AP World History teachers change some teaching methods in response to pandemic

Karolena Zhou

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some history teachers had to change the way they teach for hybrid students as students alternate which day they go to school and which day they learn virtually. AP World History teacher Ryan Ringenberg said that compared to last year, he had to change some of his plans.

“I have trimmed some of what we have done in the past because it is difficult to administer some of the information virtually,” Ringenberg said. “At the same time, I have added some new virtual tasks that have not been done in the past.”

Compared to last year, he said that the curriculum is mostly the same, but there are more activities on Canvas.

“The curriculum moves at a similar pace as last year, but there is much more work delivered through Canvas and in-person activities have been modified or changed in order to allow for social distancing. Some of the written assessments have been done virtually rather than in person,” Ringenberg said. “On virtual days, I typically have my students read a chapter from the book and complete virtual tasks that supplement the reading. Sometimes the tasks will involve videos or other web tools such as Edpuzzle or Flipgrid. Some quizzes are done virtually through Canvas.  Multiple choice tests are still done in class.  Some written assessments such as SAQs and DBQs have been done virtually this year.”

Freshman Kyra Escobar is a virtual student taking AP World History. She said even though the class is hard, it is very fun and the content is interesting.

“In class, Mr. Ringenberg likes to teach with presentations and talking about key points, while we fill out a notes worksheet, which is sometimes writing, sometimes drawing. On virtual days, we usually have discussion questions to answer and sometimes videos to watch,” Escobar said. “I do genuinely think learning about world history is interesting, and learning about histories other than European or American history is a really nice change. Being able to appreciate other peoples as well as their cultures and histories is really eye-opening, and it’s made me a lot more sensitive and open-minded. I’m sure this goes for other world history classes as well, but it can be a really humbling experience.”

There are still some difficulties in teaching classes virtually. According to Ringenberg, he said there are some technological issues, and it is hard to connect with students.

“Teaching students virtually has had some challenges, particularly with technology issues that arise,” Ringenberg said. “Because I see my students at least once a week in person, usually these issues can be resolved when I have an opportunity to talk to them.”

Even with the difficulties of hybrid classes, Ringenberg said that he is adjusting to the new way of teaching, but is making it work.

“I am learning to adjust to the new reality of hybrid. I have had to shift around some lessons that I normally teach to fit within the hybrid schedule,” Ringenberg said. “Overall, I feel that I am making it work well enough for my APWH students to be successful.”

Escobar agrees as she said that the class is going well so far.

“In general, I think AP (World History has) been going well. To be honest, it might be too early in the year to say whether I’ll succeed or not, but as of right now I’m pretty satisfied with how this is going,” Escobar said. “AP World History is a lot more rigorous from what last year’s eighth grade social studies was like and that adjustment takes a little bit of time to get used to. It’s the type of class where you definitely have to put in work and effort if you want to do well, but it’s pretty rewarding when all of that struggle pays off.”