eLearning is the new normal for teachers and students in South Dakota, at least for more than a month. Governor Kristi Noem is requesting school buildings close until May 1. Local teachers have been preparing for this, and they’re getting creative to make sure students are getting an education. However, that is not the only goal.
“Ready, set, go,” Braden Bradfield, Roosevelt High School teacher, said.
It’s just a kitchen.
“So, I’ve got a household item. We have red cabbage,” Chris Cameron, Roosevelt High School teacher, said.
It has all the right ingredients to become a chemistry classroom.
“You actually have to grind it up, it has a chemical inside of it. What’s called an indicator. It takes a little bit. It’s loud,” Cameron shouted over a NutriBullet motor.
After they blend the cabbage, they add lemon juice. The acid mixes with the cabbage, and changes its color. Cameron and Bradfield record these chemistry experiments and post them, along with lectures, online for their students who are eLearning and distance learning.
“We actually just use a phone camera,” Cameron said.
Cameron says these experiments are safe. He’s using household items instead of powerful chemicals. He says the positive side to e-teaching is students can watch the videos as many times as they need in order to understand the lesson.
The ripple effect of COVID-19 is a bitter thing to swallow. That’s why these teachers are doing their best to turn lemons into a solution.
“It’s a lot different because I’m used to getting up and going to school, but now I’m just staying at home in my own bed,” Trinity Richarz said.
15-year-old sophomore Trinity Richarz follows along with these e-lessons and lectures. It’s not ideal. However, beyond her grades, this online classroom is helping keep up her morale.
“It still keeps us all connected and everything. So, it’s not as different,” Richarz said.
“They’re not even supposed to be going out and hanging out with their friends, so giving them an opportunity to even communicate with each other through Google meet or through these apps like Zoom. Giving them an opportunity to talk with each other, that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” Cameron said.
We’ve had to adapt the school’s recipe a bit. Whether it’s a classroom or kitchen, people like Bradfield and Cameron are still focusing on their students. That’s what makes them teachers.
“We want these kids to succeed even though it’s still a trying time,” Cameron said.