BLOG: Alternative Teaching Methods Bolster Student Learning

2014-02-07T13:00:00Z BLOG: Alternative Teaching Methods Bolster Student LearningBY LAURIE WELCH Twin Falls Times-News
February 07, 2014 1:00 pm  • 

BURLEY Teachers around the CassiaCountySchool District and other districts in the MagicValley are embracing alternative teaching methods to give students more study tools.

As school districts ponder whether to spend precious dollars on textbooks that become outdated as soon as they publish, many textbooks are becoming tattered and simply nonexistent.

Three BurleyHigh School math teachers are participating in a pilot program using Chromebooks and KhanAcademy to fill math skill gaps for their students.

KhanAcademy is an online educational resource that provides free tests, videos and lectures.

While the teachers still have to spend the majority of their time teaching to Idaho Common Core Standards, they spend a portion of the class taking tests and reviewing basic math skills on KhanAcademy.

Other teachers in the district are flipping classrooms, by having students watch lessons online at home and then do their homework at school with the aid of the teacher.

Despite shortcomings at the school with technology infrastructure, which make it difficult for teachers to plan online lessons, teachers remain enthusiastic about using what is available to help students learn.

Read more on this story Saturday in the Times-News or at

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Staff Writers

Laurie Welch is an award-winning journalist, covering the news in Mini-Cassia since 1997 and joining the Times-News team in 2008. She covers city and county government, schools, crime, economic development, community events and features in Cassia County and Minidoka County.

She was the 2008 Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press Association’s first-place portfolio winner and the 2010 Idaho Press Club first-place general news story award recipient for her coverage on a joint Mini-Cassia farmers’ lawsuit against the federal government for Oust herbicide use on public lands. In 2011 she won Idaho Press Club’s first-place health and medical reporting award for a story about the region’s high teen pregnancy rate. She has won numerous other awards for her photography, features, series and special projects.

She enjoys writing, local history, hiking, scuba diving, photographing old cabins and spending time with her family and grey ghost dog, Emma.

Andrew J.F. Deskins is a recent graduate of the University of Idaho Journalism program. While studying in Moscow, he was involved with the student newspaper, The Argonaut, where he covered student government and general assignment news, took photos and produced multimedia content.

Deskins has been with the Times-News since June, when he was brought on as a copy desk intern. He is now the Minidoka County reporter for both the Times-News and The Voice.

He enjoys photography, "The X-Files" and exploring the Magic Valley.

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