It’s late on Friday night. I’m in bed. I have just survived the first day back at school for teachers and I’m exhausted from:
a) having to wake up before the sun does,
b) dealing with the abhorration that is starting my working week on a Friday and
c) listening intently to an avalanche of information about the expectations for the new school year.
I’m also thinking:
a) did the holidays even happen? and
b) when am I going to find time to complete the Edublogs Kick Start Activity 6 – Embedding Media whilst attempting to apartment-hunt, do my laundry and grocery shop for the week?
I’m staring at my laptop across the dim room thinking, “Maybe I could just bring it into bed with me and I can be cosy and comfortable and do my activity that way…”
I’m sure many of you are feeling similarly conflicted about how to manage your working schedule with that of families and other commitments. For me, it is something I’m quite eagerly in search of. Ways in which we can manage our lives and keep our minds calm. At the above thought I promptly said to myself, “Are you mad? Why do I even have my laptop in the room?” One thing I certainly would never do is bring my laptop into bed with me. However, the temptation is there. Some of you, unlike me, may have happily taken your laptop to bed with you. You may even think I’m barking mad because I’m not doing it more often. Enjoying a wild romp in bed with media and technology.
Lying there, staring into the blackness, trying to calm my mind after the days chaos, this laptop temptation did also make me consider how our students may also feel. Particularly at the beginning of a new school year (think Year 7’s) or around exam time . Many of our students are under similar pressures. Often these expectations can be trying to maintain good academic grades as well as play a team sport, learn a musical instrument, maybe maintain a part-time job, have some sort of social life (OK, a rather large social life) oh and then, maybe eat and at the very least sleep for at least 8 hours a day.
Both us as teachers and our students are making choices on what to prioritise in our lives and technology is certainly making the maintenance of our social lives a little easier, but it can become unhealthy. Students seem to be saturated by the availability and ease of technology and the need to use it and consume it at all hours of the day which in turn is affecting their physical social contact and contact of any other kind that requires them to leave their computer screens.
I’m not suggesting for a second that blogging or any other use of the computer is anti-social or detrimental to your health. Quite the contrary. I believe it is tremendously rewarding and enjoyable to connect to people through common interests. I wouldn’t be doing this Challenge if I didn’t think so. Similarly, it is OK to chat to your mates on Facebook or tweet an update about that cute guy on your favourite TV show. I’m not advocating for anything in particular other than balance. I’m not here to discuss cybersafety.
I guess I just wanted to make this post not only about the media I have embedded into it but to remember that as teachers I feel we also have a responsibility to ensure our students are maintaining a balanced lifestyle with plenty of sleep, healthy eating and drinking, safe social habits online and when in physical human contact with others. I can’t really believe I have to distinguish the two!
The above video just reminds me that it is important for us as teachers to model the enthusiasm we feel when we meet up with friends, read a new book, go for a walk or discover something new. For us to encourage parents to ensure mobile phones and laptops stay out of their bedroom, that they talk with their kids about their day, not feeling like technology is alienating them from their son/daughter, that it is OK to embrace it and use it but to also just connect with them daily, face to face and to really listen, share and care.
In reviewing the tools I have used for embedding, YouTube was very simple and easy to embed. I became confused between Wallwisher and Answer Garden because I thought Answer Garden didn’t allow anyone to add a suggestion and was simply a picture of suggestions made during a class and uploaded to Flickr. Alas, I was wrong and inserted a Wallwisher thinking this was the case but I think I’ll try Answer Garden in the future. The difficulty I had was inserting a poll. I think it would’ve worked better in the side bar above the links rather than in a post but I wasn’t sure how to do this and embedding the code into the theme page confused me. Does anyone know how to do this and would like to share?
Also, in what ways do you ensure your students are maintaing balance? What strategies do you have on a whole-school level? Do you feel we do enough as classroom teachers? Is it our responsibility at all? Share your thoughts in the comments or add to my Wallwisher.
Photo “Basking in the Glow” by pmarkham under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Video: “Is Technology Weakening Relationships?” by MsAshbrown, 2/9/2009.