A post about ‘nothing’…?
by Richard Riehle
I should mention that I am still waiting for components for the Wiimote system for smart board emulation… As a consequence, I have been caught short, without any content to further these topics on this blog. I thought about writing a post about nothing (with due apologies to Seinfeld et.al.), but from a quick (really! This list only took me about 10 minutes to compile!), I realized that there is always something to write about. If you are incredibly bored, you are certainly more than welcome to drag your way through these links (which, quite obviously, must have been painful to write…).
This topic (e.g. ‘nothing’) would seem to ask a few questions… For instance, as a blogger (read: low grade writer…), should I soldier on, if only to maintain some sort of arcane discipline in writing? Could this be a worthwhile experiment in automatic writing? Is it better to just take the day off?
As you could see (once again, ‘you’, being a super bored person who actually has started reading these attached links of ‘nothing’), going off topic for a blog isn’t necessarily a bad thing, BUT going off topic needs some unifying or binding concept. Nothing is a rather bleak concept…
For me, there are plenty of topics I am currently dealing with (comparing the works of WWI military historians, drawing up an electronic circuit diagram for a guitar amplifier, working on some ‘screwed up Java code for the Atlas gloves (sigh), and keeping up an international news and politics (today: IRAN!!!)). And that is just for today. I often wonder how other bloggers decide upon topics and themes for their blogs. I have many interests, but most of them don’t lend themselves to a forum like a blog.
With regard to the overarching theme of this blog (developing, finding, and sharing tools for teachers), the topic of nothing actually has a lot of value. I have been working on and off, as a substitute teacher this year (since I came back from teaching in South Korea…), and one of the most notable things that you can see when in a classroom situation is…boredom. It is sometimes shielded in a wide variety of ways by the students, but when students are inured to wearing earphones and using an iPod Touch as a final resort /revenge/payoff for having finished a stultifying worksheet/exercise on: rationalizing chemical equations, memorizing technical terms for deconstructing modern poetry, or merely doing ‘fill in the blank/ textbook work search’ activities.
There has to be a better way for students to learn than these activities (I was subjected to these ‘activities’ in the 1960’s!) which are certain to teach these students graduate level skills in surreptitiously managing boredom under duress. I should mention that in this situation I equate ‘boredom’ with ‘nothing’. And these following links are a testament to the fact that many other people think this way too!