Turn snow days into e-learning days with these 6 simple steps

 While relying on the internet to facilitate e-learning days is realistic for a strong majority of school districts, it could still mean abandoning one-in-five students nationwide. Perhaps that’s why Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are the only states to provide e-learning options for their public schools to date.

Indiana’s Department of Education requires that all districts participating in e-learning days “can prove all students and teachers have the ability to access the Internet when they are away from the school building.” Indiana has several other standards for teachers and students, including requirements for IEPs, and acts as a great reference that can be consulted nationwide.

There are six simple steps to introducing e-learning days to replace snow days in your district.

1. Check with your state legislators and teachers’ unions about school day minimums and allowable teaching hours. Make sure that, legally, e-learning days are a possibility for your district.

2. Ensure that both students and teachers have internet access at home. If not, try to work with parents and budgets to provide special tools or dispensations for disadvantaged kids. If nothing can be done, abandon the e-learning program.

3. Pick out the best learning management system for your school—ideally one that syncs with your school administration software.

4. Establish a time when students should start working and should have completed their work—ideally later than normal so that teachers will have time to prepare their lessons for the day.

5. Train your teachers on e-learning best practices. Figure out what works best for your school—should your teachers record their lectures at home? Create interactive assignments? Teach at a specified time with webinars?

6. Test out what feels best for your school and teachers. Using an e-learning system has a learning curve, but one that’s well-worth the effort in saved days and money.

To be sure, e-learning doesn’t replace traditional classroom education, but it can create an environment where your school will thrive even in the worst weather.

Rachel Burger writes for Capterra’s School Administration blog.


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