Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Take Cover...Head Explosion!!!

Although my "school year" has officially ended, my break-neck speed and information acquisition have not. I attended MICON14, which inspired me to keep on keeping on, affirmed that I'm doing the right things for my population, and gave me a chance to connect with my peers outside of the building. We bonded in ways truly unforeseen. Immediately upon our return, I began working on my summer to-do list, which is too long for the remaining seven weeks I have until reporting for pre-planning. Too much to do and not enough hours has been my MO over the last decade or so. Although my own kids are technically adults (though still tightly bound to the nest) I have no more downtime than I did when they were young and required chauffeuring and supervision. This has been a frustrating realization.

Am I really that much of a "Type A" personality? People tell me my sense of calm and patience is what anchors them. I do agree that I am not easily ruffled, and rarely lose my temper. What then, is going on? I seem more frustrated more frequently. My husband refers to the technological world to which we are now exposed as "information through a fire hose." That's it, precisely. I feel obligated to be well versed in the tech world in order to be a 21st century educator, in keeping with my own philosophies of the necessity for creative/divergent/lateral thinking in today's world. But the expectation that I will be adept at the plethora of tools, information, apps, software, SM, memory, RAM, speeds, and on and on and on is, quite literally, overwhelming.

"What does 4G mean? How is that different from data?" asks my daughter.
"Go ask your mother," replies my husband.

And a few hours later,

"I did something to my computer and I can't figure out what I did," my mother says, "Can you come fix it?"

My husband to me, "I can't get my contacts to sync. Can you figure out what's going on?"

I do learn quickly. That's an advantage. But no matter how much I do to get "ahead of the curve," there is always another new topic to learn. For someone like me, who is goal oriented and needs to be able to complete tasks, the looming "CLOUD" is...turning gray.  In attempting to organize my summer of learning, I came across the #CLMOOC, and could not resist. I thought engaging in the course would enable me to develop plans for my units, determining which apps and sites would work best with which projects. I was right about that. But it has also exposed me to how much I don't know, putting me back in the cycle of feeling stressed because now I have to learn more to get ahead, thereby "falling behind."

I wanted to spend the summer getting ready to move my students to Google based portfolios, and I am feeling sidetracked. I have created more stress by finding new apps for my students to use, then trying to find efficient ways to curate all this content. (Again with the fire hose!)

Ignorance is indeed bliss.

Then, while Tweeting (a third fire hose), I came across this phrase that immediately resonated: living with presence in the age of productivity.  For the complete post from Brain Pickings, click here Theology of Rest. How do I keep from drowning? Stop.

It isn't "just me." Our expectations as a culture and community are unrealistic. We are humans, not computers. What's more important than having the knowledge is being flexible. If I plan on using Chatterpix the first week of school, and suddenly it doesn't work, so what? I won't spend a class period trying to figure it out, thereby losing precious "contact minutes" to teach with. Or maybe, I'll use that situation as an opportunity for the students to problem solve. (Here's my Chatterpix attempt: Walter) I do not need to participate in every Chat Session, don't need to be on every Webinar, don't need to bookmark every blog for later reading. I'm beginning to get a feel for the redundancy in the Cloud.

Indeed...a fellow #CLMOOCer just posted a similar concern. "So I'm working hard to use the inspiration and not let the flood of ideas overwhelm and distract me." Kim's full post is here. I'm exhaling now. I think I will go outside now, and pick some basil. The computer, and its faithful connection to the digital world is happy to wait for me.