Back from Digital Darkness 2008

I’m just getting back to things this morning after taking me week of Screen Free Time off. The first thing I did this morning was turn on my computer and start iTunes to download all the podcasts I missed last week. Interesting, I didn’t realize that was the first thing I would do until I did it. What does that say about communication and learning for me (I’m an auditory learner, BTW)? My hour bus ride is my podcast time and I missed it last week but did accomplish other tasks.

When I got to school I looked up last years post Back from Digital Darkness and reflected on what I wrote last year and how my experience was different last year compared to this year. Last year I wasn’t looking forward to the week, supporting my wife’s efforts at school as the elementary counselor was the reason.

This year I found myself looking forward to the week. Having an excuse not to get on the computer was very appealing. There are days I’m tired of being tied to technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love this stuff, but sometimes I’m just tired. It must be what baseball players look forward too during the All Star break. Just some time to take a couple days and not think about all of it….not have to be at a specific place at a specific time, or thinking…always thinking.

What I was most excited about I think was doing things that I continually put off in favor of or felt like I “had to” do.

So what did I accomplish last week:

Also my wife and I went bowling for the first time ever together and had some great walks around Shanghai just thinking and reflecting.

Why was this year different? I think I’ve come to understand that I do not need to be connected all the time, that the network is really good at holding information for me. I don’t have to be constantly connected to learn, I have the skills to go back and find out what I need to know. My network filters the best parts of the past week for me. Be it Twitter, RSS reader, podcasts, etc. I allow my network to tell me what I missed, from there I make a decision on what is important enough for me to go back and learn (What’s the skill here we need to be teaching?).

There is nothing that happened last week that is not there for me this week to learn.

There is nothing that happened last week that I can not search and find out about.

What I have come to understand is the web waits for you. It will hold the information for you until you are ready to learn it, ready to use it. It waits, paticiantly, always on, always gathering, catergorizing and remembering. I can take a week off because the web doesn’t.

I encourage everyone to take some time off. It doesn’t have to bee a week but two or three days in a row is a great experiment. It was funny listening to the elementary students who I think had an easier time with Screen Free week then their parents did. Many adults compained that they “just couldn’t” and others only did it from Monday to Friday claming the weekend doesn’t count. Why? Are we really that reliant on TVs and Computers during the weekend? What did people do on weekends before TV and computers?

I was on the computer during work hours, but only used it for work tasks (production time was amazing last week!) No Twitter, no personal e-mail, no RSS reader, etc.

When I left school at 3:30pm that was it, I would find other things to take my time and let the screens be.

Like last year, the cell phone was the one screen device that was allowed in our house. What does that say about that technology (no I don’t have an iPhone…just a plain old Nokia)?

So back to being connected, a book of ideas to write about, 682 things to read in my RSS Reader, and more songs to download to play on the guitar. 😉