Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mindful Consumption Of Media And Cyber Sprawl

Since I started this blog and found a network of educators with which I collaborate, it's been a constant dialog with myself about my level of involvement in Web2.0. There are times, for the example, the past month or so, when I'm pretty much uninvolved besides working through my reader. And there are other times when I large chunks of my work days blogging, reading blogs, tweeting, etc. And then I spend weekends and evenings Skyping and collaborating and blogging. It's sort of the job I get paid to do, but sometimes it feels like web2.0 pulls me away from my immediate community and collaborators. And sometimes still, I sacrifice personal time to 'work.' I can see the benefits of balancing my teacher self at school and on the web. And lately, I've been taking inventory of all the places where I'm kind of involved and trying to prioritize and follow through before jumping into another project. I feel good about it, and I feel guilty and uninvolved about it. Okay, so what?

Well, I've written a little lately about structuring my class around communication competency levels, starting with words, then sentences, then dialogs, then paragraph, etc. Using this approach, I hope to teach a little grammar (all encompassing term for usage, conventions, punctuation, etc. And I'm still figuring out what I mean by it in this context), and I hope to help students find their voices by looking at the components. Okay, stay with me.

My wife just got back from a conference about adaptive technologies for differentiation. And speaking of words, she was sharing with me the taglines of the different seminars offered at the conference. And there was one that has helped me get this post out of my draft folder: Mindful Consumption of Media. I don't really know what the presentation was about, but just the words, in the context of my class's focus on the connotations of words, struck me. First, the idea of mindful as I know it is the slowing down of attention (I'll have to consult my copy of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind when I get home today), immersion and engagement as attention. I've noticed personally that when I work online, I tend to feel some kind of urgency to get it out there? Probably just me. Then, the word consumption. Do we use this word when we talk about reading books or attending live classes? There's something one-way about it. To me, it implies input without output (is web2.0 different?). Also, consumption is for the purpose of nutrition. I know I get tons of good stuff from the web, but are we teaching students how to watch what they consume and examine what they input? Lastly, media is so different now. I guess I think of media as being just a small part of a class a few years back. Now media of all kinds can make up the majority of a course and its curriculum.
Good to get these thoughts out, still need refining.

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