Driver education continues in virtual classrooms in SE Cornerstone

Many students are continuing their studies through supplemental learning on-line since classes were suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and those studies include driver education for high school students.

Curriculum coordinator Michael Graham provided the board of trustees of Southeast Cornerstone with an update about how the program is continuing in a virtual way with the contracted drivers’ ed instructors.

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When the provincial government suspended all classes in March, “this was one of the first questions administrators at high schools asked, basically how we’re going to get the kids through driver training,” said Graham.

The in-class portion of driver education is continuing online through Microsoft Teams, as other classes already are, set up by the four instructors which do driver’s ed in Cornerstone’s high schools.

“These contracted employees maybe haven’t used as many features of Teams as the teachers have. We set it up so each classroom has a specific channel or group,” explained Graham. “We set it up so it was easy for the instructors to post their material.”

One set of students began in March, and the next set will begin as soon as they are done their set of lessons, he noted, pointing out that the students are already familiar with the Teams program for accessing assignments for their supplemental learning.

The instructors are able to customize their questions for each of their lessons, using their familiarity with the students to set the lessons up.

“I sat in on a class,” said Graham. “It was a unique experience. … You could tell which students were working more with the program than others.”

He noted that some small groups of students were able to meet at once as part of a lesson.

One issue that has come up is the students are not able to complete the driver education class without the chance to drive a vehicle.

“A lot had questions on the face-to-face training. We have to wait for what that might look like for getting back in a car with the students,” said Graham.

“The idea of using Teams is going to help some of our students, especially rural students,” he added. “Hopefully we won’t have a huge backlog of students for driver’s ed.”