(Notice the washed out bridge and silt covered fields)
In August of 2012, Tropical Storm Irene barreled up the Mad River Valley, churning up furious waters that flooded our village and school. After a delay of the school year, my teaching staff decided to start our school year in tents, believing that coming together as our community of learners was in the best interest of our students and in the best interest of our families. My own digital epiphany comes at the same time. Safe up on the side of a mountain, I heard about the flooding of my village, my school, my valley, my state not from the radio or the television or CNN, but from Facebook and Twitter. Social media continued to be important as Vermonters worked to muck out basements, salvage family albums, find temporary housing just as much as it connected willing and able volunteers with people and projects that desperately needed help. Vermonters surely know how to "git er done", but I have to believe that social media helped moved things along and aided in our recovery.
(Yours truly mucking out the basement of some of my students.)
Learning, growing, and sharing. My relationship with the Web has changed so much this year and has transformed my practice almost completely. After five years in the field, I find myself bursting at the seams after participating in a Twitter book chat or posting reviews of children's books in GoodReads. I'm following authors and library rock stars and sometimes, they follow me right back. It's a mad, mad world and I'm thrilled to be along for the ride.
Connecting - however we do it, be it with a home-made meal for a neighbor in need, teaching under tents, or via the wonderful world of social media - it's what we're all about. It is what matters.