Current Project

Permission to do nothing: Permission denied!

I won’t lie. I have difficulty turning off and letting myself relax. I take great satisfaction in motion, in perceived progress, in multi-tasking. I would like to think that I work hard, study hard, and all that, but something seems amiss when I sit in front of one of the multiple communication channels I participate in and stare at the screen blankly with nothing to say. Having nothing to say does not bother me; feeling like I should have something to say, always, bothers me.

I suppose a review of what I participate in should paint the picture. When I say (x2) in the following, that is referring to my professional/personal accounts (I use them for work as well).

1. Facebook (x2)
2. Twitter (x2)
3. Blog (x2)
4. Flickr (x3)
5. YouTube (x2)
6. Skype
7. Email (x3)
8. Wikis (x2)

Most of this is somewhat professionally related, but I am also studying a MSc at the University of Edinburgh and so there is considerable crossover from work Mike to professional Mike to academic Mike.

So, I really shouldn’t fret when I stop, pause, stare at a blank screen and have literally nothing to say. I have said so much over the course of the day. I answered dozens of emails, blogged a bit, conducted two webinars, drafted some language for a site, drafted some other language for a site, drafted more language to announce release of said site. I created audio files with Audacity, a video with Camtasia, a script for another video. I am stripped of all my language because I communicated it all away.

My heart still beats, however, when I think of what moves me. I still dream big. I still am restless regardless how tired I might be. I am a clumsy, passionate, goofy and sincere eighteen year old on the inside. I yearn for another phrase, a couplet, a stanza, a source of inspiration. I am always consuming in this respect.


Rock Art from Africa. Retrieved from www.aluka.org.
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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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