Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Social Media and Snow Days

photo: Eric Johnson Flickr

Remember the days of listening to the morning news broadcast on the radio and hoping beyond hope that your school's closing would blast from the speakers announcing a day filled with cartoons and legos? The radio? No? Maybe the television.

Pre-cable TV and before there was a morning news show on on every station, I had the radio. Nowadays, boy that's an old-man phrase, all a kid has to do is turn on the TV or fire up their phone to see if they can go back to sleep for a couple of hours or if they will be enjoying the day off. News stations around these parts, I'm sticking with the old man theme, will even send text alerts and weather warnings tailored to your school district or your neighborhood.

So yesterday when I saw which way the wind was blowing off of Lake Michigan, I knew from experience that I was going to have to get up early and shovel snow before I got ready for school. I made sure that my laptop was in standby with tabs open to the local websites and dedicated a tab to the tweets of my favorite weatherman and friend of Room 216. (@TomCoomes).

I shoveled our family's driveway and seemingly infinite sidewalks in the sub-zero wind chill exposure for about 45 minutes, then headed inside.  Once I started to feel my fingers again, I hit the trackpad on my laptop to see if I could enjoy my well deserved coffee at my leisure.

Nothing had been announced yet (5:30am), so I proceeded with the normal morning routine. Shortly after I counted out the scoops of coffee needed for my first cup, a browser refresh revealed a 2-hour delay. I posted the news with a quick status update on my class' Facebook page, scheduled a Remind message, and Tweeted out the info on mine and our class handle as well. I've used social media with my classes for the past five years to communicate with parents, share the good, and make connections not possible otherwise.

Sure, I could have let everyone figure it our on their own, but Social Media (SM) gives me another communication conduit directly into my home partners and their student's lives. The platforms allow me go where they're at. SM allows me to get a message to my audience more efficiently and effectively than even the news.

Posting, snapping, sharing 'stuff' also allows me to show my students how to use social media responsibly. They need to know that it is possible for the digital items they share and are attached to their name can be positive. Even if that message means that it is just a 2-hour delay and not a lake-effect snow induced day off.
Thanks for reading. 

You can find me on Twitter @YourKidsTeacher


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