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GDP: Synchronous Learning, Technology, and School Re-Opening
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GDP: Synchronous Learning, Technology, and School Re-Opening

Originally posted here.
By Chamian Cruz, for the Gwinnett Daily Post

Synchronous Learning is the new initiative being implemented for the upcoming school year at Greater Atlanta Christian School, beginning August 10th. Smart cameras, directional microphones, and interactive white boards will enable “at-home” students to be more fully integrated into their normal schedule's real-time classroom, and with their teacher and classmates. The cutting-edge technology offers families on-going flexibility while not compromising on a robust education complete with class collaboration and content sharing. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, it also provides our families the ability to choose to keep their students home the amount of time they prefer.

“For the past several months, a team of GAC senior leaders, school level administrators, and lead teachers have been working to transform our K-12 learning spaces so that classes can be taught face-to-face and online, simultaneously,” shared Dr. Scott Harsh in an email to school families last week.

Live distance-learning platforms have been a part of the GAC contingency plans for years, but were created for short-term needs such as inclement weather days, or minor illness make-ups.  Covid-19’s long term impact prompted the school to invest heavily in more technology, ensuring a high level of cohesive learning both virtually and face to face, simultaneously. Synchronous Learning, as it is called, allows students to experience real-time teaching and collaboration regardless of location. Currently GAC is installing all K-12th grade classrooms with extensive equipment, including an interactive, adaptive, all-in-one monitor with sixteen smart-focus-audio and a 4K camera that tracks each speaker and face.  The real-time teaching and collaboration are automatically recorded for later reference by the student. “This technology allows us to go well-beyond what we offered during the shelter-in-place mandate, truly transforming the GAC educational experience,” said Dr. Harsh.

And in a recent survey to the GAC community, almost 90% of GAC parents gave the school’s response to COVID in the spring an “A” compared to only approximately 70% of parents Nationally who gave their schools an “A” rating. These results were according to a survey conducted in late spring by Independent School Management with over 16,000 responses.

These results are in sharp contrast to those reported in the Wall Street Journal, which called remote learning a failure. 

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