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Snow Day? Time to take learning online!

January 22, 2016

There’s a storm brewing in the northeast, and you know what that means: snowmen, snowball fights – and, of course, snow days. But in this age of digital learning, even icy roads and chilly winds can’t stop teachers and students from finding a way to keep the learning process alive. Take Mt. Vernon Public Schools in Indiana, for instance. Their new e-learning program allows students to stay on track in wintry weather, without even getting out of their pajamas.

Last week, when a snowy morning shut down the roads in Mt. Vernon, teachers and students were ready for it. Mt. Vernon teachers had prepared digital assignments in advance, which students completed online using school-issued iPads or laptops (with hard copies for students with no wifi at home). Having nearly 4,000 of students working from home could have been a big headache for the district, but teachers and tech leaders were prepared to help make the e-learning experience smooth for all involved. Thanks to several practice e-learning days, expectations were clear and very few students had trouble completing their work. Meanwhile, the school’s tech center stayed open, operating a help hotline to field questions from students, parents, and teachers alike.

How do the students feel about working on a snow day? According to superintendent Shane Robbins, they love the flexibility and the chance to be productive at their own pace. As superintendent Robbins put it, “They’re working harder, but they’re having fun doing it.” Mt. Vernon teachers can thank technology, not to mention thoughtful preparation, for keeping class in session, whatever the weather.