Social Science Scholar: Pivoting to Distance Learning

This summer I interned remotely as a Youth Development Intern for the Nashville After Zone Alliance (N.A.Z.A) Program at Conexión Américas. Conexion Américas is a nonprofit, which promotes the social, economic, and civic advancement of Latino and immigrant families in Middle Tennessee. The N.A.Z.A. program is designed to provide quality afterschool learning opportunities for middle schoolers in Nashville, Tennessee. This program blends both fun, hand-on activities with homework assistance for fifth through eighth graders. 

Due to COVID-19, many educators and afterschool programs have needed to pivot and develop new engaging, virtual opportunities for students. At home learning presents various new challenges for students and educators alike. It was with these challenges in mind that I started my internship with Conexión Américas. As a youth development intern, I was tasked with developing two STEM activities and two social-emotional learning activities which could be facilitated via an online conferencing platform, like Zoom. For each activity, I developed a lesson plan, an accompanying PowerPoint, worksheet, and budget estimate. Central to the design of each of my lessons was an emphasis on application to real-life scenarios and creating spaces for students to practice communication and listening skills. During my time as an intern, I learned a great deal about how to create and gamify a virtual lesson plan. In other words, I tried to ensure the activity not only promotes student learning and growth, but also is designed to apply typical elements of a game. My internship with Conexión Américas highlighted many of the challenges faced with online teaching, but also led me to think about how lesson plans can be developed that take advantage of the new online tools available.

I am grateful to the Social Science Scholars Program who provided the support and tools to find opportunities. This summer, I found myself transferring the skills learned during our Spring semester class to the lessons I created for the N.A.Z.A. program. I am also thankful to Conexión Américas and Lori Rivera for providing a wonderful remote internship program this summer. I am beyond grateful for the support of this program and the opportunities and connections I have developed at Florida State University.

Beatrice is pursuing a Bachelors degree in international affairs and anthropology at Florida State University. Beatrice is a 2020 social science scholar and a senior undergraduate assistant at the Insitute on World War II and the Human Experience. You can connect with Beatrice on LinkedIn.

The feature image is from Pexels.

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