Technology's great, but it could eliminate snow days A boy slides down a hill after a storm brought snow to many southern California locales, near Yucaipa, California (Reuters / AP photo)
Technology's great, but it could eliminate snow days

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One of the best parts of winter could be melting away for many Indiana students. Snow days are becoming more rare.

The state's Department of Education will allow many schools to hold online learning days. They would be used in cases of inclement weather. Students won't miss critical instructional time. And it will help districts avoid extending the school year to make up missed days.

But not everyone is on board with the change and the move has sparked concern from some members of the State Board of Education.

Board member Brad Oliver thinks the virtual option is worth exploring but he wants assurances about how attendance and instruction will be monitored. He wants lawmakers to define what constitutes an instructional day in a virtual learning environment. That would help ensure students still receive the 180 days of instruction required by state law.

"I'm concerned about students getting lost in the cracks," Oliver said. He said he couldn't foresee a 7-year-old calling up the hotline to ask a teacher for help with homework.

Last winter, some Indiana districts missed up to 15 days. That forced them to shorten spring breaks and extend school days. Some had to add extra days at the end of the year.

Virtual instruction does have its rules. Schools must ensure that teachers are available to answer questions. And provide appropriate learning activities for those with disabilities.

Many districts are opening computer labs. Or theyre providing lists of businesses and libraries with free Internet. Other districts, where Internet access can be a challenge, have stuck with traditional makeup days.

Critical thinking challenge: What things are essential to make online learning work?

Assigned 285 times

  • SD2000green
    1/05/2015 - 08:36 a.m.

    Some things that are essential to making online learning work is teacher-student interaction. The teacher should be able to see the student's work so that she or he can correct errors made by the student. They also need to find an efficient attendance tracker to make sure which student is here or not. There might also be students who have no technological learning devices at home, so they'll be missing out on learning while everyone else is not.

  • MS2000TACOS
    1/05/2015 - 08:36 a.m.

    You need to have internet. Before that though you need to have a computer. In order to make online learning to work you need to have a hot line that students can call if they need any help.

  • RS2000RED
    1/05/2015 - 08:37 a.m.

    Everyone needs internet and a computer, also the teachers need to find a way to make sure that every student is gonna attend the online school and not use the internet to cheat.

  • SA2001orange
    1/05/2015 - 08:37 a.m.

    Some things that are essential to making online learning work is that the students will have to some how be monitored so they are actually learning and not fooling around online. It's also essential that if they need help they can get it.

  • R.A.Micheal
    1/05/2015 - 08:39 a.m.

    The essential things that make online learning work, is Internet, and computer access. Without these its probably not going to work if they can't go online.

  • orahf-
    1/05/2015 - 09:17 a.m.

    They need to used laptop or they need internet you some kind of Internet so you can go on online. It will make learning easy so you can get our work done. You need to do work from home if it snow you can't go to school.

  • galvinc-
    1/05/2015 - 09:18 a.m.

    This story is about what Essential to make online learning work I think this is a great idea because you can use the Internet and learn at the same time at home instead of school

  • DunhamS-4
    1/05/2015 - 10:08 a.m.

    This article was about tdchnology possibly eliminating snow days for a school in Indiana. Snow days have caused many schools in snowy or cold regions to extend their school years or shorten breaks. However, with a new technological instructional way of learning, all that hassle could be avoided. Some people from the State Board of Education are not on board with the whole concept because they are not sure how things like instructional time and attendance will be monitored. This could be a great idea, but with a few slight disadvantages.

  • galvinc-
    1/05/2015 - 10:45 a.m.

    This story is about what esential ,to make online learning fun .I think this is a great idea because you can use the Internet and learn at the same time at home instead of school .and I would not have any snow days and make up school days in the summer time and that would make me sad .

  • MaxMicheletti
    1/05/2015 - 10:54 a.m.

    This article is about Indiana students having to stay in school longer because schools are missing up to 15 days of instruction. These schools had to make school days longer, shorten break, and even add days on into summer. But they are making new technology to compensate for this. The schools are working together to make a virtual learning website in which the student can learn while at home during breaks. Many people CaO not agree with this method though. Oliver said that "He couldn't foresee a 7-year-old calling a teacher asking for help." This is an interesting method! I have never heard of this and I think these are the only schools to do so. I hope it works out for them!

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