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The cruel irony is that even though almost all my students qualify for free lunch, most of their parents had been working 50 hour weeks between 2 and 3 jobs (mostly in the casinos here). During this economic crunch most have had their hours cut way back and their job status is shaky at best. Not a good time to have to stay home if you “think” you might be sick or “think” your child might be sick. So what implications does that have if this flu situation goes from being a possible disaster that MIGHT be waiting to happen, to one that is? What position is that  putting people in?

Just found out my school district’s policy has become, if even 1 student in a school gets H1N1 flu the whole school goes home for 5 to 7 days. I think they get the implications.

10 Responses to “What Are The Implications?”

  1. alicemercer says:

    Brian, I hear a lot of ed tech folks saying this may be the time for online learning, to which I reply, yes, but my students don’t have computers/internet at home. Some don’t have working phones. What would schools like ours be able to do between using broadcast/cable tv, cell phones, and landline phones to keep students learning during this time, which will keep them out of trouble and thinking?

  2. smwillis says:

    Our policy is the same as you, Brian. I just found out that the 6 elementary schools in Madison, AL, my district, have just been closed for 14 days. I have 7th – 9th graders so I’m concerned about the closing of the secondary schools! The implications for my kids and teachers have me worried! Some teachers have done a good job at getting their moodle site up and going this year, but some haven’t taken it seriously!

  3. Brian Crosby says:

    Alice – started to write this … had an epiphany … turned into a blog post … well and a comment here:

    Think of all the learning time being lost by those students already on leave because of the H1N1 flu issue. What if this did become more widespread and we did have many students out of school for a week or more? My school district has already informed us that if even 1 student is diagnosed at our school with H1N1 then they would close that school for 5 to 7 days AND those days don’t have to be made up at the end of the school year. That’s a lot of lost learning time AND lots of free time on the hands of kids that may lead to other issues.

    My students are at a bit of a disadvantage over others simply because not all of them are connected at home, but if I had time I could probably make this work for 60 to 80% of them if they were sent home due to a flu outbreak or other reason in the future. My wife’s students are 100% online at home, so think of this in terms of whatever your situation might be.

    What could I make work? I could make school happen for my students from home. How?

    Well first all my students blog, so I could leave them assignments on our class blog for them to research, write about and then submit to me to check and even comment back to them about. In fact just using their blog I could carry on a conversation about their work on almost any topic. I could even post math problems for them to do, science, social studies … really almost any subject. I could post photos on our Flickr account (and elsewhere), videos for them to watch, links to web pages of all kinds on any subject for them to read or interact with and then report to me about their learning in a way where I can interact with them about it. Oh, and they could do the same, posting video or photos they’ve taken (maybe just with their or a parents cell phone), to demonstrate learning or to build content to present online to the rest of us. And “US” doesn’t just have to be our class, others could join in or at least view and comment on our work.

    I could even provide a field trip or guest speaker from anywhere in the world via Ustream or Mogulus and they could interact about it in the chat – ask questions, and then write about it afterwards and even have discussions.

    Using Google Docs I could even enter a document with a student or even a group of students to work on or ask questions about or get feedback about.

    Also we could collaborate on any of the above activities along with other students anywhere in the world.

    Using the links we already have on our class wiki page I can have them visit different free online math, language, science, social studies activities and more … and add new ones as needed.

    All for free, using tools students already know how to use. And understand, we could do this easily – including collaborating with other students because we already do this, we already have the contacts and network with other students and teachers set-up. We already blog and use Google Docs and Skype and wikis and more with students all over the world. We are ready to go.

    Some of these applications even work on a cell phone so some students could access this learning network that way.

    Now I have just scratched the surface here, applications like Ning, Moodle, Elluminate and so many more could further facilitate what I described above.

    So time spent at home instead of school could be just about as productive as being in school – I assume I’d still be getting paid even if school has been closed for the flu (or other reason), students have something productive to do, aren’t spreading germs, do you see a downside I’m not?

    I hope others will further elaborate how they see this working as comments. I really held back on ALL that is possible here so have at it!

    Too bad school couldn’t be more like this all the time!

  4. alicemercer says:

    But Brian, my kids don’t have that level of Internet access AT HOME. They go to neighbors, and the library for computers. Those will NOT be options during a quarantine. We sure shouldn’t encourage it. OR, they will be fighting over the computer with their 4-6 other siblings (usually the High Schoolers have precedence. I don’t see this as a solution. Sorry.

  5. Brian Crosby says:

    Well it would be a solution for some – and somewhat of a solution for others. Shows again how students of poverty have fewer options and possibilities to learn. Sad.

  6. Jenny says:

    Everything Brian has mentioned is impressive. It could work for many students in many areas. It’s a problem for students, like Alice’s, who don’t have access and a problem for students who haven’t been exposed to those tools. Many teachers, in schools like ours and in schools with higher socio-economic populations, don’t know how to use these tools and certainly haven’t been using them with their students.

    Technology also wouldn’t be an option for my students. Part of that is the lack of access, fewer than half of them have internet at home. Part of it is also the age. First graders simply can’t ‘do school’ remotely in the same way that students can by third or fourth grade. Closing school would impact my students significantly.

  7. alicemercer says:

    I wonder if we could have different solutions for different tech levels, and grade levels. I think we’re trying to find a one size fits all for a school. Why not some online, some cable tv, some phone based. Having assignments are x-age small group so siblings can work together, instead of just fighting over the one household computer?

  8. Brian Crosby says:

    Well yes, and assignments that they can get quickly off the computer (or other ways – a phone bank like my district uses to call everyone in the district or just the families at a certain school) work on them off line and then submit in differing ways. This also makes a bit of the case to go 1:1 laptops that go home. Also makes the case to teach students “using your cell phone as a learning tool” skills.

  9. alicemercer says:

    BUT, think about having different aged siblings working together, and projects that can easily be adjusted for maturity/ability level? THAT would be interesting and different.

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