NOT ANOTHER LIST OF IDEAS!: Information Overload in the Era of COVID-19

In a historical moment when everything is shifting rapidly, it feels good to say that one thing has remained the same: I love free stuff.  And probably the most beautiful thing to come out of this terrible crisis is to see gatekeeper after gatekeeper of content (from audio books to premium workout videos) raise their gates as if to say “can’t we forget the pretense of hierarchy for a moment and just share what we’ve got?”

There’s only one problem with this generosity: information overload.  I can’t keep up with the onslaught of articles and “this is free” and “try this” and “wow you MUST do this” that have taken over my social media feeds. So in full awareness that I am contributing to the problem,  I offer this massive list (which is regularly being updated) from THE (Transforming Education Through Technology) Journal of “Free Resources for Schools During COVID-19 Outbreak.”  

But alongside the list, I offer a caveat: this list (and all lists like this) is meant to help you, not to guilt you into feeling like you aren’t doing enough.  This list is to make your life easier, not infinitely more complicated. Lists like this are trying to help provide some already-made content so you don’t have to invent all of your content from scratch.  Browse the site like you might browse a food magazine, in a non-committal, “hmm what looks good?” sort of way. Think about your needs first (“I need to find a way to use that ground beef in the freezer”) to help you sift through what might actually help.  

And, most importantly, if your eyes begin to cross and you find yourself driven only by FOMO (fear of missing out): step away, step away, step away.  This is not the time to challenge yourself to do all the things in all the best ways. This is a time we collectively decide to do our best with the resources, time, and patience that we can muster.  This is a time when we set small goals, like trying out one new platform each week. This is a time when we practice radical grace with ourselves, our colleagues, our students and families. This is a time when we come to terms with what is the most central essence of our course, and how might that essence intersect in generative ways with this moment via virtual platforms.  

Sure, this is a time of free stuff.  But even free stuff takes time to sift through and apply. Sometimes the content is worth the cost.  And sometimes, we shut our screens, take a walk in the flowery afternoon air, and remember just to be.

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