We live in a world ruled by technology. Students wake up, check their cell phones, go to school, stare at Tablets PCs all day, and go home just to watch TV or log onto a computer. According to a study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, eight to eighteen year olds spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes each day using computers, television, iPods, and other forms of media.
Students used to be able to escape this constant avalanche of media when they arrived at school. The school day was a time when students were only allowed to use textbooks, notebooks, and pencils. Electronics were forbidden. Now, the case is the opposite.
The word ‘tablet’ originally referred to stones with engravings, but now Tablet PCs are a common school supply for students. Between online textbooks, class projects involving computer software, and research papers requiring the use of the internet, it’s crazy to think about going to class without a tablet.
While tablets open up many doors in the educational world, they also are a source of distraction for many students. Junior Jordan Glinsek owns a tablet, but chooses not to bring it to school. Since tablets are optional for the junior class, this is permitted. “I often found it too distracting to be able to have the ability to play games right in front of me,” Glinsek said. “Even with the software to block it, there are many ways that you can still be distracted.”
This concept made me think. What would it be like to go to school without a tablet, or even to not use technology for a day? I decided to try doing exactly this for one day to see how differently my day would be.
During all of my classes, I had to take notes on paper and rewrite them on my tablet the next day. Although this took extra time and effort, it was worth it. Taking a 24 hour break from staring at a bright screen helped me think more clearly. Also, I felt less exhausted after the school day. I hadn’t spent my day trying to constantly respond to my emails quickly and to retrieve assignments off Edline before my teachers blocked me from the internet during class. I had more time to sit at my desk and think, instead of signing onto my tablet right when class started and trying to load an online textbook or sort through files to find an assignment. I finally had a chance to stop and catch my breath between classes.
Another advantage from not using a tablet was that I interacted with my teachers and friends on a more personal level. No one expected me to send them emails throughout the day, so I ended up having more genuine conversations with the people that I would normally email.
Overall, I found that I had a different perspective during the day without my tablet. I felt like a part of the class, not just someone who sat there taking notes all day. I didn’t have the barrier of a tablet screen to separate me from the class. They are easy to get caught behind, and it takes more effort to look around them and give undivided attention to class rather than to be entranced by whatever is happening on the tablet screen.
Maybe Henry David Thoreau was right when he said, “Simplify, simplify, simplify!” So, at least once in a while, put down your phone, turn off your iPod, and shut down your tablet. A little fresh air might be good for you.