camping · education · technology

Nothing wrong with a tent

I grew up camping. Early on in my life, my family would go for two weeks to Vermont, being the only affordable vacation for the five of us. My dad built two boxes to fit on our car, and my mother would some how pack them up with all the necessities. We camped rain or shine, going into town to do laundry mid week. My father would spend the day fishing on the pond, while my mother had my brothers and I at the beach. Luckily for me, I was so little, I don’t recall these events, because the stories told now with laughter sound dreadful! :))
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Later in my childhood camping trips were weekends and less dramatic. I loved when we would go in the fall, nights were cool so you snuggled up each night in a sleeping bag, and wake to the smell of my father cooking Spam. It was family time and created some lasting memories.

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As an adult, rekindling my love of camping with my husband has been the best part of summer. Every year in August we go to the place on the pond where I spent childhood. What I learned as an adult was that before and after camping were a lot of work! The shopping, getting gear together for preparation was time consuming and the clean up when returning home was quite a chore. I bless my parents for all those years of doing that with three kids! This realization put a damper on my dreams of quick fall weekend trips since the time it took before and after just wasn’t quite as relaxing with both of us working. Then a few trips canceled due to rain or soaked by it, I wasn’t sure why I loved it so much. Nothing like stinky wet dog in a tent!

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For the last couple years we toyed with the idea of a camper. But could I, a girl raised on tents, get a camper? We looked…we hemmed and hawed….we contemplated…..we bought! Enter the r-pod!

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Now mind you, my father raised three kids to love tents….and would you know my brothers now have pop-ups and I have a travel trailer. He doesn’t know where he went wrong lol!

We have this delightful hard sided tent as we refer to it. This new form of camping keeps us dry thus no more cancelled or dreadfully soaked trips. It also has eased our prepping and clean up. Most of the equipment stays right in the camper. We now go more, and with the ability to use electricity, we have adventured to new and different places. Yes, we still go to that place on the pond in Vermont, and Spam is still cooked “old school”, but we have gone to PA, to Cape Cod and even took the camper for a trip to Harpers Ferry.

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We still own our tent, I can’t imagine using it, but you never know. This new normal of modern convenience has led to more enjoyment of camping and more trips as well, rekindling my fond memories without all the work.

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So why is the tech girl writing about camping on her blog? Because my experience with the road to the camper reminds me of the the road of technology in education. My parents still use of a tent for camping, they love it and it works for them. There is nothing wrong with that. But for myself, moving to newer tools works for me, it eases my planning and makes the whole experience more enjoyable. For some teachers, introducing a tech may not work for them, they enjoy they way they have done things and there is nothing wrong with that. We all grew up learning from some fabulous educators who taught us without technology. For others, technology is the thing that makes teaching more enjoyable or more engaging. They still know how to tent camp in the classroom, and will when it’s appropriate, but for them the camper is the way to go. Both ways can be equally effective for students, just as both can be equally enjoyable in the woods.

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My father will still put his tent down next to my camper and shake his head. I will watch as he nails in stakes, and sets up the rain tarp and then clean it all up a few days later and shake mine. We can be side by side and still appreciate each others tools of the trade. Educators can do the same, we can share our knowledge of tent styles of teaching and camper styles of teaching when it comes to technology. What matters is how the tools make our educating students the most effective and enjoyable.
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