Pro/Con: Should Lawrence Township adopt eLearning days during snow days?

Lucy Kramer and Jonah Maple

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YES –  Lucy Kramer

Don’t you hate having to make up snow days? Don’t you hate having to be trapped inside on a nice day because you have to go to school? There is a solution, eLearning days.  

“I think we should have eLearning days that way we can keep the progress of learning going on when we have weather related delays,” Jose Valencia, the orchestra director, said.

With eLearning days you don’t have to make up snow days; that cut into vacation time. Schools already do so much school work online having eLearning days wouldn’t be that different than normal classes.

“The lesson plans are already there, you don’t have to worry about it being two months from now. It’s like okay we’re still on the same schedule let’s do this. Let’s get it done,” Erin Knapp, biology teacher, said.

When school gets cancelled for a day, teachers have to change their lesson plans to make sure everyone gets caught up. This is especially difficult when a school does block scheduling.

“For example, right now the fact that we have two red days in a row means by Feb. 15 all my red days will be back where they should be, but my green days will be a day behind until March. That’s only because our next make up day isn’t until then. So, sometimes it’s a lot to juggle,” Knapp said.

Two of our built in snow days are right before spring break. Some people use those days to book flights for their vacation months in advanced. By the time snow make up days are determined these people can’t change their flights. What’s the point of having a make up day when half the kids aren’t going to be at school? That means only some kids are going to get the extra day of education. The others will still be behind.

Some people will bring up the point of teachers not being “tech-savvy” enough to do eLearning days. The problem with that point is that teachers are constantly learning with their students. The teachers that have learned to use Canvas for lessons, an eLearning day wouldn’t be that different.

“I’d be willing to do the extra work to learn how to make virtual labs, or find virtual labs, or virtual activities like webquests. Basically I’d do whatever it takes just to keep the learning happening,” Paul Legge, a biomedical sciences teacher at the McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology (MCIT), said.

“I would rather work on snow days where I can’t go outside than during my breaks where it is nice out,” Adan Rosales, freshman, said.  

 

 

NO – Jonah Maple

As many districts around us are turning to eLearning days, there is a debate about whether Lawrence Township should turn to eLearning days instead of snow make-up days. In total, 177 public school districts in Indiana have been approved for eLearning days. There are many cons to these eLearning days: including how you can’t really replicate what happens in the classroom, not all students would have the initiative to do assignments, the assignments may end up being too much or too little work. Also the eLearning days could be time consuming for teachers, and not all students have internet access at home.

In the classroom, there are many types of activities that  simply cannot be replicated while online. For example, if a science teacher has a lab planned, or a social studies teacher is planning  a lecture , or having students presenting their projects, those are things that you probably can’t replicate online. This might end up with having to do something that a teacher planned for another day, or even having to put back a class schedule indefinitely.

When  asked about  what she thought about putting her assignments online, Erin Knapp, biology teacher, said, “Well for science it does complicate things a bit, because if we’re supposed to do a lab that day, that makes it really hard to put it online.” Knapp is for eLearning days, although she does admit that there may be some problems posed.

In reality, we need to address the fact on how many students would not do the work assigned, making the day worthless. When we asked orchestra director  Jose Valencia whether his students would do the work he assigned, he wasn’t sure. “I don’t know until we try it. I know that there are some that are going to do it, I might also know that there are some who wouldn’t do it.”

When we asked English teacher Sean Ohman whether his students would do the work assigned, he was doubtful. “When my kids are in class they’re more likely to do the work then when they’re at home, because at home they get distracted by things. I know when I was a student I wouldn’t have done it.”

Valencia was not the only one to think this way, when we asked Knapp if her students would do the work she assigned, she wasn’t sure. “I would like to think yes, but past history has said no. We had a trial day, I think that it was last year. I put everything online and I said you’re responsible for it, and the kids knew it, and the majority of them didn’t do it.”

We all have to admit that the amount of work assigned may not be the right amount. There are some teachers that may not assign any, or give way too little work. There are also teachers that would assign multiple hours of homework thinking that their class is the only one. If too much work is assigned, that could be troublesome for students.

Another fact we need to face is the fact of internet accessibility for the students at our school. If you do not have access to internet, eLearning days simply are not practical. We asked Ohman what he thought about the proposed eLearning days. “No, because a lot of our students do not have access at home, so they wouldn’t be able to do the work.”

In conclusion, eLearning days would not be a good idea because of a variety of reasons. You can’t always replicate what you do in a classroom, and there is a variety of lesson plans that might set back certain classes. Teachers may have to change their lesson plans, which would take away from your education. Also there are a lot of students who would not do the work they assigned, which would defeat the purpose. The implementation of eLearning days would not be a good idea now, but as technology develops more, in the future possibly it would be a good idea.

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