by Erin Grisham
In the midst of the icy weather that’s sweeping across the U.S. and closing down countless schools, many teachers must improvise their lesson plans and make sure students remain caught up. But with the increased availability of online resources, snow days don’t have to get in the way of students who need to learn material by the day of their final exams, or cause teachers to scramble.
An EdWeek article, “Snow Days Turn Into E-Learning Days for Some Schools” by Alyssa Morones, describes how a new Ohio law will give state school districts the option to use up to three “e-learning days” instead of having snow days. The missed days wouldn’t be made up during the summer holidays because students could do their work from home.
Ohio Superintendent Shelly Vaughn thinks e-learning days are a great compromise on bad weather days. "It's much better to have a day of e-learning instruction right now than if we held a makeup day when the weather's nice," Vaughn said. “It's hard to keep kids focused at that time of year."
I personally think it’s a fantastic idea. Universities–admittedly much better at providing online resources than grade schools–have had excellent outlets for instructors to post reading assignments, quizzes, video lessons, etc. (Blackboard and Canvas come to mind). During a recent bad weather day at my university, my web-based class didn’t falter off course in the slightest, for which I was grateful.
All the new resources available to schools can give teachers a way to make lessons more creative and interactive in ways that couldn’t be done before. Mixing up the daily in-class routines with cyber lessons could keep students more engaged and allow them to become even more comfortable with technology.