A little after noon yesterday our school lost all phone and network connectivity. At first it was a minor nuisance, for example we could not produce grade reports for the parent conference we had scheduled at 1:30, but we apologized and made it through without any trouble. As the outage persisted, though, we were reminded again and again of how dependent we are on technology, mostly because we could not access most of the instructional materials and information that we have come to rely on.
Late in the afternoon, a couple of my colleagues who were going to be out today were trying to make sub plans. One wrote everything by hand, which took several hours, and the other made arrangements to email everything so that it could be printed out this morning. Imagine the frantic phone call I got after he tried to contact school and realized that everything was still down. He was on his way to California and there were no student rosters, no printable copy of the vocabulary quiz he was giving, and the computer labs he had booked for his classes were useless.
Of course we improvised and everything turned out fine. But as the network was slowly restored throughout the day, it was uncomfortable and a little disturbing to realize just how critical this fragile web we have woven is.