IBETting on Virtual IBET

English 9 teacher Stephanie Glotfelty teaches her class virtually. “This virtual year has been quite different. We’re getting through it the best we can,” Glotfelty said.

Sahil Kapadia

English 9 teacher Stephanie Glotfelty teaches her class virtually. “This virtual year has been quite different. We’re getting through it the best we can,” Glotfelty said.

Nimesh Rudra

IBET is an experience all Jefferson students remember. The year-long research project allows freshmen to create lasting friendships and learn about the Jefferson culture firsthand. Not for the Class of 2024, however. They started their IBET journey by powering on their computer.

This year, the freshmen have been thrusted into the rigorous Jefferson environment virtually. The IBET team has made many modifications to try to encapsulate the Jefferson experience online to the same extent as it was in person.

“For IBET we have had to cut back the project a lot,” English 9 teacher Stephanie Glotfelty said. “We have such limited time and are also restricted by the 60 minute homework time limit per week.”

The freshmen this year are using pre-collected data sets from organizations and universities instead of designing their own experiments and gathering data for the IBET project.

“We provided them with a variety of topics to choose from for the project, like Fairfax streams health or COVID-19 transmission and infection,” Glotfelty said. “It’s nice how they get to choose what they want to research.”

Additionally, the collaboration and teamwork the project presents has been significantly reduced with the screen acting as a barrier. Teachers are rarely seeing students turn on their cameras.

“I don’t know anyone in my class, let alone what they look like,” freshman Sahil Kapadia said. “I’ve been trying to reach out to more people and be a better communicator over social media.”

Many uncertainties still linger over how IBET is going to play out for the rest of the year.

“I do not know how tjSTAR is going to work out,” Glotfelty said. “We do not know what the final product of this project is going to be. There are a lot of questions still left unanswered.”

Although the Class of 2024 and IBET face many challenges, both the staff and the students are making the best of what the school has to offer during a global pandemic.

“The ease of the TJ transition has been largely due to the way the teachers are handling virtual learning,” Kapadia said. “We’re all taking this step by step, which is all we can do.”