Ahhhh! Electronic silence. It can be a beautiful thing. When I took my dogs for their daily walk, I listened to them, watched them, wondered why Kota insists on drinking what appears to be dirty water, or why Bo totally ignores everyone including me. Without my usual tunes to distract me, I enjoyed watching my newest edition, Daisy, romp about, hoping she is adjusting well. I walked longer with them, down to Wolf's Bay, watched the two Labradors swimming happily. I watched the shrimp boat come in, and heard sounds I have long since tuned out, like a seagull, an outboard motor, a dog shaking off the water. I think I may skip using my tunes for my walks in the future. I forgot how exhilarating the real world can be.
I found my cell phone in my hand several times. I finally tucked it away. Frankly, it was an empowering thing. I never really cared for talking on the phone, which is ironic when you learn that my first job was phone collections. No, I wasn't an evil bill collector, thank goodness; but I did have to make calls to people and ask about balances on medical bills. However, I am totally into texting. I had a couple of friends text during that time and ask if I was incapacitated. They could think of no other reason I had not texted them. I wandered onto the front porch and sat down by my dad, who simply raised his eyebrows. "Not on the computer?" He asked.
I had decided to some reason not to tell anyone what or why I was freeing up my time. It seemed to add something to the assignment. So I just sat down and said, "Thought I'd find out how things are with you." Fortunately, my family has an endless list of things to discuss so we passed time while the dogs wandered around the front yard. The sunset was incredible, been a while since I had really paid attention. It was sheer freedom just to sit on the porch and talk to my dad who shared some of his childhood stories, a few I had never heard before. Considering my father's age and health, this was a treasured moment.
However, about into eight hours, the novelty was wearing off, and I was getting antsy. I kept eying my TV remote. I dvr the shows I follow, mostly because I love to skip the commercials. Letting go of TV and its accompanying videos pleasures was rather hard. Once or twice I wondered if I would make it. At least once I thought, maybe I need e-media fasts more often. Apparently I am addicted to TV.
Again, I have to consider myself lucky. I love to read, and we have a small library in our home. So I choose a good book I had not read in a while, settled down into a loungely chair and began to read. At first, I recaptured that idyllic feeling I had walking the dogs, sitting on the porch with dad. After an hour, I was bored. I admit it. So less than 16 hours into the fast, I was tapping my feet, rolling my eyes, and counting the stupid hours up. Am I addicted to e-media? Yes!
Did I make it 24 hours? Yes, I did. But 30 seconds into the 25th hour, my cell phone was on, and my computer fired up. So what exactly did I learn? That e-media is too much a part of our lives to expect our students to just drop it the minute they enter school. They have lived and breathed e-media from day one. We cannot expect them to leave it behind for classroom instruction. We OWE it to them to incorporate it into our lessons. I can assure you they will, with or without your permission. Short of literally taking all electronic devices from students (and that is unrealistic), you will not keep them from it. An old aphorism fits here: if you can't beat them, join them. Make e-media a vital part of your classroom instruction.