The Cargill Classroom

An Opportunity to Offer Specialist High School Programming

Presented by: Darran Teneycke & Larissa Mack, Prairie South School Division

“Students enjoy learning this way”

The Cargill Classroom, was a talk focusing on the issue of offering education through different methods than the “normal” classroom. The question was asked: “how can you give the same education to a rural town as you can a urban city?”. The solution was done through “Synchronous Learning”. Synchronous Learning or Cargill Classroom is a class taught live in one school and then broadcasted to a different classroom. In the receiving classroom there is still a supervising teacher in the classroom. The broadcasting is done through the application Skype. When Synchronous classrooms were implemented timetables had to be shifted to fit the new adjusted class times. This method of learning gives students a greater access to proficient teachers, and it allows teachers to share knowledge with one another and further develop their own knowledge. This system allows one teacher to teach three classes across the province at the same time. The teacher can interact with the students in the other classroom, there are microphones in both rooms, allowing students in both classrooms to ask questions. The classwork is all done on Microsoft OneNote, and assignments can be done online or you can submit pictures of hard copies. You are still able to get one on one talks with the teacher as they mark your paper, the website allows chat rooms with your student to have an ongoing conversation as they mark. Additionally, location isn’t an issue with the schooling, you can “tune in” from anywhere. All you had to do was sign in with skype. This method of teaching is a step forward in the right direction in creating an increased course offerings in rural schools. It has allowed a greater education for students in rural areas where they would never been able to have a class. However the issues like working in labs, staff and students willingness to switch over to the new methods,  are all short term, and are a result of resentment to change.

Personally I view this as a step above any online schooling I have heard about or have taken part in.  With this method it allows a more personal and hands on schooling, and allows for students to be active in a class, just through a screen. I see the need for this type if schooling in areas where they lack specialized staff, specifically in rural schools. It is an improvement from the current “online classes” but could still be further improved as technology improves. In the future I hope to see the instillation of both Advanced Placement (AP) classes, International Baccalaureate (IB) classes and any other form of advanced education, because rural schools should have equal access to advance learning as urban schools do.