I am excited to announce that I have just completed a new book about my experiences, experiments, failures, and reflections during pandemic distance learning. While publishing is still a few months out, I will be sharing snippets of the book here. Below is the first of many:
From "Rule #2: Streamline Your Tech"
"Perhaps a quote by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke that was read at my wedding captures this concept best: 'Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.' While Rilke’s words relate to love between two individuals, the teacher in me also interprets this quote to embody a larger, more transcendent context where Rilke is referring to a relationship between any two living or non living things. In the context of Rule #2, I hear Rilke calling us, as educators, to embrace our dependence on technology during distance learning, by placing it at a distance, simplifying its use, and once we do that, we can see its purpose clearly. That clarity can then surface beautiful spaces where we can challenge our students in purposeful ways. Specifically, while many of my colleagues were creating new websites, attending Zoom workshops, and consuming themselves with learning a new way of teaching' in preparation for distance learning, I asked myself the following question: 'If I had to teach online tomorrow, what tools in my mission statement am I the most comfortable with and are the most device agnostic?' By asking myself this question, I knew I would create a system that, although on the surface would look basic, would be something that I would feel very comfortable implementing during a stressful time, would leave room for the pedagogical musings needed to maximize learning."