Students learn from home

Substantial snowfall this winter has left many K-12 schools across the U.S. closed for days at a time, but learning continues for some students and teachers through a Web-based storage and file sharing service.

Offering access to digital projects from any Internet location, School Web Lockers ( is a virtual learning system that allows teachers to distribute an assignment to an entire class with a single mouse click. The students can then download the assignment, complete their work, and turn it in electronically, without having to physically travel to a drop off location. Once a student uploads a file, the document is date stamped and automatically sent to the teacher's online folder. Teachers can then access all completed student work in a single online location, which simplifies grading and ensures that assignments are never lost.

All of this can take place at any hour of the day, and outside of school -- from home, a library, or anywhere Internet access and a computer are available.

For Byron School District, based in Byron, Ill., every winter the school experiences an unexpected closure due to snow. "With this closure our students and teachers face added challenges to complete their work in a timely manner," said Terry Wilken, district network manager for Byron School District. "School Web Lockers gives us the ability to overcome these challenges and remain productive when physical attendance at school is not possible. The staff and students are effectively using the web-based technology to keep up with assignments, and they're very pleased with the ease and convenience that the system offers for file sharing and data storage on a daily basis, with or without snow."

Absences Due to Illness
In addition to "snow day" school closures, a digital locker system helps students who are home due to illness to keep up with their classes, as long as they feel well enough to work.

Snow days are uncommon for the Diocese of Dallas Catholic Schools, but keeping students on top of assignments when absences do occur is important, says Carol Mayo, professional development coordinator for the Diocese.

"School Web Lockers offers an ideal learning solution for students who may be kept away from school physically, for any of a number of reasons, but who wish to stay on top of assignments from the convenience of a remote PC," says Mayo. "The system's collaboration features also keep students and teachers on the same page, so that when students do return to class, less time will be required to get back up to speed."

With School Web Lockers, each school or district receives its own secure Web site, from which each student and teacher is able to access their own personal, password-protected Web locker. Priced at $1.00 per student per year, School Web Lockers requires no investment in storage or server hardware, which also saves management and maintenance time for school technology specialists.