For the past two years, I have offered an extra credit opportunity for my students to engage in a “technology challenge”. Most students have participated in this challenge, and those who participated submitted thoughtful reflections of the changes they implemented. As a professor, I learned a lot about my students through this assignment, and the assignment led to discussions about self-care, managing technology, social media, and work-life balance. Below is the assignment description:
For one full week this semester, make one change to the way that you utilize/manage technology. Document the way that you feel at least once per day, and submit a 1-2 page (double-spaced) write-up of your experience. You can implement one of the recommended changes below or come up with your own change, as long as it is substantive and will challenge you!
Some suggested changes include:
1. Turn off all notifications (email, social media, etc.).
2. Leave your phone in your bag during all classes and meetings.
3. Limit your use of social media to a certain amount of time per day.
4. Leave you email browser closed for most of the day, except for specified times (e.g., lunch time, early morning, early evening).
5. Set aside one hour (or more) per day to be technology free.
6. Give up social media for the entire week.
When documenting your experience, consider the following questions:
1. How did you feel prior to making this change? How do you feel after one week of the change?
2. Did you stick with the change throughout the week? If not, what made it challenging to stick with it? If so, how did you resist temptation to go back to your normal routine?
3. How was your productivity impacted by this change?
4. How were your well-being and stress levels impacted by this change?