For the first quarter, scholars have started their days by entering their virtual classrooms at 8:15 a.m. and ending the day at noon. Virtual tutoring is offered to all scholars from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday afternoons.
This new schedule has led to drastic changes in how Collegiate teachers work and instruct and how scholars are learning.
Mr. Siebert, Collegiate’s STEM department chair and science teacher explained, “We have two sessions per week per class. As teachers, we have had to figure out what are the most important things we should be doing during the time we have with our scholars.”
For online learning purposes, Collegiate decided to move to a flipped classroom model. In this model, scholars are sent prep work containing short videos and articles introducing new content for students to review outside of the classroom. When scholars are in their virtual classrooms, they work on assignments with the opportunity to process the information and ask their teacher and peers questions.
For Mr. Siebert, this model is helping him identify the most important information for the amount of time he has with scholars. He pointed out, “When teaching in the classroom, I would end up spending thirty minutes introducing something new, but now I’m able to make that content into an eight minute video because I’m not going off on tangents or asking and answering questions. Scholars can go back and rewatch if they need to. By making these prep work videos, we’re saving time -- which is much more valuable now.”
Another way Collegiate has had to make a shift in the learning process is by thinking outside of traditional test assessments.
Mr. Siebert shared, “One way we’re measuring learning is by pushing assessments other than multiple-choice. In my own class, I asked scholars to create a Flipgrid video explaining the process of homeostasis as if they were teaching it to someone else. I think a lot of scholars learned from the making of the video, and I’m able to use this video as an assessment.”
However, online learning doesn’t come without its challenges for teachers and scholars. Mr. Siebert talked about his thoughts on the positives and negatives associated with a virtual platform.
“Scholars and teachers feel less connected than they would if they were in person, but overall I think people are adjusting well. Teachers are doing a great job of adapting lessons that they’ve used previously to work in an online format, and scholars are working hard and learning.”
When asked what his hopes were for the future of learning at Collegiate, Mr. Siebert responded, "I hope that when it becomes safe, and we're back in the classroom, we'll take the great, innovative strategies we've learned while teaching virtually and apply them to our in-person instruction and our scholars will get to experience the best of both worlds."