Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How the eLearning day turned out

Well, it was a long weekend... As I wrote last week, the kids had an eLearning day over the weekend to count toward a makeup snow day. It was an experience, to say the least mostly because I was really unsure about what I needed to do with the kids. I would say, for the most part, it was a worthy experience, but I also learned a few things that I think could be applied to future days and to my school- maybe in the future we can dabble in an eLearning day.

There were a few things I would suggest for a future eLearning experience.  The number one thing that I felt I needed was more preparation.  I think if eLearning is going to be a part of the annual make-up day experience, parents need a training open house where we learn how to help, where to find things, and to teach me how much I do and I don't do.  I was really unsure about how much I was supposed to help my third grader and I felt she was over demanding.  If I knew limits, maybe I would feel more certain about my firmness in helping her versus doing it for her.

The second thing I noted, length of time.  The school only sent the devices home for a weekend.  If eLearning is coming, send them home longer.  I would have had less issue if she could have done one hour a night and only had two hours each weekend day than having 6 hours to split over two days.

Organize.  That would be the third.  The teacher was very organized, but, I would have liked to see my child better organized.   She has an iPad.  Make an eLearning folder with the apps they will use.  I noticed her trying to stray and play apps that didn't relate to the assignments.

Finally, content: Make sure eLearning content, especially for younger kids,  is merely a reinforcement of the weeks previous lessons.  With the exception of spelling, kids need to have direct instruction to learn things.  Using the eLearning day to reinforce and stress the content learned prior is key to success.

Overall, I am really glad my kids' district tried it.  I think in schools where tech is part of the program, it needs to be considered.  Keep in mind, not everyone has internet and not everyone has parents who will push them to complete things successfully. I hope it is considered again.

Friday, April 11, 2014

eLearning days

I am writing this post as a mom and not as my typical edtech self.   The reason?  My kids have their first eLearning day tomrrow and I am really intrigued by the entire idea.   You see, in NE Indiana, we missed an average of 16 days of school to snow.  Schools around had to resort to numerous approaches to make up the missed days.  My school added thirty minutes a day to the rest of the year and we made back a lot of days.  At my kids school, the option was to do an eLearning day.  What does that entail?  From what my reading has shown me and what the district has shared, the kids have to work on their computers or on projects, but do so over the course of a weekend.   The teachers will be offering "office hours" where kids can contact them for assistance.  The district, which is East Noble in Kendallville, has been very proactive about teaching families how this program will work.   There has been a lot of social media, emails, letters and newsletters.  The teachers have also done a lot of work to assure the day is a success.

I am really excited to see how this works.  I would love to encourage my staff to consider doing this as a way of making up time missed.  I heard of several districts in the area that actually had kids prepared for the eLearning day and they did it the day school was cancelled.  It worked well.  I can't wait to see what happens.

My daughter brought her paperwork home a day early so we could look it over and see what we had questions about. There was a lot of neat iPad activities and the corporation assured us nothing would require the Internet.  My son has a few projects to do that are more "science fair" like.   He also has a computer from his classroom that he will have to use to watch flipped videos that were downloaded before the school day ended.

I am super intrigued and excited to see this process at work.  I am sure it is the make-up day of the future, happening NOW!