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Honors students at Dixon Middle School went five days being technology free after reading Fahrenheit 451. Fahrenheit 451 is a story about a world where books are outlawed and people do not read. Instead, this society is dependent on and obsessed with the technology they have created for themselves.
After reading about this civilization, Mrs. Pat Drussel, eighth grade teacher, countered with students that our lives are not much different. She pointed out that we are constantly walking around with our nose in technology, whether it is in our phones, computers or music.
Shortly afterward, Mrs. Drussel read an article about some Floridian students who also read Fahrenheit 451. After finishing the book, they were challenged to go one day without their phones. The article goes on to describe how difficult it was for them. “I told my students that since the Floridian students could accept the challenge, we would have no devices for five days and show everyone it was possible to be device free,” explained Drussel.
So, that is what Mrs. Drussel’s eight grade students did. Students were allowed to use computers at school when necessary, but once they got home there was no TV, music, phones, computers or radios for five whole days.
The students kept a daily journal about their experiences. Out of the 58 students who participated, almost all of them said it was extremely difficult the first day to go without technology, but that it got easier as time went on. “They also had to have one dinner with family members and write about what they had talked about. It was fun for me to read about their parents’ reaction to the whole experiment,” said Drussel.
Overall, the students had a great learning experience as they unplugged for five days. The students were able to read books, go for a walk and have conversations they normally would have missed. This experience also made them ponder the function of technology in their lives.
It is inspiring teachers like this that we are proud to have in our district. Thanks for the great lesson Mrs. Drussel!