Thursday, March 14, 2013

Open Notebook

I'm getting a slow start to the day. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are a bit intense this quarter, and I needed some time to do something else other than work. Dogs needed longer walks, clothes needed washing, crossword puzzles needed solving, coffee needed to be sipped slowly, and the trails around Lake Padden needed me to run around them twice. So, I'm getting a late start to work, but I'll get everything done on my list. The rain will fall while I finish the day.

I got caught up with some reading, and it made me think of ETMOOC's current topic on The Open Movement. I haven't attended any talks, read any Slideshares, but I have checked in on the Diigo group. That's the easiest connection for me because they send me updates via email. I have, however, been thinking about the Open Movement. On the one hand, it's amazing how much I can access about my various interests with just a few clicks. I can browse reading for later on my phone while I wait for the mister to go into a bike shop. Amazing.

On the other hand, it's amazing how much disappears. We've all been there as a teacher. You find something that's perfect for your class. You give your students the link. You build content in your OL class about that link. You embed the link into an announcement that you send a face-to-face class. The link is there for years.

And then it's gone. Panicked emails from students ensue. Annoyed "Me too" posts on the discussion board. Just like that, it's gone.
This brings me back to the Open Movement. Sure, things are getting better, but we still have a long way to go. I can't take the chance on content that might disappear. A student of mine said he liked paper textbooks because he never "has to wait for the page to download." I laughed, but his comment made me think about my paper-free classroom. A slow internet connection can really slow down your reading. Waiting for a file to open can delay a thought. 

 Will I ever get away from the notebooks?  Do I want to?

A colleague blogged about Oliver Jeffers, and he delighted me with his short film. His words rang true about why we need to write things down. He reminds us to always carry a pencil and paper. Even better, I discovered this video through a blog after reading "On Keeping a Notebook in the Digital Age" by Elizabeth Spiers.

All of the reading listed above: Free. Open. A good thing for the movement of my pen, for sure.

Spiers' best quote: "Writing things down enforces slowness, and by extension, thoughtfulness."

I've given up my paper calendar this quarter, but I'm on my third notebook since December.


  1. Funny how I read both your post and one by Bryan Jackson on the same topic today! I personally have more or less given up on the handwritten notebook and turned to digital instead, but reading through your post, Bryans, and Elizabeth's, I'm beginning to wonder if that wasn't a bad idea. I probably don't write as many things down as I used to, because, as Elizabeth writes, it's hard to type on a mobile phone and usually I just won't make the effort. Of course, one would have to have a notebook with one at all times to capture ideas, which I know I won't do either. I could write things down on some piece of paper, but I expect those would get lost!

    I hadn't thought about handwriting being slower in a good way. I kind of like typing (on a keyboard) because I feel I can get my rushing thoughts down before they dissipate (a major problem sometimes!). And I can think aloud by typing, as if talking to myself, which I can't do while handwriting--takes too long.

    But your post and Bryan's have both given me pause...thanks for that!

    --Christina, a fellow etmooc-er

  2. Thanks, Christina! I feel like I get things out of my head faster when I write them down by hand. Funny. I make sloppy looking lists that somehow make sense to me. I haven't been able to make the shift to all digital. For some reason, when I am on the computer, it feels like work. I love what I do, and I don't always "work" when I'm on the computer. I get my best ideas when I'm not on the computer. Sigh. The notebook gets both sides of my life, and it's often really messy. As a result of your comment here, I checked out your blog post on openess and panopticism. I loved your use of a giant eyeball sculpture! It made me laugh, so thanks fellow etmooc-er.

    1. Yes, that sculpture seemed perfect for the topic. The funny thing is that if you see it on Flickr there is a note that says one of the buildings in the background is a prison (if I remember correctly, this is in Chicago)...which is so very fitting, given that Bentham's "panopticon" idea was a design for a prison!