Teacher holds class via tablet as she sits in Pennsylvnia Turnpike gridlock

[From NJ.com, with an addendum from NBC News]

Teacher in class via Facetime

[Image: AP European History students at the Hun School in Princeton facetime with their teacher.]

Hun School teacher holds class via tablet as she sits in Pa. Turnpike gridlock

By Alyssa Mease/The Times of Trenton
on February 15, 2014

PRINCETON [New Jersey] – After missing multiple school days because of snow this winter, Hun School history teacher Lynn McNulty wasn’t going to let a series of chain-reaction car crashes and a miles-long traffic jam on the Pennsylvania Turnpike yesterday keep her from school another day.

“I was probably about two miles back from the big, serious pileup, but there were accidents all around,” McNulty said yesterday. “And I was like, ‘Oh this is bad.’”

After sitting in the stand-still for about an hour at the Willow Grove exit on the turnpike and live-streaming a news program on her cell phone, McNulty realized her chances of getting to school in time to teach her advanced placement European history class were not good. So she posted a message to her class through the school’s internal communications system, telling them to contact her via video chat when they got in.

Bridging a distance of miles through technology, McNulty yesterday used the school’s electronic resources and her tablet computer to teach her class from her car that was stopped on the turnpike, which was shut down for hours because of an initial 25-vehicle pileup around 8:30 a.m. in the eastbound lanes between Willow Grove and Bensalem and Willow Grove, according to 6ABC.com.

“Literally no one was moving, and I sat through a total of four-and-a-half hours,” McNulty said.

All freshman and sophomore students in the school are given tablets, so the classroom was equipped with the technology to support a virtual discussion, McNulty said. The school’s technology coordinator and McNulty’s department chair sat in on the class to make sure everything ran smoothly, she said.

“It wasn’t really out of the realm of possibility,” McNulty said. “I could see all the kids, and could see all the kids discussing with one another.”

The topic of yesterday’s discussion was Napolean III and the Crimean War, McNulty said.

“They were into it, and I think they knew I was serious about being there,” she said. “I flipped the phone around to show them I was really stuck on the turnpike.”

[snip to end]

[From NBC News: “She was on the screen and we were conversing regularly,” said one student. “We had a great class!”]

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