I teach with technology. I teach new teachers to teach with technology. I talk to teachers about teaching with technology. I am immersed and swim deeply in the ed tech pool. It’s in my Twitter, my blog, my personal learning focus. I am a connected educator. My connections reach out from my computer and mobile devices to local, regional, global friends, colleagues and like minded learners. How did this happen? Where and when did it happen? What do I do to find ways to stay closely connected while maintaining a sense of self? How do I disconnect when this is part of my persona?
I’ve used Sherry Turkle’s TED Talk Connected, but Alone? as a springboard for students to explore this notion of finding balance in this connected world. Now it’s my turn! It’s time to put the tech down, step away from the keyboard and find space for face-to-face conversations, quiet reflections and allow my mind to meander. Allison Fuisz just tried this while on March Break and blogged about her experience. She tweeted out to me and thus inspired this ‘Turkle Takeaway Time’. But I have to admit, I’m not finding it easy!
Once the connections are made, they are part of me, of my digital persona. These connections require time to maintain. There are conversations and ideas flowing from these sources and resources that will feed my mind, enlighten me, shape my actions. It’s not so much a fear of missing out (FOMO) but a feeling of sustenance. These connections could be as quick as a snack (just let me check my Twitter feed for a minute) or as substantial as a full course meal (ah Rhizo16 the banquet is being prepared!). Connections sustain me and fill me up.
While some connections are distractions, most support my digital presence and shape my digital self-portrait. I chose to engage, follow, wander where I will. But taking time away from my network and connectedness, making this a conscious choice to disconnect for a time, however long it may be…. is not easy. When was the last time you did this? Stopped! Did not pick up the mobile device! Did not check email or Twitter? How long does it last?
So I can thank Allison and Sherry for my next steps – disconnecting in a connected world. Not just a Twitter holiday, but a divestment of all things connected. I’ll focus on relationships in the real world, build my awareness of natural rather than digital entities and reflect deeply on what it means to be alone, together! It’s a reconnection of sorts, with people, places, conversations and activities, to feed my mind and soul in a different way! It may lead to new insights to my connected self! Allison – C’est la vie non?