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Telecommuting Teacher

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When Frank Wilson found out that he would need six weeks to recover from his knee-replacement surgery, the 47-year veteran teacher decided to get tech-wise, according to the Columbus Local News.

Rather than canceling his Advanced Placement government classes at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio, Wilson sought his administration’s approval to conduct classes from his home via Web cam.

"My students all have Tablet PCs, and our government classes are almost paperless," Wilson said. "We have the technology to pull this off and my students were receptive to the idea."

Wilson set up the camera in his basement and held live sessions in which he and his class could see each other and hold discussions. For liability reasons, another teacher was present in the room with the students.

"The Web cam allowed us to conduct a near normal class period," he said. "Most teachers who are off for an extended period of time are too sick to do what I did."

Wilson’s students, whom he describes as well-disciplined, were enthusiastic about the Web cam arrangement. "It makes you more excited for class, to get to be a part of something like this," said Watterson senior Nick Gilloti.

4 Comments

There are so many possibilities for this kind of technology. I recall that some snowy district somewhere had online class instead of snow days. Everyone had to log on by a certain time--which led to kids calling one another if they hadn't showed up online yet.

But think of the possibility for offering instruction in a language other than English for a scattered population of ELLs, or advanced classes in a small rural district (combined with other rural districts, or maybe just filling empty seats for a more distant urban with more possibilities). Once we realize that geography need not be a barrier, many possibilities occur. I have taken online courses with students spread around the world--even finishing up a final assignment after my family was on vacation.

Praise goes to the district administration for supporting this teacher's creativity. The students learned more than the content being taught - they got dose of "We can do this!" Sounds like this is a good place to teach and to learn.

I am the Curriculum Supervisor for the NAEP High School Transcript Study for "Our Nation's Report Card" (NCES). We are in the midst of coding high school courses for the 2009 HSTS. Would the government courses mentioned in the article be coded AP Comparative Government and Politics and/or United States Government and Politics off-campus computer-based course online delivery or distance learning? Did seniors take the courses to meet 2008 graduation requirements? Please let me know. Thanks very much--Dr. Hoover

Hi from South Dakota
We are a VERY rural state. The school I teach in has only 42 9-12 graders. Were it not for the DDN (Dakota Digital Network), a system that links sites all over the state via a teleconference set up, students in our school who want to take AP classes or some specialized kind of elective would be out of luck.

South Dakota has a very well developed system of distance education classes for high school students, and yes it is a great addition to the curriculum of many small isolated school districts.

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  • MAKoenig: Hi from South Dakota We are a VERY rural state. read more
  • K. Hoover, Senior Education Researcher: I am the Curriculum Supervisor for the NAEP High School read more
  • John Tenny: Praise goes to the district administration for supporting this teacher's read more
  • Margo/Mom: There are so many possibilities for this kind of technology. read more

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