Northeast Middle School

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Blended Learning: Changes in technology lead to changes in the classroom

Changes in technology are changing the way we educate students. This school year marks the beginning of a new program that allows Tift County students to learn online.

Blended learning is a new format in which students are taking online classes, but are doing so in a classroom with a Tift County teacher. Blended courses allow students to take advantage of the flexibility and convenience of an online course while retaining the benefits of face-to-face classroom experiences with a certified classroom teachers. It allows students to experience components of online learning, while maintaining the social and instructional interactions that may not readily lend themselves to online delivery, such as lab assignments.

One of the state’s requirements for graduation in upcoming years will be that students have taken online classes for credit. It will also benefit students in that many colleges and universities are offering online courses.

The software being used is Edgenuity, as it aligns with the system’s educational standards.

Northeast Campus and Eighth Street Middle School are piloting the program to a small group of students this year, and then plan to possibly roll it out to all students next year. Tift County High School and J.T. Reddick are planning to add offerings as well.

“We consider Edgenuity an online interactive textbook, with Masters-level teachers walking students through content,” said Jonathan Judy, Chief Technology Officer for Tift County Schools. “It will be an amazing tool for our staff to have at their disposal to deliver rigorous content to our students.”

Examples of classes currently being offered include social studies/American government, physical science, mathematical finance and Spanish at ESMS. The software is also used for credit attainment and credit recovery at Northeast and TCHS.

“Students will be able to use this initiative for many different reasons,” said Kechia Graves, Director of Curriculum for grades six-twelve. We are currently using it for credit attainment, but it will be able to be used for remediation, unit recovery during a semester, credit recovery and others may just use it for extra practice.”

Students are already seeing the benefits of the new format.

"I like the class because I am able to work at my own pace and not be rushed or feel pressured for answers,” said Keara Chukes, an eighth grader in the Financial Math class. “I can go back and review the material as often as I need to and also ask my teacher, Coach Chris Wade for help. It has been a really fun class to be in."

As the program grows, we hope to be able to offer more classes for credit attainment.