New class option happening right now!

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Classes are now offered blended.

Blended classes use both online and in-person learning environments when teaching students. In Hershey, this is a new addition to the regular in-person learning that is used most regularly in the high school.

Hershey offers a few different classes in the blended format such as Spanish 3 and AP language and composition.

“In Hershey if you take a blended class, you alternate between an in-person class and an online class. The same teacher assigns both the in-class and online work,” said Micah MacColl Nicholson, a blended Spanish 3 student.

According to Erik Barber, a Hershey High School (HHS) teacher, “In-class days are generally labs, group discussion, and notes. The in-class element of blended classes is very similar to a standard class, with similar things being done in the non-blended classes.”

Out-of-class days are where it really differs from a regular class said Barber. For a standard class this does not exist, but blended classes have this every other day.

From the teacher’s view of the classroom the “students use Canvas to complete assignments, watch relevant videos, or contribute to online classroom discussions,” said Barber.

However, from the student’s view of the classroom,  “usually I will go to the library and be with the kids who I usually have spanish with,”  said MacColl Nicholson.

For the teacher it is like a regular class again because usually they will teach two blended classes on alternating days.

According to blended student Julia Parrey, “For most of the blended classes there is no distinction between classwork and homework, but it is understood that whatever classwork is not completed will be completed for the following class period. The next class period is usually the next school day.”

If the work is not completed for that next day, it is considered late said HHS English teacher Hannah Mackay. Late work could be a big problem for blended classes, but both Mackay and Barber have seen no increase in late work as of now.

The other big concern is about students getting distracted if they are not in class everyday.

Parrey said, “I do sometimes get distracted during study hall, but I generally keep myself fairly focused.”

MacColl Nicholson agrees and disagrees with Parrey’s point when she said, “I’m not as productive in these periods as I am in the class day, but that time to unwind a little if I’m very overwhelmed at the moment is very useful.”

The class can be very useful, but do students actually prefer blended classes over the regular style of classes?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I prefer blended to normal classes, but I don’t dislike the blended class. I definitely enjoy it; however, there is no way I could have all of my classes blended because I definitely would not be able to handle the work,” said Parrey.

MacColl Nicholson differs in opinion.

“I like the structure of the regular class, and I am struggling with getting assignments turned in on time… I like it, but for people who really can manage time well,” said MacColl Nicholson.

Overall, blended classes are a new option for students that allow them to have the flexibility of a study hall every other day. During the study hall they can work on the appropriate class, retake or makeup a test, or even meet with another teacher. This flexibility allows students a much needed break sometimes.

Blended classes were an interesting addition to the types of classes here at Hershey. This was the pilot year, so any adjustments will be made for the 2018-2019 school year as well if they continue.