balancing FaceTime with field time

Me and Nova on the farm
Field time with my niece, who is a more savvy FaceTime user than myself! Photo credit: Meg Whetung

Personalization of learning. Personal Learning Network. Personal Learning Plan. Personalized.

Week two of EDCI336 has me thinking that personalization is the catch all method for facilitating and inspiring student learning and creativity.

Personalization seems to be holding hands with digitized learning. Technology provides accessibility to the diversity of knowledge and networks needed to satisfy the wide ranging inquiry of personalized learners.

As someone who is inherently a collaborator, I seek synergy with others to drive my inquiry. I am inclined to question what technology-driven personalization might be forgoing, but I am increasingly realizing my naivety to the potential collaboration the digital realm affords with its huge networking capacity. I wonder –

Can I find the same sense of collaboration in a conversation thread in twitter, as I do in a face-to-face brainstorming session?

Can I find the same inspiration in a collaborative google document, as I do at a round-table discussion?

Am I as fluid in my thought patterns when they are made permanent in digital history, rather than floating as a momentary addition to a discussion?

Can FaceTime sustain a sense of connection to others, or is the added effort of an in-person visit irreplaceable?

As a newbie to digital collaboration, I am holding out on making conclusions, but am willingly jumping into the technology realm. I have been enjoying the inspiration from the daily twitter feed. I have been contemplating the applicability of new apps. I have even considered joining facebook for the first time in my life.

However, I am determined to balance my increased time in the digital realm with increased forced abstinence from technology. I have started reading Michael Harris’ book, The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection. At chapter two currently, I am learning of the opportunity I have as part of the “saddle generation.” Fortunate to know the time before and after the ubiquity of online life, Harris suggests that I have the ability to witness the erosion of true free time and solitary thinking in the wake of the digital age, or as he coined, the “loss of lack.”

Not only am I part of the saddle generation, but also I spend much of my time working and living in places without cell and internet reception. Therefore, I am keenly aware of the effects of the loss of lack in my life. In an attempt to keep remnants of absence in my now technology filled days, I am giving myself some parameters. I want to make sure that I am using technology, rather than technology using me.

So here is my first trial in intentional technology absence – I have turned my email notification off my phone (and am considering taking my email account off my phone, so I only check it in an intentional manner) and I will keep my phone out of my bedroom at night. I don’t want my screen to be the first and last thing I look at for the day.

I think it is a pretty safe bet that balance is the key to most things, so here is my attempt to open-mindedly accept technology into my life, and yet also mindfully exclude technology in certain moments.

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