Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Torpor


Eating in a snowstorm
Originally uploaded by
mahlness.

Been feeling so out of step with the educational institution lately.

Kind of like a hummingbird in a snowstorm, like these brave souls who live right outside our doors and windows in this unusual deep freeze in Seattle. A hummingbird who knows the weather is wrong, not what it is supposed to be. A hummingbird who has no choice. Too late to head to California or Costa Rica... wouldn't last more than a few hours in a frantic flight south without a swig of nourishment...

In Seattle, these Anna's hummingbirds brave snowstorms and nighttime temperatures in the teens, because this IS where they live. The incredibly sweet and fragrant "new dawn" viburnum blooming through snow on bare branches provide the "organic" piece- others will follow soon. People get up before first light to thaw the frozen feeders for the birds who have spent the night in a state of torpor, their heart rates slowed to a crawl, so they can meet the day and go for it again...

In Seattle and elsewhere, web 2.0 teachers do this, every day of the school year. Thanks to those who feed us.

3 comments:

Chris Lehmann said...

I've been feeling out of the education establishment myself. I think it's one of those times of year where it's tough to maintain all the energy, even with the blogs. I've been noticing that a lot of edu-blogs have been posting a bit less lately. Maybe we all just need the holiday break. :)

janice said...

Mark,

I sense such discouragement at the moment from you. Please hang in there or we will all think it is impossible.

This last weekend I was visiting my inlaws in California. They are in their 80s and are pretty non-technical. The Internet came just as they were starting to get interested in having a computer and also just as they were losing capacity to learn new things. They are totally blown away by the things that are happening because of the Internet and the types of communication that we take for granted. It just was not a part of their life.

They were recalling for us the time when they first got a phone in the house and it was one line that had different rings for each house. You would listen to the phone and pick it up if it was for you.

My mother in law said that her mother would get frustrated when the phone would ring too much for someone else and she would pick up the phone and hang right up saying, "they must not be home." Also she said that when you picked up the phone immediately you could hear the clicks of several others picking up the phone after you to listen in!

It made me realize that regardless of how slowly things are changing in the classroom they are thorougly changing everywhere else and eventually that will have to seep into the classroom.

I have been watching for 15+ years as people do really exciting things in classrooms with technology and assuming that by NOW what is happening in the classroom would progress and it has not happened. I substitute teach in classrooms that look and function almost exactly as they did when I started teaching over 20 years ago.

However, technology has become SO pervasive in society that my 80 year old inlaws cannot ignore it. It is on TV, in billboards, in the daily newspaper, in grocery stores, on bumperstickers.

Schools have actually come a long way if you think about record keeping, grading, lesson planning, etc... I really think that as technology changes society and the way that everything is done it will become ubiquitous even in schools.

So, should we sit back and wait for that to happen? Has all of the effort made by some teachers (the oddballs) in the last 15-20 years been a waste of energy? I don't think so. Those teachers and their students benefitted from it. Gradually all educators will benefit from the work of pioneers.

So, keep up what you are doing and especially keep it up in the classroom. Way too many of us who have these ideas are not where it is really happening. I, for one, am thankful for you and your contributions to the virtual community straight from the classroom.

Janice

Anonymous said...

Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? Why has bush turned our country from a country of hope and prosperity to a country of belligerence and fear.
What happened to us, people? When did we become such lemmings?
We have lost friends and influenced no one. No wonder most of the world thinks we suck. Thanks to what george bush has done to our country during the past three years, we do!