No Plows
Having recently dug out from the blizzard of 2011, my thoughts turned to the concept of snow days (having expended two due to the conditions preventing safe transportation of staff and students to and from school). Seeing images of vehicles stopped along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive (some for 12 hours before a rescue was made) confirms that it is not logical to transport people physically during such times of calamity. However, should the processes and products of learning need to be “put on ice” as well? Imagine the collective stories told of how the snow day was spent by students, parents and teachers. Imagine if these were somehow reported and linked for the world to view. Some in Canada or South Dakota might laugh at our inability to function in two feet of snow (as some do when a light dusting shuts down the Southeastern US). Yet, I contend that the problem is deeper than the snowfall amounts. It is the system that calculates financial resources on average daily attendance (as in attending a physical place called ‘school’ rather than demonstrating innovation and creativity while out of the desks and chairs). Of course, there are some who will claim that until we close the digital divide, we cannot implement a system of any time, any place learning. I understand how frustrating it is to be without access wherever and whenever it was needed. I lost service to my home phone, cable and Internet during the first snow day. Still, my iPhone kept me connected to text, voice and Internet via the Edge (even while shoveling the roof of my mother’s house). I could have walked to the nearest Starbucks or Panera if needed. Finally, I might have asked my neighbor (whose Wifi appears in my list) to grant me access until my provider came online. Instead, I chose to take my camera out in the snow and capture some moments to share with my (someday) grandchildren. Now I just need to record the narrative to accompany the images.

While our neighbors to the north may be able to help us cope with snow removal on a scale that is just beyond our norm, they may also be modeling some great ideas to address another cleanup of sorts. Stay tuned . . .

Well done New Brunswick (on both fronts ;-).

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