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Suggestions:

  • Schedule: It’s hard enough to stay on track as it is. It’s really hard to do if you are missing multiple days. Use the data analytics from previous classes to determine what are the most problematic areas to really focus on with remote content.
  • MOOCs: You can enroll in a MOOC class, not just to learn about that topic, but to see how they structure the content for online delivery. Go through a few from different organizations (edX, Canvas, Coursera, etc) and see what you like.
  • Blended/Flipped: If you are already incorporating ‘blended learning’ or ‘flipped classroom’ concepts and technology into your classroom, then you are already well on your way. Snow day learning is really very similar.
  • Content: There are various ways to deliver content remotely. There are free tools to help you record video or audio for the students to watch or listen to. Just keep it short and digestible (a few minutes for each clip).
  • Interaction: There are ways to generate remote interaction. You can set up a webinar with breakout rooms and white boards – and have the groups come back together and share their work with the virtual class.
  • Assessments: There are online quiz tools that allow you to configure for timed or untimed exams, with multiple attempts, and instant feedback.
  • Submissions: Have students email their work on snow days, or use collaboration sites to post papers and projects. You can set it up so that they can see each other’s work, or not, work together on presentations, or not.
  • Learning Management Systems and Class Websites: You can have a single page with announcements or you can do a class that is fully integrated in the LMS with all of the bells and whistles, or somewhere in the middle.
  • Classroom Response Systems: There are tools that allow you to take attendance remotely, deliver questions synchronously or asynchronously, anonymous or not, or take a poll like we have seen at conferences.
  • Communication: The students need to know what is expected of them. If you want them to do something on a snow day, then they need to know that, so set the expectation.
  • Education Technology Services:  They are here to inspire and guide you.  Let them.
  • Teacher Practice: Don’t try to wing it with new technology in front of the class (that doesn’t always go well). Practice ahead to avoid stress.
  • Student Practice: Do a ‘Dress Rehearsal’. Just like you need to practice with new tools, so do they. If you want them working remotely on a snow day, declare a fake snow day, and have them do all their work in school that day on their devices, with you right there to assist if necessary.
  • Be Flexible: Stick with what works, toss what doesn’t. The technology should make it easier, not harder. If a tool is more trouble than it’s worth, ditch it. If you waste the first twenty minutes of a webinar fighting with the audio, it’s not worth it. Have the students use the phone for the audio portion of the webinar instead.
  • Start Now: Take time now to start thinking about it, while it’s still warm and sunny. Don’t wait until the snow is piled up at the door and the students are at home.
  • Don’t Use Technology Just For The Sake Of Using It. Use it to solve a problem (like cancelled classes).

Options:

  • Adjust assignments: Extend assignment due dates, adapt assignments for power loss (such as hand written reflection papers)
  • Adjust assessments: Reschedule assessments, adapt assessments for power loss (such as hand written essays)
  • Adjust class discussions: Use a web conferencing tool, use a collaboration tool, use a classroom response tool
  • Adjust lectures: Use a web conferencing tool, record video and post it, record audio and post it