My wife and I absolutely love reality television, especially the singing competition ones. The best part is always the beginning during the auditions, because you see and hear people who are not cut out for the industry and are best left to late-night karaoke. There is always a look of shock from contestants when the judges have to let them down, because it’s crushing a dream.
Have you ever had someone crush your dream because of a lack of skill? I know I have. Does that mean we give up on our dreams? Absolutely not! Continue reading
Earlier this year, our FLVS Teacher of the Year, Shawn Wigg, shared his thoughts on the power of negativity in a blog post for The Virtual Voice. His comments were inspired by a presentation given by Jon Acuff, one of the keynote speakers at the Florida Virtual School 2013 Professional Learning Conference. Jon explored the five stages every life goes through on the path to awesome and looked at what it takes to punch fear in the face, escape average, and do work that matters. As you can imagine, Jon’s words resonated with FLVS employees on several levels. He spoke to us about our influence on others and how often people don’t realize how their actions and words affect those around them. Jon left us with an equation to consider: “1 Insult + 1,000 Compliments = 1 Insult.” Continue reading
Student Engagement is what I do.
I research it. Blog about it. Present about it. Make infographics about it. It’s even in my job title. All day, everyday, it’s student engagement.
My official title is “Student Engagement Technician,” but I like to think of myself as an Ideator/Innovator/Gamer/Trend Creator/Researcher/Connector/Explainer. I spend my days researching student trends—music, viral videos, websites, blogs, social media…anything and everything, trying to find ways to connect them to student learning and course development. Continue reading
Sometimes old “adages” are just that: old.
In hopes of pursuing new horizons in an ever-changing virtual world, maybe it is time we consider a few new theories for guidance.
A few days ago, a colleague and good friend brought up an old saying regarding volunteerism: “Always volunteer when asked, but never ask to volunteer.” Continue reading
Whenever I tell someone I am a teacher, they give me an approving look as if to say, “Oh! That’s great.”
In the natural progression of the conversation, they always ask next, “What do you teach?” Once the word “Math” or “Algebra” comes out, the look changes to one of pity as if I were drafted to teach such a subject. As the conversation spirals, the final question is, “Where do you teach?” This is the question that shifts the gears of the conversation and allows me the opportunity to explain the amazing work that is done at FLVS. Once I tell someone I teach Math online, it is as if I have personally uncovered the lost city of Atlantis. The many questions surrounding this new discovery start rolling in. Continue reading
The annual “Opening Doors to the World” awards celebration was created by The Foundation for Florida Virtual School (The Foundation) to honor champions, pioneers, and distinguished individuals who have been instrumental in paving the way for innovative education.
Without steadfast supporters, The Foundation would not have the opportunity to create new innovative programs for our students. The support that continually opens new doors allows for a brighter future in education and online learning. To those who donated time, talent, dollars, or connections to our September 2013 event, thank you! Continue reading
Losing is part of life. In fact, it is one of the most valuable lessons one can learn.
We don’t get everything we want all of the time. We can’t win every race. Tasting defeat only allows us to savor victory and try harder the next time. Learning how to lose teaches us how to win.
If a child knows they will automatically get a reward for showing up, what motivation is there to try? If our students’ walls are adorned with ribbons and trophies for participation, we have done them a disservice. We are teaching them that a promotion will be handed over on a silver platter, not earned. Grades will be given based on attendance, not effort. Continue reading
We live in an ever-changing digital age where our interactions have become increasingly more “virtual” than face-to-face.
Today, most companies are turning to phone conference or webcam interviews to save time and money for incessantly busy Hiring Managers. Job candidates are expected to answer complicated behavior based interview questions, supplying well-thought-out responses, all while making it perfectly clear why he/she is the right person for the job, often in 30 minutes or less. So, how do you leave a lasting impression at the end of a phone interview? You develop a good, firm virtual handshake. Continue reading
Recently, under the headline “Cyber Schools Flunk, but the Money Keeps Flowing,” Politico — a nonpartisan, Washington-based political journalism organization that features in-depth coverage of politics and policy — reported on the poor performance of students taking online courses from various providers in a variety of states.
I am concerned that stories like this create a negative image for all online providers by painting with a broad brush. Virtual schools are as varied in their approach and their results as are traditional schools.
Continue reading →
Twenty. Nineteen. Eighteen…
Every morning, my son Sawyer reminds the whole family how many days are left before he turns five. Yesterday, on day 15, Sawyer flashed his best 1,000 Kilowatt smile and announced what he wanted for his birthday: one Lightning McQueen race car, four other race cars from the Cars franchise, and one tank.
Sawyer couldn’t know it, but his request was actually pretty modest; I could buy all those toys for under $30. But I looked around the living room and saw the hundreds of toys that Sawyer already had – toys he never played with. So I made a reasonable request: we would buy him his birthday toys, but we had to give away some of his old toys. Continue reading