Thursday, May 7, 2009

Technology To The Rescue

Check out this amazing story of how Rye Country Day School used technology to keep them going while they were closed due to a case of the H1N1 virus. Fred Bartels shares how a Ning he set up for his school took on a life of its own during the closure.


Here is a summary of what happened (written by Fred).
We had an interesting experience with a forced closure this week related to possible H1N1 cases. The closing was initially announced as being for two weeks, but after one day being closed, new CDC recommendations allowed us to reopen. (All our students with the flu are doing well.)

For most of one day, we all thought we would be closed for two weeks, so we started to quickly ramp up possible solutions for keeping courses moving forward. ...As luck would have it, we had created a school Ning a few days before the closure. We viewed it as just an additional communication/collaboration tool should we ever happen to be forced to close. The Ning was basically a shell with only three members. I sent out an email to faculty about 8 pm on the evening of the closure annoucement, letting them know about the ning site, and suggesting that for some things -like discussions- the ning might be a good optional resource. By 4 pm the following day the Ning site had over 200 members, 30 course groups, and a very rapidly developing sense of community.
I think this is a great story of turning adversity into a learning opportunity. Fred's Ning had a true pedogogical purpose and thus it thrived. I think that is the key to most technology successes. As Chris Lehmann
says, "Effective technology is like oxygen, ubiquitous, necessary and invisible." I will be interested to learn how the ning continues to function now that school is back in session.

To learn more, check out the ISEnet ning, where Fred shared his experience as the day unfolded

Image source: Helicopter Rescue Training from koert michiels' photostream on Flickr
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