It's snow laughing matter

RIP snow days. Viva virtual learning. The mid-Atlantic may have lost electric power, its dignity, and a week of work days when the white fluffy stuff blanketed the region in early February. But it didn’t lose learning time, at least for some students with enterprising teachers. Using internet chats and document uploading websites, teachers across the D.C. area were able to keep their students’ gray matter oscillating through telecommunication. One teacher observed that the “quality is even better” online, because students “have a little more time to think about [their responses]” to discussion questions. State achievement, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate test dates often cannot be changed, so losing as much as a week and a half of class time (as they did in Prince George’s County) can have seriously deleterious effects on learning. (Snow-day learning loss is, in fact, a documented phenomenon.) Though power outages and internet access limitations caused a few problems, for the most part, teachers and students were pleased with the productive use of their home-bound days. And when classes started up again, “we just picked up...as though the snow had never happened.” That’s good news, indeed.

Classes, homework slid straight to Internet as snow fell,” by Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, February 22, 2010

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