With winter storms popping up all over the country (and let’s not forget about the polar vortex!) many schools have closed their doors during inclement weather this winter. In fact, scores of them have already depleted their allotted snow time and are now planning to extend the school year to make up the lost days.
However, to avoid lengthening the school year some schools are leveraging the power of technology to overcome the weather. Rather than announcing a typical snow day and cancelling school, some buildings are using technology to extend learning to the home. In this article from Education Week, the superintendent of the 939-student Fort Recovery district in western Ohio, Shelly Vaughn, said, "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."
From posting assignments online to using video lessons, snow days are not getting in the way of education in Ohio. The district even has a plan in place for students who may not have access to a computer at home. All students have up to two weeks to complete the “snow day” assignments and can also receive a hard copy of the assignment from their teachers when school is back in session.
In addition to schools in Ohio, Gibault Catholic High School in Waterloo, Ill., has implemented academic social networks for snow days. These networks allow students to connect with each other and access resources needed for assignments and projects during "cancelled" school days.
Although this is a fairly new idea, I think we will see more and more schools implement this approach. Of course nothing can replace a great teacher, but giving students the responsibility to “work from home” will only benefit them in college and in careers.