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Woman teaches from a classroom in Hebron but broadcasts to students across western ND

HEBRON--Bobbi Schneider instructs her students just like any other teacher, but not all of her students are physically in the room with her. Schneider teaches health career classes through Interactive Television from her classroom at Hebron Publi...

Bobbi Schneider teaches students Kaci Zastoupil, 16, Kiana Schatz, 16, and Natalie Opp, 17, in her classroom in Hebron while using ITV to broadcast to other students in western North Dakota on health careers. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)
Bobbi Schneider teaches students Kaci Zastoupil, 16, Kiana Schatz, 16, and Natalie Opp, 17, in her classroom in Hebron while using ITV to broadcast to other students in western North Dakota on health careers. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)

HEBRON-Bobbi Schneider instructs her students just like any other teacher, but not all of her students are physically in the room with her.

Schneider teaches health career classes through Interactive Television from her classroom at Hebron Public Schools with students tuning in for their classes remotely.

"These classes are designed for those students that want to go into a health career," Schneider said. "So if they already know what they want to do, they can start learning a lot of the things that they are going to come into contact with when they go to college. Hopefully that makes it easier for them."

Schneider, through Roughrider Area Career & Technical Center, is able to reach students from 10 schools in western North Dakota to teach health sciences.

She is able to teach students who might not have had the opportunity to learn Health Careers 1 and Medical Terminology because of lack of funds or the ability to fill classes.

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"In these small schools, now, we are able to offer curriculum not like a Bismarck or a Fargo, but we can offer a pretty diverse curriculum through our (ITV labs) to our students," said Ken Nelson, superintendent of Hebron Public Schools.

Nelson said the schools collectively came together nine years ago and provided surveys to their students. He said the biggest need was clearly health sciences and welding.

"I know throughout the state other schools were offering this program, and we didn't," he said. "To be able to share resources and good ones like Bobbi is huge for our schools."

Hebron, like some of the other rural schools, did not have the resources for a full-time teacher, he said, so they all combined funding to be able to hire someone through RACTC.

The member schools of RACTC are: Beach, Belfield, Dickinson, Glen Ullin, Hebron, Hettinger, Killdeer, Mott-Regent, New England, Richardton-Taylor, Scranton and South Heart. Dickinson currently has their own health career teacher.

But not all of the teachers come straight from a university setting, some use knowledge gained from workforce experience.

Schneider, who is a respiratory therapist, said she never thought that her medical background would lead her to teaching.

"Oh, I love it," she said. "I can reach five classrooms at one time."

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This is Schneider's first year with the program, but she said she is confident it will grow from the 40 or so students she has now to a much larger size with more classes offered.

She said she is planning to offer a class on athletic injuries and an Emergency Medical Services class next school year.

Wayne Olson, director of the RACTC, said he believes the EMS class will have a positive impact not only students but for the rural EMS.

"The EMS (class) is going to be very unique, and we are very excited about that because of the communities that are involved," he said. "I'm going to ask of them, the local EMS services and ambulance services, to teach the practicum of the class because, obviously, with Mrs. Schneider in Hebron she will be able to teach from the book and the day-to-day stuff, but there is a great deal of practicum involved (with the course) on a local level."

While Schneider has became more confident in her teaching abilities, she said there are still some things she has had to become accustomed to.

She said it has been a challenge trying to schedule around all of the schools on days when they do not have classes, but the students know what their classwork is without having to be tuned in.

Students use a system called Moodle or Tegrity to sign into their coursework. The system is operated through the North Dakota University System.

Once online students are able to access their curriculum, tests and homework.

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She said these students have the ability to either edit the document to answer questions or print it and ask someone at their school office to scan and send it to her.

Schneider said that she's had to be creative with finding ways to accommodate every student and make sure that they are staying honest when taking tests and quizzes.

"It's gotten better," she said. "You know, since this is my first year, the students are understanding my system way better, and I think it's gotten easier. The work may not have gotten easier, but they are able to understand me through here."

There is also the likelihood of future classes counting for college credit, Schneider said.

Not only will that be a benefit for students to get a kickstart on college courses, but she said it will also help them get a better idea whether a medical career is the right fit for them.

"How nice for these students to be able to get their feet wet or even decide 'I don't want to do this. This isn't for me,'" Schneider said.

Bobbi Schneider sits at her desk in front of a camera as she discusses class work with students through ITV. Schneider teaches students in real-time without being in the same physical location as her students. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)
Bobbi Schneider sits at her desk in front of a camera as she discusses class work with students through ITV. Schneider teaches students in real-time without being in the same physical location as her students. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)

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