Creative Ways to Rest

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Ok, that title is misleading. Not everyone can do what I did to rest. My husband had ankle replacement surgery recently, and I helped in his recovery (shampooing hair, preparing meals, walking the dog, cutting the grass, etc etc). It doesn’t sound restful, but it was.

What I did while he recuperated:

  • read
  • cooked
  • thought about printing (this was actually helpful)
  • planned card text
  • took some online classes
  • wrote to people, real snail mail
  • napped

All of this put me in a calm, relaxed frame of mind.  I can tell because this week things are picking up again, and I’m finding less time to get things– you know those important “things” done. I am going to be closing the Etsy shop for a while, planning, making new cards and getting ready for fall.

And then…we’ll jump back into holiday craziness and all that comes with owning a retail space during the shopping season. I think I’ll miss napping the most. But I do have that blue sofa in the shop……



Is Boredom the Answer?

Cross-posted on the PLP blog

My contract with AT&T is up in a few days, and, because of all the dropped calls I seem to have in my house, I swore I would switch back to Verizon as soon as I could. (We don’t have a land line.) I figured I would purchase the Verizon iPhone and simply change services.

But I also recently bought an iPad and carry a monthly data charge for that. So I’ve been wondering…should I carry two devices with data charges? Yes, I know. The iPad is big. Who’s going to pull that out when a smaller phone will do the trick? And I need to be connected all the time, right?

I’m not so sure anymore.  My focus lately has been learning how to balance my time, be more in the moment, and less “on.” My tendency to click, click, click means I don’t pause to reflect as much as I should. And, even more, I don’t allow myself to be bored.

Standing in line at the grocery store, I check email. Waiting for the vet to come back into the office, I pop twitter up to read and respond to the latest. Riding along in the car to Richmond, I click on my iPhone Kindle app and read the next chapter in “The Social Animal” by David Brooks. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I am becoming conditioned to respond to the rewards of consuming information wherever and whenever I want it.

In a post on BNET by Laurie Tarkan, Genevieve Bell, the director of interaction and experience research at Intel, said engaging with mobile devices  “is the promise that you’ll never be bored again, you’ll never have to be anywhere without something to do.”

And, yet, there is a downside.

”Boredom is linked to creativity. You have your best thoughts in the shower, when driving, painting fences, and weeding the yard,” she says. Other researchers have stated that boredom is central to learning and creativity.

On the flip side, when you’re constantly consuming information via your devices, you stop processing the information and developing your own ideas. You have less time to think about what you’re consuming. To be effective in most jobs, you need to stop and reflect……

Tarkan lists several ways to be bored, and they make sense. For example, she says “stop being obsessed with doing,” and ”be bored with others.”

But, sadly,  I’m thinking I may need a more disciplined approach, and that may mean letting the iPhone go. It’s not that I don’t find value in all my curating and consuming. I do. But I’m wondering if spending less time with my face in a device will ultimately yield deeper, more reflective thinking and create sharpened connections to what I am learning.

Anticipating some sense of loss, I am trying to prepare for this. And then I think, “Geesh, it’s just a phone!”

Does any of this resonate? Do you allow yourself to be bored?


and the research says…

The Zotero group started by Wendy Drexler is often where I look for research regarding issues that interest me. Today, I had a focused discussion with a friend on whether teachers’ personalities made them embrace or more resistant to change, especially related to using technology to enhance student learning.

(As an aside, I should say I support student-centered, inquiry-based teaching and believe the use of social media offers opportunity for collaborative, global learning. If classrooms are teacher-centered and the discussions are focused on gadgets and not pedagogy, then technology is often a waste of time and money.)

After I left her office, I wondered if there was any research supporting our discussion. Sure enough, I found this (unfortunately in a PDF), a study from 2004. Here are some highlights (my emphasis):

Research has found that the personal beliefs and dispositions of teachers may relate to or predict successful technology integration. Honey and Moeller (1990) assert that teacher philosophy (student-centered versus teacher-centered) affected one’s ability to effectively use technology in the classroom, in that student-centered teachers were more successful. MacArthur and Malouf (1991) determined in their case study that teacher beliefs and attitudes greatly influenced how computers were used in the classroom. Other personal variables, such as self-competence and willingness to change, have also been shown to be closely related to computer use among teachers (Marcinkiewicz, 1994). Albion (1999) states that teachers’ beliefs, specifically self-efficacy beliefs, “are an important, and measurable, component of the beliefs that influence technology integration” (p. 2).
Furthermore, this study noted that willingness to spend time outside contracted hours also contributed to technology use in the classroom:
…this study suggests that the teacher attributes of time commitment
to teaching and openness to change combine with the amount of technology
training to best predict classroom technology use. The process of learning
to use technology requires time—time spent in training, but also time spent
playing with and exploring technology. This willingness to commit time to the
technology learning process may be represented by one’s willingness and commitment
to spend time beyond the typical work week to prepare instructional
activities. As such, this result suggests that time is essential in becoming a technology
using teacher, but also that technology use may predict time commitment
to teaching.
This last suggestion gives me pause:
As a result, a teacher who approaches technology professional development with an attitude that is open to change and is committed to spending time outside of training to further explore technology may be more likely to use technology in the classroom than one who attends training with ambivalence and a lack of time.

Now I realize that one study isn’t necessarily the answer. But all of this makes sense as we determine how to best help teachers develop their own professional development online through social media and in “unconferences” where the onus is on the individual to contribute and learn. For those waiting to be spoonfed or who are unwilling to change, the effort may not be worth the trouble.

Teacher Dispositions as Predictors of Classroom Technology Use
Journal of Research on Technology in Education, v36 n3 p253-271 Spr 2004