Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) students and educators recently found themselves out of school and schools closed due to an Ontario snowstorm. We sat down with Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching (TELT) contact Michelle Booth and Michael Redfearn, who is the coordinator for the Ontario Catholic eLearning Consortium (OCeLC), to talk about why — with online learning — education doesn’t have to stop on a snow or inclement weather day.
When school is cancelled Michelle uses Twitter to encourage WCDSB students to get online and spend time working on their blended and eLearning courses. Michael encourages other Catholic boards to embrace eLearning as a method by using Ontario’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE is a central place for students to access provincial and board tools.
During a recent snow day, to Michelle’s surprise she found that some secondary school students were not taking a snow day; they were in fact continuing their learning and logging in to the VLE. Out of about 7,000 secondary school students, 1,700 logged in throughout the course of the day. Teachers with whom Michelle spoke were pleased to hear that students logged in. Michelle plans to continue to encourage WCDSB students to log in to the VLE and work ahead when school is cancelled.
“The VLE is an equalizer to allow students to work on their studies even if they have a bus cancellation. It provides a wonderful opportunity for them to work ahead.” – Michelle Booth
Ontario’s VLE is a dynamic learning platform, powered by D2L’s Brightspace. The VLE is provided by the Ministry of Education at no cost to Ontario publicly funded school boards. Ontario’s VLE includes tools to support digital portfolios, assignments, rubrics, lessons linked to curriculum expectations, quizzes, and much more! All K-12 public school teachers in Ontario have free access to Ontario’s VLE. To get the VLE for your classroom or school, reach out to your TELT contact or email K12Ont@D2L.com.
Join our upcoming webinar
Schools can be fully or partially closed for any number or reasons; winter storms, flooding, wild fires or facilities. Things that would interrupt traditional brick and mortar-based learning don’t impact online learning. But it takes planning and careful execution. In this webinar we will discuss what some Brightspace customers have done and brainstorm how you can start making a plan for your class or organization to continue learning during school closures.
Date: Monday, April 1st at 1pm EDT