Given all the attention devoted to educational technology that offers online lectures from remote locations, it's a wonder that it hasn't been used more widely while New York City's public schools have been closed for five days in response to Hurricane Sandy. The Web site GothamSchools.org, which is the go-to-site for comprehensive coverage of public education in New York City, reports:
Ralph Martinez, the principal of P.S. 89 in the Bronx, said his teachers had posted new homework assignments and practice materials online using the program Jupiter Grade. But he said not every student has internet access at home....
At Stuyvesant High School, which is located next to the West Side Highway and currently does not have power, longtime computer science teacher Mike Zamansky resumed classes for some of his students on Wednesday by online Google chat.
About 40 students watched the class live and others watched a recorded video afterwards, said Zamansky, who documented the experience on his blog.
"People keep talking about recorded lectures … but if anything, today's experience just confirms to me that there's nothing like an in-class teacher, particularly with a small group of students," Zamansky wrote. "That said, I think this was a good experience and my students seem to agree. We spent part of an otherwise unproductive day in a productive manner and we're planning on doing it again tomorrow."
Imagine the educational gains possible if this sort of thing became standard procedure for snow days or other storm-related school closures, rather than an unusual example.