As times and technology have changed, school districts around the country have done what is necessary to stay in step with the times. Many schools have opted to incorporate more use of technology in the curriculum, including the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville. Students in the district took part in an eLearning day Thursday. It’s an approach used around the country to make up school missed due to weather-related events, as well as to try out new approaches to learning.
Elementary schools were closed Thursday for parent/teacher conferences, which gave staff member at Bell Intermediate Academy, John R. Wooden Middle School and Martinsville High School an opportunity to undergo some professional development. Students did not attend school Thursday. Instead, they worked on online assignments due Monday 9 p.m.
Students were provided with a list of places and organizations around Martinsville that offered wi-fi or computer labs and were encouraged to use Thursday to work on their assignments. Students in grades seven through 12 have devices that can be taken home while students in kindergarten through sixth grade were assigned devices that must remain at school.
The MSD of Martinsville will open its computer labs from 4 to 7 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday to help accommodate students.
Krista Ledbetter, director of the Main Branch of the Morgan County Public Library said they’d had a lot of students stop by to work on their assignments Thursday.
“It’s been a steady stream. Our parking lot has been full all day. Most of our computers have been full all day. There’s a lot of folks here using their own tablets. We have wi-fi and the computers that they can use,” Ledbetter said.
One way the library helped accommodate students was by giving out earbuds to younger students and devices with the appropriate software needed to complete their lessons.
“A lot of the little kids needed earbuds; luckily, we had spare pairs of those we could hand out to the kids,” Ledbetter said, adding that she thought it had been a successful day.
Ledbetter said the library would be prepared to host students for future eLearning Days and that it was just a normal part of the function the library served.
“It’s something we normally, providing the wi-fi and computers for people anyway. And we have staff who have some good technical expertise, too, who can help out in case there are issues with people with computers or not knowing quite what they’re doing. But I will say most of the kids knew exactly what they were doing; they would just get right on, log on to their Google accounts, and they knew what was going on,” Ledbetter said.
Two other locations students opted to make us of on eLearning day were the Martinsville Youth Development Center, which offered wi-fi and computer access from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Martinsville Youth Development Center director Shelby Wilson said she had several students make use of the facilities and they had finished their assignments and were enjoying some leisure time.
Two Martinsville High School students opted to work on their assignments in the community room at SCI REMC.
Junior David DeMoss said the eLearning Day had gone well.
“It’s not as confusing as I thought it might have been. It’s pretty easy. The teachers did really well with the formatting of it. The videos help a lot with the learning and they made the actual homework pretty easy. I think it’s been a pretty easy transition for the first time doing it,” DeMoss said.
DeMoss said that he liked the change of pace the eLearning Day offered.
“It’s nice to be able to get out of the school environment and go out to places like this and do it here instead of the walls of the classroom surrounded by classmates,” DeMoss said.
DeMoss said he would be interested in future eLearning Days.
“I think it’s nice to be able to sleep in if you can,” DeMoss said.
Senior Bradley Martin was at work on his assignment at the request of his mother.
“Mom made me and it’s good to get ahead, because I want to make sure I have it done before Friday,” Martin said.
Martins said he’d enjoyed the experience of getting out of the classroom.
“It’s interesting, to say the least. I didn’t expect it. It’s enjoyable because it’s out of school, but you’re still learning,” Martin said.