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The Internet Education Technology

Internet Could Mean End of "Snow Days" 223

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the think-of-the-children dept.
fangmcgee writes "Could the Internet mean the end of snow days? Some schools think so, and they are experimenting with ways for students to do lessons online during bad weather, potentially allowing classes to go on during even the worst blizzard." Alright folks, it's finally happened: The Internet has gone too far. It's time to blow it up and go back to papyrus scrolls and horseback couriers.
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Internet Could Mean End of "Snow Days"

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  • by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @10:01AM (#36178418) Homepage Journal
    Unless the wired and wireless infrastructure for broadband is made better and tougher.
    • by armanox (826486)

      Also, power lines.

      • Also, power lines.

        Yes. We just had an ice storm in February, and most of the town was without power for 3-4 days. There will still be snow days, they just might be fewer in number.

    • Plus, they'd have to require all students have a computer at home. Who's paying for all those computers?

    • by peragrin (659227)

      Especially since the areas that have the majority of snow days are the same without decent broadband, small data caps ,etc.

    • by Idbar (1034346)

      Unless the wired and wireless infrastructure for broadband is made better and tougher.

      You probably also want to include "accessible". While your students may or may not have US "broadband", they shouldn't be forced to pay the ISPs an outrageous monthly amount for the service.

  • by chill (34294) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @10:04AM (#36178444) Journal

    Maybe it can teach the difference between "to" and "too"? Then move on to advanced concepts like "their", "they're" and "there"; the proper use of commas and even that spawn of satan itself, the apostrophe.

    • Perhaps after "too" they should move on to make believe words like "Allright".

    • by andrewd18 (989408)
      If only the submitter hadn't spent so many snow days at home instead of in school learning proper grammar! Oh, the humanity!
    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Most people know the difference, but still screw it up occasionally. In the final draft of my dissertation, even I used "there" instead of the proper "their" in a sentence (only caught it years after the fact). There's something about homonyms that still throw us off, even if we're well aware of the distinctions (I've known the difference since grade school).

      It's more akin to a typo than ignorance. Pompous grammar nazis, of course, don't understand that--what with their propensity to use any grammatical mis

  • wouldn't be "to" bad an idea for some.
  • by Mr_eX9 (800448) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @10:05AM (#36178462) Homepage
    Your computer and internet still won't go if your power goes out. Or if your internet goes out separately. Also, this will only work in wealthy communities where everyone has broadband and a computer that meets the specifications for whatever terrible software the schools will foist on students.
    • by Rick17JJ (744063)

      Over the years, my telephone line and the DSL line have occasionally quit working after a day or two of rain. Whenever I called the repair number for the telephone compay, they always told me that if it did not start working within 48 hours they would send a repairman out. The telephone always started working again within a day or two, so the repairman was never sent out. If a day or two of rain preceded the snow, there is a slight possibility that my telephone and DSL connection will not be working during

      • by peragrin (659227)

        The telephone lines your DSL runs on are old. Water is getting in the lines shorting them out.(been there dealt with that). The phone company doesn't want the expense of replacing the lines. This is very common in cities, and other densely packed neighborhoods. It forces people to switch to VOIP which causes the number of subscribers to drop which means the phone company has even less reason to upgrade the line, continuing the process.

        They basically forced my company of 80 people onto VOIP because of de

    • by hedwards (940851)

      To be honest, unless you're in a part of the world with frequent snow days, I don' think this is worthwhile. And in all honesty, places which do get them frequently already have machinery and plans in place to take care of that. It's just places like Seattle which get snow infrequently and are at a topographic disadvantage for which this is a possible advantage. And I can't imagine the justification behind paying this much money in order to have students spend a couple more days in school when that money co

  • Get prescribed amount of work done, then do whatever you want for the rest of the day. Alternatively, this could eventually lead to all learning being done from home, and telecommuting becoming a more acceptable work plan. I'd be happy with that too :) In fact, telecommuting makes a whole lot of sense for a business..

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Wow, your comment made me look at online education in a different way. Before I always just saw it as all the students watching the teacher over a live video, and maybe there being a video stream back if they want to ask questions.

      Instead, I think it would be a lot better for the teacher to record the lesson once (assuming the same lesson is taught multiple times in a day or week) and then allow the students to individually pause it to ask a question, which could be done via live video. While the students

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        To be fair, there are few questions on the elementary level cursus that is unanswered by Google.
      • by mini me (132455)

        I strongly believe that the traditional teacher lesson is poor way to provide learning to students, but with that aside, you do bring up an excellent idea to improve the current system without changing the learning status quo. Once the videos are recorded, that teacher's services will no longer be needed. The answering of questions can be outsourced, mechanical turk style, to older students and the world at large.

        With that said, the real value of school is the everyday social interaction. That becomes more

        • by mini me (132455)

          Replying to myself, but I guess you probably meant that the students would still go to class. That could still reduce the staff to a couple to a small handful of supervisors, which is still good from a taxpayer perspective.

          • by Aladrin (926209)

            Actually, I hadn't meant that. I was one of the children that was bullied at school, and 'social interaction at school' was always a negative thing for me.

            However, I do recognize the need to learn to work and play with others, so that does need to be addressed. I usually forget about it when talking about education.

      • I realize on /. this will go over like a plutonium filled lead balloon, but distance learning as a primary means of children's education is a terrible idea. Social interactions are extremely important to a child's development. Kids learning in isolation at home may make them intelligent but will be disastrous to their social well-being. Yes many people here are by nature introverted, but as a race if we continue to weaken our actual bonds to each other (texting and IM do not count), we will fall apart.

        On
        • by Aladrin (926209)

          Is there actually anything to back that up? I hear that over and over, but have never seen stats.

          My experience in school until Highschool was never one of cooperation or interaction. The closest I got was my Gifted class that most students couldn't pass the test to get into. In that class, there was a lot of projects, presentations, and such. But in my regular classes (that I had to go to in addition to Gifted) there was none of that. Highschool was the first time I worked with someone else on anything

    • by andrewd18 (989408)

      Get prescribed amount of work done, then do whatever you want for the rest of the day.

      I was homeschooled from fourth grade through twelfth. This is pretty much what I did, except I did it in week chunks. My mother would plan out the school year in advance then hand me my workload for a given week. I would then crank through as much as I could, often getting my work done on Wednesday, leaving Thursday and Friday for leisure time.

      That schedule allowed me to start up my own computer repair business when I was 16. It was great - I could schedule clients during normal business hours when I mig

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      Would probably work great for a few, terribly for most.

      School is as much about education as social development. In dealing with all the various social situations that occur during school, you learn to deal with those same situations later on in life. Or that's the idea anyway. When I was in school I would have _loved_ to learn at my own comfortable pace (rather than the lathargic "do it 10 times until everyone gets it" pace) and be able to start at my own chosen time (later in afternoon would have done wond

  • I think it's a good idea as long as students are not penalized for not participating. Unless the schools want to provide PCs and on-demand dial-up connections to students that don't have a computer or Internet, it would hardly be fair to expect students to go to the public library to get online if schools are closed due to weather. Believe it or not, there's plenty of students that would take advantage of this even if it was not mandatory, if only for a review/Q&A style class online.
  • by Strange Ranger (454494) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @10:06AM (#36178492)

    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
     
    Snow days are healthy. By Saturday it'll be muck, or ice, and the kids will be stuck inside, yet again. And since it's May, let's not forget it's dark by dinner time in the winter. Let the kids play outside, for their own good. It's only a few times per year.

    • Are you in the Southern Hemisphere? Here in Scotland it's still pretty bright around 10PM :)

    • Let the kids play outside, for their own good.

      Ahh... A blast from the past: snow forts and snowball fights. Most kids I know are going to spend their snow day on their lardy butts in front of the computer anyway...

    • by compro01 (777531)

      You must have a different definition of "snow day".

      Around here, a "snow day" entails weather conditions such that you DO NOT want to be outside unless absolutely necessary. Windchill below -40 isn't real fun to play in.

  • As an adult, I fully support keeping kids learning as much as possible. In fact, cancel all holidays and summer vacation. It's for their own good! And it keeps them off my lawn.

    Of course, if I were still a child, I suppose I'd see the massive injustice in all of this.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I think the real issue here is that if we have kids going to school year round and take away their snow days, what time is there left to be kids? Unfortunately you can't learn everything in school, and if you want kids that grow up to be well balanced adults you're going to have to give them time to screw around and play.

  • The schools thing they're getting one over the kids.

    But hidden within the proposition that Internet learning is an acceptable substitute for school learning is the germ of the schools' own demise: what happens when someone proposes all-Internet education?

  • "Sorry teacher, but I couldn't do my homework during the snowdays because:

    The Snow knocked my Internet Down.
    Too poor to have internet.
    My Dog ate my computer.
    My dog chewed on my ethernet cord.
    My dad was too busy watching porn.
    Nuke Duke'm was finally released and my dad spent the snow days playing it.
    Um, Fuck off, it was a snow day, so i did what all kids do, went out and had fun.

    • Too poor to have internet.

      Children who qualify for taxpayer-subsidized lunches and taxpayer-subsidized rides to and from school would ideally qualify for taxpayer-subsidized Internet access and a taxpayer-subsidized budget subnotebook PC.

      My dad was too busy watching porn.

      Then prosecute the dad for aiding and abetting truancy.

      Nuke Duke'm was finally released and my dad spent the snow days playing it.

      Then prosecute the dad for aiding and abetting truancy.

      it was a snow day, so i did what all kids do, went out and had fun.

      Also truancy.

      As for the other situations you mentioned, I'd have to see the full text of the proposal first.

  • Let them authorize classes through internet during snow days. Then question why it should be different on a sunny day.
  • Where is this place 'far'. And how do you get there.

    Unless you meant gone 'too' far.

    • Taco was going to study grammar, but he had a snow day.

      I don't know who's having all these snow days. I live in Minnesota and my kid hasn't had a snow day yet.

      • by sycorob (180615)
        Yeah, it's kind of ironic. The places that get the most snow generally don't have snow days, since they have the systems in place to deal with the snow; an army of snow plows, reliable (ish) public transportation, etc. I had several snow days growing up in Virginia, which occasionally gets freakish snow, but not often enough to warrant a lot of snow-clearing equipment. My wife grew up in Chicago, and remembers school being canceled only once, when the wind chill was -50 and they couldn't have kids freezing
      • I don't know who's having all these snow days.

        Mostly places with weather that varies a lot throughout the year, like Indiana. There's occasionally enough snow to make roads impassable for standard tires, but not enough volume of snow throughout the winter to justify putting chains on parents' and school buses' tires. So school gets called off about three or four days a year.

    • by gbrandt (113294)

      And the grammar nazi wins again. The article is now fixed. :-) Just pokin' a bit-o-fun.

  • Well, it's a good thing that harsh weather never interferes with the transmission of electricity, or this plan might have a serious problem.

  • I think we're still a bit ahead of the curve here. The problem being that those who are most often, though least reported, having issues with snow days are those folks who live in rural districts, which are in the last mile for high-speed. These schools are not going to be able to serve those children who are the reason they're calling the snow day, those who are out in the rural parts of the school district, who can't be reached by bus.

    This may be a reasonable option for suburban districts, as a much lar

  • Instead of snow days, the kids will have "over my bandwidth cap days".... Please excuse Timmy from the online lecture, we used up our bandwidth using Netflix
  • It changes the definition of "Salary" when you don't get the days off you used to get for bad weather. But no bump in pay yet. Sure waiting for the boomers to retire and tighten up the labor market.

    Should be about 20 million "extra" retirements over the next 10 years. Hoping that will help.

  • RIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT.

    Lemme get this straight:
    You expect teachers to TEACH, from home, to students who can't even behave themselves in a normal classroom, while said students are effectively at home lounging around surrounded by stuff to distract them. It only takes one student being naked/topless/whatever for said teacher to suddenly be a felon. It only takes one student playing starcraft in the background to create enough of a distraction to negate the lecture. It only takes one absent student in the web co
  • First they came for recess. But I was a middle schooler and no longer had recess.
    Then they came for pizza day. But I was a high schooler and bought my own food.
    Next they came for off-campus lunch. But I had already graduated.
    Last, they came for snow days. But I was an adult with kids and my employer said "get your ass to work anyway".

    • by Xoltri (1052470)
      I'm in Canada and in all my years of school I never had a snow day. Their policy was that they had to keep the school open in case any kids showed up so they didn't get locked outside and freeze to death. Of course, if we had snow days the school would have been closed a lot. So everyone else can suck it up and go to school.
      • by w_dragon (1802458)
        So you're either from Vancouver, which gets no snow, or a major city where everyone lived in walking distance. I lived in SW Ontario growing up and we had generally 4-5 snow/ice days every year. Plus a couple fog days. Most of those were just that the buses didn't run, but for my high school that was 99% of the students that couldn't make it. Probably about once a year there was something that totally closed the school. They don't ask teachers to come in when there's an inch of ice on the roads and the
        • by Xoltri (1052470)
          True, I lived within walking distance; didn't have to take a bus. I'm from Edmonton.
  • They should just change the definition of a snow day? Up here in Canadaland, where blizzards dumping 2-3ft of snow wasn't enough to shut down schools when I was a kid, the opposite is now true. 8" of snow? Shutdown, 5" of snow? Shutdown. I don't know what's worse, that kids aren't going to school(and I hated it, and was lazy) because of a light dusting of snow, or that they feel that kids shouldn't go to school for a light dusting of snow.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      Back then, we walked to school ... up hill ... both ways.

      Now days we are driven to school by soccer moms who tremble in panic at the sight of a snowflake.

  • One in a long line of recent changes:

    You're not getting a snow day - you're following the infrastructure interruption business continuity plan!

    other fun entries are:
    You're no longer sick - you're working remotely!
    You're no longer on vacation - you're off site with limited access!
    You're no longer driving in your car/using the bathroom/eating a meal* - you're responsive to electronic communications!
    You're no longer sleeping - you're managing cross-time-zone issues!

    On the other hand, as soon as email goes down

  • I live in California. Global warming and climate change (yes I know half of /. doesn't believe in this, not saying it's true or not. Hold your horses.) hasn't taken hold fast enough to cause snow while I was in school :(
  • by gwn (594936) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:24PM (#36180626)

    Many folks working out how education will evolve in a productive way (not the politicians and corporations who only look to break education in order to line their pockets during the crisis they create) see the coming of the virtual classroom as a done deal. It will happen and we will see it in our lifetime.

    So to see the end of Snow Days (due to transportation problems) because students can be required to participate in lessons from home is a done deal. All the technical stuff students learn in school today, you know the stuff that they assess with standardized testing (another useless and damaging corporate weapon) can easily and quickly be learned in a virtual learning environment.

    What will be interesting is how we deal with the aspects of schooling that aren't shown on report cards, socialization, mental and physical well being. Parents who home school their children tend to work very hard to include these very important components of development. I have talked to parents who go way out of their way to have their students participate in group activities educational, spiritual and recreational.

    So I say good riddance to the Snow Days of old that more often than not rewarded the bus students and punished those who walked. Good bye to the nightmare of parents having to leave kids at home with only a moment of preparation time and having to rely on the TV and game console to guard over them. Welcome to the new reality of the web being used for more than just porn.

    By the way, yes, I was never a bus student and I didn't get my fair share of snow days.

  • Working with working Internet and power from home. :P

  • They're eliminating make-up days. Trying to shave a few school days off of the calendar each year to save cost at the expense of the parents.

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