Impact Georgia Magazine - Regaining Momentum - Page 11

“ With the implementation of technology , offenders now have access to additional study material , pre-tests , and enhancement tools .”
REGAINING MOMENTUM - WINTER 2021 REGAINING MOMENTUM - WINTER 2021

DISTANCE

Learning

Research has shown that academic education classes are most effective when certified and qualified academic instructors lead them . Successful instructors utilize a variety of learning techniques to educate students , no matter the circumstances . With the untraditional 2020 academic year , educational institutions , including correctional agencies , have changed how they approach instruction .
Southwest Education Program Specialist Dr . Brantley , Instructor Deen from Ware State Prison and Instructor Ivey from Macon State Prison recently piloted the GDC ’ s first distance learning session . During the session , they co-taught a series of math lessons via a live broadcast . By broadcasting the lessons to multiple locations , they provided educational instruction to 25 socially distanced offenders .
As restrictions during the pandemic increased , the Georgia Department of Corrections ( GDC ) facilities education staff found that daily face-to-face instruction needed to be limited . This limitation in staffing created a setback for classes and student progress . When qualified instructors are not available , students cannot progress through programs , and thus instruction stalls .
Education staff members began creatively thinking about how instruction can continue when instructors are not available or can ’ t access students directly . The first thought education staff had was to provide distance learning . The distance learning program would offer the students a way to watch education sessions stream in a classroom setting or individually , thereby allowing students to keep up with their studies .

“ With the implementation of technology , offenders now have access to additional study material , pre-tests , and enhancement tools .”

-Instructor Ivey
The new distance learning platform allows teachers to record lessons to share with other facilities , limits travel cost , and educate more students at once . An additional benefit of distance learning is that it will enable instructors to team-teach from different locations to ensure that offenders obtain the absolute best instruction in a content area . Teachers can also utilize this technology to distance their students within their facility and teach multiple classes at once .
Moving forward , the GDC plans to expand the distance learning concept to provide technology-based learning opportunities for offenders . Facilities across the state are currently working on setting up the software to make this opportunity possible for each offender . This new learning style will maintain security integrity in our facilities while allowing them to succeed academically .
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