By: Nicholas Sathi ’20
Over the past few years, Chaminade has instituted many incredible technological changes that have enhanced the learning experiences of its many students. The introduction of the Canvas learning management system and the distribution of iPads to each student have proven to be tremendously effective learning tools. This modern approach to education greatly aids students in learning, researching, and staying organized. The faculty also benefit from these innovations as they can assign work to students, explain concepts, and distribute learning resources in a much easier and more productive manner than they could in the past. With these tools, students can learn even if they are not physically present in the classroom. All the resources they need can be accessed through the click of a finger.
While not very common, there are a few dates in the school year on which students are not required to come to school but are responsible for working from home. These days are termed Virtual Class Days. Typically these days happen once in October for the staff’s Professional Development Day and once in either March or April when the senior class returns from Disney World. These dates usually fall on either a Friday or a Monday. The most recent Virtual Class Day took place this past Friday, October 26. While on these days, students are not required to be seated in homeroom at 8:05 a.m., they are still required to be academically productive.
The idea behind Virtual Class Day has been a part of Chaminade for several years now; however, it has evolved greatly with the introduction of Canvas and the iPads to become much more purposeful. In the past, these days would involve simply an extra, old-fashioned paper homework assignment tacked on to the students’ already existing weekend loads. The potential for teachers to actually teach the students while they remained at home increased significantly once Chaminade began to further advance its mission through technological means. While most Virtual Class Day assignments now are still essentially extra homework assignments, teachers can enhance these assignments with images, videos, documents, links, among other resources to help students learn new ideas. Instead of being told to read a certain section of a textbook and answer questions, students can be instructed to work on tasks that help them produce more creative assignments. These virtual class assignments can now better serve the purposes of classes that meet in person.
Students are responsible for completing their virtual class assignments by the next meetings of their actual classes. Given an ample amount of time to finish their work, the students can take advantage of this time to ensure they fully understand what they are being taught. Not only do the virtual classes prevent loss of learning time, they also prepare students for upcoming classes and reinforce previous topics.
Mr. Robert Paul ’92, Assistant Principal of Academics, said about Virtual Class Day, “The amount of teaching time that we have throughout the year is limited, and with changing to the block schedule in which classes meet every other day, we didn’t want to have extra days where we would have no instruction time. We decided to have each class create a thirty-minute assignment on these days that the students have to work through, which could incorporate activities like reading, watching videos, or answering questions. We try not to make it onerous; we basically try not to lose instruction time.”
Virtual Class Day is yet another example of how Chaminade continues to progress in its ultimate goal of offering the best education it possibly can to its students. It truly illustrates the school’s belief that every minute spent learning matters.