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Faculty Spotlight, School of Soc. Sci & Humanities

Celling Your Soul – Students Explore Life Without Apps

Professor Joni Siani prepares the Introduction to Communications class at Mount Ida College for their No App for Life challenge with her award-winning documentary Celling Your Soul. For the past three semesters, her classes have participated in a social science experience to compare and contrast the human communication experience between more authentic connections with the digitally demanding experience. In late February, Siani held a special screening in Mount Ida’s Campus Center Auditorium for students, faculty, and staff at the College.

“College students are part of the first digitally socialized generation. The research now supports a long list of unintended consequences such as a decline is soft skills, increased anxiety, tech addiction, and depression.” As President Barry Brown said in opening remarks to the faculty this year, “We have to give our students more opportunities to interact authentically to improve their communication skills.”

The No App for Life challenge has students discovering their true relationship and reliance on their smart phones. For one week, students will only use their phones to make calls. No apps for social media scrolling, texting only for emergencies, and engagement in a mindful communication process. Daily students are required to hand write their reflections on thoughtful questions in a journal, including, “Where is your anxiety level? How does it feel to be unplugged throughout the day? How does it feel when you’re the only one not looking down at your phone?” Students have an opportunity to observe the world around them as they use a healthy-tech approach of greater balance. The results from the exercise will be shared in the classroom as part of the students’ final presentations.

The award-winning film Celling Your Soul and the No App for Life program are now available to schools and organizations for community discussions and a national school campaign.

Learn more about Celling Your Soul