Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Connected There = Disconnected Here?

Like every other parent, teacher, and human, I often feel overwhelmed by my "to do" list.  This year I have made a commitment to practice mindfulness every day. As an edtech enthusiast, I've also started to think about the relationship between ubiquitous technology and mindfulness.  Occasionally, I feel the two forces pulling in opposite directions.  One tenet of mindfulness is to "eat while you're eating, walk while you're walking, listen while you are listening," without trying to multitask.  Mindfulness requires a simple and non-striving presence in the moment. On the other hand, technology often requires us to seek, find, reflect, and look at what is going on elsewhere. We momentarily leave the present, or try to enhance the present when we use Twitter, Facebook,Tumblr, and Youtube. And while I am heavy user of Twitter, I have become more discerning about how I use my time. While I find many educational and professional resources through Twitter, I admit that it is easy to become enveloped and lost in the Twittersphere. And then when you return to your life, those moments are lost.
       While the expression "If it wasn't on Facebook, it didn't happen" has become a humorous expression among friends, this way of thinking has certainly permeated our way of appreciating events in the moment. It has become second nature for many of us to immortalize the moment. In one way, posts and Tweets allow us to enjoy the moment more. For example, I can visit the picture and post of the Oak School Holiday Sing as many times as I wish. Conversely,  I had to leave the moment of just watching and just listening in order to compose and fiddle with Twitter. Subtracting a few seconds  from each present moment may not be such a big deal, but what if it becomes a habit to leave the present moment to do something else? Perhaps the habit of leaving the moment is what we really need to be careful about if we want to remain mindful, accepting each moment as it is. Not looking back, forward, or elsewhere, but being present in the moment.

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