Events like today’s inauguration offer teachers and parents unique opportunities to demonstrate what connected learning is all about in the 21st Century. In my house, Inauguration Day 2013 was filled with digital connections.
We turned on the television around 10:30 this morning and did not turn it off until mid-evening — unusual for us. We also tuned our radios to NPR. A laptop, iPad, and iPhone finished out our Inauguration Day 2013 connections.
When we had things to do around the house we listened to our radios, though I kept my iPhone nearby to check on Facebook friends at the Capitol and along the parade route. When we sat in front of the television, I also used my laptop and iPhone, and my husband used his iPad.
Throughout the day we heard and responded to Facebook pictures and comments, and I often used my iPhone to respond to text messages from friends who shared observations from the Mall. While I thought about tweeting, the tweets were coming in so fast and furiously under the inauguration hashtags that I could not possibly read many of them while multi-tasking on my other devices, so I skipped Twitter for the day.
As we watched television, I opened a laptop window to the live blogging at the New York Times website. At the same time, I used another window to look up things when I wanted to learn more — interesting historical inauguration facts, for instance. I also searched for poet Richard Blanco’s bio to find more about his work, and another discovery was a terrific PBS News Hour interview with Richard Blanco. After President Obama finished speaking, I also looked for and found a link to the text of his speech at the White House website.
I shared and connected with friends by posting most of these links on Facebook. Some of our friends on the Mall let us know that they liked those links.
Later the New York Times posted a neat pictorial seating guide showing who sat where on the inaugural stand. A couple of times my husband found good links and sent them to me to look at, and I sent him links to explore — even though we were across the room from one another.
What fun to watch the inaugural events while simultaneously hearing from friends at the event and learning so much. I know just how exciting it is to attend the real event — I’ve been down on the Mall attending both Republican and Democratic inaugural events. But this year, while I was comfy in my living room or working around my house, connecting to people who were watching the live event was amazing.
Clearly the wireless providers prepared for the 800,000-plus people attending Inauguration 2013 to allow all of this communicating with friends and family around the country. I did not hear a single complaint about wireless access. In an era when we cannot always rely on perfect connections, the connections today seemed to have been almost perfect.