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Lydia Laucella

By Jordan Beach 

Reinhardt students experienced virtual learning in a new way when Lydia Laucella’s education class participated in the AVID program at Crabapple Middle School using technology.

Earlier this year, Laucella’s students visited Crabapple Middle School to speak with students in the AVID program. AVID stands for “Advancement of Individual Determination,” and is a program designed to teach middle school students college success skills, such as skills in writing, questioning, collaboration, notetaking and reading, along with goal setting and organization. The program brings its participants to college field trips and college and career showcases.

In order to adapt the visit, Laucella, assistant director of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning and assistant professor of education and instructional design, split her class into a team for the seventh-grade students and a team for the eighth-grade students, both teams creating a week’s worth of content for the program.

Each team created a choice board for their designated students. The content consisted of question and answer videos, podcasts, surveys and even a hot wings challenge done while answering questions from the middle school participants.

The virtual field trip concluded with a mentoring experience using the online forum Padlet. This platform allowed for middle school students to make connections with Reinhardt’s college students to seek further advice on their futures.

“Not only did the AVID students benefit from this experience by engaging in a personalized lesson on college, but Reinhardt’s Values, Character, and Leadership Development students, many of which are preparing to become educators, were able to learn more about teaching ethics, differentiating lessons and lesson planning and the art of collaboration,” said Laucella.

The choice boards Reinhardt students created were shared with other AVID coordinators and AVID supervisors in Fulton County, showcasing the collaboration between Reinhardt and Crabapple Middle School.

Brian DeWitt ’22 is studying to teach math and history in middle grades education and worked with the eighth-grade AVID students.

“Working with the AVID students was a unique, challenging and rewarding experience, where myself and my peers were entrusted to develop and implement material to these students that was not only engaging but also informative,” said DeWitt. “I primarily gleaned from this project the overall significance that these young minds would place on our mini-lessons and the innate importance that we, as future teachers, have to provide quality instruction.”

Ryan Neill ’24, secondary English education major, had the chance to work with the seventh-grade group.

“It was a lot of fun to be able to answer questions from seventh graders. They asked many great questions that I certainly wasn’t thinking about when I was their age,” Neill said. “They seemed to get a kick out of the wing challenge video that we put together. This definitely reinforced my excitement to become a teacher once I graduate from Reinhardt. It’ll be fun learning new skills to put into my teacher toolbox.”

Though classrooms look and feel different this year, this experience provided insight into learning to adapt to the future of learning.