Earlier this week, my daughter reminded me that I should follow my own rules. The conversation started innocently enough with the usual supper hour discussion as to how her school day went. Let me back up a bit here and tell you that this is my daughter’s first year of high school. As such her first few weeks have been filled with excitement, some worry and a little fear mixed in just to make things interesting. Nothing unusual for a fourteen year old entering a new school four times the size of her previous one.
As she was elaborating on the many interactions she had with new and old friends and her thoughts on the senior students, I felt I had to interject with the question that was burning in my mind. “What assignments do you have coming up this week?”, I blurted out as if the words were trapped inside. The question was met with a pause and a stare with a furrowed brow (not sure where she gets that from). “Dad,” (insert a three- second pause), “didn’t you check our calendar?” Her response was met with a smile and a pause of my own. Yes we share a Google calendar and this was her way of telling me that she was doing her best to stay on top of things.
Last year the students and staff at my daughter’s school were part of a pilot for Google Apps for Education and each student had an opportunity to explore and utilize the applications. My daughter was keen to explore all of the applications but she was particularly interested Google Calendar. She created one for us to share and sent me an email invitation to collaborate. Since that day we have been sharing the calendar and adding important dates for her academic and extra curricular activities, times when I will be out of town and most importantly our father-daughter dates.
This got me thinking of how far we have come with information sharing and collaboration. The possibilities for staying connected seem limitless and the power that this connectivity has to support all of our students truly complements our efforts as school leaders. The use of a shared calendar with staff is a great way to get all staff connected to the life of the school and an easy entry into digital collaboration. Upcoming events, celebrations and deadlines are but a few items that we can readily share with staff to get the ball rolling.
It still amazes me how the technology is able to complement our work and activities and how a simple thing such as a calendar can enrich our lives giving us time for more important things like trying to figure out which expensive restaurant my daughter will pick next. And the rule my daughter reminded me about? When we are at the table we only concern ourselves with what is happening in the moment. Perhaps my response should have been that technology could help us with the rest.