Ma'ayan Plaut

Manager, Social Strategy & Projects at Oberlin College.
Photog, foodie, teacher, Oberlin alum.
(My own) thoughts & things live here.

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This year’s #heweb13 golden nugget:

The little things matter. Integrate. Make the things we do every day that may not appear connected a part of everything we do.

In classic liberal arts educated fashion, I found a common thread through most of the presentations I selected during this year’s HighEdWeb that came out in the form of this lasting conference thought. It started with Jason Fish’s presentation on the Living Dead Week at Purdue: a dedicated week of project time independent of the usual grind reminiscent of the now-defunct 20% time at Google. One quote during his presentation struck an immediate chord with me:

"Do you do actual work during Living Dead week?" "Yes. This is actual work. Respect yourself and your time." (1)

And… *mic drop* (or at least that’s how it felt to me).

Yes, my friends. I know that everything is connected, but calling things work or not work when really, all of it informs each other… well… I was a fool to not own up to that before. Yes, time off from stuff is time on making myself better during the times I need to be on. Work-life balance. It’s MAD IMPORTANT, both to me and in general. I’m thoroughly convinced that taking time to do other things assures that my main things benefit as a result. (There’s a blog post draft somewhere that expounds upon this thought. I’ll get to it one day.)

It was during Sven Aas’s meta presentation on using web-based presentation tools that really solidified this nugget. As I penned in an email to my boss Ben Jones that evening:

“Why fight stupid proprietary programs (hi there, presentation apps I have a seriously hard time using and yet, must) the one to a few times a year that you need to use them, and rather, why not use the skills most of us use in some capacity already as a part of our jobs and have the presentation creation process be a learning process, too?”

Learning. It doesn’t really stop when you say stop. (I feel like a *mic drop* might be necessary here too.)

I don’t really know what this means in terms of implementation in my own life. Last year’s golden nugget had a clearer set of tangibles: “Don’t assume that people have your knowledge. Write it down. Pass it on. (Blog more.)” That translated to talking more, blogging more, and participating more actively online and in person when it comes to presentation/conversation-like things. I think I did okay so far. I’m still working on that one, but even in adding a new nugget, I don’t know what it means to treasure and polish this one. I’m still rolling it around in my head since stubbing my toe on this golden rock on Monday of last week.

Maybe it just means more mindful of what I do and connect things more/better. Or consciously using my time in and out of work to assure that I’m bettering myself in many forms, to not to look at things as sacrifice, but a sum of the parts of the whole. Or not feeling terrible about using a bit of my 9-5 to develop my design skills, or using some of my 5-9 time blogging or working on a presentation. Oh look. Some tangibles. I think my work here this evening might be done.

Before wrapping up a post on the #heweb13 experience, I would be remiss to not include the three most imprinted moments from this year’s conference:

  • Watching my friends make faces at their dogs and children via Facetime. (Wondering why I don’t have a dog. Not children. Not yet.)
  • Hug tackling my higher ed hero Tracy Playle within seconds of the close of her presentation on Humo(u)r in Higher Ed and not realizing her mic was still on so our lovey dovey hugs and mutual adoration exchange was amplified to the room. (Sorry. I have some love and I need to share it.)
  • Hearing (and seeing) the entirety of the attendees of my session on student content creation smile/giggle through the student videos in my presentation. (Their voices made the whole thing work. Of course. Students are the BEST.)
  1. maayanplaut posted this