TAMARA BAUCK, ED.D.
“South Dakota is a state of very small, mostly rural schools. In many cases, there are critical shortages of teachers in math and science classes, not to mention AP courses. Many of our kids never travel very far from their homes, and consequently, don’t have a lot of cultural opportunities. While students in other states might visit a zoo, an aquarium, or a museum to learn about science, marine biology, or art—young students in South Dakota almost never have the chance to learn about these subjects first-hand.
I began working with the South Dakota Department of Education around the same time that I entered the degree program at the Fischler College of Education and Human Services. Not only did we wire, connect, and install video conferencing in every school in the state, we also taught educators all they needed to know in order to make the best use of this new technology. Because I, too, was learning at a distance at the time, I was able to understand and anticipate the challenges that come with this type of education.
When we embarked on this venture, out of 167 districts, only six or seven schools in the entire state were using distance education. Now, there are almost 200 classes held by video conference each day, with over 2,000 students participating. As a direct result of the work I did at the Fischler College, I was able to disseminate and implement this technology, giving all of our students access to educational opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise had.”
Tamara Bauck worked with the South Dakota Department of Education for seven years as the director of the Office of Curriculum, Technology, and Assessment. Today, she continues to enhance interactive learning opportunities for students across the state at Three Rivers Educational Co-op in Pierre, South Dakota.