More lockdown ramblings

Deskflix.

Today is Tuesday. We’ve not had internet since Friday morning. Five long days.

It’s a little thing. An inconsequential thing. Pretty rough for work, but generally not a huge loss: I can do research offline, tethering my iPhone when I need to, I’ve rescheduled meetings.

I became reacquainted with boredom, with that lack of control over how you spend your time. But I also became a little concerned about how reliant I am on the internet for entertainment, for distraction.

It’s an old conversation now, rife with misinformation and half-baked platitudes. But there is a loss of the moment when you’re swept along by the stream.

We watched a bluray on Saturday night; a movie I grabbed from the bargain bin at JB a few years back. I have a whole bunch of such purchases, still in their plastic wrap and gathering dust on the bookcase.

I read 550 pages of a book on Sunday: I’ve not done that since I was a teenager. I wouldn’t have done this if the old modem was ticking along. With hindsight, it was kind of wonderful: I did it because there was not much else I felt like doing, and I was bored.

I got some Lego for my birthday; another thing I’ve not touched since even before my teenage years. It was perfect: just follow the instructions, put it together. The perfect occupation for a tired and overwhelmed mind.

I’m not 100% sure what I’m getting at here. I’m certainly not singing the praises of the offline experience: Jesus H connect that broadband to my veins I need it, particularly during lockdown. I guess I’m more or less saying that rifling through the bookcase, the DVD collection, these were kind of nice things to do at a weird time.

There is no old media or new media, as Simone Natale writes; rather there are cycles of use, dynamic shifts and re-organisations of our perception of and attitude towards different artefacts, platforms, systems.

Nothing forces you to reevaluate your relationship to what surrounds you than being forced to live in it with no escape for months. And having looked closer, there are some hidden gems, new experiences to be had. (And then, doubtless, one hell of a spring clean once this damnėd lockdown ends.)

Pomodoro ramblings

In my first classes this week, I introduced first-year students to the Pomodoro technique. I’ve had a mixed relationship with the technique, but sometimes find it useful in terms of getting my head fully into a project during its opening stages. In solidarity, I too typed non-stop for 15 minutes (a reduced pomodoro — usually they run for 25). The results were… well, they were a glimpse into the chaos of my brain. I’ve edited them slightly (ditched typos and some of the more bizarre tangents), added links and some editorial notes, and re-posted here. The unit is a foundational media subject, and is a blend of theory and practice.


 

Prompt: What would you like to get out of the class?

I would like to hone my pedagogy — in particular getting students engaged during workshop and lecture time. I am actively working to fill the lecture time not only with content, clips, and relevant examples, but also with activities that break the monotonous delivery.

I have already run out of ideas but I’m going to keep typing because this is what the Pomodoro technique is all about. Look if I’m honest I think the introduction of the Pomodoro technique into the classroom situation is an interesting thing for me and the students. It gets them thinking about writing as a practice and as a discipline, not this far-off thing that’s unobtainable and difficult. The Pomodoro technique is all about quantity rather than quality — which explains quite a bit about this piece I’m writing at the moment. Continue reading “Pomodoro ramblings”