You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been blogging as much lately. For the last year, I’ve been sitting at my computer writing a set of books, and blogging was a nice distraction (procrastination) from that. Now that the books are done (and I’ve gained 15 pounds from my sedentary lifestyle) I decided that I need to try to restore some balance in my life. That is, I should exercise more, try to get enough sleep, spend more time with my husband, read books for pleasure, plan a vacation, and just have some fun. I’m emerging from the box I’ve been in for the last year.
On top of that, I’ve covered a lot of technology in the last year (during my own “catch up with technology” period) and the new stuff doesn’t seem to be as fast and furious now. There’s lots of stuff I have cached away to blog about, and I want to assure you that I’m not abandoning this blog. Also, there’s another big project on the horizon (in addition to the dissertation, which is being postponed till January), so I’m guessing there will be plenty of opportunity to procrastinate by blogging in the future.
I think that the new social Internet can be addicting, but so is any new hobby or friendship. I’m not sure there is anything wrong with getting caught up with new things – that’s what makes us human. I remember when my husband took up running, and he decided (having never been a runner before), to run a marathon. And he did it – but he was a man obsessed for 9 months. Then, after the marathon, he pulled back. I think that is a little how I’m feeling right now. The calculus classes have gone online – I’ve taught them both twice. I’ve tweaked and retweaked to get them just right, and they are a success. Like the end of a marathon, it feels like time to kick back and enjoy what I’ve accomplished.
Reflecting on the last year, I’ve made so many new “Internet” friends – people I only see at conferences or in my chat window on Gmail. These folks are like an extended group of colleagues. They are as real to me as the people I see in the hallways at school. I worry about them when they don’t show up in my chat window for a while, we make small talk, we talk about teaching strategies, etc. When we meet at conferences, it is like we were never separated by hundreds (or thousands) of miles. How great is it to live in a time when we can find a niche group of people to befriend that are all interested in the same topics?
Another observation I have to make is how important engagement is in learning a topic. I have learned everything I know about math and technology in less than two years. How did I learn? I read everything I could, I tried everything I could, I experimented, adjusted, and experimented some more. I signed up to give presentations, knowing that this would be sufficient motivation to learn everything about a topic. I did all of these things because I wanted to learn them – I was (and still am) engaged in the topic.