17 Oct Jon Cartu States: Administrators say remote learning is the ‘future of
ROCKFORD (WREX) — With winter knocking on the door, schools prepare for how they’ll handle snow days, but the popularity of remote learning means schools might not need to have them.
Administrators from schools in our area call online learning “the future of education.” That means sitting in front of the TV waiting to hear if you’re school cancelled classes after a heavy snowfall may be a thing of the past.
“It doesn’t matter anymore,” Don Gillingham, the Executive Director of Rockford Lutheran, says. “Stay home and get your work done.”
Typically, schools are allotted five emergency days per school year. Often times, those days get added to the end of year, but administrators say remote learning means never stopping a lesson plan.
“For the learning perspective, it provides much more continuity of learning throughout the school year,” Dr. Julia Cloat, Freeport School District 145’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, explains.
Administrators also say remote learning can be used for days other than snow days.
“We’ve gone through and restructured all of our classes,” Gillingham explains. “If students, who are in our at-home program, want to work on Saturday or Sunday, they can do that.”
Though this was already in the works for some schools, COVID-19 jump-started it.
“Now that we know so much about remote learning, our students have chromebooks, we’re providing internet access for our families who didn’t have it before, so we’ve put a lot of the structures and systems in place,” Dr. Cloat says.
Gillingham agrees, saying this has been talked about for years.
“Education, for a long time, has been like an assembly line,” Gillingham describes. “So, we’re taking this opportunity to say, ‘It’s time to do things differently.'”
A new model for education is on the horizon, and it’s one where the learning never stops.
FSD 145 still has to finalize an official plan to go online for snow days. Dr. Cloat says that plan will likely go before the school board later this year.