How to Turn 15 minutes into 2 Hours – A Technology Newbie’s Dilemma

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.

18 thoughts on “How to Turn 15 minutes into 2 Hours – A Technology Newbie’s Dilemma

  1. Even just thinking that you can spend 15 minutes a day on learning new technologies is putting you on the right track. There is so much one can learn about and so little time. You are right in thinking that putting in 15 minutes a day will pay huge dividends, both for yourself as a learner and your students.
    You might like to read this http://www.classroomchronicles.net/2010/04/21/the-15-minute-rule/ as another example of how just a little of effort every day can really help one learn and improve ones skills. Keep up the great start in your blogging journey.

  2. Pingback: Posts of the Week – Visit these blogs – Weeks 1/ 2 | Teacher Challenge

  3. Hi Kerry
    Your comments on lack of time were spot 0n. I’ve struggled to close the lid of my laptop and get on with what I ought to be doing. That’s not a big deal during holidays – like now.
    I hope that maybe I’ll be able to save my colleagues some time if I do a lot of the groundwork. Or do you really have to work it out for yourself?

    Thanks for a great post with so many helpful links to follow up.

    • I also hope to help out my colleagues with links to the e-learning course I did before christmas which can be found at my delicious account, http://delicious.com/nichol.kerry
      just put in a tag word to retrieve all the links to that topic. I find that there is a fair amount of time required to learn a new technology but thereafter it doesn’t take too much time to use it. At my institution we have teachers who act as mentors for smaller groups of teachers so you can save people lots of time to introduce them to new technology especially the tricky bits so they don’t have to stumble through. Thanks for your comment.

  4. First of all, I share your love of Pink Floyd! We just saw Roger Waters perform “The Wall” when he toured a few months ago.

    I also find that 15 minutes a day is not enough! It is amazing how much time passes when I’m exploring for new resources or simply catching up with other educator blogs.

    I tend to want to learn more and don’t know when to quit…I suppose it’s an addiction of sorts.

    I will be following your progress to see if you can achieve your tasks within 15 minutes!

    http://www.homeschoolmom.edublogs.org

    • How fantastic to see Roger Waters, I’ve never been to any of Pink Floyd’s concerts but have liked their music since the 70’s. I agree with your comment – you don’t know when to quit – it is addictive. I’m just a beginner so I am learning so much every day – it’s great.

  5. I agree with you- the 15 minute slot would not be long enough at all! This blog writing/ reading others blogs activity demands a lot more attention. I just tell myself I’m not wasting time- I’m doing self imposed Profressional Development. It pays that I’m on holiday but rather than watch a DVD or TV programme I’d much rather do this. Oona

    • Yes I am spending quite a bit of time on this blog and the activities but it is the holidays so I don’t feel too guilty. I’m spending quite a bit of time on the learning part, reading tips, how to do’s etc but I suspect when I know a bit more it won’t seem so onerous and won’t take so much time (as theoretically I’ll know what I’m doing then). It is fun though.

  6. Kerry,

    I could not agree with you more! I think the 15 minutes idea is absolutely fabulous and I too end up spending hours upon hours searching link after link. Like now for instance, when I should be updating programs!

    I really like your recommendations and I will certainly check them out.

    How do you think we can encourage the non-techie teachers in schools to prioritise 15 mins in their day for professional learning?

    • This is a really difficult question but one many of us have to deal with. I work in a section with many teachers close to retirement and sometimes I get the impression they just want to finish their time in the easiest way and not have to think about working on their professional development. Some teachers I know are firmly against any of this technology stuff – a waste of time!!- they say. All I can do is try to be enthusiastic and available if they want to try anything new. It’s amazing how once they try new things they are often encouraged. Make it easy and they will come.

  7. Technology (computers) are a love/hate relationship. I, too, enjoy all the fun things that I am learning and able to use in my life. However, I also found myself distracted and using up way too much time browsing the web, checking email, looking on Facebook. It is becoming all too frequent to say to myself, “Where did the time go?” I have yet to figure it how to make the 15 minutes not a two hour stint! When you figure it out, let me know, too!

    • I have only connected the internet at home this last year as I had always used the computer at work but since connecting I find I am being routinely drawn in and using it every day. I now find myself in the position that I would really miss it if I could not continue using technology from my home. I’m back to work next week so I won’t be able to spend as much time on the computer but at least the connection at work is more reliable than my home wireless connection so it should be more efficient and that is the key – efficient use of the computer. Certainly subscribing to RSS feeds should move us in that direction.

  8. I hear you Kerry! This is pretty much the same as what I describe as a clickfest. I can end up in some pretty interesting places but I always end up running late for work. My 30 minutes always runs out. I am thinking I will have to change my routines and put a kitchen timer right next to me to help me find the discipline to knock off the browsing and reading and move onto another task. Hoever, the whole time/stress management thing for me was an issue last year. I read a book that I think has helped me focus on addressing some of these issues . Perhaps I will write more about it in my blog. In the meantime here it is – Letting Go of what is holding you back http://www.amazon.com/Letting-Whats-Holding-You-Back/dp/1584795786

    • Your idea of a timer is great I’ll use that. I will look at the link for the book as I’m always keen on finding advise on improving oneself especially not being so tied up in stuff. I have a tendency to fill my life with clutter and stuff so anything to reduce that or free me from it is a plus, thanks.

  9. Thank you for linking to my “fifteen minute” post, but I should be clear that I was summarizing an idea by David Jakes who blogs at “Strength of Weak Ties” and is also an excellent resource for information.

    I do think it’s easy (and sometimes relaxing) to get sucked in and follow link to link to link.

    Perhaps if we come to think of it more as “following our passions” or learning that we will give ourselves permission to spend the time we want to online.

    But I can relate with the “being late to work” moments 😉 because I was so engrossed in reading something online or blogging.

    A timer is a great way to manage it, or a weekend routine that does allow some reading/writing time. Think of it like time you’d spend in a library or bookstore–we often go in, browse, and leave with something other than we went there for. But we’ve learned something and encountered new authors and information while we browsed, so it all contributes to our personal growth.

    Anyway, you are not alone in this struggle. Getting organized does help, giving yourself permission for some learning time does help.

    Good luck in your quest and thanks again for linking to my post.

  10. Hi Kerry
    When I read your post I felt you had nailed the time issue to a split second. Time management has not been possible for a beginning blogger like myself. 15 minutes has spanned into 2 hours, and at times up to 5 hours as I have tried to wrap my head around blogging.

    I also work with teachers who are not interested in Web 2.0 updating, and pioneering has its advantages as well as drawbacks. Time management is definitely the biggest drawback. What do you say to satisfaction being the biggest benefit?
    Thanks for saying what I truly feel.

    • Yes I get a lot of satisfaction from keeping up with technology. I don’t feel I am being left behind any more. I try to help out as much as possible and it is gratifying when teachers finally drawn kicking and screaming into the 21st century say gee that’s really good and that they enjoy it.

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