Electives Without Equipment


by Brooke Galsky, Reporter

With the first quarter behind us and second quarter underway, many students and staff have adapted to the distance-learning curveball. New lesson plans were made, assignments were reconstructed, and even some clubs have reemerged.

However, these adjustments don’t signify that every class transitions easily into online learning. Palo Verde’s Video Production, Web Design, Engineering, and Woodshop electives, which typically use equipment or state-of-the-art programs, are a few of the classes that had difficulties.

Multiple teachers noted the challenging lack of one-on-one feedback. When in class, teachers could walk around the classroom and offer advice, troubleshooting, and reminders to their students. This year though, giving this feedback has been difficult.

With Video Production specifically, it is usual Adobe Premiere Pro program and DSLR cameras that have been replaced. Students now edit on free mobile programs or chrome books and film on chrome books or phones. Video Production II, III, and Advanced Studies students are producing PVTV from home, rather than at Palo’s modern studio.

“Nothing we typically use is available right now,” said Mrs. Steffenhagen, the teacher of Video Production I, II, III, and Advanced Studies, “In a class like this, [distance learning has] completely changed everything.”

However, with Web Design, this transition has been a tad easier.

“[I teach] web design and computer science – so we were already fully on computer online instruction,” said Ms. Coultas, the teacher of Web Design I, II, III, AP Computer Science Principles, and Computer Science Technology.

Web Design’s routine of announcements, instruction, and assignments has stayed relatively unchanged. The main alteration is in its absent Adobe lessons, since Adobe programs don’t download onto chrome books. Ms. Coutlas hopes to be in the classroom second semester to teach these lessons.

Contrasting this, Palo’s Engineering and Woodworking classes were tough to rework.

Woodworking’s planes, table saws, and sanders are all unavailable. Students are now taught woodworking academics, like its mathematics and furniture designing basics, rather than building.

For Engineering, as its teacher Mr. Turbie credited, “the most complete lab in [Nevada] for automated manufacturing” is unavailable, along with its computer-controlled equipment and powerful simulation programs such as Onshape.

However, 3D modeling programs such as Project Lead The Way and Autodesk Fusion and the learning management website LearnMate have been helpful stand-ins.

“The fact that we’re online now has opened up doors for all kinds of things that we wouldn’t have known… we had earlier,” said Mr. Turbie, the teacher of Engineering I, II, IV, Manufacturing, and Furniture and Cabinetmaking I through IV. “I think most teachers are still going to use these tools that we’ve found… because this stuff is powerful.”

The optimistic side to these challenges is how finding new ways to teach online may lead to innovation within in-person classrooms. Things have changed, but for these electives, these changes may help better their classes for years to come.