“Think of all the learning time being lost by those students already on leave because of the H1N1 flu issue. What if this did become more widespread and we did have many students out of school for a week or more? My school district has already informed us that if even 1 student is diagnosed at our school with H1N1 then they would close that school for 5 to 7 days AND those days don’t have to be made up at the end of the school year. That’s a lot of lost learning time AND lots of free time on the hands of kids that may lead to other issues.”
I began to think about how I could teach my class if we were out for an extended period of time. I remember hearing about ways that a friend was preparing to teach in China when SARS was spreading around the country. Now would be a good time to think about this before it actually happened and to prepare for it too.
I would have all my students get a gmail address and know how to access their email from any location. If my students didn’t have a home computer, this would enable them to access their email at the local library or other locations too.
Students would need to know how to use Google Docs and access/upload documents.
Students would create a blog to share their ideas/thoughts/feelings.
Students would learn to use twitter and plurk so they could contact me in real time if necessary in order to ask questions. This is another opportunity to talk about online safety and not sharing personal information online. Also good to talk about online etiquette.
I love wikis, so I would prepare my procedures/lesson plans on a wiki to share with my class. Students would go to this wiki each day to find out what their assignment for that day would be.
I would give a variety of assignments that students could choose from according to their ability levels and interests. If students have a choice, they tend to feel more motivated to complete the assignment.
Students would be able to complete individual assignments or group work and turn them in on Google Docs or the wiki. There would be no excuses that “my dog ate my homework.”
I also would encourage students to explore online and look for other “tools” that we could use for class. Some students may feel motivated by this because I encouraged them to try this. This may help too if they are bored because they are not in school.
Students could also look at the goals of the assignment and suggest other ways they would like me to assess their knowledge online. Students love to have input and they will respect me more if they know that I value their input.
These were just some of the things I thought of but if you have any other good suggestions, please let me know. I think this would be successful if students were out of school for an extended period of time.
Original image: 'Desk' http://www.flickr.com/photos/83542829@N00/3025287113 by: William Hook