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Tech Timeout Academic Challenge


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Twisted Scholar is pleased to announce the release of the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge – Disconnecting from Technology (for a while). The Tech Timeout is a fun and innovative program that challenges students – teachers and parents, too, if they’re up for it – to shut down their digital devices for a few days and discuss or write about the experience. 

The best part? Thanks to a partnership with Foresters™, a life insurance provider, we are offering these kits completely FREE to the first 1,000 schools that request them. 

The program is both enlightening for students and flexible for teachers and schools. It includes videos, classroom discussions and activities that have been aligned with Common Core State Standards (for U.S. Schools), and a step-by-step guide for organizing your own Tech Timeout. Educators, parents, and students alike can implement the Challenge in a variety of ways, including:

  • In the classroom as a topic for discussion only
  • As a 3-day challenge in one or more classrooms
  • As a school-wide 3-day challenge

The Tech Timeout Academic Challenge kit includes:

  • A DVD which includes a choice of films to show students
  • A comprehensive discussion and activity guide
  • A complete guide for the organizer of the Timeout
  • An information packet for the families of students, which also includes instructions on how to implement it in their home
  • The entire packet in a PDF format for easy access and distribution

Click HERE to request your kit, at no cost to you or your school!

For more information about the Tech Timeout, visit

As Seen on Katie

Katie Couric showcases the Tech Timeout


The June 25, 2013 episode of the Katie Couric Show featured an interview with journalist Michael Stusser who was inspired by The Tech Timeout Academic Challenge, to do his own social experiment:  a one week digital gorge, followed by a timeout.

His experience is captured in the award-winning documentary short “Sleeping with Siri” produced and directed by Twisted Scholar.


Already 400 schools have done a Tech Timeout, challenging their students to go 3-days (maybe 7, if they dare) without cell phones and social media, and document the results. It’s a fascinating social experiment that asks:

  • What are we missing by not building “down” time into our days?
  • Is our media consumption having an actual physical effect on our brains?
  • What impact is a lack of eye contact having on our relationships?
  • Are we losing the ability to plan or commit because our phones allow for instant updates?
  • Do incessant upbeat social media posts by others lead to a distorted view of ourselves?

The Tech Timeout kit comes with everything a facilitator needs to organize their own Challenge, and thanks to a partnership with Foresters, a life insurance provider, it’s available for free.

To request a Tech Timeout kit visit .

Making Us Crazy?

The effect of our over-connectedness

In time for the release of the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge, the new program from Twisted Scholar that challenges young people to give up their digital connection for a week, comes a cover story from Newsweek which asks: “Is the Onslaught Making Us Crazy.”

In the article, the author states that proof is piling up that the current incarnation of the Internet – portable, social, accelerated, and all pervasive – may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention deficit disorders.

Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.

“Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.”

The Tech Timeout Academic Challenge – Disconnecting from technology (for a while) documents the story of how one school started a movement by going media free for a week, and encourages other students and schools to try it themselves.

According to Stanford University professor Clifford Nass, whose research is showcased in the Tech Timeout video, “High school kids who are constantly texting, while they are chatting while they are on Facebook, while they are doing homework, while they are listening to music, while sitting with friends, those kids who are doing it all the time, are really creating fundamental problems in the way they think.”

Without drama or heavy-handedness, the Tech Timeout asks students to consider what they might be missing by their digital over-connectedness, by attempting to go without for a week.

The Tech Timeout is available for FREE thanks to support from Foresters, a life insurance provider.

The Digital Blackout


The Digital Blackout – Disengaging from Social Media (for awhile)

Like a time traveler visiting 1995, what would it be like to go back to an era of no email, no texting, no Facebook or Twitter?

Could you do it, and for how long? Would it make you anxious, or would it call on social skills rendered useless by the digital age?

The Digital Blackout tells the story of a Seattle-area high school that conducted just such a “Social Experiment.” They challenged their student body (and the faculty) to put away the Facebook and Twitter, the text and instant messaging, and document their experience.

Some couldn’t take it and dropped out of the experiment within a day. Others struggled, made it, but vowed never again. And yet, for a significant group the experience with the Digital Blackout was eye opening. It highlighted, among other things:

  • The astounding amount of time that we devote to social networks.
  • The face-to-face experiences the internet has maybe devalued.
  • The stress brought on by our over-connectedness.
  • And yes! The many benefits of our digitally inter-connected world that one rightly misses during the blackout.

The Digital Blackout comes as a complete kit including the DVD documentary, comprehensive facilitator’s guide, and various templates and example items (e.g. buttons, posters, certificate of completion) helpful in organizing a similar challenge in your classroom, school or youth group.

With The Digital Blackout you can plan and execute a 1-, 3- or 7-day blackout, recruit participants through Facebook and Twitter (irony duly noted), notify the local media of your experiment, and document the results using journals, videos, surveys and blogs.

Or, simply watch the DVD in class and discuss the impacts of social media.

The Digital Blackout is equal parts intriguing documentary, motivation for a fun challenge, and a fascinating social experiment for the 21st century.


Gum 2.0 is here!

An old favorite gets an update

We are happy to anounce the arrival of the DVD Gum in my Hair Version 2.0!

We figured after a successful 10-year run it was about time to take a look at our old favorite and see how this video and discussion guide could be updated and improved.

The result is Gum in my Hair Version 2.0 which includes new research, techniques, interviews and input from hundreds, even thousands, of counselors and teachers who have used the original Gum in my Hair.

The new version emphasizes: 

  • The role of the bystander in fueling or defusing a bullying incident;
  • Empathy, and how teaching it can prevent bullying in the hallways;
  • Why it’s important to focus on “bullying” rather than just the bully;
  • And the fact that having one or two friends or allies significantly reduces a child’s chances of being bullied.

Also, in response to numerous requests, Gum in my Hair v2.0 now includes closed captioning in English and Spanish.

Co-hosted by sociologist Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D. and Leslie Walker, M.D., experts in the field of adolescent behavior and bullying, Gum in my Hair is now even more of a must-have and must-watch for every elementary and middle-school anti-bullying program.

Request a copy on a 30-day FREE PREVIEW HERE.

Or order Gum in my Hair v2.0 HERE.

Or call (888) 949-2628.



The Digital Tattoo

Available June 2012

The Digital Tattoo –  The perils, pitfalls and benefits of social networking

A full-faceted video that addresses the issues, challenges, dangers, and the benefits, for young people in joining Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social networks yet to be invented.

The Digital Tattoo takes a fun and fast-paced look at all aspects – good and bad – of the social media experience. From Facebook to Twitter, and all sites in-between, this 20-minute DVD produced by students highlights issues that are not immediately apparent to users. The Digital Tattoo examines:

  • The perpetual (or tattoo-esque) nature of careless online posting that can haunt a person for many years
  • How Facebook has changed the meaning of “friendship” and has made many relationships more superficial
  • The viral spread of social networks and how it can unknowingly impact a person’s privacy
  • The benefits of bridging the knowledge gap between parents and students and their understanding of online networking
  • The addictive potential of social media
  • And even the appropriate approach for sending out funny tweets, presented by a professional standup comic

The Digital Tattoo is not a program meant to scare students or their parents away from Facebook or Twitter, but to help everyone make smart choices and become savvy participants in this increasingly interconnected world.