By Deb Kroon,
A snow day used to be a day that all school kids looked forward to, everything was canceled and unless Mom made demands, it was a free day
In 2017, the Minnesota legislature amended the length of the school year to include the option to use e-learning days. There are conditions that must be met to be considered an e-learning day: must be due to inclement weather; only 5 e-learning days per school year and the e-learning day will be counted as an instructional day for both teachers and students.
This is the first year the Adrian School District has used e-learning days. To date only one day as been used. To AES, e-learning looks different than it does for the middle school and high school. Assignments for a day are put into a folder that stays in each child’s backpack. In the folder is an assignment for each class the child would have on a regular day. Some may be reading, and some may be written assignments. The students have five days after the e-learning day to turn in the completed assignments. These folders are updated on a regular basis by the teachers to keep them current with studies. If there are any questions for the teacher, they must be available from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the e-learning day, either by e-mail or phone.
The middle school and high school have a different set up. The teacher is responsible for getting assignments posted by 10:00 a.m. and must be available for the school day, just as the elementary teachers. The students check in on-line and use Google Classroom, Google email or another app the teacher has chosen. There will an assignment for each class, seven in all, except if they were scheduled into a study hall. These also may be reading, worksheets downloaded by the teacher, or paper assignments, depending on the teacher’s requirements. They also have five days to turn in the completed assignments. If a computer is not available at home, the student is responsible for scheduling time once returning to school to finish.
In either school, if the assignments are not turned in, the student is counted as absent for the day.
There are mixed feelings about the e-learning days. The positive is that they cut down on the amount of snow days accumulated during a school year. It also gives high school students a different form of learning, the independent study that mirrors college life. In the elementary level, there is a lot of repetition built into every day, and e-learning works well. The objections are that the kids lose that snow day of fun and relaxation, and some parents find it difficult to take on the responsibility of overseeing that the lessons (especially elementary) are completed.
E-learning has fast become a part of the mechanics of teaching. New things always take time to become fully implemented and to run smooth and e-learning is no exception. On-line learning and classes are definitely the way of the future and the Adrian School District is working hard to keep up with the technology of the future.