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Students organize Internet study session when school closes



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PARK CITY -- Park City students missed several days of school because of swine flu closures. Some students stressed about studying for an upcoming AP test got creative and used the Internet to bring their teacher into their homes.

"That week would have been spent studying, so why not use the extra free time to study as well?" said sophomore Roman Amici.

That may not be the mindset of a normal high school student, but it is for a group of kids in AP World History at Park City High School. "They're very dedicated and motivated," said teacher Paula Baltzan.

So dedicated and motivated, in fact, that they organized review sessions during their time off. They used Skype, a free Internet calling service.

"I thought that it would be a good idea to just run the reviews on that," said sophomore Brett Baggett.

It was a conference call. Baltzan led the review while her students asked questions and reviewed notes she'd posted to her teacher Web page. Everyone agrees it helped.

"[I feel] more prepared than if I didn't go through the reviews," Amici said.

Baggett told us, "Otherwise, it would be like, ‘Oh, we just basically wasted however many days the swine flu outbreak was.'"

Still, Baltzan says it was a little tough to get used to when the kids suggested it. "My first thought was: I have no idea how to use Skype," she said.

Both students and teacher say they'd do it again. "If the need arises, if some conditions like the swine flu outbreak happened again, Skype's pretty reliable," Baggett said.

"I would do it again. I learned a lot, and I would do some things differently, but I think it's a valuable tool and it worked well for us," Baltzan said.

Baltzan held three reviews with anywhere from four to 10 students listening in and asking questions. After each review, the audio clips were posted online for anyone who missed out.

E-mail: corton@ksl.com

Courtney Orton

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