Every year, Mr. Hopkins issues a challenge to the Senior AP English class (officially called AP English Literature and Composition by the College Board). Of course, it is optional but many students decide to take the plunge anyway. It is simply to go an entire school week without using any form of recreational technology.
Specifically, this means no cell phones, minimal television, and no recreational computer use. Social media usage is barred during the week as well. The exception to the rule is that you can use technology in order to complete schoolwork or anything related to a job you have. Mr. Hopkins told his two classes that he did not want anyone getting fired over this challenge. If you successfully make it the entire week, you receive extra credit toward your English grade.
When asked why he created this challenge, Mr. Hopkins talked about how much society has changed in recent years. Everyone is instantly connected to the rest of the world through the Internet. For better or for worse, a lot of people get their news through social media. Hopkins admits that his challenge is going to do little to change the habits of his students, but he wants to raise awareness of the deleterious effect too much technology can have on our lives.
Obviously this challenge can be just as hard as it sounds. Cell phones in particular are ingrained in our daily lives. One of the hardest things about the week for me was the fact that I could not be in touch with everyone all the time. It made planning the logistics of events a lot harder than it would be usually.
Many other students in AP English shared the same frustrations I experienced. “The silence, not much music, when you’re alone there’s no sound at all,” said Joey Pensoneault.
Karen Bernier said the first day of the challenge was the hardest. “It was almost like you were having withdrawal from screen time,” she said. It got a little easier to handle as the week went on.
“It really puts into perspective how much of a time-suck technology is for us as a generation,” Bernier said.