Internet Research for Techquest Project
The CDC addresses student absences and schoolwork which they refer to as “continuity of learning”,
which surprised me. They suggest options to get the material to students who are at home through:
1. Hard copy packets: Photocopies of reference materials, curriculum, and assignments can be prepared
in advance for distribution to affected students;
2. Online materials or other aligned content: Digital copies of reference materials, assignments, and
audio‐visual learning supports can be made available on the Internet using e‐learning and other Learning
Management Systems (LMS) ( e.g., school websites, etc.)
Our school’s plan to ensure continuity of learning mostly relies on number one. Teachers put work
together for parents to pick up and students to complete and return. My issue with this has always been
that what are we actually assessing if our students can do the work without our teaching?! I’ve always
said to kids, “You can’t learn if you aren’t at school!” However, my attitude on this has changed the
MAET program and especially CEP820: Teaching k‐12 online. Students don’t have to be in school to
learn! While surely it has its social perks and benefits working parents, my view was not so accurate. To
prove my point, I want to submit some of my survey results as research here:
1. When asked where students usually learn new things with computers, 78% responded that they learn
new things at home or at a friend’s house and only 22% said at school.
2. 78% also said that completing homework with a computer was easy because they have access readily
3. Most students said they were comfortable with and used technologies (i.e. email, blog, video
creation) at least once a week to every day.
4. 89% reported that they contributed to a social networking site every day.
I think the results to my survey are telling, especially in conjunction with students learning at home as a
result of absence. It is not that students are unable to learn or work from home, it’s that most teachers
aren’t equipped to teach from school and get it home. Sending home a hard packet is for lack of a better
term, a pacification of “old school” ways. Learning management systems, email, blogging, vlogging, and
even social networking are better tools to utilize for distance learning even if it is only 2 blocks from
Truly, traditional education occurs more because we need kids to be in school to assist working parents
with child care needs, student socialization and learning public social norms, and because education has
not caught up with the way today’s students learn. In other words, education is built more around
teaching than it is learning. Teachers are doing things the way they have always been done and not
changing at the rate or mode with which students learn. I suppose I’m digressing from my original point,
and maybe upsetting my readers here. I’ll redirect…
The U.S. Department of Education Recommendations to Ensure Continuity of Learning are:
• Teacher check‐ins and tutorials: A variety of technologies (telephone, email, web conferencing) can be
used to facilitate one‐on‐one interaction between students and teachers, counselors and other
appointed adults (e.g., tutors) during prolonged absences or dismissals;
• Recorded class meetings: Using audio or video technology, recorded class meetings can be given to
some or all absent students via podcasts, live or on‐demand television, DVD, captioned closed‐circuit or
public access television, or online;
• Live class meetings: Schools can use available tools such as conference calling or webinars, online
courses, or virtual schools with two‐way interaction between the teacher and students.
In addition, Student Absenteeism: Research Findings and Recommendations for Schools and Local
Communities, 2004 research by Glenn Bond consistently found “pre‐eminence of condoned
absenteeism as the most common and pressing form of absenteeism.”
Common triggers for student absence fell into the three broad categories:
1. Student issues: boredom, lack of attachment to teaching staff, frustration or difficulty with the
curriculum and inadequate social support were among the key factors leading to absenteeism.
2. School issues: inconsistencies in engagement practices and teaching quality, and teachers were also
seen to have difficulty balancing the needs of absentees and the needs of the broader group.
3. Parental issues: a low regard for education and attendance was often identified in the families of
regular absentees, and parenting skills such as time management and discipline were brought into
question in the case of some families; Resistance to pressure from schools and poor communication
between parents and staff with regard to attendance.
The triggers and the whys are interesting, but I wonder how much this could change if teachers with
students who have access to technology at home, and this is obviously a pressing concern, knew how to
teach them while they were at home. Would students be more likely to just come to school if they knew
they would be responsible for it anyway? For my techquest, I know that a majority of my students have
computer and internet access, so I can complete my project using the results from my survey and prior
knowledge of my student demographics, assuming that access is for the most part, available to my
learners. I have the knowledge and the tools to teach from school/home. My school utilizes a website,
that is our “updated” homework hotlink but it is essentially providing students with that
aforementioned “hard packet” of assessment rather than teaching or learning. We do not utilize any
type of learning management system, although we clearly should. I will continue building upon my 7th
grade class curriculum website to complete this project.