Reinventing education through online learning


By Sam Shriver - sshriver@limanews.com



Alison Siefker, a kindergarten teacher at SS. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Ottawa, demonstrates how leaves soak up sunlight while showing her pupils the parts of a plant Tuesday. Siefker posts videos of lessons on a private Facebook group for parents to show their children, who learn at home with school buildings closed during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Alison Siefker, a kindergarten teacher at SS. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Ottawa, demonstrates how leaves soak up sunlight while showing her pupils the parts of a plant Tuesday. Siefker posts videos of lessons on a private Facebook group for parents to show their children, who learn at home with school buildings closed during the novel coronavirus pandemic.


Courtesy of Alison Siefker, Ottawa

LIMA — Keeping the learning going through the coronavirus pandemic has forced school districts across the country to take the education online.

Online platforms like Schoology, Dojo, Zoom and Google Classroom are being utilized and in some cases over-utilized. Some school districts were having problems using Schoology earlier in the week due to an increase in usage nationwide.

Some students don’t have internet access, providing another problem for some school districts.

“We put together a spreadsheet of all of the kids who have not been doing anything online and the schools have been calling these families and letting us know whether or not that family has a device in their home and or internet access,” said Jill Ackerman, superintendent of Lima schools.

Ackerman noted last week that they are in the process of getting more Chromebooks and internet hotspots so these students who don’t have access can participate in online learning.

“Teachers are doing a great job on their platforms and they’re able to interact with kids. We want all kids to be able to have that ability. All of the lessons that have been done online are all there so I can see every week’s worth for my own child so they can go back and work at their pace,” Ackerman said.

Getting kids motivated to study is a challenge.

“We’ve been doing a lot of posts on our social media pages with teachers reading books to kids and doing different activities just to keep kids engaged, doing a lot of Zoom meetings and that’s become really popular,” said Aaron Rex, superintendent of Wapakoneta schools. “Teachers have been staying in contact with their classes by setting up the Zoom meetings and Google Classroom so there’s lots of avenues out there for people to use. It’s disappointing that we’re not going to have school but I think with what we’re going through right now, everybody understands that’s what’s best until we can get through this and we make a positive turn.”

Schools had to turn to online learning, some reluctantly.

“I wrote a little internal communication to our staff about a week or two ago and in there, I wrote ‘necessity is the mother of invention,’” said Jim Kanable, superintendent of Shawnee schools. “I can’t say that I’m pleased that this is going on (online learning) but you know, I saw a collection of professionals come together, and in two or three days, bring a lot of concepts and ideas and they share them with each other.”

Parents are also helping students with online learning.

“I feel like now we’re starting to understand, even as parents, we’re figuring out how to maneuver our way through the different platforms and we’re able to kind of pace ourselves with the work,” Ackerman said.

But Ackerman is also disappointed in some students not buckling down.

“I had a little frustration in looking at kids that I know have access to technology that are not doing their work. So it was kind of a call to parents to make sure you’re following up with them. We have a checklist that we complete, a schedule that we stay on every day — just having parents really make sure that the kids that are able to do the work electronically are actually doing it,” Ackerman said.

She emphasizes that even though they’re online, they’re still in school.

“These days count as days in school. So I want kids to understand that you will or won’t earn credits — you will or won’t earn passing grades so they need to take it seriously. This counts 100%,” Ackerman said.

Alison Siefker, a kindergarten teacher at SS. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Ottawa, demonstrates how leaves soak up sunlight while showing her pupils the parts of a plant Tuesday. Siefker posts videos of lessons on a private Facebook group for parents to show their children, who learn at home with school buildings closed during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/04/web1_OnlineLearning-Siefker.jpgAlison Siefker, a kindergarten teacher at SS. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Ottawa, demonstrates how leaves soak up sunlight while showing her pupils the parts of a plant Tuesday. Siefker posts videos of lessons on a private Facebook group for parents to show their children, who learn at home with school buildings closed during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy of Alison Siefker, Ottawa

By Sam Shriver

sshriver@limanews.com

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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