According to the US Department of Education, nearly six million college students take at least one class online – and the trend continues after college as well, with at least 24% of Americans working at least part time from home. Because virtually commuting has become such a significant part of the world we live in, we believe that it is important to experience what it might be like in high school.
Tuesday, November 5 has been designated as a Distance Learning Day for Tech Valley High School students. This means that instead of reporting to school, students will connect to their classes virtually from home or any other place with an internet connection.
Students will attend all their normal classes on that day, and each class will begin with students virtually conference with their teacher via Zoom software. Students will be assigned tasks to work on to be submitted by the end of the school day for credit. Given the central role collaboration plays at TVHS, some of these tasks may involve group work. To offer students the needed tools to work collaboratively from wherever they may be located, Google Hangouts will be available for the day for students to connect. However, we know there are many options, so there is no requirement to use a specific tool to communicate with teammates.
This Distance Learning Day will serve a secondary role as a test of this concept to see if virtual classrooms are a viable option if weather or other events prevent student attendance for long periods of time. The goal is never to replace being together physically in school, if the available technology makes it possible to learn together when it’s not possible to occupy the same physical space, it is an avenue that should be explored.
As with any new venture, we are excited about this new experiment, but do know there will be bugs along the way. Please keep track of any issues you may experience – we’ll provide a way to offer feedback after 11/5.