Monday, January 10, 2011
FINDING RELEVANCE IN STUFF
Last summer I accepted a freelance writing position at Time 4 Learning, the online educational publishing company. I visited the Ft. Lauderdale office and met founder John Edelson. He is very engaging. His enthusiasm for learning is quite contagious, and yet as I sat there trying my darnedest to focus on his words, I was distracted by his stuff.
There, up on the ledge just beyond John’s desk was an array of vintage technological gadgetry. I snuck numerous glimpses at the projectors, microphones and cameras that loomed overhead. As I sat in the company of this homeschool curriculum entrepreneur, not only had I just made the acquaintance of a fellow educator, but I had met another nerd junker!
In the vast world of rediscovering the past, John and I both gravitate toward teaching tools and collectibles. We may hunt for different looking objects, yet the realm of educational toys continually attracts us. I find the iconic graphics of classroom flashcards and colorful counting cubes and tangrams irresistible, and he is pulled more toward the manly world of machines.
The continual “march of technology,” as John puts it, is a topic he enjoys pondering. Over a year ago, John revived this blog as a platform to showcase his collection, to document the ever changing tech landscape, and to discuss how it has impacted learning in school and at home. The best laid plans, however, were derailed by a Time 4 Learning growth spurt, which John, as father of the site, was responsible to nurture.
That’s where I come in…a freelance writer (who loves ellipses as you will see), stylist, crafter, and substitute teacher who believes in sneaking in learning when it is least expected. In my world, that means nonchalantly filling a cocktail table bowl with vintage vocabulary cards, turning a cemetery stroll into an impromptu arithmetic lesson, and using a new recipe to explore fractions. I relish bridging the gap between the need to learn and the desire to have fun. I don’t think any child leaves Epcot without acquiring some geographical knowledge.
I am picking up where John left off, dusting off some more of his relics, and sharing bits from my own stash as well. But before I plow full steam ahead, I need to revisit that fabulous Smith Corona….
Posted by Jane Dagmi at 9:09 AM