Updated: 02/14/2014 10:45 PM
Created: 02/14/2014 3:53 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
Completely online high schools have cropped up in the Twin Cities, but Duluth students could be the first in the Northland to log in for attendance. The Duluth district is seeking state approval for an online program
Forget buses, books, and school bells. Teachers at Duluth's Area Learning Center are booting up an online classroom.
“I think it's exciting to be looking at this through a lens of okay how can we make this as much like a classroom as possible? How can we we get collaboration and choice and students really excited about learning?” Phil Thouin said.
Science teacher Phil Thouin is working on the concept of a digital class. He said computer applications can become a space for students to create, interact, and learn.
“Online applications that kind of create a sandbox where multiple users can be working in the same space, interacting, chatting,” Thouin said. “We're thinking about them maybe creating their own Youtube videos or animations.”
He said students won't just be surfing the web. Teachers will have the power of pixel pedagogy through recorded video or live-streaming chats.
“Make no mistake, the key component here is the teacher. It's going to come down to how well the teacher is able to use this tool and use this venue,” Chris Vold said.
Teacher Chris Vold is part of the team establishing the online school. He said any Duluth student could work full-time toward a diploma online. However, Vold said it would really help students who struggle to attend class.
“You have students that perhaps the family's struggling, and they have to have a job and they have to work to help support and pay bills. We've got teen parents; students that are missing school because of pregnancy,” Vold said.
He said the online program is being developed for students in the Duluth district, but once approved kids could commute online from anywhere in the state.
Soon the Duluth classrooms could convert into the online age. The district continues the state approval process, and officials hope to have some online offerings ready by fall of 2014.
Schroeder's Iditarod Run Inspires Learning in the Northland
Northlander Nathan Schroeder and his sled dog team continued their grueling journey across the Iditarod course in Alaska this weekend. The race leader was expected to finish on Monday, but Schroeder was running in 25th place. Still, students in his home town are learning a lot by cheering him on.
Northland Teens Dance Against Cancer
Northland teens participated in the Eighth Annual Dancing Against Cancer Dance Showcase on Sunday. The event has raised over $15,000 for St. Jude's in the last seven years.
Shamrock Shufflers Pub Hop Along 2.8-Mile Run
The Duluth Running Company Shamrock Shuffle covered 2.8 miles and four pubs on Sunday. Participants weren't racing for a title, but for pints. The run ended at Dubh Linn Irish Pub with live outdoor music.
Angels for a Cause
A crowd gathered in Duluth on Sunday to make snow angels for a good cause. Profits from the event went to Lutheran Social Services to help them build the Center for Changing Lives, a new center for homeless youth in Duluth.
New York Folk Artist Visits Sacred Heart
New York-based folk singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky performed at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth on Sunday.