Monday, April 25, 2016

Observations of myself: Writer's Block

I have been trying and meaning to blog for the last 20 days...WOW!  That really got away from me!  For someone with so many thoughts, who regularly manages to post silly photos of her kids and dogs on Facebook, it is amazing to experience writers block.  And with each passing day I get farther and farther away from the ideas I meant to blog about.  Today is the day to end all that and get back to business.

It's not that I haven't made any observations.  I have.  I have been feeling the warmth of spring sunshine on my skin and smelling the first scents of flowering trees and hearing the peals of laughter from two wild boys unrestricted by winter layers.  I have been watching the slow march of buds that signals the end of a long a dark winter and the beginning of another summer.

It's not that I haven't used myObservatory.  I have.  I collected some great new photo vantage points of Scortons Creek from the middle of the marsh.  I worked with students to build Arduino based sensors to install out at Scortons Creek.  I contacted several interesting people with interesting projects from all over the country that I met in Nashville.  And I continue to collect my own personal data of my yard and my adventures with the aforementioned wild boys.  

So what's my deal?!  

I have been making excuses for 20 days.  I am too busy with other work.  I want to spend more time with my kids.  I hurt my back.  My husband had surgery.  I need to clean my house.

But the observations of myself that seem most true are just this: It's spring!  It's getting too nice to be stuck inside writing on my computer.  I needed a break to read a book for fun (yup, that's right I did!) and lay out sunning myself reptilian-style.  I have been grinding away the bad weather and cold by working myself harder than ever; I am tired of working.  I am not motivated; I am too distracted by the lengthening days and warmer nights.  I feel change in the air and could not reconcile what this change means in my own life.

But now I have come clean.  I have admitted to myself that my observations of me are just as important as my observations of the world around me.  I'm glad this is over with and I can start writing again!  I wanted to feel like coming back to writing was natural and not forced.  I needed to give myself a break and let my brain come back around.  I did all that.  

Here I am, BEWARE of random data stories and exciting new progress for myObservatory!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

myObservations from Nashville

The myObservatory mapping and data collection capabilities are great for documenting travel.  While traveling to and from Nashville I used the myObservatory app to collect photo data at different locations.  Now that I am back home I can view my photo data by location to show my husband and friends the places I've been.  Looking at the map view on the desktop version it really hits me how far from home I traveled!  It certainly felt like it took a long time to get there and back.  It took a whole days travel and a timezone jump to get from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Nashville, Tennessee. On the way down I drove my car, took a ferry, two flights, and a bus to get to my hotel.  On the way back I took a shuttle bus, two flights, a commuter bus, a ride from a friend and drove to get back to my house.

Some of my favorite data photos from my trip include the views of the Washington monument on the way into Regan International, the sun shining on Ryman Auditorium, my hotel office, and my time spent at the honkey tonk in the District.  myObservatory was a great way to organize my travel photos.  I will definitely use it again on my next trip!

Friday, April 1, 2016

#NSTA16 and all the buzz


Being surrounded by thousands of like minded science lovers and fellow observers is empowering.  I have been trying to take time to process all that I am learning and all that I am sharing with others, but there just aren't enough hours in the day.

I am so extremely excited about some of the projects that I have made connections with here at #NSTA16.  I anticipate lots of great extensions for myObservatory based on the contacts I have made and will continue to pursue.  I feel more informed about the current offerings in science education data experiences.  Overall it has been an amazing experience.

But what I haven't been able to do much of is observe.  Other than my observations of whose presentation is better or which hotel has the best food, I haven't really been collecting any data.  I have never been to Nashville before and thought I would have more time to really explore the area and make observations (see paragraph 1!)

So here is my last Nashville goal.  I will walk the city and record my observations using the myObservatory app.  I will experience some of what Nashville has to offer outside of the conference room.  Tune back soon for myObservations of Nashville!