Digital Literacy

Military Crossroads with Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Michael Francis

Michael Francis, U.S. Army Sergeant

From 2000 to 2004, I was an active duty Soldier in the United States Army and have been in the Florida Army National Guard since 2005.

There are many parts of my military career that stand out in my memory. Basic training, my drill sergeant during the hot summer at Fort Jackson, being in my promotion board during the September 11 attacks, being deployed during multiple state emergencies, and so much more. Most recently, and regardless of political platform, I was honored to play a role in our democracy by providing security support for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration in D.C.

However, these memories and events are not what changed me the most.

Instead, it is the military’s connection with CTE that has been the most valuable. That connection positively affected my personal life, my educational pursuits, and my civilian career.

Although military life is not for everyone, the skills and knowledge that are integrated within CTE are for everyone, whether an Army future is in the cards or not.

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Supporting Access to Online Education for All

Digital Learning DayToday is Digital Learning Day!

It’s a day when the whole nation celebrates all the wonderful benefits of online learning and digital literacy.

You know, everything from the cool and advanced technology of courses and anytime learning, to the digital literacy skills that online learning provides to strengthen a student’s learning experience.

This not only includes finding and learning from digital content, but also creating authentic digital content, and communicating or sharing it in multiple formats.

It also includes valuable soft-skills that today’s employers are asking for – like time management and being efficient in using online resources.

While we are thrilled to be celebrating today with other online learning providers, families, and students, we at FLVS have to admit that we celebrate this stuff everyday!

We can’t help it – our passion for online education comes from our awesome students and families who we serve. It doesn’t take long to see the difference we make in students’ lives, and get excited about what we can do next in order to keep our students thriving. Continue reading


Being Competitive in Tomorrow’s Workforce

Being Competitive in Tomorrow’s WorkforceThe year was 1989.

We saw the birth of the World Wide Web, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the television debut of The Simpsons, and my epic walk onto the stage to receive my high school diploma.

As I proceeded to college, I used the skills that I had learned in high school: doing research using a card catalog, typing reports using an electric typewriter, and doing accounting class projects that required a calculator, a pencil, and a lot of erasers.

If I were to list these skills on my resume today, I would be considered an unqualified candidate.

You may wonder how a college student with outdated skills became an online technology teacher.

It’s simple, really. By updating my skill sets and being able to evolve with new advancements in technology, I honed the skills to which I am referring. Those skills are soft, hard, and transferable. Continue reading


The Missing Piece

wifiHave you ever put a puzzle together only to find out that the last piece or two are missing? Without all of the pieces, you can’t see the whole picture, not to mention the frustration felt from being unable to achieve your goal. Think of education as a puzzle. There is a piece for each different component, but the “access to Wi-Fi” piece is either broken or missing completely.

In this day and age, students need Wi-Fi access at school. It’s as simple as that. They deserve education tailored to preparing them for their future, and that involves newer technologies. Whether they are taking an FLVS virtual course during the school day or needing to access the Internet for a biology project in a traditional classroom setting, Wi-Fi can strongly enhance the learning experience as it allows much more access to a variety of tools. Continue reading


Internet Safety Month: Protect Your Digital Footprint

socialmedia coverToday’s teens consume Social Media every day – perhaps every five minutes in many cases! How often, though, do they consider the implications of their online activities?

The Social Media course at Florida Virtual School has been compared to “Driver’s Ed for the Internet” – teaching students about the safe and responsible operation of Social Media. Here are the top five tips from the course:

1) Protect your Digital Footprint – it’s the sum of every interaction involving you, and it lives FOREVER. While it’s obviously important to control what YOU post (photos, status updates, etc.), it’s also important to discover who ELSE is influencing your digital footprint – tagging you in photos, mentioning you in posts, etc. Keep your eyes open. Continue reading


Developing Digital Citizens

Photo credit: Common Sense Media

Photo credit: Common Sense Media

We beat stupidity celebration cones. #zimmerman #defense #dadkilledit

Over the summer, George Zimmerman’s defense attorney Don West had to apologize to the media for his daughter’s immature and insensitive Instagram post in the middle of a very heated George Zimmerman trial. After receiving national media attention, the photo of the lawyer enjoying ice cream cones with his daughters instantly went viral, and Molly West’s Instagram account had to be shut down the following day.

#whatwasmollythinking

How do we help teach kids that something they do online today could potentially affect the future in ways they can’t even imagine? We need to help them understand the power of their digital footprint. Everything they post, share, or like is a direct reflection of themselves and their values. And it’s potentially out there for the world to see forever. Just ask Molly. Continue reading


Why We Love Social Media

Social Media 1 at FLVS
Social media has completely changed the way we communicate with each other. Maybe we’re guilty of accidentally referring to our friends by their Twitter handles in real life; spending all week finding the perfect photo for #ThrowbackThursday; doing something cool, just so that you can Instagram it; or using the word “Instagram” as a verb. (I can just envision my former English teachers sighing in unison as they mark 10 points off this blog post.) Continue reading


Celebrate National Internet Safety Month

Internet SafetyGet ready to post your party photos on Instagram because The National Cyber Security Alliance is recognizing June as National Internet Safety month.

This is no big deal for teachers and students living in the virtual school world because they celebrate Internet safety every day. However, for the rest of you, I offer up a few helpful tips to keep you safe online (tips courtesy of the new Social Media course offered by Florida Virtual School). Continue reading