How to Save Your Snow Days

The past winter (2013-14) was a record setting one for cold, snow, and school closings, and the 2014-2015 winter is shaping up to be a good competitor.

While this would normally be good news for school kids everywhere, this year schools are starting to implement e-learning days.

E-learning days are essentially snow days, only now, instead of getting to run free in the snow, children do schoolwork over the internet. It’s actually not nearly as torturous a solution as it sounds. E-learning days prevent schools from having to run into breaks, and make sure students who have state or nationwide tests in the spring are fully prepared and don’t have to miss a single day.

Schools are often already equipped to make e-learning days happen, technology-wise. Many schools currently outfit their students with laptops or tablets to do homework, so utilizing them for regular school work is not that big a step.

So how do you make an e-learning day happen? What kinds of preparations does a school need to make?

1. If you don’t already have the technology, you do need to make sure that your students are properly outfitted with tablets or laptops (and you may want to put internet filters on them).

2. You need the proper software. LMSs are a really easy way to facilitate e-learning, and better yet, you can use them year-round, not just on school days! If budget is an issue, look into free and cheap options, and also check out the most popular ones before making a decision.

3. Teachers need to be given time to create an e-learning plan ahead of time. And as the e-learning day comes up, they need to make sure all the links, etc. in the plan are working. These plans can consist of online worksheets, texts to read, or videos. A Michigan AP calculus teacher, Ms. Triezenberg, uploads full videos of herself teaching lessons, so that students don’t have to miss out on a lecture.

4. Skyping to class is a great idea for older students. In fact, this is such a great option that Dr. Jeff McClurken from the University of Mary Washington, an innovator in the field of digital studies, has already implemented Skyping as a mainstay in several of his classes.

5. Have a dry run. It’s a great idea to test out the success of your e-learning plan on a nice day. You can work out the bugs ahead of time.

So with those tips, stay warm and dry this winter and enjoy your e-learning days!

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