by Matt Haggard and Rayne Guyer/Staff Writers
Picture by Matt Haggard/ Bailey Lyle, 11, works on her schoolwork for Flex Day, a technology e-learning day at GC.
The Flex Pilot Day on Wed. Nov. 16 was a test day for future e-learning days. Students did not have to attend school. Instead, they accessed their classes from an online learning management system (LMS) like Google Classroom or Moodle. There were then assignments, readings, or video lessons the students were to complete during the day.
As this is the first flex day at Greenfield Central High School, many teachers were curious how students would handle the day. Mr. Paul Grizzard, the choir teacher, said, “I think that that administration has prepared the teachers well and from what I’ve seen is teachers have prepared the students well.”
Mr. Todd Degler, a math teacher, said, “I thought students and staff handled the flex day well. Students were able to receive their assignments from their teachers through Google Classroom or Moodle.”
In choir, the regular day consists of singing, sight reading and more. Since many kids had choir on the flex day, what would the choir kids do? In Mr. Grizzard’s class, students were assigned a Google Form that consisted of music theory, musical terms, and general music knowledge questions. The students were also given videos and lyrics to the “Madrigal Dinner” songs to memorize for a test.
Mrs. Rebekah Cerqua, science department, said that she runs her classes on “the flipped model,” which means that the students already watch lectures at home. The only problem that she had was trying to rework her schedule to find an activity that would fit on Flex Day.
For Mr. Degler’s class, “Students needed to view notes and examples I had posted on Moodle as well as doing the assignment on Big Ideas Math. Since it was not a review assignment students had to take a more active part in learning the material for themselves.”
One concern was that teachers would need to have resources for students who might have technology issues or lack of access to technology.
Mr. Degler said students would be mostly familiar with the technology. “I already use Moodle as a regular part of delivering resources and assignments to students. I was able to respond by email to a few students’ questions.”
Another concern was about the student work getting completed.
Mr. Grizzard said, “I would be curious to see how students handle it in terms of being self motivated because it’s sometimes hard to motivate yourself to do something at home while you have many more distractions.”
Mrs. Cerqua said, “I think the biggest concern is if the work is going to be done,” and Mr. Degler stated, “I was concerned more students would not do the assignment or not try to learn the new material and then expect me to take an extra day to get them caught up.”
Mr. Grizzard spoke about the benefits of Flex Day. “I think that this Flex Day will prepare students for (future) opportunities.”
Mrs. Cerqua agreed.“One of the biggest benefits for students is that this kind of mimics online learning course,” Mrs. Cerqua said.
Mr. Degler said, “It allowed us to count the school day as well as give time for teachers to collaborate in professional development.”
Students weighed in on their thoughts for Flex Day as well.
Before Flex Day, Gabriel Barnes, 11, said, “I don’t think it will be effective. Most students will most likely forget to do their work during the day. They will just go on like it was a day without school. Even so, some students don’t have internet access at home. Sure, it’s effective to have (Flex) days in the school year, but I don’t think the students will follow through with it very well.’’
After Flex Day, Barnes commented, ‘’(Flex Day) was good. I did the work that was due at the end of the day. I did not do the work that is due tomorrow, though. I want more of those days so I can sleep in and be able to do more work at my own pace.’’
Ethan Nicholas, 10, said he wasn’t sure about having more Flex Days because “if we have too many Flex Days, I feel like kids won’t do their work and will just sit at home doing nothing.”
Jolie Smith, 10, said, “Flex Day would be more beneficial on like snow days instead of how we had it. I thought it was a great way to be able to take your time and not be rushed.’’ Both Barnes and Smith think the idea of more Flex Days would be a good idea just because most students used it to make up some of their work and to do the work that is due.
Nicholas agreed with Barnes and Smith on liking Flex Day. “I like it because you can do your stuff at home and not worry about how long you take on an assignments.’’