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Will OP’s New Policy Really Get Kids “Unplugged”?

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By now there’s no way you haven’t heard about it: OP Unplugged. It’s a new plan created to end technology distractions that occur in the classroom. An email sent out to teachers described the plan as this: “The basics of the plan are that when we are in an ‘unplugged’ session all electronics, phones, laptops, headphones would be put up and not in use”. That sounds like a pretty difficult thing to get kids to do. Well, they have a way around that: punishment!


Allee Armitage and Max Gruschka

The basics of our punishments for not using technology are listed out in a sheet students were given describing the new plan. It’s basically a three strikes situation: the first time you have technology out, you get a verbal warning. Second time, the same thing. The third time, however, will result in, “Office referral in EdHandbook, student sent down with device. Call parent by end of the day every time a student is sent to the office”. Seems pretty strict. However, the next time you go to class, it starts over and you get a “fresh start”.

To show that a class is going “unplugged”, teachers were given posters with an OP Unplugged logo to put on their boards when they want their class off technology. This way students can clearly tell when it’s time to be focused. Here is what that poster looks like:

Poster designed by art teacher Christine Cover

Now onto what I think about all of this: personally, I think it’s a good attempt, but I just don’t see how it will really fix the problem. There’s two reasons for why I think this won’t work: a lot of kids don’t care about getting in trouble if it means they get to be on their technology, and teachers will forget about using it quickly.

The latter has already happened: it’s been at least a week or two since a teacher has talked about OP Unplugged or has actually had “Unplugged Time” in one of my classes. I think this is mainly because teachers get focused on their lessons and work that they need to teach us and are not thinking about remembering to put up a poster every time they want kids off of technology. However, this could be different for kids in other classes, as most of the kids in mine will listen to teachers when they are given a correction/command.

Now onto the other subject: the fact that many kids don’t care about getting in trouble. A situation that compares well to what I mean was our school’s new policy on absences and tardies. Depending on how many times you were late or absent, you would now get ISS. You would think that people would change their act, but that was not the case. As I have eCampus classes, I am in the same room as ISS. And there have been many times where the entire ISS side is completely filled. I think I even heard on an occasion that people were making reservations to be suspended since there was no room. It just seemed like people didn’t care if they got suspended. And it’s the same case with OP Unplugged.

Now I could be wrong about all of my thoughts, but the way I see it, things will be back to normal in a month or two. We’ll all forget about it and the issues will occur again. And most likely, the school will regroup and try to come up with a new plan. But as long as the technology is around (including that which has been given to us by the school), the problem will really never go away.

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