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November 2020
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Teachers go animated in virtual classrooms

DigitalClassroom

Pickens Board of Education Facebook / Photo

The above is from Harmony Elementary teacher Whitney Dickinson-Heath’s virtual Bitmoji classroom. The school board posted this on their Facebook page and wrote, “This is one of the many examples of a virtual classroom designed by our Pickens County teachers.”

 

Drawing a cartoon of a teacher usually gets a student in trouble, but this year teachers are “drawing” cartoons of themselves to use in virtual Bitmoji classrooms. 

These Bitmoji classrooms are part of the new “It’s Learning” digital platform that will be used in the Pickens school system this year. They are becoming popular with educators who are posting their virtual creations on social media. Teachers create avatars of themselves and decorate their virtual class with furniture, rugs, posters, and other features. Students are able to click on books, on the

whiteboard, or on other areas to retrieve assignments. They are intended to make online learning more exciting, interactive, and visually stimulating for students. 

“I did it! I am proud of myself,” wrote Harmony teacher Whitney Dickinson-Heath. “I may be one of the oldest teachers in the building, but I still got it!,” she said. 

Dickinson-Heath said from the slides she has created, students can access her math, science, and social studies classrooms where she has links to resources for both students and parents. 

“I also linked slides together, so students can navigate to challenge math problems, word problems of the day, and math centers, along with science and social studies explorations,” she said. “I am excited to show my students all of these resources. I hope it is helpful to them and makes distance learning (if we have to go that way) a little more fun.”

Students enrolled in the Pickens Virtual Academy will not use the It’s Learning platform. It will be used by in-person students, and will be the online learning model for students if campuses close and distance learning is required. 

The school system, which delayed the start date two weeks, plans to announce updates to in-person and online learning Thursday, Aug. 6. See story about the delayed start on page 8A