Saturday, 24 May 2014

Light Bulb Moment

I had a massive light bulb moment this week - messy is okay!

My mother is going to read this and laugh her head off.  My bedroom always was, still is, and probably always will be, a disaster zone.  It is a complete and utter state.  The only time my room is tidy is when I have something I'd rather avoid more - like studying for exams or writing assignments, or... (struggling to think of more current examples).  I'm one of the last people to think about cleaning the house - I always warn housemates that I need to be told when we have to clean the house - I'm happy to pitch in, but it won't be the first thing I think about.  Even at 29, I still need a cleaning roster.  For me to have a light bulb moment about "messy is okay" will seem like such a contradiction in terms.  However my light bulb moment is not about physical house mess, it's about technology mess (technological? techno? virtual?)  

Trying out Google Glass
This week I've been attending the Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference 2014 (#ILT2014).  It's a three day conference all about inclusive, assistive technology for use with students with alternative learning needs within the school environment... sort of.  There was lots of information and demonstration on new software, new hardware, new ways to use iPads and smart tablets within the learning environment, new apps and ways to use them in the classroom, alternative access to tablets (switches for iPads, who knew?), and new ways of looking at the way we teach and educate children to make the most of the student's capabilities, their interests, their abilities, and include them as much as possible within the curriculum.  I'm not a teacher, so I was less interested in the whole "set up a blog for your students, set up your classroom" and more interested in all of the alternative access and alternative participation methods, and the ways to use ready available technology (be it apps, iPads, android tablets, Google Chrome, web-based systems, you name it) to support the students I work with so I can go back and inform and educate the teachers I work with on how to do all this stuff, and how to take advantage of it all and include their kids.  Plus there were just some really cool gadgets and toys to play.... sorry, research with.  (One of the Education Queensland presenters told us we weren't playing at Conference, we were researching!)  I got to trial Google Glass and eye gaze technology, see The Beamz in action, and drool over the most inclusive smartboards ever.  *sigh*

But back to my lightbulb moment

Kevin Honeycutt - picture from
The opening keynote address was by Kevin Honeycutt, one of the most inspiring presenters I've heard in a long time (there were a lot of inspiring presenters there, but Kevin took the cake). He was so passionate about his work, and about teaching, and about using technology with kids in school to include those students who find it harder to engage.  And because he was so passionate, he got everyone else passionate and inspired and worked up.  Before we'd learnt anything, I think the whole audience was going "yeah!  I want to go back to my school/s and do that!"  He was the sort of presenter I wish everyone could hear, everyone could listen to.  Thanks to the magic of Virtual Registration i am going to be able to share the presentation with the staff I work with.  Spectronicsc videoed a lot of the presentations so people could attend the conference virtually - perfect for rural/international teachers/therapists/parents etc - and one of the Advisor Visiting Teachers I work with bought a Virtual Registration so we can share at staff meetings etc, and so more poeple could attend without the travel costs etc.

I'm getting a little off track.

My light bulb moment (one of the many of the course of the conference) occurred during Kevin's presentation.  He told us that messy was okay.  That "perfect is the enemy of done".  That technology and classrooms should be messy.  That when we try to get things perfect, we give up and don't use the technology to its full advantage.  

Hard at... research
It is so true.  I will put my hand up and admit that I am one of life's perfectionists.  Again, not so much when it comes to physical mess about the house, but in terms of work, technology and presentations, I'm a perfectionist.  I like things to look good, to line up neatly, to read well, to look professional.  My filing cabinet is colour-coded, with all the files the same and the labels all matching.  I've bought one brand of containers so that they stack neatly in the cupboard with my resources (and I now need to wait for them to go on sale again so I can stock up).  I will spend more time on the look of a powerpoint presentation (learnt some good tips on that one at ILT2014 too) than on the content of my speech.  My handouts for teachers and my reports all look (in my opinion anyway) professional and consistent and tie together thematically.  It works for me - it's visually pleasing, not visually distracting (sensory OT stuff again), things are easy to find and easy to read, and I feel professional.  

However it also gets in the way.  Things take longer to do.  Particualrly with Fangirl Stitches - mostly because I'm inventing it as I go along.  I don't post blogs because I don't think I have the time to come up with some wonderful topic and to make it all look pretty and presentable and perfect.  I don't post on twitter or Facebook because i'm trying to come up with the perfect thing to say, the most appropriate business-related sentence or comment, trying to avoid the "posting for the sake of posting".

Messy is okay!

This week, I've realised that it is better to post something, and keep the website alive than to try and be perfect and have all of you (all 5 who read this!) loose interest.  To keep my Twitter feed updated than to loose followers.  To keep Facebook fresh than have people stop following. Another of the presenters, Lauren Hankinson, asked us "how often do you visit favourite webpage?  How often would you visit it if it never changed?"

So be prepared for more frequent posts (I know I've said that before, but this time I mean it!), more tweets, more messages, more fun, and more mess.  I'm inspired :)


Happy Stitching!!

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Rock on Fangirl! Can't wait to read/hear about your adventures!