Monday, January 28, 2008

ELT notes: Achieving Sleep/Network Balance

Claudia has gone and done it (again). She really touched a nerve. In a post the other night, I had suggested that "commenting is the heart of blogging" (Edubloggers Learning Space, Blogging in Their Own Words, January 25, 2008). However, in ELT Notes, I find today, Claudia referred to much, much more in Achieving Sleep/Network Balance:
The blogger's time management is instrumental when we want to talk other teachers into the conversation. The first perception people have about publishing your thoughts is the amount of time it all must take. So true. I cannot say my blogging (by which I mean, reading, updating, tagging, commenting, analysing and synthesizing in posts) is an activity that can be done in, say, one hour a day. And there is family and health to take care of. And jobs. And why not a totally unrelated hobby (like dancing tango) that can make us feel good about being playful.
(ELT notes, October 21, 2007)

The notion of striving to achieve a sleep/network balance is fascinating, especially after an intensive week on the job (the week before finals) augmented either by staying up all night endeavoring with diminishing success to network effectively in multiple venues, through multiple media, across multiple time-zones; or by spending virtually equally restless nights dream-planning communications that are difficult to recall the next morning.

The weekend dawns and what Claudia calls posers remain: Turn off the computer and go do yoga, or put on eye-shades and hit the cold futon for a few hours before going back to networking? Excessive blogging: formative, playful, or serious; in the long run, just isn't sustainable or healthy. If you've read this far, it's time for you to take a break.


  1. This is a great post. I am trying to figure out how to manage all of this as well. I really want to develop more two-way communication through blogging, but it's easy for things to spin out of control. Any suggestions for finding balance between the many facets of our lives?

  2. Thank you Paul for the mention and for taking my mind further with your thoughts. I think I have never seen the expression 'excessive blogging' but I think we should think about that possibility. We keep trying to involve students in the social web, yet I wonder whether we are prepared for dealing with potential negative effects.

    Precisely today, I had been thinking of yoga...

  3. Yvonne and Claudia, thank you both for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

    As too many folks to remember suggest, optimal blogging may be a one-to-many communication endeavor. However, when many respond to one, and one tries to read and respond with more the encouraging honks, things may start to snowball.

    One way to strive for balance may be to leave the laptop behind, fly south (or north if you live in the southern hemisphere) to a temperate zone, and let the snows melt behind you. Another, depending on your athletic interests, might be to fly off in just the opposite directions and get some skiing in.

    In automobile bumper-sticker terms, I might put it something like this: "Honk if you're going somewhere there's no Internet connection!"

    Cheers, Paul

  4. Stewing over Yvonne's closing question about "finding balance" (Tue Jan 29, 02:47:00 PM JST), as well as Claudia's musing on our preparation "for dealing with potential negative effects" (Thu Jan 31, 08:40:00 AM JST) of what I'd called "excessive blogging" (12:35 AM on Jan 28, 2008), I've had a number of afterthoughts.

    On balance, I'm striving to regain my affinity to printed pages as an alternative to screens, to reading for pleasure and additional language development, in addition to professional development, and to communicating with people face-to-face whenever possible instead of whacking out thoughts on a keyboard.

    The potential negative effects of extensive keyboarding and on-screen work under less than optimal conditions are probably better known in business and industry than in educational fields. I'm thinking of optimal screen, keyboard, and chair heights, students' posture, room lighting conditions, periodic breaks from screen-reading, keyboarding, and mousing....

    As we strive to involve more and more, younger and younger students, in more and more intensive online learning activities, isn't it time that we reconsider our expectations of how physically and emotionally sustainable such activities will be over the long term?

    We don't want to see generations of teenagers becoming young adults with repetitive stress disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical or lumbar spondylosis ..., and few or no friends that they can actually reach out and touch, do we?


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