Online Learning vs. Personalized Learning

Brooke Kraizer, Staff Reporter

E-Learning was not something that was planned for the 2019-2020 school year. After the COVID-19 outbreak and the government having limitations on the amount of people in a closed area as well as stay at home orders, on April 9, 2020 Parkway officially cancelled school for the rest of the semester. Dr. Kevin Beckner, the Assistant Superintendent of Education has helped with the transition due to the Pandemic. 

February is when Beckner and his team started to come up with the “what if” scenarios.

 “Our first serious conversation about what we would do in the case of a closure was toward the end of February,”  Beckner said. 

That is when eLearning came as the best solution to keep students educated and have some sense of normalcy throughout this pandemic. 

Parkway had everything organized step by step to make this transition as smooth as possible for students and teachers.  

“As a district, we made sure teachers had the tools, resources, and training available for them,” Beckner said. 

Beckner also gave teachers a lot of credit after suggesting that once teachers got their resources they did a phenomenal job with transitioning to an online learning environment.

 “[Teachers] did all the work and deserve all the credit. It’s a testament to the fact that Parkway is full of amazing teachers who go above and beyond for students,” Beckner said.

Teachers and students have been working online for around four weeks now and it is starting to turn into the “normal.” Sarah Burgess is an English teacher who misses seeing her students in person. She does have office hours daily via Zoom and weekly classes but it is not the same. 

“It’s been difficult for me because I can’t see how students are responding to the material. In a classroom, I can see students are struggling or if they need something different, or they give me feedback that they need something different from me and then I can adjust,” Burgess said. 

Christy Keating, a Spanish teacher, isn’t having a rough time as far as curriculum goes but like everyone else, misses the in-person interaction. Keating also expressed that this will be her last semester at Central, because she is getting her masters in counseling, she is sad she cannot be there in person to say her goodbyes. Learning a different language in person isn’t always the easiest but online can make it a tad bit harder. Keating has had different ways to interact with her students as well as making sure they are keeping up with their spanish education. 

My motto has been, ‘less is more’. I’ve assigned things that I hope will be enjoyable, such as watching episodes of Spanish TV shows and learning more about how COVID-19 is affecting Spanish-speaking countries around the world,” Keating said.

 This can help students learn by comparing and contrasting what is happening in Spain versus here.

Students are potentially losing a big part of their social life because they cannot be with friends not only on the weekends but during normal school days. Most students say that they miss school because of the social interaction and it just isn’t the same. 

Parkway recently switched to a four day work week for students, with Fridays being a professional development/communication day for teachers.  Sophomore and class president Nancy Pate Eubank created a schedule for herself to help keep her on track. 

“I’ve created a new schedule for online school, and I try to finish my schoolwork in a couple of days rather than a five day week,” Eubank said.

Savannah Grasmick is a senior who has that same strategy. By doing this it gives her more time to relax and do other things.

Students are thankful for teachers more than ever right now, junior Jack McCormick is taking full advantage of his email to make the most out of this online experience. 

“All teachers are great; they’re responding to every email and answer every question no matter how many times we ask them. Serious hats off to all teachers during this because they are putting in the work and it’s really showing,” McCormick said.