Technology and the classroom....while on maternity leave.I finally have a moment where I am caught up on most emails, the house relatively clean, and my little one is asleep. Her naps are very erratic, sometimes when I think she is headed down for a 3 hour slumber her eyes pop open 10 minutes later. Even though the sight of her eyes gives me so much pleasure normally, when they "pop" open it can be VERY disheartening. I have been able to leave my school respnsibilities at home during maternity leave, but as the end of it nears, I am starting to think about returning to the hustle and bustle of school. At times I think it will be less tiring than staying home with A all day(!), but I will miss her very much, and I am sure that I will long to be back with her for these blissful days! Anyway, here is some insight coming from someone who has not been in the classroom for a few months, so I have been less engaged in bringing technology into the classroom. I think I may write about how I have brought technology into parenting as that is what is crossing my mind all the time.
I have found that even when I am not at work I am fairly screen oriented. I got the iphone this fall, and I have the ipad through the TLC group. I have stayed on top of deleting or responding to my work emails (30-40 a day most days!), and I have been reaching out to friends more while I have had this time off. Reaching out to friends these days is completely screen oriented. Even just to organize meeting up with someone local I will text, and to talk to a friend from afar, who also has children we will face time or use facebook. With the frenetic schedule of a newborn and almost no time to oneself I find myself using nursing time to connect with people in this way, or to go through emails. I even use a breastfeeding ap that times how long I feed, how long between feedings and is complete with an alarm to remind me to feed if A has not initiated it yet (this never happens). Then I can tap on another page of the ap and get analyzed data...average # of feedings per day/per week, average length of feedings, average amount of expressed milk etc. It is pretty amazing, and I have loved using it- it sure beat writing it down like I did for the first 3 weeks because I had not thought to look for the ap. That was a reminder- there is probably an ap for everything, we just need to take a look! I can use my Iphone or Ipad with this ap and sync the information on icloud- everything is just at the touch of my finger tips. Despite the convienance of this ap and being able to use my devices while breastfeeding (they are portable and can be held in one hand rather than a laptop) I often think about if I am missing an interaction with my baby during nursing. I will often have "screenless" feedings to make sure that we are connecting and I am enjoying the time fully and completely. Other times when I feel stressed and "behind" or "out of the loop" I will use the time to catch up or reach out with my phone. Sometimes it is the only chance I get to talk to my Mom, which I also find important as I venture into this world of parenthood. I am torn, I really like being able to use the technology I have, but I also think it can take away from the organic nature of parenthood. Thoughts anyone!?
I know that I want to be present for my child, so a majority of the time I am putting away my phone (which is so easy to click on mail when I see a red number on the icon, and because of my type A personality hard to leave a number there). I want to be cognizant of really listening to someone without a phone in hand. I see so many conversations between people where one person is actually looking at a screen, or "just checking something quickly". I want to make sure that I do not do that with my husband, children and students. When they want to tell me something I want to give them all of my attention to set a good example, and to let them know that I am listening. This is where I see technology getting in the way of clear, completely present communication. At work this is true as well. At faculty meetings people are looking at their ipad screens. Somehow having an ipad is more polite than having a laptop out....but is it really?
I hear stirrings from the crib so I have to sign off, but hopefully I given some food for thought.