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Rockway Mennonite Collegiate
Rockway Mennonite Collegiate News
March 2, 2015

Kitchener school swears off technology for three days

Staff and students at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener say they were able to get by after spending three days without computers, televisions or cell phones.

The private high school called a voluntary technology timeout on Tuesday, which ended at midnight on Thursday. 

"I was fairly reluctant," said Grade 10 student Ben Schwartzentruber. "I didn't really know how I'd do without electronics for that amount of time."

'I didn't really know how I'd do without electronics for that amount of time.'- Ben Schwartzentruber, Rockway student

Schwartzentruber said he spends most of his downtime browsing social media websites or playing computer games. Cutting out technology left him scrambling to find ways to fill time.

"Ordinarily, in the school week, you're hoping for a snow day, so that you don't have to go to school," he said, "but if there was a snow day on one of these three days, I would have had to find more pastimes."

With little else to do, Schwartzentruber said he was able to quickly finish all his homework.

Students, teachers strive for balance

Making students more productive was not the intention of the timeout, according to Sara Wahl, a teacher at the school.

"We want the kids to get some perspective on their media habits," she said.

"Taking a step away from technology that has presumably invaded almost every aspect of our lives...is a really healthy process."

When it was over, Wahl said students and staff were surprised at how easy it was to go a few days without social media or their cell phones.

'None of them came away saying, 'I'm never going on Facebook again.''- Sara Wahl, Rockway teacher

"None of them came away saying, 'I'm never going on Facebook again,'" she said. "For them, it was a question of balance." 

Wahl said that what surprised her, personally, was how technology can sometimes be a barrier to developing strong relationships. 

"All of these social media devices are supposed to bring us closer, but I think, at times, they can be a distraction."

Both Wahl and Schwartzentruber said they would try another time out, but are happy to have technology back in their lives for the time being.




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