Technology has always had an impact on education. Since COVID 19, Educators and students had to quickly adapt to the digital world using class video calls, tablets, and smartphones on an almost daily basis.
We spoke to two English Learners Teachers in Bismarck who had to get creative with teaching since schools were closed… Rebecca Andvik and Tara Streed.
The summer institute was created as a pilot program for students who come from all over the world and are living in Bismarck with only level 1 English. The two teachers had to get creative to keep the student’s attention. So they take them on virtual field trips.
“This is an easier way.. and it’s more able to get them engaged in their assignments every day,” said Rebecca Andvik/English Learners Teacher.
So far they’ve been to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, grocery shopping, and the Dakota Zoo. The program coordinator says this new normal has changed everything.
I’ve never seen anything like this. I think that it’s been a tough thing for our English learner families,” said Wendy Sanderson /Program Coordinator for BPS English Learners.
Sanderson says without language development help, students’ progress toward mastering the English language is slowed, but this new digital Summer institute has helped not only the children but the parents too.
“The parents were so excited about it as well because it would help them learn English too and help them with their vocabulary,” said Andvik.
Despite the learning curve with these new practices — it seems to hold many opportunities for improved ways of working in the future, for everybody.
The teachers said this summer institute program has been such a hit, they’re hoping to get 120 hours for next summer.. instead of the 60 hours they’re allotted this summer.