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Engaging our students in the digital age

On Super Bowl Sunday, February 4th, it snowed in Michigan. Not much — about 6 inches.

While in some parts of our country 6 inches is a lot of snow, in Michigan it is not. So I was not worried. The timing was perfect. It snowed during the day and had substantially quit before the Super Bowl began. That meant there was plenty of time for our district's maintenance staff to get out and clean parking lots, and the city's road crew to get out and clean roads.

That did not stop our students from contacting me via Twitter to let me know how dangerous it would be on Monday morning and how much they would like, and were expecting, a snow day.

But I held strong. No snow day, I announced to the students via Twitter.

The backlash from my students was swift and strong — and expected.

We live in an interesting world. Through our technology — phones, tablets, laptops — we are connected and we can communicate instantly. It does not mean that our students understand the power of the technology.

The theme for this year's National Conference on Education is “Education in the Digital Age.” Many of the sessions that we will attend at the conference will focus on the power of technology to improve our classrooms. Students have the ability to find information instantly. Students can communicate easily and quickly. Students can take pictures and videos of almost anything. Students can find mentors and guides.

But the power of technology is, at times, intoxicating. Students can say things via Twitter or text message or Snap Chat that they might not say in person.

Students are still young. Students, at times, do not understand the power of the technology. And that provides us — those who teach — with opportunities to help our students learn to harness the power of technology to change and improve the world.

I am looking forward to our National Conference on Education and the discussions that we can have surrounding “Education in the Digital Age.”

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