Friday, February 12, 2016

E-Learning Day Pilot

On Thursday, February 11th, the entire Lake Norman Charter School community piloted an "E-Learning Day" for all students and faculty.

Teachers and administrators began collaborating and gathering research in preparation for an E-Learning pilot in the Spring of 2015.  The collaboration and planning continued through the current school-year, leading up to yesterday's event.

Students stayed home and utilized their technology to connect remotely.  We are a 1:1 iPad school system (our 1:World Program is in year two of implementation) and also utilize Schoology as a Learning Management System (also in year two).  Our 1:World program affords Lake Norman Charter community opportunities to teach and learn through advanced methodologies that would otherwise may not be possible.

An emphasis of communication to all stakeholders was that in no way are we looking to progress to a permanent conversion of an online learning environment.  Our teachers are Lake Norman Charter's greatest asset.

The pilot was implemented to determine if E-Learning is a viable option for situations that frequently are inconvenient for our families.  Primarily, we wanted to determine if E-Learning could be feasible for:

1.  Regularly Scheduled Half-Days (our 2015-2016 Calendar has four non-testing Half-Days, which include teacher Professional Development sessions in the afternoon)

2.  Potential weather-related make-up days

Personally, I availed myself via Twitter to receive feedback as the day progressed:

Our students followed the same "schedule" as a traditional Half-Day, which contains 25 minute classes.  First Period was 7:45 - 8:10, Second Period 8:15 - 8:40, etc.  Attendance was taken for each period.

(Search '@LNCharter' on Twitter to see more student-submitted pics)

In the afternoon, the entire faculty gathered at an off-campus location to debrief and share successes, Best Practices, areas of struggles, and suggestions moving forward with E-Learning utilization.

During the high school faculty session, we gathered informal feedback from all teachers on their personal success and struggles.  The primary objective was to, collectively as a group, determine if the E-Learning method was an improvement compared to a traditional half-day, in regards to instruction, student learning, and engagement.

Listening to various groups provide verbal feedback and reading the submitted responses, there are very common and repeated successes:

  • High attendance
  • Equitable participation (especially students who may not normally participate)
  • Interaction among students 
  • Engagement within multiple classes/contents (ex. English III Twitter Chat)
  • Platform for creativity (both teacher and students)
  • Continuous student engagement throughout the day

We also distributed surveys to all of our families, asking genuine feedback to see if this is a viable option moving forward.  We all anxiously await to receive the feedback, but many of our parents and students were willing to share positives (and suggestions) on Facebook, Twitter, Schoology, and direct email communication to administration.

While we recognized a few needed improvement areas, primarily with a consistent strategy for attendance purposes, the initial verdict is our E-Learning day was a tremendous success!

I am eager to discuss with any other schools who may be considering implementing an E-Learning opportunity and am very enthusiastic about future utilization at Lake Norman Charter.

Thanks for viewing and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions,


The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.


  1. Dear Craig -

    THANK you to you and your staff for using your time and talents to innovate!

    I have both a MS and HS student at LNC and appreciated the opportunity to participate in the pilot program you hosted yday. As a single working mom - half days are often a challenge which require a total overhaul of my family's weekly carpool schedule (pick ups at noon are next-to-impossible for many of us.)

    I also applaud you team providing both staff, students and parents with multiple channels of communication. I filled out the "post pilot program" feedback survey this morning and encourage all other parents to do the same.

  2. As a teacher at LNC, the E-learning day offered me an opportunity to try new things out of my comfort zone. And the results were fantastic! Students were engaged and participated in a discussion amongst all levels (Standard, Honors, and AP) that couldn't have happened on a normal school day in the classroom.