3754123623_c8943c434fWhat is your flu plan?If you are like most schools, you will spend some time during opening of school meetings discussing the Swine Flu.  Its arrival seems inevitable but how much it will affect students, classes, and school activities is still unknown.  What is clear is schools should have a plan not only for school closure but, more likely, for conducting school when there is a high rate of absences among both students and faculty.Another thing that is clear- technology will play an important role in keeping kids connected when they are at home while continuing curriculum at school.  Many schools already have a website and a content management system but, if you are like our school, these get used in varying degrees.  If the flu hits hard this fall, teachers will have little choice of whether or not to utilize these systems. This can be a great opportunity for technology directors and curriculum integrationists.  Pandemic planning will motivate those reluctant-to-adopt-technology teachers to experiment with web-based tools and software in order to deal with the interruption that the flu will bring.  This could be just the leverage that is needed to get teachers to see the value of technology, not only in a distance learning setting, but also as a learning tool.

This fall our school will be recommend that faculty use their course web pages regularly; updating them with homework assignments, handouts, and copies of class notes.   We will encourage them to get familiar with tools that aid in distance learning like:  GoogleDocs and Sites, Nings, skype, Voicethread, and Jing.  Teachers can Twitter their assignments.  They can work collaboratively on a class assignment using Google Docs. For a more comprehensive tool, they can set up a Ning in order to have class discussions, blogs, and share files.  There are many options.There is no doubt dealing the H1N1 virus this fall will be tricky. Schools should start the conversations early.  Get teachers together and have them share strategies on how continue teaching during the flu season.  Have teachers demonstrate tools they already use in their class which will help other teachers this fall.  Teachers should consider having a teaching “partner”, just in case one of them becomes ill or needs to stay home with a family member for an extended period of time.  That teacher could then lean on their “partner” to help facilitate their class off- and online. There are many options to consider and each school will go about it differently.  What is your plan?  Are you sharing it?  Have you communicated it with your faculty?  Your students?  Your parents?

Photo Credit: stanrandom

Page Lennig

Page Lennig

Director of Technology at Waynflete School