Effective spring 2019, Indiana schools/districts are not required to request approval from the IDOE to implement eLearning days. Assurances to maintain instructional fidelity remain the responsibility of the individual school/district.
Over the past eight years, the eLearning Day Program has provided school districts with an option for continuing an instructional day away from traditional time limits and brick and mortar setting. This innovative program has evolved into an engaging instructional model used in many Indiana schools to keep the sequence of learning going in spite of weather and other challenges. More importantly, it has provided teachers and students the opportunity to engage with digital resources, to collaborate virtually, and to develop digital skills that are used and valued beyond K-12.
There are a variety of reasons a school/corporation would use an eLearning Day beyond the development of blended learning skills. Many districts have utilized the program to keep learning going during a day of snow or other inclement weather, professional development, parent conferences, widespread illness, and flooding.
eLearning Day Best Practice Resources
From the implementation of this program, best practices and guidance have emerged for district leaders to consider before attempting an eLearning Day as one of the 180 days of instruction. Below you will find some resources and assurances to help in determining the readiness of your district to employ eLearning days with fidelity.
Criteria that a district/school should be able to deliver on an eLearning Day: eLearning Day criteria
Practical advice on preparing for eLearning Days webinar, eLearning Days: Helping Teachers Get Ready
Sample Lessons: Digital content page
Great resources from a district implementing eLearning Days: resources from Franklin Township
eLearning Day Program History
In 2009 changes in the rules for textbook funding opened the door to technology in Indiana schools. In the nine years since, our school corporations have greatly expanded the technology which students and teachers access for learning. According to our Indiana Tech Plan data, over half of all corporations brought their student/device ratio up to 1:1 at either all or some grade levels.
This access to devices spurred innovative ways to engage students and teachers outside of the traditional day and place through virtual options for learning. These experiences brought about the IDOE Flex Program, launched in 2011, and the Virtual Option for Inclement Weather, launched in 2014. With these programs, school corporations designed and implemented blended learning experiences for all students and met the IDOE criteria for eLearning Days.
Through interaction with the corporations approved for Flex and the Virtual Option over the past seven years, it became clear that having the capacity to utilize digital tools for learning away from the classroom, and for all students, is the same regardless of the reason for doing so. With that in mind, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year we combined the Flex and Virtual Option programs into the IDOE eLearning Day Program.