Corporation moves to eLearning
LaPorte Community School Corporation is preparing and practicing to implement eLearning days.
The eLearning days offer students the ability to continue with a school day at home when school is canceled. Canvas and Google Classroom allow students to complete assignments and to interact with and ask questions to teachers by making an inbox or chat option available; however, in order for it to count as a completed school day, at least 80 percent of the students have to participate, Amanda Muller, Career and Technical Education Department Chair, stated in an interview.
There are many positives that are involved with eLearning. For starters, it helps students become independent and start taking initiative. Instead of going to the teacher for every question, students learn to use their resources and problem-solve. It also allows students to complete work at their own speed. ELearning allows for staff and students to stay on track rather than getting behind from a missed day or not have to tack on extra days to the school year.
“With the teaching and implementation of blended learning in the everyday curriculum, it teaches students to navigate online delivery methods and submit information electronically that is not only needed in higher education and the workforce but also to prepare students for online testing platforms that are required by the state,” Michael Walthour, Director of Technology, said.
On the downside, lower-grade students do not necessarily acquire the same ability to use a computer and internet to complete work. They rely heavily on their parents’ knowledge of technology. Another issue involves internet connection outside of the school building, which some do not have. Students would have to prep for the day before-hand, and this means going either to a place with free wifi or even the library. Extra days are available to finish the work though.
Planned eLearning days are in the works for this year, and those in charge are still working on a calendar for the 2019-2020 school year. They have been holding numerous meetings with the eLearning committee to work on a draft schedule. A focus is to not have anything too early that younger grades don’t have time to obtain basic skills.
This year, January 21st is the first scheduled student eLearning day in which students will work from home and teachers will be at school. March 18th is an eLearning day for everyone to work from home including staff. These practice days will be a measuring stick for corporation letting them know if students and teachers are ready.
The eLearning committee will be coordinating a sub-webpage on the school corporation’s website that will have FAQs for each level. Those in charge are also looking for a presentation day some time in January to go over the rules and techniques of the Chromebook considering it will be a first time using one for some parents and students.
At the moment, lower grades are mostly invested in working with the teachers on blended learning. Although they have not worked with chromebooks as frequently as upper grades have, they are creating a plan of action that will be describe in the January meeting.
All eyes will be on January 21st as the corporation works on becoming the newest eLearning district in the area.