‘New normal’ brings challenges, opportunities
Tracey Swedlund is in his classroom teaching.
Swedlund a science teacher at Medford Area Senior High School is one of the thousands of teachers across the state and country who have had to rethink how education will work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While this has caused a great deal of stress, Swedlund said he is genuinely excited about the opportunities he said it opens up to educate in different ways and about the potential takeaways from the experience that could be put to use to improve student education in the future.
Swedlund is an instructor for Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program in Medford. PLTW challenges students to work collaboratively to research and find real-world solutions for issues. He said that despite schools changing how coursework is delivered, his students are using technology to continue to collaborate, refine designs and work on their projects. He said this is giving some realworld experience for the students as in a workplace they may have to hold regular interaction with project members spread across the globe.
He noted the students are able to work on their designs and send them to his classroom at Medford Area Senior High School when prototypes are ready to be made using the school’s 3-D printers.
Swedlund is a traditional brick-and-mortar teacher with decades of experiences lecturing and leading labs from the front of a classroom. He said he and his fellow teachers never signed up to do online learning, but that the needs of the situation are forcing them to adapt. For example, Swedlund said that he will continue to do labs, but that the students will see it from his perspective as opposed to doing it themselves. While he said there is no duplicate for the hands-on experience, it will still allow students to continue to receive their education. Swedlund is working from his classroom rather than from home because with a middle-school-aged son, a college student daughter and wife who is teaching from home, they just don’t have the space or the internet band-BRIAN width for him to also be teaching from home.