netTrekker Publishes H1N1 Kit To Help Teachers Continue Teaching
- By Dian Schaffhauser
netTrekker, which sells an educational online search tool with 300,000 digital resources that align with state educational standards, has created an H1N1 Absence Survival Kit. The kit has resources intended to assist K-12 schools in their continuity of learning preparation to assist students who can't attend school physically in the event of a flu incident or pandemic.
The United States Department of Education recently published a set of guidelines to help facilitate continuity of learning in K-12 schools. ED said it intends to help districts prepare for extended student absences in the wake of the H1N1 virus. Among other recommendations, ED suggested several options for proving students at home with class materials, advocated digital and technology-based resources to help close the gap, and reminded schools to keep student contact information up to date.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the H1N1 flu season may last until May. Seasonal influenza is declining in the United States but remains higher than normal for this time of year because of the emergence of the H1N1 flu virus, with people under the age of 65 the most heavily impacted. About 15 percent of the U.S. population has been infected with H1N1, leaving a large portion of the population still susceptible.
The kit from netTrekker includes resources from the department, virtual instruction lesson plan templates, Webinars to help educators use netTrekker's My Portfolio to create assignments for absent students, and resources to help schools communicate with parents. Although anybody can access the links included in the kit, most of the links have ties to the netTrekker application.
"We can cover a lot without having students in the classroom," said Missy Sepulvado, technology coordinator and trainer at Carmel River Elementary School in Carmel, CA. "A great thing about netTrekker is the lesson plan templates that are provided. I am going to be teaching a module soon in our school about using 'My Portfolio' with lesson plans for students who will be out for a period of time."
Ridgecrest, CA-based Sierra Sands School District history teacher Jo Ann McClelland said a potential closure due to an epidemic doesn't worry her. "I feel confident that I would be able to produce effective online lessons for my students with netTrekker. I can develop a lesson in a short time, and once the lessons are created, it is very easy to alter them and reassign them to different students."
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.