When I was a child in school, we looked forward to the snow day, the day of freedom from responsibility and the unexpected joy of spontaneous play. While I don’t want to sound like the Grinch, I wonder if the Snow Day is outdated and if even the institution of education doesn’t need a refresh or reframe.
With the educational world effectively migrating to technology enabled learning, why does a day out of school have to be a complete loss of productivity? In my part of the country, all the allotted snow days are long ago used up and so the summer break is melting away due to all the make up days and teachers are falling behind their lesson plan (but for high schoolers, AP exams and SATs are firm, regardless of weather).
Does a snow day have to be a lost day? If you look at the rise of on line learning, such as Khan Academy and MOOCs (massive open online course), technology can enable progress to be made. While face to face interaction with a teacher for young students is important, with planning, a teacher can plan for inclement weather and out of school situations maintaining the continuity of learning. I was thrilled when after several snow days, my son’s Junior High implemented a digital assignment plan to advance key concepts regardless of the weather. My son actually is fine with it as he’d rather have his summer break than a snow day. Snow days, it seems, are a carry over from another era and have outgrown their usefulness.
What else in education is lingering and needs a reframe? I think if we were to take a closer look, we might find quite a lot. Some food for thought on this snowy afternoon.