SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Online learning has never been needed as much as it is right now, but what does it actually look like?
Things are very quiet at Benedictine Military School as no students are on campus because of the coronavirus outbreak, but that doesn’t mean students aren’t still logging into their classes.
“I’ll be honest with you I’m definitely not waking up at the normal time that I do for school days,” joked Andrew Peters, a senior at Benedictine Military School.
Peters is now attending his calculus class online. Friday he could be seen doing problems alongside his teacher and classmates from the comfort of his home.
“It’s really cool how everything we can do in a classroom we’re able to do online,” Peters said. “The only element that is really missing is being there with another person.”
It’s all possible because the school invested in a new learning management system bringing technology to students via discussion boards, videos and more.
Benedictine’s transition to online learning happened with much thought after the Principal Jacob Horne was talking with colleagues across the world. They saw the virus spreading so he devised a plan for Benedictine cadets.
“That’s what we do as educators we collaborate and we’re the best when we do collaborate because ultimately it helps the kids,” said Principal Jacob Horne, Benedictine Military School. “When we began to evaluate what would do at Benedictine it was easier to kind of begin to crawl, walk, run.”
Crawl, walk, run is how Horne describes their digital learning rollout. Benedictine staff, educators and IT worked to create class structure online for their 400 cadets that was functional for all. Not wanting to move too fast they started small, and are continuing to ramp up their expectations as they all learn together.
“Our motto right now is patience and participation over perfection,” said Horne. “It’s going to take time, that’s okay. You’re going to hit hurdles whether it’s you as a family with your child at home or whether it’s us as an educator hitting some kind of technology hurdle and that’s okay. That’s what’s beautiful about life and it’s okay to hit hurdles, but we’ll make it and we’ll continue to work hard for our young men.”
While they are working online from home, students are still learning. School leaders say they have about 75% the work load they would while in the school’s now dark halls.
While Andrew Peters admits he was sad about the disruption COVID-19 has brought to his senior year he knew this break was needed for everyone’s safety. He ultimately believes this online learning will be good preparation for college this fall when he is set to head to Notre Dame.
It’s attitudes like this and the hard work of so many to make it happen that has school leaders saying thank you in the midst of this strange and unknown time.
“Did these people need to be told? No,” said Father Frank Ziemkiewicz, Headmaster of Benedictine“You know they just stepped up and said that they were willing to help in any way possible and again we just can’t be grateful enough.”
Benedictine online learning will continue as classes are out until April 24.