Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Goodbye Snow Day...Hello Virtual Day

     Recently my school district has been struck with some significant winter weather, resulting in three consecutive snow days. While all the students and teachers celebrate and enjoy an unplanned day off of fun in the snow. We are soon struck with a hard reminder come the end of the school year, when it's really beautiful outside, and the year is extended.  

     Schools do their best to create a school calendar that allows for some snow-days, but even the Farmers Almanac has a difficult time predicting exactly when a storm will occur and how much snow will fall. Instead of trying to extend a school year, or lose other vacation time, why not use technology to eliminate the snow day all together?

     Virtual tools like Edmodo, Edublogs, Blogger, or Diigo  offer great ways for schools to provide virtual learning activities for students to accomplish at their leisure during the lazy unplanned day off.  The work provided could be generic content related activities that teachers put together at the beginning of a school year and store away for that snowy day. When the notice goes out for snow day, teachers can fire up their virtual setting, launch the activity and interact with students through set "office hours" on those days. This could count as a learning day and help reduce those extended school years.

     Of course this would require some cooperation between parents, schools, and the students to provide the appropriate tools to access the virtual content. However, with the increase in availability of mobile devices and data networks, many students already have appropriate access. There is always the issue of a power outage, but each scenario could be addressed appropriately at the school level.

Let's get rid of the snow day, and call it a Virtual Day!

Hollignsworth, H. (2011) Virtual Snow Days? Schools Experiment With Online Lesson During Bad Weather. Associated Press. Retrieved from

School bus image retrieved from, 2014

1 comment:

  1. Great idea! My school does not have snow days, being a residential school, but if it's too bad out, like during an ice storm, the teachers are expected to show up and go to the residences to hold school. We don't have make up days then. But what to do with the kids? We recently put together a series of lessons just for these days in blizzard bags. Each lesson has a reading component, a writing project, a cooking project (math) and music all around a country theme.
    But schools could have a similar concept on the class or school website or wiki.