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New Developments in Online Learning
posted by: Megan | February 10, 2011, 05:40 PM   

As we find ourselves in yet another brutal winter, the dust is settling on the harsh realities of the impact on our students and teachers. Spring breaks and summer vacations will no doubt feel the effects of these multiple snow days. While we have all heard of space age technologies involving pricey online learning programs, teachers are now accessing free online resources including social media and podcasts to keep in touch with students during winter storms.

In Chicago, college professor Holly Swyers uploaded videos of her lecture last week on YouTube and kept a watch over e-mail while Chicago experienced a massive storm that closed public school for the first time since 1999. Another college professor was able to give a lecture online while still in his pajamas.

Not only are teachers using these resources for higher education but for high school students as well. In St. Louis, math, English, Chinese and history classes met via the Internet as usual Wednesday despite their school building being closed for business.

The school's technology director Elizabeth Helfant remarked, "We've got exams coming up in three weeks. Everyone was like, 'We can't be missing anymore classes.'" High school students with demanding classes will no doubt benefit from uninterrupted instructional time.

Even middle school students are benefitting from technology. Using Skype, the free online video conferencing software, students are able to connect and share ideas via face-to-face chat. Sixth-graders at Claymont Intermediate School in Dennison, Ohio, for example, are following news out of Egypt closely after having befriended fellow students at a Cairo school via Skype.

While these technologies are being heavily used in inclement weather, the possibilities for students to use these programs during sick days or as a supplement to a traditional classroom setting are infinite. Facebook groups for A.P. classes and message boards for discussing lectures are popping up everywhere.

As technology evolves it seems that one day the phrase "snow day" will be rarely used. These new technologies will also evolve the teaching profession as educators are able to set flexible work hours through online and open schools.



Origionally posted by Alix on AAE's website.  

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