Who Needs Classrooms?

By Bryan Toporek — December 01, 2009 1 min read
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This spring, with her school district shut down for six days over concerns of the H1N1 flu virus, a math and science teacher at Paschal High School in Fort Worth, TX, reached out to her students in the only way she knew how: online.

Linda Antinone created “Sofa Studies,” where teachers can broadcast lessons both online and through the school district’s cable channels.

Antinone contacted the district about the idea after her husband pitched it to her, and within hours, teachers began creating all types of lessons, ranging from physical education stretches to science experiments.

“The first ones were pretty basic, but by the end, we were doing dancing grapes and live animals,” said Scott JuVette, the district’s director of marketing and multimedia strategies.

Now, the district has adopted Antinone’s Sofa Studies as part of their revised online media strategy. It also recently debuted a program called Video On Demand months ahead of schedule.

The district hurried to roll out the online video program—one in which viewers can access both live and archived footage of school events and school board meetings—after Antinone’s idea seemed to remedy the ill effects of closing down schools for H1N1 flu fears.

“I was freaking out [back in April],” Antinone said. “I was worried that the kids needed to review for the tests. I started off thinking, ‘I’m just doing this for my students because I need to help them.’”

Some students in the district’s advanced media program have been participating in the production of Sofa Studies, where they get hands-on experience with broadcasting and creating videos.

“It’s a brave new world out there, and it’s amazing what we can do,” JuVette said. “As a parent or student, you have total access to anything you want.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.