My school district had what they call an hour delayed start today because of snow. It also happened to be the first day of CRT testing so this meant we had an hour less prime morning time for testing, and sixth graders that were somewhat hyped-up about starting school late â€“ just what you want when testing for AYP.
Right as school was starting I got a call from my wife that there had been a shooting at my oldest daughterâ€™s middle school – have I heard anything? No, and the phone lines are jammed because of the snow confusion and quickly spreading news of the shooting so how do I get information quick? Do I need to leave and go to her?
As my students entered and settled, I pulled up Google, typed in the name of the school and city and â€œschool shootingâ€ and in seconds I â€˜m on a local news page that happens to be streaming live video from the school and a short story explaining that the shooter is in custody, no one is hurt seriously, and most important – my daughter is not at risk. I couldnâ€™t call my wife because her cell phone doesnâ€™t get a signal where she teaches, so I cut and pasted the article into an email and sent it to her and in less than 2 minutes we both knew the status of our daughter and the situation (not that we knew everything, but enough to allay most fears). By the way, I did get lunch count and attendance done at the same time â€“ I knew you were worried.
Without access to layers of tech capable of communication I would not have had the options to quickly find the information I needed – right now. Several teachers at my school after hearing my tale confessed that they wouldnâ€™t have even thought about doing what I did. They donâ€™t think that way.
I was floored by this because it seemed: 1) so obvious and 2) so easy. Email and internet are not what I would exactly consider cutting edge technologies. I have to admit the streaming video feed caught me a bit by surprise (this isnâ€™t a large metro area) and all I really needed was the news story â€“ but the live scenes were free of panic and you could sense that the immediate danger had passed which was extra reassuring.
Without the information I received quickly because I had the equipment and at least the basic knowledge to use it – my wife and I would have been unnecessarily worried. We always say that itâ€™s not about the tech, itâ€™s about communication and information and stories â€“ maybe weâ€™re more correct than we realize.