09 Mar Woodstock unplugged
Remember the days before mobile phones? When your connection to the wider world wasn’t through the screen in your hand? And when being social didn’t have anything to do with Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram? Last week our middle years students took the plunge into this disconnected world with Woodstock’s first ever Unplugged Week. Woodstock’s dorm parents report on how students responded to a week without computers or devices.
Middle Year students walked into Unplugged Week feeling slightly apprehensive about letting go of their electronic gadgets, not sure how they would fill their time without being connected to the outside world. However, it didn’t take long for them to discover that their freedom from the confines of a screen held endless possibilities.
I started to make and do things which I would never have done otherwise.
Over the course of the next seven days, Grades 5-8 engaged in numerous independent and group activities. Games of four square spouted up, basketball competitions were spontaneously organised and girls learned how to make their own scrap books (from scratch). Class meals were had – there was even a day of hiking in and around Mussoorie – and much much more ensued.
We spend much more time talking to each other now.
The week was filled with a number of very positive experiences for the students and the staff who were equally excited about discovering new ways of engaging with their wards. We noticed that students who don’t usually spend time together began to talk; that students (in the heat of boredom) remembered the small things they once loved to do and began to create once again; and that our relationships with these wonderful young people got much stronger. We also realised that this wasn’t just a ‘valuable experience’ for students, but something where we as adults became much more aware of how we balance technology in our lives as well.
I was excited to bring back the fun things we used to do in grade six (before we had gadgets).
Naturally, when the week ended the students were excited to get their hands on their gadgets once again. However, since then we have noticed that the projects, conversations, and love of sport have continued despite their reunion with the world of technology.
Students nonchalant about the return of their devices
Overall, Unplugged Week was a great success and planted many-a-seed in the minds of our young people about how they can chose to fill their idle time. They have realised, through experience, that boredom does not have to always be medicated with a screen, but can instead be explored and embraced with the people around you. More importantly, they are learning that they have the power to make educated decisions about their use of time and that technology can positively co-exist with other things like relationships, creativity, and enjoying the outdoors.
Priya Rollins, Dorm Parent, Midlands Dorm