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Homework: Log out of Facebook, turn off cell, unplug everything

Jenna Johnson

University of Minnesota Professor Heather LaMarre gave her students a nearly impossible assignment earlier this month: Go five days without using any media or gadget that didn't exist before 1984.

That meant no Facebook, Google, YouTube, e-mail or Twitter. And no texting, listening to an iPod or making cell phone calls. (Students were allowed to use computers for homework and assignments in other classes.)

LaMarre is not the only one challenging her wired students to unplug, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, as a "growing group of instructors around the country are prescribing their highly wired students a kind of shock treatment."

University of Texas at Dallas professor assigned the students in his introduction to electronic and digital communications class to quit Facebook for a week. In the fall, freshmen at Augsburg College in Minneapolis could not use a long list of electronic media -- including cell phones, computers, televisions, video games and radio -- for 12 hours. A new media professor at Macalester College in St. Paul is planning a class called "Immedia," and he hopes to take students out of the city and off the grid for two weeks.

At the University of Minnesota, students were not very successful. One student only made it 30 minutes before she accidentally turned on her iPod. One student's mother "thought I had died." Another student missed talking to her family and friends back home in California -- and had to actually call them. "Even though I talked to my cousin every day, I hadn't heard her voice forever," the junior told the Star Tribune. "It was weird. We were like, 'We should do this more often.'"

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By Jenna Johnson  |  March 15, 2010; 9:12 AM ET
Categories:  Networking  | Tags: University of Minnesota, University of Texas  
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Comments

Love it.

I'll admit I would have trouble with the iPod, but that's because in my 1980's college day, I lived with my Walkman in my backpack. Music and college kinda go together, but iPods do so much more than any Walkman ever did, I suppose.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | March 15, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

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