SET Unplugged – The Benefits of Tech Free Days in High School

SET High School students in San Diego play games on Tech Free Day.

SET Unplugged – The Benefits of Tech Free Days in High School

Our students are brilliant at the School for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SET High), and we want to keep it that way. We see Tech Free Tuesdays as an opportunity to improve critical and creative thinking skills, initiate new collaborative habits, and boost our students’ academic performance in our free public school for grades 9-12. Don’t believe us? Check out the results of our first attempts to prevent getting sucked into smartphones.

Why Should Students Unplug from Technology a Full Day?

Research shows that smartphones encourage compulsive behavior from the reptilian part of the brain, and can trigger the limbic side, which sparks anxiety, jealousy, or other judgemental reactions. When we unplug from technology, we can re-engage the neocortex, which is the part of the brain where abstract and creative thinking resides.

In short- unplugging is good for your brain.

$500 Prize to Tech Free Students

Imagine trying to pry smartphones out of the clutches of high school students. Dr. Neil McCurdy knew it would be a difficult challenge without a handsome prize. Although going tech free was mandatory during classroom time, Dr. McCurdy offered a $500 prize to the students who could make it the entire school day without their phones or devices. The result? 100 students prevailed! Rather than a group prize valued at $500, the winners voted for a $5 per student reward.

How to Go Analog in High School

What did SET High students do instead of using reptile brains on smartphones?

“My kid came home and reported that they talked to people at school they had never talked to before,” said a parent.

“I walked into my classroom and students were reading books while waiting for class to start,” said a teacher.

  • 8-9 students spent a good 20 minutes on a whiteboard converting the temperature reading on a thermometer from Celsius to Fahrenheit. 
  • During free period, students dragged out: 
    • board games, 
    • Beyblades, and 
    • actual physical paper books. 
  • Students made new friends. 

The Best Way to End Tech Free Day

Despite initial skepticism, teachers and students alike loved SET High Unplugged and congratulated each other on their collective support. One student admitted the day was filled with “fun and joy.” Another said, “It was really cool!” We call this a smashing success. Bonus: everyone gets ice cream at the end of Tech Free Tuesdays.

Do you enjoy a good mental challenge? SET High welcomes you to join the next generation of innovators, change-makers, and socially responsible citizens. Enroll for Fall 2023 today!

About SET High 

SET High offers each student individual attention from multi-talented, highly qualified  teachers. Students build a healthy camaraderie with classmates inside an intellectually rigorous environment that brings out their talents and personality, helping them develop their individual character and direction in life. With a wide variety of electives, flexible scheduling, dual enrollment college classes and more — our students regularly exceed their academic and personal expectations. Enrolling now!