Taking a Tech-cation

As a student, educator and professional in higher education I am usually “always on” and connected. This serves my research and practice well, however I often find I need to preserve space to unplug. 

An NPR  Fresh Air episode “Digital Overload: Your Brain On Gadgets” describes how the psychological rational, intermittent reinforcement, is the reason why we check our e-mail constantly, rely on applications and glance at our mobile devices at inappropriate times. Information Overload is Not Unique to the Digital Age, however society has consumed more information than ever since it is easy and accessible online. It is now easier than ever to fall victim to what Matt Ritchel identifies as the “screen invasion.” The NYT’s spent some time examining the impact on how individuals juggle information through their series known as, Your Brain on Computers. Much of what is talked about in both journalism pieces includes the following concerns: stress, impatience, limited memory, mediocre performance, and developmental issues/concerns.

In order to prevent burn out from life and professional work, I often take what I call self-imposed “tech-cations.” It’s true:

Here are a few suggestions on how to break from the constant information flow. Be sure to shut down all screens and then go forth (which includes all forms of computers, TV,  & mobile devices). Here are a few suggestions of activities for a screen-free holiday:
  • Take a break for self-care – eat well, exercise and just BE
  • Read  – there has to be at least 1 book at your house/local library you have wanted to read
  • Listen to a podcast and/or radio show
  • Play a game – cards, Scrabble, Chess, Apples to Apples, etc
  • Go for a run, walk, hike or sit in the park – get some fresh air!
  • Pen to paper – when’s the last time you have reflected in a journal?
  • Clean your space & de-clutter – house, office, car, closet… you decide.
  • Try a new recipe (and taste it).
  • Go exploring – Visit a local museum, art gallery or tourist attraction.
  • Hang out with friends … sans your mobile. Yes you CAN do it!
These are just a few suggestions to help you re-charge and re-fuel yourself from the connected world we live in. Being connected is great. I am huge proponent of connection and connected activity, however digital consumption is good in moderate doses. To be effective and purposeful in education, it is necessary to step away from the screen and just be. 
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