Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Principles of Nature ~ Balancing the Tech

I have always been a stream-of-concsiousness kind of thinker... where one thing mentally leads you from on thing to the next.

Here, on the cusp of my first day back to school tomorrow (for my 21st set of "back-to-school teacher meetings" tomorrow), I'm finding myself in that kind of wistful mode of "reflection." As I ponder
"Teaching" and "Education" in general, I'm also simultaneously landing on my regular themes; my roles beyond being "Third Grade Teacher." Namely, all things "Eco" and all things "EdTech." 

Which of course, in thinking of school, naturally it gets me thinking of books.

I feel firmly that there are a few books that everyone in life should read, for their value goes far beyond entertainment alone. A mandatory life reading list, if you will.

Kate diCamillo's "Tale of Despereaux" is one. (Although I must say her "Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" is equally exceptional with its own incredible message for life.)  Also in the category of amazing books and messages is Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture."  Likewise, there "The Little Prince" which beautifully leads one to see clearly what is important in life--which is love.

I also adore anything by Dan Gutman (in particular his compilation "Recycle This Book").  Dan's books are always funny, sometimes irreverent, and certainly powerful in building book lovers out of reluctant readers.

Then there is the book I just finished tonight, which marries my two professional loves:  Eco and EdTech.  It, also belongs on the list of lifelong required reading as a road to enlightenment. Richard Louv's book "The Nature Principle:  Reconnecting With Life in a Virtual Age."  This is his follow-up to his equally incredible (and list-worthy book) "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder."
 In "The Nature Principle" Louv poses that we are in the middle of an "info-blitzkrieg" [page 22].  We live in a world of electronics galore, which leads us to a state of "continuous partial attention" [p. 22] as we are distracted by texts, Facebook updates, and Smartphone interruptions. We need to combat our over-attention to the tech-world and balance the unbalance out by reconnecting with the natural world in order for "human health, well-being, spirit, and survival" [p. 3].  We need to load up on "Vitamin N: Nature" [p. 47].

One of my favorite quotes in the book is actually a hundred-year-old quote from environmentalist John Muir, which still holds true (perhaps more so) today:
"Thousands of tired, nerve shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."
Yes, we all need a little bit of nature therapy, and perhaps even a prescription like the one from Richard Louv's Children and Nature Network Website (where you can get your own downloadable copy):

So I come back 'round, in my reflective space, and I consider what needs to be on my prescription notepad. I ponder it as a teacher who plans activities for my students; as a parent of two children whose eyes gleam at the mention of electronics; as an educator who is promoting iPad use in the classroom; and as an individual who routinely gravitates to my own computer/iPhone/iPad.  I need to look to my own required reading list, and see how I can work to start "even-ing out the balance."

One final quote from "The Nature Principle:"
"There's no denying the benefits of the Internet.  But electronic immersion, without a force to balance it, creates the hole in the boat--draining our ability to pay attention, to think clearly, to be productive and creative.... The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need." [p.24]
Go out and get what you need this school year!

Richard Louv books from; All other book images from GTG's Pinterest Page "Books Worth Reading"; Prescription from; "Nature Principle" book trailer from

No comments :

Post a Comment