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Victories found in distance learning amidst challenges


April 10, 2020

Elsa Winbigler

This week fifth-graders at Cloquet Middle School learned about artist Christoph Niemann by examining his website, sharing their favorite illustrations with classmates, and discussing their thoughts in an online discussion, said art teacher Andrea Cacek, who shared these photos from her students. Cacek said students are experimenting with Niemann's techniques by using iOS MarkUp tools to personify photographs. "Online or face-to-face, art echoes life," Cacek said. "This is evident in the work that students have submitted. From the hand soap message, to the mug's exasperated exclamation, it is clear what is on our students' minds."

The first two weeks of distance learning has admittedly been a mixed bag for both students and staff at Carlton County schools, with many older kids adapting quickly to learning online, while some teachers struggle more with the daily grind of staring at a computer screen.

Trying to reach students of all ages has been a challenge, administrators and teachers report. Technology breakdowns were another issue, from getting students hooked up with internet access, to software crashing, to fixing broken computers and tablets.

But there were also many pleasant surprises, and both teachers and st...

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