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Beaufort County School District using online platforms to keep students engaged

Education

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — Beaufort County School District faculty members are getting creative when it comes to online learning.

All South Carolina schools are closed through April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Beaufort County students began learning online the first day after schools closed.

Beaufort County is a 1 to 1 district, meaning all students grade 3 through 12 have their own mobile devices, while younger students learn using paperwork packets.

In the two weeks they’ve been closed, the district has been working on improvements to online classes. Teachers are now transitioning to the video platform Zoom to instruct students in a virtual classroom setting.

“We trained over one thousand teachers in using Zoom to deliver instruction as an additional means of doing that,” Superintendent of Beaufort County School District Frank Rodriguez said.

But it’s used for more than traditional book work. Some teachers are using digital media platforms to read books, do fitness challenges and have award ceremonies to keep students engaged.

“I think they’ve been doing an amazing job,” Rodriguez said. “I’m really so impressed with them because if you can imagine, we had to shift our entire instructional model overnight.”

“They have just been amazing,” he added. “Very innovative in the manner in which they’re engaging the students.”

Teachers are also using Facebook Live, YouTube and other social media to get their kids excited about online learning.

Beaufort Elementary School’s physical education teacher is posting exercise videos for students since activities and sports are also postponed until further notice.

Red Cedar Elementary School hosted its annual award ceremony for students all through Facebook Live, which got more than 1,000 views.

“We didn’t want to miss an opportunity to celebrate and honor our students,” Rodriguez said. “Some of our schools went ahead and moved forward with virtual award ceremonies.”

Some teachers even created a suggested school schedule to keep their students focused throughout the day.

“We’re also supporting not only our academic instruction for students but the mental health and wellbeing of our students,” Rodriguez said. “And one of the best things that people can do is to make sure they still have a schedule.”

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