Blogging and Time

I’m looking at a busy week ahead: guiding students through a research project (once again iPODs are coming to the rescue–more on that this weekend), helping international students untangle the English language, mentoring my thesis advisees, participating in an Ed Tech Talk Show Sunday morning with Dave Cormier and Jeff Lebow, presenting some of my classroom podcasting adventures at the CET podcasting seminar, presenting social software and digital storytelling to The Orton Family Foundation, several conference calls hammering out talks I’ll give this winter–and on it goes, which brings me back to the issue all edubloggers touch upon–TIME.

When I think I’m about to be sucked right into this screen, I head out with the dog and connect with the details of the land–of course sometimes in the back of my mind even then I’m thinking about blogging and teaching, for I often lug my camera with me:

frostyleaf.jpg frostonleaves.jpg milkweed.jpg
and then post the images to one group of students or another. I know that will strike some people as too much–of my having a hard time drawing lines between my personal time and my professional time. But one of the appeals of social software for me is that it allows me to feel as though I am talking and writing through and around and in time and space rather than in discrete, finite boxes stapled together. Hmmm…I’m not sure that makes a great deal of sense. Let me try again: through multimedia blogging’s connectivity, not only can I link my writing to the thoughts and ideas of people I read online, I can link back to my own earlier thoughts or beginnings of ideas through the archives and internal search mechanisms–I am linked to my process and progress, and to my homelife as it intersects with my work. And each time I do, the story becomes denser and more interesting to me. So questions about time–how much time this Web work takes–are difficult to answer and seem , well, pretty beside the point these days. I blog when I have something I am working out; teaching with blogs takes as much time as teaching with anything else. And taking the time to play around with Frappr for my world bloggers and learn how to skypecast a la Will and how or if I can use it in the classroom is part of what I do as a dedicated teacher–I stay up with my field–teaching. And of course good teaching takes a lot of time. Reflective practices take a lot of time. Nurturing communities takes a lot of time. So I’m okay with the time it takes.

Indeed, what I am discovering in this work is an integrated yet fluid approach to life. Think folksonomies. Think tagging. I want to be able to roam through my day’s work a bit more freely than I can now, pulling in the various parts of life together rather than separating them into neat boxes.

A new sense of class time: Yesterday I had my students take several online quizzes on paraphrasing and comma usage. They clearly enjoyed themselves–a bunch of eighteen-year-olds playing a little interactive game. Being together in the room, doing the exercises in pairs, shouting out results and scores to the full group, asking me questions–they felt like kids again for a moment as though they were letting that part of themselves into the classroom for the first time. We’ve pretty much eliminated playfulness from the college classroom (except for in the sciences)–we have no time for it–and for the first time yesterday I really saw the benefits of bringing some gaming into my courses. Slowing down. Of course now I can’t wait to talk with Bryan next week about what he’s been discovering in gaming in the higher ed world–and suddenly I’m back to thinking about Janet Murray and Howard Rheingold and Henry Jenkins. I’m back reading Adrian Miles’ blog. For me blogging slows time down because it asks me to forget about time as I reach out associatively into ideas. At least that’s how I feeling today.
Sunday, when I’m participating in my first webcast? I’m sure I’ll feel the press of time, big time.