We spent a week in San Francisco* following our seventh and eighth graders around as they explored the city. It was a student-led trip that put them in charge of just about everything, from planning itineraries, to navigating streets and buses, to budgeting meals and entertainment, to handling the money.
What you see above is the mobile desk arrangement that I used on the trip and that has stuck with me even now that we are back on campus. It all starts with a backpack for carrying my goods: essential documents, writing sticks, a notebook, a camera, cables, and chargers. The contents can often include a water bottle, first aid kit, and a book or two. Here’s what you see in the photo:
1. My iPod touch was the only technology I took on the trip*. It’s from the new generation that has a camera (not a great one). I use it for snapping shots**, checking email***, taking notes, accessing documents, scanning news and feeds, getting directions, chatting (occasionally), etc.
2. There’s a Priority Mail envelope that I re-purposed as a document folder for the most important items in case the digital versions fail.
3. If you’ve got a hairless head, hats are a necessity, especially if you’ll be outdoors. I have two. One is for shade (pictured), the other is for warmth (tucked in the bag).
4. It gets chilly up north, and it hasn’t been especially warm here either. So, I often carry a sweater.
That, together with a laptop when back at school, pretty much covers my needs, especially since I don’t have a dedicated desk. At least, this setup worked for what we’ve done this past week — reflecting on the trip, prepping a presentation to the rest of the school, and plotting a way to share the experience online****.
*Believe it or not, I still don’t own a cellphone.
**For my very limited collection of photos from the trip, see this Flickr set.
*** Check out this wifi hotspot that I encountered up in SF.
****For now, all I can offer in the form of trip documentation is an early document that kicked off the planning.