A learning curve to teaching online


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s day two of remote learning in the Sioux Falls School District.

The district says so far teachers, students and parents seem to be adapting well to this new way of education.

School teachers are quickly finding out there’s a bit of a learning curve for everyone teaching online.

KELOLAND News sat down with the curriculum coordinators to talk about the challenges they’ve had to overcome.

“The very biggest obstacle at the elementary level and probably the other levels as well, is the fact that not everyone has internet access,” Sue McAdaragh Elementary Curriculum Coordinator said.

“We do have paper copies of all the material for our middle school students, who don’t have internet access, so they can come into the schools and pick those up, if they need those,” Demi Moon, Middle School Curriculum Coordinator said.

The school district is working with Midco and other wireless companies to get internet access for free or at a reduced cost to students who don’t have it.

“I think some of our high school students are responsible for younger siblings while they are at home, so they have to balance helping out with child care with younger students, doing homework, and finding time to do it themselves, that’s probably the biggest challenge,” Kristin Grinager High School Curriculum Coordinator.

The district uses multiple platforms, like Google Classroom and Schoology, along with its own website, so teachers can connect with their students. So far, they say, it’s been going well.

“I had the opportunity to visit with some high school teachers yesterday and they were really excited about how many students have been online,” Grinager said.

We connected with one teacher online who says while it’s going well, there have been some concerns.

“I know some parents may be frustrated because they don’t know how to help their kids and some of them are working, I’ve had a few comments that ‘this is hard when we are both working all day and we have to make sure the kids are getting everything,’ and I said hopefully if, I teach middle school, hopefully, the work we are giving them they can do independently for the most part,” physical education middle school teacher Kris Zortman said.

They offer this advice for parents and students.

“Take a deep breath give yourself some grace have some patience no one is expecting parents to have all the answers just reach out and communicate with teachers if they are struggling with something,” Moon said.

“My hope is that this ends very quickly and we can go back to life as we knew it before, I think we will all be so excited to see our students again,” Grinager said.

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