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:
Students, you're encouraged to "@" me during tomorrow's #ELearning Day Pilot. Share what's going well, what's not, etc. #LNCPride @LNCharter— Craig Smith (@CSmithGoBlue) February 10, 2016
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.
LNC staff discussing E-Learning Day pro's/con's. Great prep work by staff seemed to pay off. #LNCPride pic.twitter.com/mcmb7BWVwp— LNCharter Knights (@LNCharter) February 11, 2016
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
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.