Snow Days

I remember when snow days weren’t quite so productive, when the blanket of snow didn’t mean that I was going to be able to get to inbox 0 more easily. It wasn’t my first snow day, but it was my first snow day as a part of DPS.

It wasn’t just email that made my day productive, though. That would make for a pretty solitary story and one that is not really worth telling. No, this story is one of collaboration. It is a story because of how little it mattered that the schools and office buildings were closed. It is a story worth telling because of just how different Snow Days can really be now.

The following things are possible on a snow day in 2013 that weren’t ten years ago:

  1. Creating a Collaborative Rubric document in which multiple participants edit, revise, craft, comment and build expectations from multiple locations around the city at the same time.
  2. Holding a Google+ hangout to video conference a meeting, complete with tiara and mustache special effects. At least one of the participants of said video conference still being in his/her pajamas.
  3. Giving digital feedback directly on top of online professional development and then uploading that contextual feedback to a single project management tool for a team to reflect and act upon with conversation and questions.

These three thing are not incredible or extraordinary in and of themselves. In fact, they would hardly bear mentioning if they were done over the course of a week. But these happened over the course of 3 hours, at home, on a snow day. And I am amazed by just how easy they were.

Too often, we don’t notice just how powerful we have become. As learners, as teachers, and as parts of a large school district. We have the power to transcend time and space, cloning ourselves and shifting our conversations. We have the power to make documents that have collaboration built in rather than as an afterthought. We have the power to open up our thought process and document our feedback by literally writing it upon our digital pages.

We do not need copiers or printers to make this happen. We do not need phones or fax machines either. The possibilities are as endless as the snowflakes I saw fall from outside my bedroom window.

So, this time, it isn’t a story of Good within a single person or a department. Rather, it is a story of all of us. Of harnessing the power we have to do good or make good for one another using the tools at our disposal. A snow day can still mean sledding and hot cocoa. But it can also mean choosing a collaborative instinct and creating the future of learning.

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