Approach 1

Experimenting in Learning New Things and Old Things in New Ways

Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other (Freire, chapter 2, POTO).

When I first left academia, I was fed up with academic life. I was also very tired. I needed to rest and recover from a difficult decade of loss: losing my family’s primary home space, when my parents had to sell it in 2004; losing my mom when she died of pancreatic cancer in 2009; and losing my passion for teaching when I became completely burned out in 2011. I didn’t actually rest or take a real break from work until the summer of 2014. Instead, I used my time away from the academy to learn new things and to take the old things that I had already learned and apply them in new ways.

Learning new things and learning old things in new ways enabled me to live my own pedagogy; I wasn’t just teaching others how to use social media or assigning them experiments on the blog or with twitter. I was experimenting too, using what I was learning in my own life and doing fun projects. I was exercising a feminist curiosity and inventing and reinventing new ways to engage.

Some New and Old Things I Learned While Taking a Break

  • How a website is designed and developed
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • What Widgets and Parent and Child Themes are
  • Why UX (user experience) and Information Architecture are important
  • The Difference between RGB and HEX
  • What Responsive Design is and why all sites, especially restaurant sites, should be responsive
  • The joy of finding a fabulous font
  • Tech Support 101: Always try restarting computer first. If that doesn’t work, google the problem.
  • Why my husband doesn’t have a lot of patience with the kids when they’re being difficult: he uses it all up when he’s looking through lines and lines and lines of code for the one missing bracket or misplaced semi-colon (or any of the other random characters that are missing or in the wrong place) that is causing the code to break and the site to not work
  • Designing video games is ridiculously hard
  • Getty Images is evil
  • I am a runner
  • Interactive Documentaries are fun to watch, research and imagine; they’re very hard to create
  • You can tell cool stories with maps
  • How to create and edit digital stories on iMovie and Final Cut Pro
  • I am a storyteller
  • PDA (personal digital archiving) is a thing that people do/study and it’s fascinating
  • It’s possible to think deeply and seriously about important issues without having a university affiliation
  • The work that I’ve done that matters the most to me is not considered work within the academy
  • I don’t lack discipline, I just don’t like being disciplined

Approach 1 Examples

Return to: How I Used My Break