Monday, December 13, 2010

Online classroom could replace 'snow days'

In Kentucky and Ohio, the states' education departments are working on creating an online school program for use during snow days, reports Cindy Kranz for the Cincinnati Enquirer. In Ohio, the state has already launched a pilot project to provide online assignments to snowbound students as a way to satisfy the requirements of a school day. In Kentucky, the education department is planning its own pilot program, as early as next year, asking the districts in eastern and central Kentucky that often miss up to three weeks of school due to inclement weather, to participate.
For rural students, treacherous or impassable roads often close schools for extended periods of time. Online classwork could help reduce the number of snow days, but not before a number of hurdles have been cleared, including lack of home Internet access for many children. Brad Hughes, spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said superintendents with high numbers of snow days would prefer that students not have the big gap in learning that snow days create. But they have to be able to reach all of the kids. "It's not impossible, but we don't have in many of those counties the Web-based infrastructure to pull it off right now," said Hughes.
Teachers must have five days of lesson plans prepared ahead of time that are appropriate to the course of study. "We want these lessons to be directly related to what is being emphasized instructionally at the time of the calamity day and aligning these in the short time frame we have when the weather is bad is problematic,'' said Greg Power, director of curriculum and instruction for the Little Miami School District in Ohio. (Read more)

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