(This is the post, with weird sleepy words revised, that was supposed to be posted on Thursday…)
Something really awesome happened in class today.
We were looking at some poems in class today – All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace by Richard Brautigan, “Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson, Much Madness is the divinest Sense by Emily Dickinson. An odd mix, to be sure.
I had put them in groups to do some reading and re-reading to see what they noticed: what sounded good, what made them puzzled, what sorts of associations did they have. Not in the effort to “begin beating it with a hose/to find out what it really means.” I just want them to have a chance to read, re-read, ponder, and look at poems as the beautiful experiences and mysteries that they are.
Since not every group read the same poems, I started the discussion with each my classes by reading them aloud. The groups that read Loving Grace explained some of what they had – especially what cybernetic means. Before long, the conversation turned to the use of technology, the integration of it into everyday life, the fact that we have more free time now (thanks in large part to technology) than ever before, and how we are just getting lazy.
In one of my morning classes, a student looked at me and said that he didn’t think I could teach without technology for a week – that I am heavily dependent on it.
Sounded like a challenge to me.
I need to continue updating my grades on the school’s website and doing attendance and updating homework and checking school email because I’m required to do so.
But I will not be using it in class. Nor in my outside-of-school life. (Goodness…I hope I can get Nerdy posts scheduled and posted ahead of time…) I won’t lie – I will miss social media, but I suspect that I will gain a lot from this experience. So no cell phone. No computer. No TV. No internet. No Twitter. No Facebook.
So I accept.
But I’m not one to take a challenge without issuing one in return.
So I’m challenging them to unplug with me for the week after Easter.
If they have required work to do on computers, they do not get to opt out.
I was psyched about this turn in the conversation.
We managed to connect up the idea of the sane Majority from the Emily Dickinson poem – would we be considered to be dangerous by opting not to participate in the bigger world of technology? What kinds of reactions would we get?
I guess that remains to be seen.
Do you think you could do it?