BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Logical Operations has been in business for over 40 years. The company creates materials to teach topics ranging from basic computer use, to advanced cyber security. They also offer courses and materials for adult instructors, K-12 teachers, and even college professors how to teach virtually.
While they were ahead of curve, when the pandemic and resulting shutdown hit, the demand for their services to teach teachers — who are everywhere from the US, to Dubai, to Sri Lanka — how to teach virtually skyrocketed.
To help with the influx of demand, they set up “Modern Classroom Certified Trainer” for teachers who teach adults. And for teachers of K-12 students, who have to prepare for the uncertainties of the Fall 2020 school year, they have created a half-day class called “Certified Virtual Educator.”
“How do you take what is your normal curriculum, the normal structure of your class, and the normal community that you build inside of a classroom, and translate it to online?” said instructor John O’Keefe at Logical Operations. “That’s what the course teaches you to do.”
In the course, the instructor will guide teachers how on to use technology of online learning — whether its Zoom, Google, etc. —, with a focus on cultivating techniques for student engagement.
“The number one thing that all teachers struggle with when teaching virtually is keeping students engaged,” O’Keefe said. “Our experience changes when we’re on a computer.”
“It’s technology agnostic, it’s not promoting a type of software,” said John Freeze, Director of Center of Professional Education at University of Tennessee Chattanooga. His department is working to get public school teachers in the surrounding counties access to the CVE class. “When we first started thinking about moving our class online in the spring, I wasn’t worried about content, the ability of the teacher to teach the class, I was more concerned about how we were going to keep the students engaged with the learning.”
Students are not only adapting to a completely different learning style — you don’t interact with your teacher the same way you would your computer or phone — but are faced with distractions they never had to navigate in the classroom. So teachers have to learn how to engage students:
“CVE looks exactly at the pandemic situation exactly like the movie ‘Castaway’ with Tom Hanks,” O’Keefe said. “We recognize that these teachers have crashed on an island, and they’re struggling to survive. No one prepared them for this. So very quickly, we teach them three basic skills: cracking the coconut so we can get food and water, starting a fire so we can not get hypothermia, and finding some long term shelter, and maybe an escape plan.”
“We teach non-verbal interaction skills, we teach verbal interaction skills, and we teach long term asynchronous educational to build that long term sense of community so students can stay engaged,” he said. “Learning occurs in many different ways, just not from teacher to student, but friend to friend.”
And when students are engaged, teachers are happy, and parents are happy. It can also even help restore confidence of some teachers who may have lost it. And the higher the teachers confidence is, the higher student engagement is.
“I had an interaction with a teacher who taught my son physics,” said Jim Gabalski, VP of Marketing for Logical Operations. “To see this inspiring teacher who feels like she can’t be effective, was very frustrating… I know we can give her, and people like her, the skills to be just as confident teaching online as she is in a physical classroom.”
This isn’t the only way that this program hits close to home for workers at Logical Operations. For O’Keefe, this kind of instructor has both a personal and legacy connection.
“My father was an educator, he worked at Monroe Community College his entire life,” he said. “He was actually the founding teacher hired there… He made such an impact on so many people’s lives. This is best way in which I can honor his legacy.”
The “CVE” class does have a fee attached, but they have programs in place help an administrator sponsor one teacher or groups of teachers.
You can learn more about all of their classes and services here.