I experienced an ‘oh yeah’ moment while I was checking out apps to use to remain connected and manage my workflow better. I mention this in the positive sense – it’s not that I am complaining about being connected or the range of things I need to do, but rather it’s because I want to make my work more interesting AND engaging; I want to be connected; I do NOT subscribe to the “I’m traveling and will have limited access to email” kind of message that I often come across.
“Out of Office” – probably the most common auto reply in the world, so popular there are even tutorials on how to write one. But times are changing and the term is gradually losing its meaning. From telling people that you would not be working, Out of Office is becoming where more and more where work really happens. There are many professions where being out of the office is your job. And, although his quote was in response to some companies moving away from remote workforces we get the feeling that the world is moving towards more flexible work styles, not away from it.
Working as I do in online learning environments, I get very frustrated by examples of distance education that are locked into the “out of office” mentality. Consultation times for 1/2 an hour at designated times each week? Phone calls made and received only when you are at your office desk? Invitations to join social media groups left languishing for a week or two – oh because you didn’t log into the account?
As a member of the international Advisory Board, I’ve started my reading and research involvement with the next Horizon Report K-12 2013 edition. If anything, the regular releases of the Horizon Report have proven that the predictions are not fantasy – but a real litmus for where learning and teaching is going. If you haven’t already done so, read the NMC Horizon Report 2012 K-12 edition, and grab the app while you are at it.
Let’s face it – when students can talk with an astronaut currently circling the earth, or follow his twitter feed of photos and more, the goal posts for connectedness can definitely be considered to have changed.Check out Okanagan students chat with Commander Hadfield. What a great series of questions. Jump to the video and experience history! What’s also cool is that this event was made possible by ham radio operators. Yep! Twelve minutes – an event of a lifetime.
If we are genuinely aiming to prepare teachers and information professionals to engage in the kind of environment that represents the best practices of connected learning and communication, the old models of being ‘out of office’ just have no traction – except when you are on annual leave!
Then it’s fine to turn off your mobile device, and drop off the grid.
Image: Podio connections