July 24, 2014

The Superpower of Virtual School in Our Digitally Connected World

 

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As of 2013, the world is flat; there is no doubt about it.

We live in the globally connected “flat” world of a 21st Century digital age. Physical distance is no longer a barrier when it comes to learning. And the U.S. education system of 20th Century learning styles resembling a factory assembly line is being phased out. Good riddance!

Our students are individuals, each with their own unique abilities and passions. To continue to treat them as cogs in a giant wheel is to squelch their creativity and potential. To force them to move like the slowest or even the fastest child in the classroom is counter-productive and always destructive.

As our brick and mortar public school system slowly crumbles, from its ashes rises the virtual school.

After some in-depth research, I have just enrolled my 4th Grader in an individualized, tuition-free virtual public school system at K12.com, run by a group of global educators out of Virginia.

Gone is the “barely passed” risk within a Time-Based learning system; here is the Mastery-Based system.

Gone is the “scramble to keep up” and demand to “slow down”; here is the self-paced opportunity where once you completed a subject’s grade, you immediately move on to the next!

Gone is the daily study of a dictated sequence of subjects; here is the freedom to pick daily the sequence of subjects you study.

Gone is enforced 8am to 3pm scheduling; here is schedule flexibility within a required 5-6 hours of daily schooling. Attendance is logged by the parent until your student is in High School.

Gone is the fashion dash, the cliques and classifications, the bullying, the bad lunchroom food, the stresses of letter grades before it even matters (when high school transcripts for diplomas and college transfer consider letter grades).   

Here your student can take part in virtual classroom discussions, Meet and Greets, as well as optional physical field trips, classroom social get-togethers with area students, and eventually even an optional physical prom and graduation.

As for Physical Education classes and the Arts so lacking in brick and mortar public schools, we have also enrolled our son in a variety of extra-curricular activities: piano, ice skating, Kung-Fu and drama classes. But he chooses the subjects and is free to pursue his personal interests.

Parents of homeschoolers can choose to use the entire K12system or have the option to simply purchase any of the same materials for relatively small fees, with virtual access to an extensive library of curriculum.

K12 also supports fee-based private schools such as the K12 International Academy, which utilizes the exact same curriculum that the K12 public school students can access. But being a private school, they are not governed by the requirements for State testing or the required daily and weekly classroom time. This allows American students to travel and study from anywhere in the world.

K12 partners with each student’s parents. Your K-6th Grade student will require a full time adult “Learning Coach” on the premise.

It is still your student’s responsibility to detect within himself and YOUR responsibility to recognize within the student — any one of the THREE BARRIERS TO STUDY that will prevent him or her from fully understanding and using the material they’re studying.

Finally, we have moved from a Time-Based learning system to one that is Mastery-Based!

But the true test of any educational system is this: Can he USE the knowledge to do something real and exchangeable?

I just hope that as we as we continue to evolve our education system, we will move quickly into an Application-Based learning system — one that enables the student to practice what they are learning to do in life.

* NOTE: K12 received a $350 million grant from the government to create an award winning virtual, interactive curriculum for our K-12 students. It is updated and revised by subject experts.

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Comments

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