Sophomore Karla Herrera works through a tutorial in English II on Edmentum. She completes guided notes as she learns the subject matter.
As second semester winds down, Marshall High School students have had time to make the transition to the online learning platform, Edmentum. The school implemented Edmentum in order to conduct in-person classes following a fire that closed the main classroom building in November 2021.
When the building was closed for renovation, students and staff were assigned to four different locations, making in-person teaching impossible for the majority of classes. That’s when Edmentum came into play. For most students, this platform seemed quite different from Google Classroom, which was used for online coursework taught by MHS staff.
“Google Classroom was really easier to use because we’ve been using Google Classroom since middle school, but Edmentum was the only website we had to use, so it was different,” Freshman Mimi Sherman said.
Sherman said she experienced some challenges with Edmentum.
“The website was kind of hard to understand at first. It took like a week to understand what buttons mean and everything,” she said. “I feel like that is the best the school can do, but Edmentum can be confusing at times.”
Sherman obtained help from teachers through email when she was working from the MHS commons. Her grades have been better than they were, and she credits the videos in the program with helping her out.
For Sophomores Mackenzie Eddy, Blaine Jones and Jayci Trelow, this was a new way to learn. For Eddy, it meant being more self-reliant, although she has an increased appreciation for in-person teaching by district staff.
“We learned to be independent through our education using Edmentum,” Eddy said. “I think it’s good for temporary things, but in the long term I think we all need real lessons from teachers.”
She noted that learning in Google Classroom is different from Edmentum.
“You got your information from teachers and then you did the assignment on Google Classroom, and on Edmentum the lesson is on the computer along with the questions,” Eddy said.
She received help from teachers who were in her building as she worked through the lesson on her own. She thinks her grades so far are pretty good, but in some classes they could be a little better.
Jones has no problem using Edmentum.
“I mean personally, I like it because my grades are good,” Jones said. “You don’t quite learn as much from Edmentum as you would in a normal classroom.”
Jones wasn’t quite as surprised when the school had to transition to a new online platform as he has been dealing with learning disruptions for the past three years. His grades have risen since the transition to Edmentum.
For Trelow, it was a little scary at first when she found out the school was transitioning to a new online platform.
“I thought that I would fail most of my classes at first because I’m not good with new systems, and when I heard that the school was switching, I did not like that decision,” Trelow said.
However, she likes the fact that she can get ahold of her teachers to unlock tests, and that is what is helping her keep her grades up. In order to get help on her assignments when she was stationed at the Saline County Fairgrounds, Trelow either sent an email or found a teacher who was available.
Trelow does find Edmentum to be a lot better than Google Classroom.
“I can work on my school work all together because it is all organized by dates, and on Google Classroom they’re like ‘due tomorrow’ or ‘due Wednesday,’ and you would never know the date it was assigned,” Trelow said, noting that she likes Edmentum now that she knows how to work her assignments.
Junior Brendan Weaver was unsure what learning was going to look like when he returned after Christmas break. However, the challenging part was getting used to the new online curriculum.
“Google Classroom was what I was used to. I had never seen Edmentum before,” Weaver said, adding that his grades are about the same as they were first semester.
Senior Trafton Thompson said he is going with the flow with Edmentum.
“I feel it is not a bad thing, but I definitely don’t want to have to do it again because I just haven’t learned like I would in a classroom,” Thompson said.
When the school announced that it would switch to a new online program, Thompson wasn’t surprised by the news.
“It wasn’t any different than what we’ve been doing the past two years; it wasn’t expected, but it also wasn’t a shock,” Thompson said.
Thompson also offered positive feedback on Edmentum.
“I like the ability to work around your schedule a little better, and I only have one class on Edmentum, so it really is not too bad. I just feel bad for the kids that have to sit and stare at the computer all day,” Thompson said.
Switching from Google Classroom to learning through Edmentum wasn’t difficult for Thompson.
“I really didn’t see any challenges. Just the teachers need to tell you what to do more and have you more prepared,” he said.
Because some MHS classes were not offered through Edmentum, students had to be switched to classes that were available, which was not a concern for Thompson.
“It was just a little confusing because I signed up to take a specific class, but I didn’t get it. For instance, Applied Communications is not the same as it would’ve been in person,” Thompson said
Students enrolled in cadet teaching were available to help the teachers and students when needed. Office helpers were assigned to administrators until the students returned to the building on March 22.
Parents also provided some feedback on the switch to the new learning model.
“From what I have heard from parents, most are supportive and understand the need for the decision,” said Assistant Principal Mindi Coslet. “Like the rest of us, they are looking forward to a ‘normal’ next year.”
Initially, Edmentum was open to students from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Sunday through Friday. However, those hours have been extended.
“As we knew some students were involved in sport and activities and due to an increase in students and parents requests, we decided to extend Edmentum to being open until 10 p.m. instead of 4:30 p.m. and making Edmentum available seven days a week,” Coslet said.
Although all the students and staff returned to the building on March 22, Edmentum still is in use for the majority of classes.
“The decision was made to stick with Edmentum because it would be nearly impossible to switch back due to the fact that students would be all in different places within the program,” Coslet said.
Many teachers are attempting to get students into similar spots so that they can support Edmentum with direct instruction.