I logged into the instant message system we are using for our online school on Sunday afternoon just to see if anything was happening. Within a minute or so, Suzie IM’ed me to see how I was doing. We interacted for a minute or two and then she asked it if was ok to include Dave in our conversation. Both Suzie and Dave are part of the Clovis Online School student leadership team. We talked about needing an “online student lounge” where students can hang out with one another. Suzie and Dave expressed the need for a place where students could all be in a chat room together or IM with one another and this place would also allow students to all be in a web cam conversation at the same time or with just one other person. Suzie then asked if Dave or I had heard of Stickam…we both checked it out. We agreed that we would discuss the idea further at our Tuesday student leadership meeting.
At the end of the 15-minute interchange, Suzie says, “it’s kind of weird to be IMing with the principal of the school.” At that moment, I realized that one of the promises of online learning was playing out on this Sunday afternoon. The interchange with two students like this may occur between a principal and students in a brick and mortar school, but probably not on a Sunday afternoon. Additionally, these students had some important suggestions of ways to improve our online school that we will discuss later this week during our online student leadership team meeting. All part of an online principal’s job. Just a regular Sunday afternoon.