Balancing act

california-day-4mtcarmel-032.jpg   Yesterday morning (since I woke up at 4 a.m.–still on CST, evidently), I walked down two blocks to the cove at Pacific Grove(near Monterey, California).   If you look closely at the photo you can see the seals balanced on the rocks here, scooting themselves onto the boulders in the cove, while the waves crash up against them.  They move slightly with the waves, but adjust themselves by lifting a fin, or raising their tail, and somehow manage to stay balanced on the rocks.  Meanwhile other seals frolic and play in the water nearby.

It struck me that these abilities–the ability to adapt and the ability to play– are qualities we need to nurture in education. We have to learn to be flexible–let the waves move among us, and adjust ourselves to find our balance moment by moment. But we do have to be able to adapt to changing tides, boulders that erode, and changing  patterns in the bay,  in order to adapt and prosper and to help our students adapt and prosper. 

And we can’t forget to have fun–fun with our students, fun with learning, and fun with tech tools that can bring vitality to a lesson or project.

Our closing session today ended with an interesting spontaneous dialogue with a network administrator, the workshop presenter(Dr. Mary Ann Bell), and other librarians, discussing how the different interest groups could really open a dialogue about internet filtering and web 2.0 use in schools. It really strikes me that we need systems in place that allow us to be like the seals–to be flexible, balanced, and yet prosper and be capable of adjusting to each wave that comes by.

Because–seals aren’t all identical, nor is every rock they perch on the same.  And the sea itself, the larger environment, is changeable.  Each wave that comes by is a little different–each year that passes is somewhat the same, yet brings new ecologies into play.

What are some ways we can encourage flexibility and play among our teachers, administrators, students, and systems, so that we, like the seals, can balance in our oceans?

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