Bibb Schools Now Using Virtual Teachers - WMAZ

Justin McDuffie, WMAZ; 9:11 PM. EST November 02, 2016

Colleges and universities are graduating fewer students than ever that are prepared to teach, but Bibb schools is going high-tech to fill some of their vacancies.

One Weaver Middle School sixth grade class is just a little different from the others in the building.

“I have a virtual teacher and she's very cool,” said student Sydney Pauldo.

She is one of dozens of students in Bibb County's pilot program that uses virtual teachers from Proximity Learning.

Students aren’t the only ones in the room -- there is a long term substitute supervising the children, while their teacher is in Texas.

“She does the instruction and I do the classroom management. I make sure they are logged onto their computers and make sure it runs smoothly so the kids are not just going wild,” said Shikesha Thornton.

Each student can see and interact with the teacher online through their own laptop.

Kamiyah Jackson says they even virtually raise their hand with a click of the mouse.

“They have a little icon on the side of the computer and it has one that raises your hand and she might put out the chat box so you can ask the question,” said Jackson.

With all the technology, Paul Ogoh says some days are more challenging than others.

“Sometimes the connection goes low and comes back up and her screen freezes,” said Ogoh.

Despite a few glitches, they still keep moving forward and they say it's not much different than other classes.         
“We're doing the same thing, it’s just that she's not there really,” said Pauldo.

This may be the way of the future, but for now it's just a trial.

Ballard Hudson Middle School and Martin Luther King Elementary are also trying out the virtual teacher program.

According to Bibb Schools, they do not provide benefits for the substitute or the virtual teacher, so the combined cost is equivalent or a little than a highly qualified in-person classroom teacher.

Original story: http://www.13wmaz.com/news/local/bibb-schools-now-using-virtual-teachers/346385243