Video Mondays: Against the Scattered Approach to Life
Today is the beginning of the 12th week of the school year. We’re a little over two-weeks from Thanksgiving and five more weeks until our Winter Break. Oh yeah, grades are due by Friday and I have hours of professional development video/sessions that I also have to complete by Friday. I love what I do, the kids have been great, the challenge of coming up with robot lessons without any hands-on robots has been amazing. Between writing up three hours of content to teach every day, working with the kids, their concerns and difficulties (mostly with the technologies), trying to stay ahead of the grading and tracking down students and families who haven’t engaged in the daily grind, I usually find that I really want to take a nap at the end of the teaching day. But there’s really no time for that.
Because my three robotics courses have a career element to them, there’s been a certain amount of focus on engineering and what engineers do. So one of the units I’ve done has been on the Design Process. With Robotics 7-8 we worked through the design process and I had them come up with and design their perfect learning environment (home office) including a basic floor plan. After all, they’ve been working from home, in make-shift shared spaces since March. My thinking was that they should have a pretty good idea about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to designing the perfect place to work every day. With my beginning robotics students I reduced the focus down to just designing the perfect office chair, given how much sitting they’ve been doing since last March.
When I was doing the perfect learning space lessons I was looking through all of these YouTube videos from creatives who were all forced to work from home and come up with the best environment to work in. It really has inspired me to work on my own work space. Since teaching the unit, I’ve decluttered my motorized sit/stand desk, switched my 16” MacBook Pro to a 27” iMac, added adjustable arms for my two 28” companion 4K monitors, added an under-desk rack for my large uninterruptible power supply and just tried to make the space more comfortable for all of the hours and hours I find myself working here.
With the Robotics 7-8 students designing their perfect learning space, we experimented with CAD, computer-aided-design, software called Sketch-Up. Some students were successful producing their floor plan, many were not. Later, given the wide variety of computer expertise on the part of the students, having students working on every possible platform from ChromeBooks to PCs to Macs to iPads to iPhones and Android phones, not having a lot of time to work with and, oh yeah, and we’re working remotely, I decided to skip the CAD software with the intro-to-robotics students and just go with doing the office chair project by hand. The image of the chair at the top of this post was one that I did in class with my students (I know the wheels are a bit “off”). While looking for instructional materials and examples of how to do drawings of chairs, I ran across the following video, that really spoke to me and my own scattered approach to life… It may be getting a little late in the game for me to be learning these lessons, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn them and be more effective and happier with my own efforts. It would be good to figure this stuff out while I’m still able to do something about it. Enjoy.