So after a couple of weeks of info-learning fatigue, I’m feeling like I’m on the verge of crawling my way up out of the pit. Not sure I’m fully there yet, and the fact that I’m staring at one night at home in the next two weeks in the face (10 days in Australia upcoming), I’m not sure when I’ll be fully healed. But taking a couple of weeks basically “off” has helped.
Funny thing is, I didn’t miss it. In fact, it was pretty peaceful to not be a part of the conversation, to not really care what I was wasn’t learning. I’d echo a lot of the reflection that Jeff gives to his most recent purposeful unplugging, even though I just lapsed into mine. (He scheduled his; my brain felt like jello.) As Jeff says, “There are days I’m tired of being tied to technology.” And I would add, there are days I’m tired of learning. I used to feel more guilt about that. These days, much less. And I’ve been thinking about this classroom a bit differently of late. It’s been feeling a bit competitive, and in a weird (and somewhat ironic) way, a bit too friendly. It’s a much more intense place than it was seven years ago.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t stop learning. Not at all. It’s just that my learning times were scheduled. A couple of day long sessions with teachers learning their fears. Teaching two days at Seton Hall to school administrators, learning how difficult their technology lives at school are. Twelve basketball games in two weekends, learning a lot about my kids, about how resilient they are, about how hard they’re willing to work, and how different it is to watch my own children compete as opposed to the thousands that I had coached over the years. A day at the Global Green Expo (Wendy’s site design, btw) learning how dire things really are. And much more stuff that the network simply cannot provide.
But that scheduled-ness was the key. (Funny how opposite that sounds from Jeff.) It felt soooo goooooood to be out of the “grab-15-minutes-here-and-there” mode of learning that my life has become these days. To some extent, it’s hard to avoid that these days. But the problem is there are never enough 15 or 30 or 60 minute chunks these days, are there?
I did manage a Tweet about this a couple of days ago, something along the lines of “how long has it been since you totally turned off for a week?” I got about 30 replies. Most couldn’t remember when. Many were wistful of such an occurrence.
So yeah, learning can happen 24/7/365 these days. Don’t have to be connected to do it though. No news there I know, just a friendly reminder to myself.
Scott McLeod says
Will, glad you got a refresher! It would be great to read some more from you about your work at Seton Hall with the administrators!
Sue Wargo says
Just having an April school vacation, I found that I could live without the constant plugged in self I have become. I will say I checked e-mail now and again…and only Tweeted once (okay twice). But I did read three books..total fun stuff, I got to Cirque D’Soleil in Hartford, the Boston Marathon, an Earth Day event, and shopped for quilting stuff and shopped some more with my daughter at an outlet mall. Today I caught up. I know I missed some things…but I am happy for the break and feel lucky that we had such glorious weather here in the north east. The only thing I have to say is that I am jealous of the places you go and things you do. I am only happy that I get to watch and learn when you do have the time to share with all of us!
Harold Jarche says
When we went from an oral society to one that used the written word, things changed pretty drastically. We’re just getting used to this online/offline balance. You’re on the bleeding edge, Will. It’s a good thing to take some time off, and I know you’ve been damned busy and you have a family.
Personally, I’m looking forward to finally taking some time “off the grid” after five years, so I don’t begrudge it to anyone.
Hope you’re still having fun.
I missed your tweet the other day because I was unplugged myself. I was off the grid from Wed. morn to the next Wed. night. On Wednesday morning I loaded 19 middle schoolers into vans and drove for four hours across the Navajo Reservation then Monument Valley then Mexican Hat. We launched onto the gorgeous San Juan River and off the grid. Today we met with a reporter from the local newspaper and she asked the kids if they missed modern conveniences while on the river. One young lady said, “I thought I would really miss my phone, but I didn’t at all”. Followed up by a kid who said that he missed music so they sang and made their own.
We switched groups midway through the 8 days, but I was able to stay out with both groups. Eight days is by far the longest I have been offline in quite sometime. I do take chunks of the summer for me, though. Time to travel to places off the grid, time on the farm and just time. Balance of experience is always a goal of mine. Learning in a variety of ways is also at the top of the goal list.
If you all have not ventured into the wild lately, I would highly suggest a trip. There is something quite fabulous about having an 8 day expanse set aside for experiencing this incredibly intriguing part of the world and learn. The stillness of a wild place has a way of centering me that I cannot seem to find in any other way. For pix… http://flickr.com/photos/84623935@N00/sets/72157604751130813/
Steven Kimmi says
I begrudgingly unplug myself every weekend. I say ‘begrudgingly’ although it is starting to become quite refreshing. At first I felt guilty, but have begun to see it as more of knowledge detox, where you slough off the minutia.
Annie S says
This was a great blog. I agree that sometimes people, of all ages need a break from learning. Whether it is from school, or work, people need time to relax. Just yesterday I went home from school early and I went home and slept. It was very relaxing and I really needed it. Is this why we have school breaks? Like summer and winter breaks? Just to take a brief break off of learning? I also agree that when someone is surrounded by learning all of the time, or technology in your case, then when theyâ€™re away from it, they donâ€™t miss it. Great job, keep up the good work
Brian Crosby says
I wrote about this on my blog. Here’s an excerpt:
However, when things slow down around my teaching job that is when I yearn to be part of the network … all that pent up… seeing what is going on and being discussed and not having the time to be part of it finally getting a chance to be unleashed. I’ve actually noticed now that I often DON’T blog or comment on certain topics just because I know I won’t have time to deal adequately with comments or blowback that beg for a response from me. It’s kind of a self imposed censorship really.
I agree! Will, I just saw you this week in Omaha and i LOVED your speech. But I felt the same way….when do I get to DISconnect?
Vidya A. says
I don’t usually think of it as disconnecting, but weekends are typically my disconnect time. I don’t check email, I don’t tweet, skype or IM. Actually, I do Skype but it’s family time, I get together with my parents in India and my brother and sis-in-law in Toronto ;-). I could get on the computer but it’s usually because I’m playing a game and that to me is not being “tied to technology” ;-). As to April’s comment, when we get to DISconnect is totally up to us! The technology is just another tool, we don’t need to use it all the time.
I know I am ALLOWED to disconnect, but it seems like my whole life is online now. I am having trouble adjusting to the way that technology has kept us constantly in touch with EVERYONE. It is exhausting. Sometimes I could inable “receive texts” feature on my phone, or something, you know?
Ethan L says
I like this post because everyone needs a break sometimes. Right now I could really use a break from school. But there are only 3 more weeks so I think I can handle it. Anyway,I think breaks from learning and working are very important because you can get overloaded with all of that stuff and it is good every once in a while to not have to worry about it. This is the reason why I like summer so much. It is so nice just to do whatever I want for three months without having anything to worry about. School and work are very important, I just think it is hard to handle all the time so I’m glad that we have breaks from school because doing the same thing every day can get really old. I think that it is really cool that when we have jobs they let us choose our vacation time so that we can have a break whenever we need it the most. Good job on this post and I look forward to more good ones from you