#WhereIFLVS Photo Contest

cropped beachAt the end of August, Florida Virtual School kicked off the 2013 student photo contest on social media. Running through September 22, the photo contest helps to engage students, encourage creativity, and create a buzz around social media as many of us dive into a new school year.

To participate in the contest, students may submit a photo related to the theme “Show us where you FLVS” via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Students, friends, and family members can vote for their favorites and share photos with their own social networks. Kids can see when, where, and how other students work on their courses. By seeing the cool spaces and fun places where students study, it is plainly apparent that our FLVS students are just as diverse as the locations where they work.

Do kids REALLY Study Anywhere and Everywhere?

While dissenters might argue that images of kids studying at the beach are just a marketing gimmick, we really do have students who work any time and any place. Granted you don’t want to get sand in your laptop or drop your tablet in the pool – but with modern technology, digital content is available anywhere! Teachers are just a text message away. And just like students at a traditional school who complete homework outside of the classroom, FLVS students are doing their reading, conducting outdoor science labs, snapping photos for creative photography, and finishing other assignments outside the classroom – at home or away. Our students are athletes, actors, musicians, world travelers, local community volunteers, and everything in between. They study whenever and wherever they go!

So why did we choose social media to host this contest?

Well, it’s no secret that students love social media. At FLVS, we understand that to get students attention – especially in a virtual environment – you have to go where they already are. Social media provides an outlet for online students to connect in a conversational and informal way that complements their daily interactions and solidifies connections with the people, places, and things they care about.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words; it seems this holds more validity than ever in today’s rapidly-changing digital world. Viewing the images entered in our photo contest really illustrates the online learning experience. Students submitting photos also include the unifying hashtag #WhereIFLVS, allowing others to search for content with the same tag. In this way, participants are able to feel a real connection to the larger educational community.

FLVS uses social media to build connections and explore new directions.

In an effort to reach more students, increase awareness, and remain on the forefront of these trends, Florida Virtual School strives to maintain a presence on various social networks that is relevant, insightful, engaging, and supportive. Social media provides a dynamic platform to reach diverse audiences – whether massive or narrow in scope. That’s why we are grateful for the opportunities afforded by social media that allow us to connect with students, parents, teachers, and the public at large in multifaceted ways.

As students in our new Social Media 1 course learn, this generation’s use of interactive Web tools will impact the future of our society and culture in all kinds of ways. FLVS aims to help our students (and staff) understand how to make the most of these tools to enhance learning and to communicate more effectively.

There is a great debate on whether online communication can effectively replace face-to-face communication, or whether it diminishes the sincerity and quality of genuine conversation. I would argue that, like anything, there is potential for great gain along with possible drawbacks. But used thoughtfully and deliberately, the World Wide Web and online communication tools provide an endless expanse of opportunities that complement our real-world experiences.

Our photo contest is just one example!

At Florida Virtual School, we use social media to reach beyond the virtual classroom and into communities across Florida. We depend on all of our staff – and FLVS students, parents, and families – to connect with others to help share the incredible work we’re doing with students at FLVS.

Check us out on any of the follow social networks to see how we are forming connections every day!

Florida Virtual SchoolFlorida Virtual School (FLVS) has been leading the way in Kindergarten-12 online education for more than 22 years. FLVS provides a robust, award-winning curriculum to public, private, charter, and homeschool families and school districts nationwide. Learn more at flvs.net.

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