While the Internet has many perks, it may one day take away one enjoyed by many children in certain parts of the U.S. – snow days.
Thanks to ongoing innovations in telepresence capabilities, some schools are looking into new methods of keeping students busy during instances of inclement weather that usually have the potential to shut down roads and even entire towns. Sorry kids, but this means snowball fights, snowman-building, and hot chocolate may soon be replaced by online lessons and homework.
While this may lead to many tantrums in households across the U.S., “virtual snow days” have the potential to bring added benefits to schools and the students that attend them. In addition to easing pressure on school calendars and eliminating the possibility of extending the school year into the muggy days of summer, students will be granted more time to prepare and learn in the winter before taking standardized testing in the spring.
“Even if you can’t continue on at the same pace, being able to keep students on track can make a huge difference,” said Doug Levin, executive director of the non-profit State Educational Technology Directors Association.
Already implemented in a diverse set of colleges and universities, this trend is slowly trickling down into school systems as an increasing number of administrators and teachers grow accustomed to this new technology. In addition, the introduction of online learning will enable school districts to save on costs for transportation, custodians and electricity.
As reported by TMCnet, a number of high-level institutions like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Southern California have started to offer degrees online because of the technology available today. Streaming lectures, video chatting and social media tools have enabled universities to offer online programs that are just as collaborative as face-to-face learning.
It seems it’s about time school districts to take a page out of their book. Unfortunately, this would pose an obstacle for families without Internet access, or larger families who don’t have enough computers to match the number of children. Perhaps these schools could put aside a budget to assist those whom lack the resources for learning from home.
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Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell