eLearning Days

Overview—What is eLearning?

eLearning is learning utilizing electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside of the traditional classroom.  Southmont Schools’ Board, administration and staff believe that continuity of instruction in the event of the loss of an instructional day, due to weather or other circumstances, is a critical component to our students’ success.  Therefore, our schools will provide the opportunity for students to interact with their teachers on days normally scheduled for make up in the corporation calendar through the use of personal devices, Google Classroom, email and other electronic and digital media to ensure uninterrupted instruction.

What days will be utilized as eLearning days for the 2016-2017 school year?

Southmont Schools will use scheduled make up days for eLearning this year.  Those days are January 16, 2017, February 20, 2017 and April 14, 2017.  Because these are scheduled days, teachers and students will have plenty of notice and time to plan.  If we do not have a snow day, and do not have to make up that snow day, we would not use the eLearning day.

What will an eLearning day look like for students?

All staff and students in our district access and utilize Google Classroom and GAFE (Google Apps for Education), in addition to other digital media, online texts, forums and resources, on a regular basis to communicate, collaborate, research and complete assignments and lessons.  On eLearning days, students will access assignments from their teachers through their Google Classrooms (or other digital sources) just as they would normally do while present at school.  All lessons and assignments will be posted by 9:00 a.m. and will be a continuation of the previous day’s instruction and provide continuity to their current course of study.  All teachers will be available between 9:00—10:30 a.m. for students to contact and ask questions should they need additional assistance.  In addition, the technology staff will be available for assistance.  Students who do not have internet access at home will have the following options available to them:

· Go to a friend’s home where wifi is available

· Go to one of the public libraries in our community that provides public wifi

· Go to a business that offers public wifi

· Go to one of our schools to complete their assignments for the day

· Students may, in some cases, work offline on assignments they have previously downloaded to their Google Drive

What will an eLearning day look like for teachers?

Teachers will work their normal hours, but the focus of an eLearning day for teachers will be PLC (Professional Learning Community) driven.  They will ensure student lessons and assignments are posted by 9:00 a.m. to their Google Classrooms.  Teachers will be available from 9:00—10:30 a.m. (some may offer additional office hours) during the day to assist students should they need additional help.

Why have eLearning days?

The Southmont Schools Board of Trustees and Administration has set as a priority goal the continued use and integration of technology by both students and staff.  As a society that has embraced the use of technology in all aspects of our lives, we cannot ignore the importance schools should place on students’ ability to use technology responsibly and efficiently to expand their own knowledge.  Furthermore,

· According to a study completed in 2013, 45% of college students take at least one online course in college, and 70% of students surveyed said they use their laptops for research and coursework.

· Many face-to-face courses in college now require work be submitted electronically .

· An article in the Indianapolis Recorder reports that employers feel that 35% of new hires/applicants do not have adequate computer skills.

· Many corporations are now using eLearning for training purposes.

· Most companies now require applications to be completed online.

· Teachers are provided much-needed professional development time within the school day.

How will attendance be taken?

Students will be expected to complete assignments and have them returned to their teacher by the next school day.  If the work is not completed, the student will be marked absent for the eLearning day and will have one full school day to make up the work.

What if a student’s iPad is not working?

In the rare event that a device stops working on an eLearning day, there are options available:

· Since Google Classroom is an online system, as are GAFE and the student’s Google Drive, one does not have to access their assignments from his/her iPad.  Students may use any internet-connected device to access their assigned work.

· If a student does not have another internet-connected device, or access to wifi, he/she may be able to use a device (computer, laptop, Chromebook or iPad) made available to the public at the local libraries.  He/she may also go to the school to complete assignments.

· In order to validate that the device is actually non-functioning, the student MUST take the device to the tech department for repair immediately upon return to school the next day (tech staff will then confirm the device’s malfunction with the student’s teacher)

If a student is having difficulty with his/her device before a planned eLearning day, he/she should contact the tech department (at the school the student attends) for assistance well before that day.

What if a student would like to eat breakfast or lunch at school?

Students will be asked (or parents may notify the school) one week prior to the eLearning day if they plan to eat at school so that we can have an accurate number of meals prepared for those days.  Breakfast and lunch will be available to any student who wishes to go to school.  Bus transportation will be provided at the normal schedule (if needed).  However, students will only be able to attend school through lunch (served at 11:30 a.m. at all buildings) - students will then be transported home at 12:00 p.m.  Students may also go to school at 11:30 a.m. to just eat lunch if they wish (parents are required to provide transportation if a student wishes to attend school just to eat lunch.)

Considerations for Students with Special Needs

For those students who require special accommodations to meet their individual needs, teachers will work very closely with special needs staff, support staff and students and their families to ensure their assignments reflect both individual education plans and expected learning objectives for the class.  Special Education staff will work closely with parents to ensure eLearning days considerations are reflected in their children’s IEP’s.  Students who require additional services at school may also attend as normal.  Additional guidance for staff in modifying student work can be found here.

Lesson/Assignment Design Expectations

All lessons and assignments created by teachers for eLearning days will be delivered online through Google Classroom (or other digital media) and available for students to complete electronically.  Assignments will include “direct instruction” (which could include reading a document or reviewing a website, watching a video created by the teacher or from some other source, etc.) and a “processing activity” (which might include creating a review or counter position, virtual discussion or forum participation, creating a project, answering questions, etc.) —the possibilities are limitless.  All assignments for an eLearning day will be posted in the teachers’ Google Classrooms by 9:00 a.m. and each teacher will have designated contact hours (9:00—10:30 a.m.) to provide guidance or additional assistance.  Though students may organize their day in a manner that suits them, should the teacher wish to engage with students in a “virtual discussion,” students in that class would be required to participate at the designated time.

 

NOTE:  eLearning Days will only be used on scheduled make up days (January 16th, February 20th, and April 14th) and only if we have a snow day that would cause us to use those make up days.

 

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