Digital Learning Days: The New Solution to Bad Weather

Neenah is trying out something new: Digital Learning Days.

Neenah is trying out something new: Digital Learning Days.

Nathan Gehrke, Student of Journalism

While other schools in the area are using traditional methods of dealing with excessive weather days, Neenah is trying out something new: Digital Learning Days.

To the students and parents, this was a new idea, but according to Matt Anderson, Director of Technology for N.J.S.D, the concept has been in development for nearly 12 years.

“It began with owning our own fiber optic network for the district, then having teachers switch from desktop computers to laptops, then finally giving students their own personal devices,”  Anderson said.

Teachers also received professional development to show them how to fully understand how to use Schoology and give suggestions for how much work should be assigned.

According to Anderson, Grades K-2 should have one hour of work on a Digital Learning Day, 3-5 should have two hours and 6-12 should have three hours.

Although these guidelines are in place, students seemed to receive different amounts of work.

Senior Laura Reade said: “I was overburdened on the Digital Learning Days with around eight hours of work each day.  While some of my friends had less than an hour of work; it seemed unfair.”

One could say that this is because of the classes they took, but teachers were still instructed to assign three hours of work.

Currently, Neenah is the first school district in the state to implement this system and the chance to eliminate needing extra minutes tacked on to the day, or extra days at the end of the school year, is definitely worth striving.

According to The Post-Crescent, the Appleton Area School District announced that it would add six minutes to the elementary school schedule and 20 minutes to the high school schedule, which began on March 4. Although Neenah does not quite have the stamp of approval from the state on Digital Learning Days, Anderson is confident, with the data showing the amount of hours that students work per day, that it will get approved.

Digital Learning Days also allow classes to be more continuous, even though school was not in session. This is incredibly important for AP classes, as they are on a tight schedule since all AP tests are in May. Even though there are a few kinks, if Digital Learning Days get approved, it would be a major benefit over having to tack on extra minutes, or add extra days.