by Beth Stauffer

On Saturday, April 26th, 2014 middle and high school students around the East Allen County Schools district will head to school as part of the district’s first e-Learning Day.

According to Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Folks, the decision to incorporate an eLearning Day in the district was made in part due to the brutal winter weather that forced extensive school closures earlier this year.

“We added 30 minutes to the end of each day under the waiver process from the IDOE to make up missed days.  It only takes 5 hours to complete an elementary day, but 6 hours to make a secondary day.  The 5 hour eLearning day this Saturday will allow the secondary students to make up the additional 5 hours to have 5 full days of makeup like the elementary,” said Folks.  “Since we are one to one at the secondary level and all students can take home their IPads, eLearning is a perfect fit for EACS.”

Teachers around the district have been hard at work preparing lessons for students to complete on e-Learning Day.  New Haven High School Teacher Greg Jones, who teaches Honors/Academic English, says the teaching staff was asked to prepare a lesson that would take students approximately 55 minutes to complete.  Jones said that it was suggested that lessons be research-based, online readings, instruction via video, or a worksheet to go along with a current topic the class is studying.

“I like the idea of eLearning,” said Jones. “There is no doubt in my mind that eLearning is where much of our classroom work is headed. Students have the opportunity to do the work at their own pace. They can build their schoolwork around their schedule giving them more flexibility for work or personal business.”

According to Jones, students will have 9 days to complete the assignments given during Saturday’s eLearning Day.

Of course, Jones did say that he has heard some grumbling from students about the upcoming eLearning Day.  “Nevertheless,” he says, “when they see that it won’t be as bad as they envision, they will not only embrace it but will request to have more eLearning days.”

Parents, on the other hand, aren’t really grumbling about the eLearning Day, but they are curious about how it will work.

Jody Sexton, who is the mother of boys who attend both New Haven High School and New Haven Middle School, says she is curious to see how the eLearning Day will work on Saturday.  “I am curious to see how well organized it is, if the website crashes or not, if it’s all multiple choice questions or not, and how well things are explained,” said Sexton.

Sexton says she still feels that teacher-led learning is the best option for students, but if the eLearning Day is done right she thinks it could prove to be very beneficial to the students.

The district is taking steps to ensure that all students have a way to access Wi-Fi on Saturday for eLearning Day.  Six EACS school buildings will be open on Saturday from 10 am-3 pm for students and parents with access to desktop computers and Wi-Fi access for iPads (full information about the eLearning Day is available on the district website, www.eacs.k12.in.us ).  Students may also use home internet, log on to the internet at any branch of the Allen County Public Library, or utilize other options available to them as listed on the district website.

Superintendent Dr. Folks says that he is hopeful that students will walk away from Saturday with the knowledge that eLearning is an enjoyable and effective way to learn, but perhaps more importantly, he hopes they gain a thorough mastery of the materials presented online.

“We are excited to see how the eLearning Day goes,” said Folks of Saturday.

If Saturday proves to be a success, the future may very well hold additional eLearning Days for students around the district.

 

POSTED: 04/25/14 at 6:41 am. FILED UNDER: Schools