create a hand drawn and labeled diagram of one of Cardigan’s ecosystems when we returned to the classroom. The diagram was their exit ticket. The boys did a stellar job displaying their learning. They seemed engaged throughout the day. Varying the means and ways instruction is provided, kept things flowing well today. If we had tried to keep our routine mostly the same minus technology, I worry that it wouldn’t have been as successful a day.
It’s reaffirming to know that technology is not required for fun to happen. It’s all about preparation and effective teaching. If we remember the recipe for good teaching and plan ahead, life will always be awesome with or without technology.