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Snow Days Go Digital at Schools Around the Country

Snow Days Go Digital at Schools Around the Country

Winter is right around the corner, and teachers will soon be faced with the bittersweet event that is the snow day. Luckily, schools are finding ways to use e-learning for their students.

Districts plan to use e-learning to "keep class in session during bad weather and to meet the required number of instruction days without having to add makeups to the calendar," said an article on DistrictAdministration.com.

According to the article, "several forecasts, including the Farmer’s Almanac, predict a cold and snowy winter for much of the United States."

“Your curriculum continues without that time off and you’re not just putting days at the end of the year and trying to fill those days,” said Superintendent Sandra Weaver of the rural Metropolitan School District of Wabash County in Indiana, which used three e-learning snow days last school year.

The article said that all Wabash County students in grades 3 through 12 "have a Macbook Air they take home every day. For snow days, K2 students can bring home the iPads they use at school."

"On the those e-learning days, students log into the LMS to find their assignments, and teachers are at their home computers to answer questions via email, Weaver said. “We want students to continue with their curriculum. It’s just like the next day’s lesson.”

Pennsylvania, "is the latest state to allow e-learning when weather shuts schools", according to Tim Eller, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

"Pennsylvania schools and districts will have to present a plan to the state that, among other contingencies, accounts for students who have disabilities or who don’t have home-access to technology, Eller said. “When school is closed for a day or two—and then there’s another storm coming—it breaks up the learning process."

"Districts in Ohio, Illinois and West Virginia also have used e-learning on snow days," said Christine Squier, principal of Eagle Elementary School in Zionsville. "In Zionsville Community Schools, a 1-to-1 district near Indianapolis, middle school students have learned remotely for about five years on PD days. This year, the district hopes to use e-learning on the days that schools are closed, and also to extend it to the elementary schools."

The district, Squier said, has been developing lesson plans specifically for the digital snow days.

“We’ve talked about doing things you couldn’t do in the classroom, like blogging about a reading assignment,” Squier said. “We found that students, once they can respond online, they’re able to comment more freely because they’re not inhibited by having to raise their hands in class.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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