Welcome to #DisconnectChallenge Alberta

Canada’s eQuality Project and the Alberta Teachers’ Association are partnering to launch the world’s largest ever #DisconnectChallenge in Alberta in February 2020!

What?
#DisconnectChallenge is a two-week activity where Alberta students will assess how technology affects their sense of connection with themselves and others. With support from their teachers and families, participating students will document their technology use for one week and then embark on a one-week media fast: avoiding social media platforms, nocturnal screen time, technology around the dinner table, Internet browsing (except for schoolwork), texting (save for their parents/guardians), and listening to music with headphones.

To support #DisconnectChallenge Alberta, teachers or parents/guardians who sign up will receive a lesson plan with step-by-step instructions. After the media fast, students will be encouraged to share what they learned through text, video, or an artistic production.

To get a sense of how #DisconnectChallenge works, watch students who completed the media fast talk about their experiences.

Why?
This activity will provide a framework to help Canadian teens explore how their media use effects their sense of connections, with themselves, other people, and nature. Our first province-wide challenge, #DisconnectChallenge will help Alberta teens, alongside their teachers and families, learn to navigate the often stormy waters of technology, privacy, health and learning.

This activity extends and supports key research findings from the ATA’s Growing Up Digital (GUD) initiative and the eQuality Project. It will also further ongoing digital literacy work across Canada and assist students and families as they seek to find a digital balance that is healthy, practical, and sustainable for their increasingly digitally connected lives.

When?
The #DisconnectChallenge Alberta will run for two (2) weeks between February 10 and February 21, 2020.

Week 1:
Documenting (February 10 to 16, 2020) – Documenting and Reflecting on Personal Media Use

Week 2:
Media Fast (February 17 to 21, 2020) – Engaging in a Media Fast

Who?
We invite teachers and their students, as well as parents/guardians and teens to join us on #DisconnectChallenge Alberta.

How?
Anyone has an open opportunity to participate, so when you and your students and their families are ready to accept the #DisconnectChallenge Alberta, all you have to do is follow these steps:

Step 1:
Sign up by submitting your name to our secure sign up form on or before December 20, 2019. We especially encourage teachers, students, and families from indigenous, rural and remote schools, or other under-represented populations to join us.

Step 2:
We will follow up with you directly and email you in January with a lesson plan and other information to help you get ready for the #DisconnectChallenge.

Step 3:
Start the #DisconnectChallenge! During week 1 (February 10-16) students will keep a diary of their regular tech use.

Step 4:
During week 2 (February 17-21 — including Family Day on February 17) students will keep a diary of their experiences during the province-wide media fast.

Step 5:
Students, teachers, and parents/guardians can share their experiences online (irony!) on a digital platform created for #DisconnectChallenge. Stay tuned for more information so you can participate!

Participation in this self-directed #DisconnectChallenge is voluntary and you are free to opt out at anytime.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch with Dr. Valerie Steeves or Dr. Phil McRae.