Summer Thoughts

It is the morning of July 8th and I just now have time to sit down with some coffee and put some thoughts down that have been flying through my head for the last 10 days or so.  This will be more like a "digest" blog post with some half-started thoughts on a few different topics.

  1. While visiting my family last week in Kentucky, we decided to go out for dinner at the Cracker Barrel.  My parents love the Cracker Barrel and its turned into somewhat of a tradition for us when my wife and I are in town. We were chatting and waiting for our food when my wife nudged me and pointed to the table next to us where all three people were sitting silently, engrossed in their games on two iPhones and an iPad.

via jjprojects, Flickr CC

Don't get me wrong, I've done my share of gaming while waiting on the train or bus in Seoul, but it made me kind of sad seeing a family out, but not enjoying each other's company.  Technology can really do a lot to bring people together...but this showed me how powerful it can also be at isolation.  I'm all for using technology in schools, in parks, in libraries, wherever.  But, as a teacher, it is my responsibility to teach learners that technology is a tool and it should not completely take place of face to face interaction.  I have to model the ability to put the phone away when I'm with another person.

Technology can bring two people together from opposite corners of the world.  But, it can also separate two people just as far even when they're in the same room.

  1. My in-laws got me a new pair of binoculars for my birthday this year, which is great.  I've never really owned a good pair and I'm excited to be able to start doing some new things.  I've always been into astronomy and I'm planning on doing some more amateur stargazing with the binoculars.  As I get better, I want to get into some small telescopes and then even hooking those up to my computer to do some nighttime photography.  I inherited a 300mm Nikkor zoom lens a couple of years ago from a job and I took it outside last night to play with it a little bit.  I took a picture of the moon that I'm really proud of and I'm afraid I'm already addicted to this new hobby.

As always, learning something new pointed two things out to me: A) the pride of discovery and creation that I felt last night with that photo is exactly what I want my students to experience throughout the year, and B) when I had no idea how to photograph the moon, I went to YouTube and looked it up.  We all like the chance to check out tutorials online when they're learning new things...the same goes for me.  There is a great blog post from a follower I have on twitter, @MrSchwen about how the flipped class is not only beneficial to students, but that it can benefit teachers as well.  I would write more on this, but he covered it really well...I suggest you go check it out.

  1. I need to be outside more.  I miss Seoul and being in the city, but being home in the country has really helped remind me how much I appreciate open spaces.  Being able to walk around barefoot in the backyard has done wonders for me this summer.  Having the summer off is a blessing for teachers.  If you're like me, you don't like being idle.  I do have an itch to get back to work, but I do appreciate and enjoy the break.  Take some time today to go outside and get some  grass stains on your knees...you won't regret it.

One thought on “Summer Thoughts

  1. G Wells says:

    I totally agree on the idea that electronics are great and that they have made life much easier for all of us, but in some cases developed a real burden in areas of the video gaming world.
    Just like gambling or drugs I believe that video gaming has become an addiction for some and is taking a lot of precious time away from what really matters in people’s lives, especially children.
    Although gaming addiction is not yet officially recognized as a diagnosable disorder by the American Medical Association, there is increasing evidence that people of all ages, especially teens and pre-teens, are facing very real, sometimes severe consequences associated with compulsive use of video and computer games. According to a recent study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids between the ages of 8 and 18 now consume an average of seven hours and 38 minutes of media per day. That`s a phenomenal amount of time for a kid to be spending in one place alone, other than sleep, much less in front of a computer or any other gaming device. In this light, it’s no wonder that teen obesity is on the rise; they’re not getting any exercise.
    While the debate over the positives and negatives of video games rages on. Most people will argue that gaming after a long day at work or school is innocent fun; I and others believe video games hinder social interaction, academic and work performance, and the ability to integrate fully into real life.
    People need to change things up now and again to keep the some spice of life in their world. Otherwise life will become stale and too rutene.
    Just one Man`s opinion.
    Thanks for listening,
    G Wells
    Oxford, Mich. USA

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