Online enrollment increases, expands platforms

Online learning seems to bridge the gap for the needs of classroom and home learning.
Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 1:26 PM EDT
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KINGSFORD, Mich. (WLUC) -At home, a new way of learning is taking place and it’s not the same online agenda as during the shutdown of schools last spring.

“We’re going back to what we know we do well, with the platforms we trust,” said the Breitung Township School’s innovative programming lead, Amanda Gibbons.

Not one platform covers all students. For younger students like kindergartner Ryan Gibbons, the platform is adaptive and full of cartoon characters.

“I like doing school on my tablet,” said the 5-year-old. He can go at his own pace, but also interacts with the curriculum.

“They’re meant to be small concentrated doses of education, because we don’t believe that student should be in front of a screen very long,” said Amanda.

Breitung Township Schools has over 250 students doing online learning this year. Each student gets a Chromebook to use in their studies. That technology gives students the opportunity to learn on their own.

“It just gives me more time and I feel better,” said 10-year-old Ava Gibbons.

For older students a targeted approach is most effective.

“It’s balanced cognitive load, and a high school student can finish in just three hours a day,” said Amanda.

While students were going back to the school building on August 26, online had a soft-start.

“It allows us to get kids into a habit after not being in a structure all summer,” said Amanda.

She says it also give them time to get students situated so they aren’t behind in the first week.

“It’s going perfectly great,” said the 10-year-old.

New this year, Breitung Township Schools has assigned each student a learning coach. This is a teacher in the district to help. As online and remote learning has increased by over 180 students in Kingsford alone, Gibbons says in the future that could change.

“What we’ll see is we will have students who are ready to come back sooner than later,” she said.

But for now, online learning seems to bridge the gap for the needs of classroom and home learning.

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