Warning - totally geeky post, not really about schools or school systems.
I'm usually pretty happy to try new computer tools. Generally they can be fun to play with, but few keep me using them over the long term and fewer still can I say have no downside. I started blogging about a year ago, and usually I enjoy blogger, but I feel guilty about not posting enough and I often wonder if anybody actually reads what write. More recently I started using Facebook. It's been a way to find old friends and facilitate communication, but I feel uncomfortable asking people to be my friend and I'm really not comfortable with being "friends" with my my skater-dude teenage nephew. I started twittering and I've got to say that I can't imagine anyone wanting to keep up with any status I can provide. I could continue with fitness logs, newsgroups and the like.
But I have found the best web-based tool ever - at least for my life. Google Calendar. Initially I was unimpressed since I already had a calendar on my PDA. Once I started using it though, I changed my mind. Finally there is a place for DH and I to jointly keep track of the insane schedule involved with three kids and three schools, a kid getting significant services under the autism waiver, PTAs, TWIGS, scouts, the occasional night out... all in one place that can be accessed at work, while watching TV on the net book, or at the coffee shop. DH no longer has the excuse of "having to ask my wife for permission" about any invitation he gets. And how about a shared calendars for the scout troop? And since one of the schools uses a Google Calendar, I can just copy over events onto my calendar. Absolutely no downside, except maybe the visual reminder of how chaotic my life is... but I'll trade that for no last minute questions about "what's happening this weekend?" that leads to realizations of conflicts and disasters.
Sometimes my own geekitude astounds me, but I'll take small, no-cost joys whereever I can find them.