Working out virtual kinks, Scotlandville High makes adjustments to typically hands-on courses
BATON ROUGE – Getting used to virtual learning is what teachers, students, and parents are having to do ahead of the new school year. One of the big adjustments is holding hands-on courses like robotics through a computer.
“This is our first time doing this, everybody's actually,” Liberty Dela Cruz said, the robotics teacher at Scotlandville Magnet High.
Over the summer, Dela Cruz led a week-long cyber robotics camp to students interested in engineering.
“The only hard part is when you lose connections. When your students say, ‘I can't see you Ms. Dela Cruz',” she said.
That was the point of the summer course: to work through the kinks ahead of the new school year, which will begin virtually on Aug. 10 through Labor Day.
“I think that was a key piece to the camp how can a parent or student log on because sometimes we won't know until we explore it,” the magnet site coordinator Dr. Cynthia Weber said.
There were obvious differences in the camp this year compared to years past. Normally, the students work to build a robot in person, which isn’t possible online. However, the teens were able to learn how to make a virtual robot move through coding.
“It required them to walk through, and articulate what was going on and solving the problem so they're still getting the same critical thinking skills,” Dr. Weber said.
Weber says the program not only helped the engineering teens navigate the virtual learning environment, but it also helped their parents.
“We actually had parents near the students,” Dr. Weber said. “The parents were learning too because the entire time you can hear the parents helping the students, so I think that is a benefit for virtual. You’re not just reaching a student, you’re reaching a student and parent at the same time. When you’re in a building, it’s kind of difficult.”
“I feel good [about the upcoming year] because the classes are going to be like the virtual camp was," a parent added. "There’s a teacher there and the kids can ask questions. That was one of my concerns about the back and forth if they have issues, but I can see it can possibly be good.”
Students in grades 9-11 interested in robotics can apply to join a course by clicking here.