SOURCE: School Web Lockers

November 07, 2007 08:45 ET

Continuing Education Despite Natural Disasters: Some San Diego County Schools Forge Ahead Through the Fires With Virtual Learning

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - November 7, 2007) - When the wildfires broke out in San Diego County on Sunday, October 21, most schools in the county closed down. As the flames spread rapidly and the number of evacuees increased exponentially, all of the county's districts closed for the entire week. Many students, teachers and administrators did not know whether their schools would still be there when they returned. But school still went on for some through a web-based storage and file sharing service called School Web Lockers.

School Web Lockers offers schools and school districts individual "lockers" for students, teachers, and administrators to store and share school-related files. Through use of these web lockers, students in both the Santee Unified School District and the San Diego Unified School District were able to continue some of their class work outside of school during the closures.

These students, who were accessing the School Web Lockers system in locations that were not threatened by the fires, were also able to stay in contact with one another on the system's message boards. Most, if not all of those using the system, were not forced to evacuate from their homes, but were instead looking for ways to remain productive and continue with projects as unhealthy air quality kept them indoors.

During conditions such as this, an unexpected week off can typically cause students to fall behind, but with virtual learning systems such as School Web Lockers, teachers are able to post assignments and class work that normally would have been handed out in the classroom. The students are then able to download assignments and turn in completed documents to the teacher online, without having to physically travel to a drop off location. Once an assignment is posted, or turned in to the teacher, the document is date stamped and automatically sent to the teacher's folder.

Students at Correia Middle School, part of San Diego Unified, took advantage of the system frequently during the firestorms. Stacey Tinsley, a seventh grade humanities teacher for the school, asked students to research the wildfires and gave them an assignment to create warning posters for residents in San Diego County. Tinsley said, "Web Lockers was a great tool for storing research and communicating through the disaster." As news articles came out, the students saved the documents and stored them in their lockers, using select information to create their posters.

School closures due to bad weather, such as "snow days," are commonplace, and also present an opportunity to continue with learning through a digital locker system. In addition, students who are staying home due to illness can leverage a digital locker system to keep up with their classes, as long as they feel well enough to work. "School Web Lockers is the ideal solution for students who may be kept away from school physically, due to any of a number of reasons, but who wish to stay on top of assignments from the convenience of a remote PC," said Darryl Vidal, vice president of Networld Solutions, Inc., parent company to School Web Lockers. "The system's collaboration features, including message boards, also keep students and teachers on the same page, so that when school re-opens, less time will be required to get back up to speed."

The School Web Lockers system is used district-wide in a number of locations across the U.S., with districts such as Riverside Unified in California encompassing as many as 46,000 users. Each school or school district receives its own secure, password-protected web site for collaboration and storage. The system is completely hosted within the School Web Lockers co-location facility, which means schools not only reduce their investment in technology infrastructure, but they also eliminate software maintenance and administration costs. In addition, School Web Lockers removes the need for paper by allowing teachers to upload documents and post them directly into student web lockers.

About School Web Lockers

School Web Lockers is a leading provider of cost-effective, web-based tools for collaboration, distance learning, one-to-one computing and online storage. Formed in 2004 as a division of San Diego-based Networld Solutions, Inc., School Web Lockers today serves hundreds of K-12 schools and school districts across the U.S. with secure, easy-to-use computing solutions for students, teachers and administrators. For more information, visit www.schoolweblockers.com

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