Aroostook County School Takes on New Virtual Teaching Program

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The power of technology. The Ashland District School is going virtual with one of their classes. It’s called the Distance Learning Spanish Program. Julio Morin, the Spanish teacher at Easton Junior Senior High School is not only teaching his Spanish class to his students at Easton, but Ashland students as well.

"This new program is the promethean program and the students in Ashland are able to see me and hear me and see what is going on in the classroom here so that they can also take the Spanish one course," said Morin.

"I think it’s cool that Señor got this big screen. Everybody’s just in one place it feels like they’re actually here but they’re not," said Easton student Savannah Guess.

Morin gathers his students in his classroom, then video calls over to Ashland where he teaches five more students at the same time.

"I can either directly go in my laptop to their screens so that they can see it or I can zoom in with the camera on anything that I might be showing on the board," said Morin.

"It gives students a chance to be able to learn different things that maybe their school can’t provide but they can still be at their school to do it," said Guess.

The idea for the new program began when Ashland couldn’t find a Spanish teacher for their students. But, after some brainstorming, they decided to use the power of technology.

"Small schools in our area have a very difficult time getting foreign language teachers. Through a process of conferences, Cam Adams, the principal over at Easton, and I began discussing different possibilities of sharing teachers," said Ashland principal Joel Hall.

Once the program was given the green light, five motivated students from Ashland were chosen to take the pilot course in hopes of success to continue the program in the future.

"There’s a lot of schools that are going to be watching how this works and seeing if maybe they can be offer something," said Hall.

"I hope that this program becomes more than just one course or this helps those schools who aren’t able to get a teacher that they can use this type of technology for their students to still be able to take a course," said Morin.

And if the program is a hit, the opportunities of virtual teaching in the county could be endless.

"I think it’s going to open doors for a wide variety of offerings in the future. I would love to see a network of Aroostook county schools offering different courses to expand what we deliver," said Hall.

And if there’s a way to share resources, save money, and give kids a better education, it’s a win-win for everyone.