I think that one of the best albums ever produced is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. A fair dinkum classic with one of my all time favourites songs “Time” …… ‘every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time, plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines’. I can really relate to those words and it’s probably one of the most difficult things to deal with – how to manage time, live in the moment but get all those things done that need to be.
I’ve found this particularly difficult since I’ve taken up the challenge to get into new technology and how it can be used in e-learning and the way my science classes are delivered. While I love science and get really excited by many aspects of it my students on the other hand often struggle with all they need to learn.
A solution of sorts
The answer could be……. to use the new technologies like social media, videos, blogs, wikis and even make the learning portable using material delivered via iphones and ipods….. this seemed the way to go!! Just before Christmas I did this great online course offered by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework called “23 things for educators and trainers –how to manage the e (as in e-learning)”, I’ll talk more about some of the great stuff they introduced me to later but one thing they did cover in the course was time management – more precisely how to find the time (cue Pink Floyd…..never seem to find the time………..) to continue your professional development in e-learning.
One of the best ideas offered in the course about how to find time is outlined in the ‘15 minutes’ post of the Not So Distant Future blog at http://futura.edublogs.org/2007/11/30/fifteen-minutes/ – about ‘creating a space for ourselves’ for 15 minutes a day to devote to uninterrupted sustained professional learning time. This is a really great idea to timetable specific blocks of time for investigation into your day. Of course many of us have the real problem of devoting any time to this sort of activity as there always seems to be many more things that we feel should take priority. But we should really see this as an opportunity to schedule time for ourselves because we will also be serving our students through our own learning.
Another great wiki on keeping up is from Marlene Manto from the Flexible Learning Framework in South Australia. She has some good links on managing your time, how to get the things you are interested in to come to you through subscribing to RSS feeds rather than spending hours searching on the web and how making contacts is invaluable – you can get all the info at her ‘keeping-up’ wiki at http://keeping-up.wikispaces.com/
But the real problem
….. the crux of the matter is that I find that 15 mins is not really long enough. In fact if I start looking on the computer it often ends up being 2 hours or more as I get sidetracked from the main issue and go looking up links, then more links and even more links. This has already happened in this second activity of the Teachers Challenge. It’s strangely enjoyable and lots of fun but I need to reel in my mind and concentrate on the task at hand as I really can’t spend 2 hours a day on this stuff no matter how enjoyable. So that is my problem, how I turned a 15 minute task into 2 hours. It’s something I’ll just have to keep working on I suppose.