Down the Rabbit-Hole

January 13, 2010

Blog 1 – Day 1 of this Project 

© Cyril Helnwein.

I am a very conservative user of technology. I wish I knew more but I live in fear of it overtaking my life and being slave to one hundred different pings, buzzes, and rings that prevent me from connecting to the people I’m actually with. So I’ve entered this space with enormous reservation, whilst at the same time overwhelmingly curious about where this may lead. Like Alice down the rabbit hole this wonderland of technology has an il-logic I am yet to comprehend. However the aim of this project is to mirror what my students might be about to undertake so fall I must!

 My “fall”, like that of Alice, is taking some time. However I am relieved to see how easy it all is to set up and navigate.

 My initial journey into the blogging world has comprised the following steps:

  • Research. I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the last few weeks looking at various sites and getting a sense of what was useful and what wasn’t, talking to people who actually tweet, twitter, blog and blah, as well as surfing for various tips and hints on what made a good blog and why one might blog. Whether it be tea-cosies (see: http://wildforteacosies.blogspot.com/) or just blogs that celebrate interesting things(http://www.darkroastedblend.com/) it’s about getting a sense of what’s useful and what’s a waste of a precious 3 seconds of life.
  • Then came the really hard stuff: finding a name.  (Check out the Background to the Project page if you’re actually interested in where this came from).
  • Setting up a blogsite is easy. WordPress http://wordpress.com/ and Blogger https://www.blogger.com/start were both very easy to navigate and use, and of course both are free. In fact, the hardest part is deciding a theme. Clinging to the idea of modelling appropriate behaviour to my students within this project, I chose professionalism over personality and clean lines over colour (albeit reluctantly).
  • I started with the “pages” to lead myself gently into the blogging experience and help focus my thoughts. As I did so I found I needed more research to learn to do those things I really needed to do – like wrapping text around images, and being able to work in full screen mode. The great thing about IT enthusiasts is that they LOVE to share their happiness. What’s a little harder is finding some that can share enthusiastically in English. (Sure you can wrap text – just learn how to write html code first…) Luckily they do exist and I will endeavour to put up some links to good information sites for others in a similar position. (Although if anyone can tell me how to manage sticky posts I will be very grateful – no helpful sites so far…)

Of course all this google searching, pasting and copying, searches for photos etc meant that my lap-top kept throwing tantrums and going into a deep freeze. So it’s taken me quite a few goes to actually get all this text up. Part of the problem is my enthusiasm. I want to type and post much faster than my laptop will let me. I want to have lots of programs open at once. I can see this will be a lesson in patience for me, and I’ll need to take up something useful (that crocheted tea-cosies site is starting to look good) whilst waiting for my machine to catch up.

There are fears as I enter this space. I’m terrified. What if I’ve misunderstood my new friends at CIET or presumed too much? What if I’ve under-estimated all my students and every one of them is secretly longing for a job at Microsoft and will faint if I tell them my real thoughts about mobile phones? (unlikely but possible) What if I’ve over-estimated the creativity of my students and they all refuse to participate? (even more unlikely but again, possible). What if I’ve overestimated my own capacity and made this semester much harder and more complicated that it needed to have been? (entirely likely – I’m good at that!)

But then, whilst rebooting my computer for what felt like the one hundredth time this morning I had a lovely experience: a snail decided to wander up the window in front of me. Now I love snails. In my mythology, they are little messengers from the Gods. They move in undulations and remind me to remember the micromovements alongside the big picture. There’s the whole slow and steady progress. Having one foot tells me to take only one step at a time. The spirals on their back remind me to trust the process. And their steady progress up the sheer vertical face of my window reminds me of an Estonian Proverb I take great comfort in:

THE WORK WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO DO IT

So much calmer, slower and with renewed faith I will press “publish” and seal my fate.

Photo from Cyril Helnwein’s Myths and Fairytales series, reproduced with the kind permission of Cyril Helnwein. www.cyrilhelnwein.com

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2 Responses to “Down the Rabbit-Hole”

  1. Phillip Long Says:

    Welcome to the blogging world. You haven’t misunderstood us at all, nor presumed too much. It’s wonderful to see your work blossoming online.

    Well done and keep it up! It’s great to have you in the nascent UQ blogging community.


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