Occasional Thoughts on Educational Technology and Life by Judy Brophy

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Digital Free Day

It was Friday night when I saw the tweet: Join the Digital Free Day tomorrow.  I decided to take up the challenge.  How hard could this be? No, seriously. I wanted an answer. How hard would it be to have no internet access for a whole day? Here's my answer:

Earring holder
Product of my Digital Free Day
7am – Early rise. What’s the weather going to be today? Can’t look it up and don’t want to listen the radio so I’ll have to take a guess and just change my clothes if they aren’t right. Hm-m-m. Right off things don’t seem to be under my control as they “usually” are.
What to read with my coffee instead of email and tweets? Nothing. I take the coffee outside and listen to the (real) birds.

Planning my day: Can’t work on the church newsletter that I edit. All the pieces are online.  I could do some writing for my blog I’ve been meaning to do, except the quotes that are integral to the article are online.

Did Indiana U win the game last night? Don’t know. Can’t find out.

8am - Hungry for breakfast now and the phantom thought in the back of my mind is “I can’t eat. I’m on a diet.” Strange. I CAN eat. I’m not on a nutritional diet, only a digital one but the feeling of being denied something lingers. 

There’s some personal research I’ve been meaning to do on a health issue… have to wait.
9am-  I start a written list of things I am going to send or tell people when my Digital Free day is up.

Taking the compost out I notice my spring flowers blooming and think about getting my Ipad and taking a picture to share with family. Nope. Can’t. I could use my digital camera (can I use a digital camera on a digital free day?) but that would involve finding a cable and downloading the picture (tomorrow).

Noon: I need to create some menus for next week, but I can’t go online to check for recipes. Pull out the old recipe box.

Are the Sox on TV today? Don’t know and I don’t have a printed schedule yet.

I need to pay some bills. Woops. Can’t. Well, I could write a check and find a stamp, but I think I’ll just wait till tomorrow and do it in 30 seconds.

I need to check my work schedule online and update the family wall calendar.  The paper – digital chasm yawns.

We are thinking about buying a new kayak rack for the car. OMG! Shopping. I never do store to store shopping. I find exactly what I want online and either order it online or find a local store that carries it.

3pm -Time for a break. How about a round of scrabble with friends and family? Not available. Luckily my current book is paper so I can read.

I need to plan a trip to Indianapolis in July but avoid the weekend of a big race there. Where would I find what that date is without the internet? And I can’t make flight reservations without the internet anyway. 

So what can I do?
  • Projects using my own hands (I actually follow through on an idea I had to make an earring holder from a cookie rack-pictured above)
  • Yard work, gardening
  • Walks, hikes, outdoor activities
This list makes me think that a smart phone is NOT a way for me to go.

8pm – My husband downloads a new app for his Ipad and wants some advice. I tell him I can help him tomorrow and realize that troubleshooting computers is one of the ways we connect.

So what did I learn from this short experiment? 
  • Many of the quick reference things that  I use the internet for I could get other ways, if I stocked reference materials in the house the way I used to—schedules, magazines with recipes, newspapers with weather etc. But those ways often involve more “work”, more looking, more finding and more calling.

  • I definitely feel less connected with my extended family when I can’t send them an email at the drop of a hat.
  • My real world is so integrated with the digital that it’s hard to know where one stops and the other begins.  I hardly know when I think of something I want to do whether it will lead to the internet or not.
  • The good news: My secret fear that I waste hours surfing the net is unrealized. I do turn to the internet for lots of functions, but I don’t just surf.   That said, I make a note to myself:  Stay conscious of exactly what job I am doing and  when done, stop. Close the lid.
This was an experiment worth doing.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check my email.

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