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Monday, July 18, 2011

The E Fast Experiment

E Fast (No electronics image)
Soon I will write a longer post commenting on the E Fast Experiment and the results of its use in Summer 2011 EDM310. Right now I'll give you a quick summary.

Students had four options for Blog Assignment #14 which can be found on pp. 14-16 of EDM310 Blog Post Assignments Summer 2011:
1. A typical blog post on Pseudoteaching
2. A typical blogpost discussing a critique of the Khan Academy
3. Read one of some 15 books suggested and write a book report
4. Try to do an E-Fast (no electronics use) for 24 hours repeated up to three times if unsuccessful in maintaining the fast.

There are 30 students still enrolled in EDM310 this summer (2011) although only 28 are still active. We will use 28 as the base line for this report. Of the 28, four did not submit their Blog Post #14 on time. Three students read a book (Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman, 1984 by George Orwell and Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire by Rafe Esquith). Thirteen did one of the typical blog post assignments. Eight tried the E Fast experiment.

Of those eight, five were successful in going 24 hours without using any electronic entertainment or communications device such as a cell phone, computer, tablet, radio, TV, DVD player, etc. All but one of those participating in the fast found it more difficult than expected. Those who succeeded in fasting tried various strategies:
going to a farm with horses and goats (Amy Wilborn); spending a day with a boyfriend (Alana Escobio); spending a weekend with their family at the beach (Cinda Prescott who found it easier to do than expected); fishing, tennis and golfing (Heath Morris); being prepared by unplugging TVs, hiding phones and informing friends and family of the fast (Bobbi Jo Nelson). The three that failed all succumbed to the phone/smart phone. (Ouida McDaniel) called her mother. One of the students who failed the fast (Deana Nunn) even had her daughter answer SMS messages and telephone calls for her, sending dictated replies by SMS. Yet she still gave in and used her iPhone. Heather Rigby on her 3rd try turned off her iPhone but watched a funny You Tube video with friends on a friend's iPhone.

This assignment turned out to be a delightful experiment that demonstrated how ingrained the use of technology is in our current students and how it will be even more vital to the daily activities of their students in two years when they begin teaching. the posts of the students participating in the E Fast are a lot of fun to read. I hope you will do just that!


  1. I love it! What a great test of wills. A year ago I decided that I was spending time on my computer that should have been directed toward my children and our home so I moved my computer to a much more difficult place to access in our home. Then I proceeded to go nuts. I paced around my kitchen (where my computer is typically located) and kept going to the counter or looking at the counter where the computer used to be. It was clear that my computer had become an addiction. It took several days before I started to settle into the idea that I could not hear my machine ding every time that a new email arrived and that I had to wait until the children were asleep before checking it.

  2. Interesting! I don't think I'd last one hour on the fast! I tried to go ten days without reading once and found that difficult, but I did last several days before giving in. Technology is so much more ingrained in my daily life of work, school, and play that it would be very hard to give it up for 24 hours. I have to use the Pomodoro technique to get studying done! I'm using technology to keep me focused. Ironic. Read more about the pomodoro technique here

  3. Wow! I think even Deana did much better than I would have. I am proud of all of you for taking on the brave experiment. I knew with my kids being out of town I wouldn't be able to accomplish detaching myself from my gizmos at all. Good job even if the time was short lived!

  4. Well, at least some of you tried. I would have opted for the traditional assignment... I would go insane with no computer or phone.

    P.s.... Congrats to all of you for completing the summer EDM 310 class, I am sure it was not easy!

    Now give yourselves a pat on the back :)

    enjoy your small break.

  5. I think that a shift in the mentality towards technology directly affects how easy or hard this can be. I guess what it boils down to is whether or not one is conscious of the idea that technology is a "tool".

    Without this consciousness, it becomes your puppet master. Then again, this idea can apply to virtually anything.