In April we helped TMS friend and consulting educator, Joe Destefano (a.k.a. Mr. D) wrap up his third annual "Tech Turnoff" week with his Colorado high school students on the The Heritage 47 website.
Each year, we help Mr. D set up his Wordpress-based website and blog, brainstorm some media literacy themes to discuss, and cut him loose in his threaded discussion with his students. This year, for the first time, Andy and I entered the discussion with some questions and reflections of our own. The results are archived on the site, and are worth a look -- meta-discussions on what it means socially to disengage from such a large part of our culture; critical comparisons of Huxley's Brave New World and our own mass media consumption; analyzing lines between participatory "web 2.0" culture and mass media sources, and more!
It's also very interesting to look at how this project has changed due to students' access to new types of mobile technology and increasing access to the Internet each year.
From Mr. D's Blog:
The Heritage 47 blog was created in April, 2007 (4-7) as an online venue to track Heritage High School’s annual participation in Tech Turnoff week. Tech Turnoff week is part of Mr. D’s media literacy unit at Heritage High. Mr. D is an English teacher and he couples this unit with Huxley’s sci-fi novel, Brave New World. Mr. D also invites the rest of the school and community to participate in the Tech Turnoff. Heritage High School is located in Littleton, Colorado, USA.
For the next ten days I am asking you to refrain from using many of the newer technologies that have become a part of your everyday life (see the list below). Just as surely as these technologies have become a part of your everyday life, so they have transformed it too. But is this transformation good, in all cases? Or might it be for the worse in certain ways?
This experiment is meant to ask and answer such questions for ourselves. Somewhat ironically, I am asking you to record your reactions to this assignment on a weblog (or blog) I have designed for this unit (directions follow).
Visit Heritage47.Wordpress.Com to see this year's assignments, discussions, and the archived discussions dating back to 2007.