It’s already August. So far, this summer I haven’t adventured to a foreign country, solved any world problems, or produced a feature length film. I have successfully managed to create a Technology Toolkit for the Global Educator, and revised the “For Teachers” section of this website. It may not change the world, but perhaps it will offer some teachers out there a few ideas, a little inspiration, or at least a creative palette to start playing with.
It’s easy to joke about superwoman powers that I’d like to have, but I am certainly a person that likes to be busy. When I decided to stay in the United States this summer, I had all sorts of visions of what I might accomplish. Then I remembered a conversation that I had back in June with my friend Mike. I was running off from one activity to the next, when he asked me what I was up to. I honestly don’t remember the details, but I told him about my adventures, and asked if he wanted to join me.
“No, it sounds fun, but I’m working on maximizing my chill time,” he answered.
I laughed. I had never thought to maximize my chill time. But when summer rolled around and I found myself scanning “to do” lists and filling up my calendar with plans, I realized that what I really needed this summer was some good old relaxation. So, I’ve been working on taking more walks and seeing more live music. I started watching the sky, learning about different types of clouds. I’ve eaten lots of ice cream and spent lots of time with family and friends. I’ve enjoyed lots of naps with the cat at the foot of my bed.
It’s been good. It feels a little strange not to be gearing up for some epic adventure, but I’ve had my share of achievements. Last week, I gave a workshop in Washington D.C. for the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program. I met 30 accomplished teachers (from the U.S., Mexico, India, the Czech Republic, and Hungary!) who are about to switch places with another teacher in another country for a whole school year. I shared my Technology Toolkit with them, including some of the recent work my students have created, making a difference around the world (highlight video below):
When I finished sharing my work, a teacher raised her hand with a question. She politely inquired something like, “This is all great stuff, but do you ever sleep?”
I have to admit that yes, I will always be shaking things up, trying new things, and putting in extra hours. No matter how hard I try, I will never be super chill. I just love the way technology allows us to create and connect in new ways. It takes some time investment, but eventually, there’s a pay back when tasks are more fun and efficient. I’m not a tech wiz, but I love exploring and playing and learning. Hopefully, my work can save other teachers time to dedicate to whatever makes them most excited or matters most to them. I’m confident that balance is essential to all good teaching — nobody can work all the time.
Next up, I’m traveling to Boulder, Colorado for the International Democratic Education Conference. I’m also scheming about ways to re-do the “For Students” section of this website to include global games, toolkits for taking action, and more.
But, don’t worry. I might not totally maximize my chill time, but I’ll certainly leave room for some detours, cloud gazing, and dreaming.
Note: If you are a teacher, please check out the Technology Toolkit and let me know if you have any feedback. There are lots of concrete strategies, websites, and free online services to help you expand the ways you use technology. There are five sections that show how to get students more involved over time, starting with clicking and commenting on others’ online content, then actually conversing online, and finally getting students creating their own online content and connecting in the real world. You can use the links provided, but the best tools for you to use are the ones you already know and your own creativity. You can also add your own ideas to this doc: http://tinyurl.com/FulbrightTools