Impact Georgia Magazine - Regaining Momentum - Page 18



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Overcoming the obstacles that academic education has faced during the last year has been no easy task . The Georgia Department of Corrections ’ education staff has come together to figure out how to continue education without utilizing traditional academic forms . Through creativity and determination , the team gave offenders the chance to continue their education during unforeseen circumstances .
At the end of the 2020 academic year , instructors stepped out of the traditional classroom setting and into a technology-based learning system . The new system allows educators in the Specialized Mental Health Treatment Units ( SMHTU ) to offer classes and courses via televisions and tablets for students . The device allows for classes to take place at any given area or time .
This technology-based learning style has allowed the SMHTU to provide program options to more students than initially reached in the traditional instructional format . Offenders can learn from various channels within their cells and continue learning without worrying about missing an in-person class . This instructional model encourages offenders to be accountable for their learning .
Instructor Sherida Lewis says , “ Staff members were creative and innovative in their instructional practices . The increased use of technology has been instrumental in providing instructional content and information throughout the SMHTU facilities .” There have been significant changes to the traditional learning classrooms , but instructors and offenders have worked hard to adjust to the new normal .
The TV services were installed in the SMHTU in April 2020 and included a dedicated channel for programming . The programming channel gave all offenders in Phases 3 , 4 , 5 of the SMHTU access to academic and cognitive programming on the televisions inside their cells and in specific areas of the facilities . The programs included academic courses for GED studies , Risk Reduction and Reentry