How Can EdTech Function When the Teacher is on Leave?

A sick/absent teacher often means a bump in the road for learning progress being made at that time. Substitute teachers are often called in that morning, don’t necessarily know the students, and may not have a clear picture of what students are (or should be) working on. However, the influx of classroom technology could soon make it so that entire day of learning isn’t thrown away when a teacher is absent.


It is a known fact that taking full advantage of classroom tech to alleviate the need for sick/absent days will require administrators to ensure that a greater deal of classroom management training is available to the substitute pool, among other things. Additionally, sick days aren’t the only one when the tech is disrupted. South Carolina recently launched a pilot in five districts aimed at instituting “eLearning” days. It addresses the case of when inclement weather disrupts the regular school schedule. South Carolina is far from the first state to look at tech as a resource for thawing out snow days, though there are still potential pitfalls to consider. Schools can take further advantage of their tech investment via a handful of steps suggested by eSchool News rather than forgoing the use of classroom technology when a teacher is sick and has to use a substitute:

  • The key to ensuring these efforts run smoothly and teacher sick days remain productive is building a strong classroom culture where students are empowered to take responsibility.
  • The use of a learning management system to set up and distribute assignments can help keep students and substitutes on track when a teacher is absent. Additionally, giving students choice in their learning via options for independent assignments with detailed reflections of how they spent their time on that work can also help.

There are many challenges to developing and maintaining a productive classroom, but with a strong, student-centred culture and thoughtful use of technology, it is possible to have success with both.

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