21st Century Education

The Missing Piece

By on July 15th, 2014

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

By on June 17th, 2014

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

Can a Caveman Teach Kids to be Healthier?

By on April 4th, 2014

cave broCan a caveman teach kids better eating and exercise habits?

The team at Florida Virtual School is betting he can. They’ve defrosted Cave Bro as part of an entertaining new game concept designed to teach kids how to make better nutritional choices. Cave Bro has been frozen for more than 30,000 years, so needless to say he’s hungry and will eat anything. It’s up to players to decide what he eats, how much, and how often. Good choices win. Bad choices create one really cranky caveman.

The concept originated as part of the new Health and PE course development, but after working with Fablevision to develop a playable prototype and testing it with kids, the team quickly realized this amusing game could teach good nutrition and exercise habits in ways teachers and parents never could. Continue reading

Instructional Coaching the FLVS Way

By on April 1st, 2014

instructional coachingHow does instructional coaching work in a virtual world?  Have you heard about the Vir-structional coaching program at FLVS?

The Vir-structional program is designed to help those using a virtual platform to train, teach, and inform participants.  The goal of the Coaching Program is to deliver high quality technology-based education by increasing customer/student learning through engaging and interactive live lessons.

Instructional coaching provides a venue for instructors to share teaching ideas and strategies with each other. The coach is someone who has expertise and knowledge in developing highly effective and engaging lessons that will lead to increased participant learning. The coachee is someone who would benefit from a coaching relationship by being open and receptive to learning new tools, techniques, and strategies to increase participants’ attendance and understanding. Continue reading

Secret Sauce to Online Schoolwork Motivation

By on March 10th, 2014

starbucksSo, have you figured out all the perks of going to school online yet? Obviously, you can do your school work any time of the day that suits you, but it is the “anywhere” perk that I find awesome. My first two years of college I spent at a physical college campus. The second two years I went to college online. This allowed me to work full-time during the day (much like some of you go to school during the day) and then complete my college work at night and on weekends.

Maybe this isn’t something an FLVS staff member should admit, but hey, I’ll be honest – most Saturdays, the very last thing I wanted to do was schoolwork. Can you relate? Continue reading

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

By on February 26th, 2014

collaborationDoing Virtual Doesn’t Mean Doing it Alone!

When people think virtual, what do you think comes to mind? Prior to my experience at FLVS, I thought of sitting alone in front of the computer, reading lessons, responding to discussion boards, and checking email. The common denominator behind all of my thoughts was that you do it alone. While virtual education primarily places responsibility on the learner, there is a debatably larger need to collaborate to be successful.

At FLVS, students are required to collaborate with one another at least one time within each segment/semester. Many families, at first glance, think this is a demanding request or an off-the-wall requirement, because of their initial thoughts about virtual education. What they find is that they wonder why they didn’t start collaborating sooner. Continue reading

Finding Connection in a Virtual World

By on February 19th, 2014

flvs globalAs published in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Students, like all people, want to feel valued and cared about. They crave connection, understanding, and desire relationships that make them feel positive about themselves. Finding acceptance and encouragement at school can often be difficult, but at FLVS Global School, students have the opportunity to not only navigate their education, but to establish great connections as well.

FLVS Global School is an established leader in developing and providing online and blended education solutions to students in grades 6-12 worldwide. It was created during the 2000 Florida State Legislative session as the national and international arm of Florida Virtual School, the first statewide, Internet-based public high school in the United States. Continue reading

Ode to the Unabridged Dictionary in a Digital World

By on February 13th, 2014

dictionary_coverDo you remember what it was like before we had computers? No?

Well, I do. It was tough, real tough…especially if you needed to spell a word.

I remember from a young age asking my parents how to spell a word and they would tell me to prepare to write. I would grab my fancy yellow pencil and lean into my paper awaiting their wisdom. They always spelled the same exact word no matter what. Really! They would spell the same exact word for years and years. I would ask them how to spell government, and they would be all smiles as they carefully spelled out the word d-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-r-y. It was the same every time and became a silly game growing up. I knew very well they would never spell a word for my older brother or me if we could grab our unabridged Webster’s dictionary and learn how to spell the word on our own. To this day, when my daughters ask me how to spell a word I will always spell “dictionary.” Continue reading

Celebrate Digital Learning

By on January 29th, 2014

digital learningI often take it for granted that we have arrived in the digital age. I think there may have been two years in the early 1990s when I didn’t have computers in my classroom for student use – and once we had computers, use them we did! And then this cool thing called the “Internet” came to our schools. Our capabilities to connect students to learning resources and the real world grew exponentially.

We are so fortunate in Florida to continue to have fabulous support for digital learning, from virtual schools to classroom support. Yet, there are still places in Florida, as well as the rest of the country, where going digital is a struggle for teachers and students.

FLVS is excited to join the nation in changing classrooms everywhere through digital learning by participating in the third annual Digital Learning Day. Continue reading

Skate to Where the Puck is Going to Be

By on January 8th, 2014

ice hockeyAfter seeing promotions for the fast-approaching 2014 Winter Olympics, I was reminded of when I was watching a sea of icy blue and white at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I was just in awe of the talent, determination, and tenacity all under one roof. If you really allow yourself a moment to take it all in, it is an overwhelming feeling that almost takes your breath away. As the famous Canadians carried the Olympic flag through the stadium, I wondered if they had ever dreamed they would be honored with that special task in this international tradition that seems to unite the world for a moment in time.

Ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky was among the eight Olympic flag carriers and would go on to light the flame in downtown Vancouver to complete the tradition. I couldn’t help but think about the quote he was so famous for which turned out to be the first quote on my FLVS tagline… Continue reading