CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (KDKA) — Things are looking different as school districts kick off the new academic year.

“We went from literally not being online to totally online in three days,” said Tim Plocinik, the principal at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School.

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Plocinik is referring to the quick changes due to the coronavirus shutdown this past spring. The sudden switch left minimal time for teachers to adapt.

“We all latched on to the one thing that we were most comfortable with,” said English teacher Tyler Rodger.

The transition presented challenges for both the faculty and students at home.

“Managing the different style of online teaching, the students that couldn’t show up for their class at the time and handling them at a later time,” said Deborah Deakin, the curriculum consultant at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School.

With time to prepare for the fall, Plocinik signed his entire staff up for an online learning workshop at Robert Morris University.

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“Once they understand how technology can come into play, then they start to say this doesn’t work for me, but I could morph this or transition this and try this,” said Dr. Richard Fuller.

Fuller is an education professor at RMU and serves as an expert to the teachers in the workshops. The workshops are designed to answer a growing number of questions.

“How do you test online? How do you do those things? How do you teach online? How do you do group activities? The normal thing teachers do? We started looking at our own faculty and how we made the transitions to online,” Fuller said.

The training was a new educational opportunity for teachers.

“You have to be excited about the new changes. And as a teacher, this gives me an opportunity to update my lesson plans. I’m going to do things with more technology that I may have not utilized if we were in a more standard environment,” Rodger said.

Each workshop is custom-designed to meet the needs of the individual school. Dr. Fuller said his team is happy to work with any other districts that may need help adapting to new technology.

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His email is fuller@rmu.edu.