Because It Is Life…

My last post “Because It Is Fun…” was a slight rant about how using “fun” as a reason to integrate technology into your classroom is a cop-out.  The past 2 days it has been on my mind how important technology is in our everyday lives, not just the “fun” part. The more we are familiar with it, the more our students are becoming prepared for the future, the harder it is for me to believe it is something “extra” or “fun.”

Last Sunday night I took a shower and fixed my hair before going to bed, which is rare because I am a shower in the AM person. I slept with the TV on and louder than normal. I turned the ringer on and the volume up on my fully charged phone.  Had the house phone near by and the night stands were covered with flashlights. Why? Because since Friday the local meteorologists were warning that there would be severe weather – tornado threats – that night. I fixed my hair and had flashlights ready in the event I would have to get ready without power. I had the TV on because my brain is trained to hear James Spann’s voice and know there is a warning somewhere in the viewing area. I had my phone on loud because I have a weather radio app and it would “ding” when there was a warning.

Unlike what Diane Sawyer reported, we had warnings days in advanced. How is that for technology?! Could you imagine the change and the learning that meteorologist have had to go through over the years to get where we are today? Where we can predict tornadoes 3 days in advanced? That is a reason students need to use technology in the classroom, it would suck showing up to meteorology school with a pencil and notebook and only using tech to post on facebook and play video games. And though my weather radio app did not alert me or others (major fail, but I know from experience tech fails and how to deal with that), we still had old school sirens that night. I was not only up watching the TV before the weather moved into our area, but I also picked up my phone to follow the other stations’ alerts on twitter.

While on twitter looking for alerts, there was a lot of activity from fellow Birmingham residents. We were chatting, commenting on the location of the storm, even prodding others to take pictures of their families wearing their bicycle helmets while in their safe place. Not only did it calm my nerves, but kept me awake and aware of what was happening. We need to teach students the importance of social media and connecting with others online. We need to teach them how to be safe on that medium as well. So many that night did not have TV but had the station apps and were on twitter and knew exactly what was happening. We were so eager to share and look out for one of another because of the relationships we have formed there.

Luckily I was safe and had no damages. Unfortunately other places in my community were not so lucky. Over 200 have lost their homes, 3 people lost their lives, one of which was a 16 girl from my district. I think considering all the devastation we should be very thankful for technology that is there to keep us safe.

I think when we look at technology as something that is in the way or “extra” we need to remember we use it everyday because it is life, and it saves our lives.  When you treat it as something “extra” so with the students who need it now and for their future.