The chatter about no snow days has been on the rise as winter makes its presence more and more know. The listserves I'm on, Google+... everyone seems to be talking about it.
I came across this article this afternoon, "Google Takes Snow Days Away From Students" by Holly Clark, and I think it brought up more good ideas on how to make it happen from a logistical standpoint. Being that we're a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school, I see how possible it would be for us to do.
I know that there are skeptics out there that are hesitant and have so many questions:
- What if they don't have internet? Or power?
Especially at the high school, more and more of our youth have mobile devices with internet connectivity. They could participate in the Google Hangout on Air from their mobile device quite easily. Instead of killing their battery power by playing games, they could get their work done. And, even if that premise doesn't apply, the class is recorded so they can watch it later.
- And what if I don't?
That certainly brings another level of challenge, but I see the same concept. I've used Google Classroom and Hangouts on Air on my cellphone before and, although the screen is smaller, it still works. I'd have to plan to conserve my battery power, but I also have battery packs for my cell phone and I'm fortunate to have a generator at my house. How could you envision tackling this?
- Where is the accountability if I can't see them sitting in their seat?
Many of us have taken college (or higher) level classes and had them be done online. Isn't the concept similar? Seat time doesn't automatically mean that time time is spent learning. The scheduled Google Hangout on Air at the same time the class was to be held has appealed to me in this example, since it makes a good effort at maintaining the class schedule that was intended to be followed that day. In Google Classroom, the teacher could easily set up the due date and time for the assignment to be passed in and there is a record of its timely completion.
Obviously those are just three example questions and it would ultimately take more discussion than that. But I think the concept has a lot of merit and should certainly be considered. Given that our students in grades 6-12 are in 1:1 environments and the lower levels are going to be there soon, the foundation is there already to explore it further.