Imagine going three days without most technology. That is what Communication Professor Brian Sheridan’s Mindful Communication class is doing from March 30 through April 1.
For three days, the class will participate in Tech Timeout. The students will have to use land line phones and give up video games, GPS and computers. The exercise is meant to teach students to be present in the moment and to be mindful about using technology going forward explained Sheridan.
Sheridan got the idea for the Tech Timeout from the documentary “Sleeping with Siri.”
“The documentary ‘Sleeping with Siri’ is so funny and so pertinent to the way people live their lives today– these devices and technology are impeding our human interaction,” Sheridan said.
Even so, Sheridan does not think technology is a bad thing.
“This is a time out. Let’s assess how much we rely on it and we use it and how much we don’t often need it. That way, when we go back to using it, doing it in a mindful manner,” Sheridan said.
He said this might be a struggle for students in the beginning. Some students have already voiced concerns about being lost without a GPS or being unable to do projects for other classes.
Angela Przepierski, a sophomore in the class, agreed that it will be difficult to adjust.
“I’ve grown up using technology. It’ll be weird not having it for the first few days,” Przepierski said.
However, junior Shelby Kirkland thought the program would make a serious impact.
“I believe the Tech Timeout will be life changing in the sense of showing us that we can live without our phones and social media,” Kirkland said.
Sheridan agreed with Przepierski but added that it will be easier to go without communication over time.
“I think at first it’s going to feel like someone cut one of your arms off,” said Sheridan. “But once you live through that first day you may start to realize that you don’t need to be as connected as you think you need to be.”
Sheridan has been in touch with the founder of Tech Timeout, Michael Stusser. They are hoping next year the entire Communications Department will join in. Mercyhurst would be the first university to participate in this program.