Unplugged

It was an interesting day yesterday at MPOW. An overenthusiastic someone with construction equipment managed to cut the fiber optic cable, and we lost access to the Internet. We also lost phone communication, as our phones are VOIP.
We’re a laptop campus, and so being online is a constant state of being. Students, staff, faculty are online All Of The Time. Losing access to the world online was borderline catastrophic for some. It took a few minutes for everyone to wrap their heads around the fact that 1) we lost it and 2) it wasn’t coming back for a while.
That’s when things got interesting. People starting talking to each other. Classes that normally had students marginally engaged had students complaining that class was over so soon, as they had gotten so into the discussions they were having that they didn’t want them to stop. One professor told me that there was a group of students who stayed an extra 20 minutes to continue the discussion that had started in class.
There is a palpable difference in the pace of the campus. Things are slower, gentler. No one seems to be rushing around, but instead walk slower and allow themselves to be stopped and to enter into a conversation. The encounters that are usually a bright and quickly tossed, “Hi!” are now genuine inquiries into each other’s lives. It’s rather lovely.
Technology has been a boon, there’s no doubt. But I sometimes wonder at what cost. Unplugging is definitely worth the experience. Perhaps we should have an official Unplugged Day every now and then.

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3 Comments

Filed under "Hmmm...", Me and mine, Techie stuff, Things that make you go

3 responses to “Unplugged

  1. Wasn’t there a Simpsons episode in which all the TVs in Springfield died at the same time, so all the kids stepped outside, rubbed their eyes from the bright sunshine, found their abandoned bikes and balls in the grass, and began to rediscover the joy of playing outside and playing with each as butterflies fluttered about? Your well-written story reminds me of that, Mary Beth. So what can the profs do to retain some of that human connectivity before the next cable break?

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