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Schools consider e-learning due to H1N1-related closures
Schools in Saudi Arabia are testing distance learning mediums lest they’re forced to shut down due to H1N1 cases, reports Arab News.
November 23, 2009 11:39 by Marriam Mossalli
With middle school implementing TeacherWeb and high school using NESA Blackboard, it can seem a little overwhelming, especially for parents who are barely computer literate.
For elementary students, it is even more complicated. The program is a multitiered approach that combines pen and paper packets, the school’s website and consistent communication among parents, students and faculty.
“Elementary is very unique, and we have to think of developmental appropriateness,” said Deborah Caskey, the elementary school principal.
Bradford Barnhardt, middle school principal, said the school is trying its best to simplify access and equip parents and students with the necessary tools for distance learning.
Gil Bruiones, high school principal, stated that it is imperative students are accountable for their work.
“The goal is to provide effective and dynamic collaboration between teachers and students,” he said, asking parents to do everything in their power to ensure 100 percent participation.
Yet as of Sunday, the sixth grade was still unable to use the login passwords provided by the faculty. Both faculty members and parents hope that the trial run will not only allow AISJ to take the necessary measures to tackle any technical issues, but also address the many areas of concern from parents.
Some parents wondered whether any sort of tuition reimbursement would be given if distance learning were to replace classroom learning in the event of a swine flu related closure. Others voiced concern about their ability to handle the academic responsibilities of guiding their children’s education from home.
A teacher mentioned that in her class of 23 students, three to six are absent on any given day from flu-like symptoms. Therefore, the virtual schooling exercise seems less like a precaution and more like an inevitable reality.
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