Tuesday, September 09, 2014

My desk drawer? very revealing!

"What's in my desk drawer and what does it say about me?" 

 Well, today's  prompt from the 30 day blog challenge certainly does reveal a lot about me!

My desk follows me wherever I go and happens to be my lap and the space around wherever I squat in my very very mobile life style.  So the drawers of my desk (or the place that holds the contents of what I might need to reach for as I work) is my book bag.  It has to be a sturdy book bag, as I am pretty rough with it, constantly tossing it in the back of a vehicle, or the corner of someone's classroom. A good book bag might usually last a year, before the straps give out - from carrying too much 'stuff'.    It has pockets,  lots of pockets that make a futile attempt at keeping me organized.  And it has got to be red! Red, the color of passion, has always been my favorite color and one that most folks identify with Lucie.  Red is also a very functional color for me - if anyone finds a red book bag stranded in their room, they know who it belongs to instantly and therefore my book bag  (desk) is seldom lost for very long.

What the contents say about me?  

I usually find red accessories - speaking to my creativity and passion.
It is also easy for me to call out "Has anyone seen where I put down my  red phone or tablet or laptop" as I circle around a room full of learners".

Even though I carry a couple of stylus to use as a freeform tool on my tablets,  I still like to reach for a sharpie, whiteboard marker, or a pen when collaborating.  And nothing,  NOTHING,  beats colorful  post-its!  Not even digital sticky notes.  They engage the visual kinesthetic learners/collaborators (me and others like me)   in ways that digital technology cannot do.

You'll find the tools necessary for visual media-rich learning and media creation.  Lots of adapters to plug in any device I have into a projector and a speaker.  I've found that its a good idea to have your own portable speaker -since you can't always count on there being a functioning speaker in a room when you want to share 'just the right piece of media" with a group you are collaborating/learning with.   The right picture, sound clip, or visual media is worth a 1000 words and I need to be able to grab it from my desk drawer anytime/anywhere I may need it.    I still remember the the day that  I won a content asking "Why I wanted a projector for my classroom and what I would do with it?"  The prediction I made in my essay submission came true and that projector transformed my classroom to a more engaged, student centered classroom.   Once I transitioned from a classroom teacher to technology integrationist,  I made creating visual learning environments equipped with a projector and quality speakers one of my highest priority for the teachers I worked with.

Ah.. and what's with the mish-mash of devices?  Yes - you will find both iOS and Android tablets of various sizes, alongside with a Macbook and a Chromebook.  (and tucked away nearby is my dual boot Windows/Linux laptop)  Makes it seem like I have multiple personalities, doesn't it.   I guess I do.  First of all I truly believe in a cross platform learning environment.  It's important to have access to the right tool for the right job and since I work/learn in so many different type of environments, I never know which tool I might need. But one thing I do need, is experience with EACH type of tool - so I don't leave out any learner that shows up to learn or collaborate with me.  When I worked with low socio-economic children, I refused to carry around a Macbook because it was not a accessible tool for those kids, their classroom, and their families.   I think it is important for an educator/leader to walk the walk of their teachers and students.   Today my students/colleagues are from different locations and have access to lots of different types of tools, so I must be familiar with a larger variety of digital tools and the only way I'm going to do that is by using and becoming familiar with the many different options out there for learners and collaborators.

Cloud computing has made it possible for me to work and have access to the 'non physical" contents of my desk drawers from anywhere -  but not without bandwidth.   So in my desk drawer you will find at least two of my devices (one Android and one iOS that can access the Internet and become a hot spot, not only for my devices but for a small group of teachers/students that I might be collaborating with).  This means that we have a pretty high telecommunication bill each month, but that's an important resource to me.  We are all usually willing to pay for what we value.  (whether it be cable TV,  satellite radio,  etc.) and for me BANDWIDTH is important.  I am very fortunate to have a partner in my life who understands that and has equipped our bus with the right technology so that I have access to wifi even when we are traveling down the road.  And for those times when the cloud is not available, I do have a Passport backup drive, which I use less and less these days)

And finally -  Power. I have a tangled mess of chargers and even a battery pack that I can charge up to extend my time away from power.  We may have gone wireless - but we have yet to get rid of the wire that connects us to power! even for an occasional charge.  Not in my desk drawer - but available is a certain degree of solar power (a portable solar charger and 4 solar panels on top of our 'bus')  - but I have become VERY aware that solar power is very limited to certain parts of the country where the sun shines a LOT more than it does in Vermont!   The four solar panels on our bus generate enough solar power to carry the parasitic load (a new term for me, too) on the bus-  which is just enough to keep the batteries going 'sitting still'. And since most people who know me know that I DON'T SIT STILL - that's not enough to keep Lucie powered up for very long.

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