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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

School experiments with 'No-tech Tuesdays'



A private school group in Connecticut is imposing a moratorium on the use of technology every Tuesday in September. These "No-Tech Tuesdays" at Hyde Schools may end up being jarring since studies show high school kids send an average of 50 texts a day during the school day, even though most schools ban them, according to Pew's Internet and American Life Project.

The school, which teaches teenagers between the ages of 14 and 19, is trying to point out that while technology has made us more connected than ever, it has paradoxically resulted in isolation for many young people, who turn away from meaningful relationships with their families and friends IRL (that's text speak for "in real life").

So I emailed the school's spokeswoman (on a Tuesday!) and asked what the ground rules are and it turns out the adults will be feeling some pain, too.

Faculty and staff will be asked to leave their cell phones at home or in the office. Everyone will be asked to avoid texting and internal emailing unless absolutely necessary. Faculty and staff may check email and respond to external emails from parents or vendors, for example. But any other tech devices they depend on are encouraged to be put aside for the day.

I can see the ban on texting, but can they use a phone to call home or a friend? Only if absolutely necessary, I was told.

Teachers are even re-thining their assignments for Tuesdays, making the kids use the library and old-school reference books instead of a computer and Google.

"The teachers are in the process of planning how to get through this day in a creative way," said spokeswoman Rose Mulligan. "There will definitely be a lot of library use, and a good opportunity to orally present ideas, reports, and other presentations. There will also be some time set aside for everyone to take time out and to get to know a person or persons outside their regularly visited circle of teachers, friends, classmates, peers, staff members."

I plan to check in with them when the month's over to see if the kids (or teachers) were climbing the walls.

~ Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Saturday, September 4, 2010 11:40am]


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