Monday, April 11, 2011

20 Percent Time

[caption id="attachment_139" align="alignleft" width="294" caption="So You Think You Can Dance?"][/caption]

Recently my boss (@jmikton, http://beyonddigital.org/) brought up the topic of "20% time" that (although not created by them) has been touted as one of the ways that Google creates a unique, creative and productive work environment. I think the concept has interesting implications when considered from a teacher or student standpoint - but that is a blog post for another time. The discussion with my boss prompted me to explore what "20% Time" would mean for me. I originally didn't think it would even be possible; my schedule is more flexible than a regular classroom teacher, but it's not like I sit around and twiddle my thumbs for large chunks of time. Like most people in education, I feel like I already don't have enough time to do all the aspects of my job. I couldn't think of how I could squeeze in any new projects on an already full plate. But then I decided to look at it a little differently. "20% Time" can mean setting aside time to focus on the things that you WANT to do and SHOULD do in your job, but that tend to get pushed aside for the urgent things. 20% Time for me, means changing my priorities and booking out blocks of time to spend on those important things that otherwise would stay on my to-do list for months and possibly years. So, I'm attending a class, Information Technology Fundamentals, just like all of the 9th graders are required to do at our school. I SHOULD know what all our students are expected to know - I'm managing a laptop program for crying out loud. I also WANT to know how to use all the creative programs that our students are using. And so I've set aside 70 minutes every other day to learn digital citizenship, laptop management, Flash programing, mixing audio in Logic Express and animation in Maya. So far, my skills in Maya are not at the level at which I can start applying to Pixar, but they are improving, and I'm having fun and learning things that help me during the other 80% of my job.

Check out my Maya animation: So You Think You Can Dance? Maya Animation Assignment