The Evolution of Online School

Online education and digital schools have come a long way towards being a valid choice for students looking for a quality education.  Digital schools sometimes have a bad reputation that is rooted in the first online schools. Those were text driven and solely about worksheets and the most menial tasks that were easy to grade.  Today’s digital schools are much more robust. The best digital schools incorporate 21st century skills like collaboration and creativity. Worksheets are a relic of a bygone era. Students are asked to create and contribute rather than regurgitate memorized information.  Well developed online schools no longer consist of a single student sitting at a single computer with little to no interaction with classmates. Peer editing, asynchronous discussions, reflecting and sharing are all parts of the new digital school. Make sure you truly examine your digital school’s pedagogy before signing up.  If it is a quality digital, online school, it will be truly interactive and not just have rote work to accomplish.

 

Shawn Huffman

Director of Curriculum and Innovation

Digital Education: It’s Not Just Technology

The very idea that anything related to Digital Education is going  to be wrapped up in technology in some way, seems almost obvious. Something we might take for granted to the point where it simply goes without ever needing to be said. And yet, more often than not, Digital Education has far less to do with technology than it does with educational access.

In some ways it seems counter-intuitive, and understandably so. After all, many of us exchange the terms “Digital” and “Technology” without really considering the possibility that we are  conflating the two. Not so much with regard to the actual definitions of the two terms, but, the truth is that when we apply the additional word “Education,” more specifically, when we say “Digital Education,” the technology is certainly there – significantly, to be fair –  but, in practice we find that the real difference (between “Digital Education” and, let’s say, “non Digital Education”) is really about methodology. About access.

Digital Education is ultimately about things like access to resources. Digital Education is about allowing students to circumvent issues and barriers of location, for example attending a school with an expert teacher miles if not time zones or even continents away. And that means that other vital resources are also part of the Digital Education equation.  Things like the cost of time, and transportation, and expertise, and so on can become far more manageable through Digital Education than might otherwise be possible.

Perhaps through technology Digital Education can being about any number of benefits, but, in the end it’s the Educational benefits that matter, not simply the technology to implement it, that makes Digital Education worthwhile.

Richard Maxwell

Digital Education: It’s Not Just Technology

The very idea that anything related to Digital Education is going  to be wrapped up in technology in some way, seems almost obvious. Something we might take for granted to the point where it simply goes without ever needing to be said. And yet, more often than not, Digital Education has far less to do with technology than it does with educational access.

In some ways it seems counter-intuitive, and understandably so. After all, many of us exchange the terms “Digital” and “Technology” without really considering the possibility that we are  conflating the two. Not so much with regard to the actual definitions of the two terms, but, the truth is that when we apply the additional word “Education,” more specifically, when we say “Digital Education,” the technology is certainly there – significantly, to be fair –  but, in practice we find that the real difference (between “Digital Education” and, let’s say, “non Digital Education”) is really about methodology. About access.

Digital Education is ultimately about things like access to resources. Digital Education is about allowing students to circumvent issues and barriers of location, for example attending a school with an expert teacher miles if not time zones or even continents away. And that means that other vital resources are also part of the Digital Education equation.  Things like the cost of time, and transportation, and expertise, and so on can become far more manageable through Digital Education than might otherwise be possible.

Perhaps through technology Digital Education can being about any number of benefits, but, in the end it’s the Educational benefits that matter, not simply the technology to implement it, that makes Digital Education worthwhile.

Richard Maxwell

Hypocrisy in Education

As teachers, we study and study to learn the latest educational theories.  We know, for instance, that just lecturing our students is not the best way for them to learn in a 21st century education model.  They need to move, use digital tools, collaborate and such. The hypocrisy hits me when we go back to school for our “trainings” and they are all simply lectures.  How do administrators expect their teachers to teach 21st century skills, when all of the professional development is standard, direct instruction? This becomes aggravating as teachers really strive to improve, but are constantly held back by their administration.

 

I am not referring to the teaching of basic skills before allowing us to collaborate and explore, that is just good teaching.  I am referring to telling us to be innovative and not incorporating any of those ideals into their own trainings.

 

What all of us need is access to 21st century PD, if we are going to incorporate it into our own classrooms.  We need to learn the 21st century skills ourselves, before we can pass them on to our students. Digital tools, digital classes, collaboration, creativity, these are all things that need to be incorporated into professional development if it is going to be effective.  Don’t be afraid to search out some of your own and demand 21st century educational training from your own administration. It is time we take control of our own learning and teaching! Good luck this school year!

 

Shawn Huffman Director of Curriculum and Innovation

iAMGlobal Education

The Need to be a 21st Century Learner

We live in a complex age. When looking at the calendar, it says we’re eighteen years past the millennium and yet so many 20th century attributes and practices are being desperately clung to. The world is changing so quickly around us and it seems each leaf on each branch of our world has to be connected to the online world. While nearly every part of our society is connected to the online world, it’s time to start letting our society transform to the online world. We live in a digital age with public schools that have one foot in the analog world. In a lot of ways public schools are simply reaching over the threshold, but have yet to set foot in the new dwelling of the online world. American brick and mortar schools have scratched the surface of what is possible in the digital world. Teachers have website and social media to related apps to keep students engaged but it’s simply scratching the surface. There are so many elements of brick and mortar schooling that cling to an old age where xeroxed copies are needed and the coffee mug of pencils always needs sharpening. It’s time to push these tools into the precipice and jump across that threshold into the new online world.

 

Imagine a world where the school bell never rang for the next class. Imagine a world where your educational limits were not confined by a shrinking education budget. Imagine if your educational spirit could flourished and was defined by what you wanted to accomplish not your surroundings. The age of online learning has just begun. At eighteen years into the new millenium, it’s time to take the step into the next dwelling. Physical worksheets, handouts and school supplies have no place here. Online school is where you want it to be. You could be confined to your home, in another country or traveling the world and still find a way to connect to an online school. Online school is on whatever device is easiest for you to use. Be it a laptop, smartphone or desktop computer, you can find a way to connect yourself to your success. Online school is the wherever you find focus and time for you to push yourself to the next level. You can choose the best environment and surrounding for your to succeed. It could be a quiet study room, a library, a coffee shop or enroute to your next destination. Online school is what you want it to be.

 

The benefits of online school are abundant and liberating when given the chance. Find your own pace and find your own way to succeed. Online 21st century learning is not about where you are, or where you come from; it’s about what you can accomplish at the tap of a keyboard and your own focus. Push yourself to finish your high school diploma faster than you would at a brick and mortar school. Fit in class time at your own structure and pace. Find accomplishment and success on your terms in your schedule. Online school may be that way to not just connect to the online world but transform the way we live into the online world.

Eric Luse

What will the world look like in 50 years?

What will the world look like in 50 years?

What problems are going to be on everyone’s mind in 50 years?  Will it be a pandemic? Will drought be the most pressing issue?  Climate Change? The point is, we do not know. There is no way to know what will happen in the future.  It may be all, or none, of these senarios, but the question to ask is, “What is my school doing to prepare me to deal with these eventualities?”  Is your school preparing you for the 21st century problems? Is it student centered? Is it creative? Does it allow you to be the best you can be, or does it have you asking “Why am I doing this,” on a daily basis?

When looking at schools, ask what they are doing to incorporate 21st century learning methods.  Is it an innovative place that allows you to think and create? Is it collaborative and requires you to communicate with others?  In short, is it a 21st century education?

If the answer is no, consider looking for a new place.  The changing world will be defined by students who can think, not by those who can quietly fill out a worksheet.  Preparing yourself for the changing world requires a 21st century education. Ask your school what their plan is to provide it, or venture out and find your own way.  The future belongs to the brave thinkers that challenge everyday concepts. Reach for greatness through a 21st century education.

Shawn Huffman

Director of Curriculum and Innovation.

Technology role in 21st Century Learning

Students used to ask the question of how the material was relevant to their lives.  The more and more I heard this question, the more it made me ask myself the same. What I discovered was that education had not changed in the last 200 years, but the world was changing rapidly.  How were my students being served by the traditional classroom for their future in the 21st century. My conclusion was that they were not being well prepared. 21st century education is about preparing students for a world which does not exist, yet.  We cannot do that by focusing on the details of what they do not know. We must, rather, focus on the how to gain that information and the ability to think through the information. Technology allows students to access any piece of information at any time.  This means that we no longer need to focus on the stuff, but rather on the ability to learn information when it is relevant to them. 21st century education is really about teaching our students to think for themselves.

Ron Oliver of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia examines the role of technology in his article “The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as a change agent for education.”  With the available technology, 21st century skills can reach any student, anywhere in the world.  This means that students are no longer limited by the area of their birth, they can receive a high quality, 21st century education anywhere in the world and at any time!

The problems of our world require us to leverage all of human genius.  Famine, drought, disease, poverty are all problems that we need to solve in the 21st century, but we cannot do that if most of our students are not taught in the 21st century education model and if we continue to marginalize most of the world’s population.  21st century education is about all students, regardless of where they reside, learning to think, communicate, and collaborate our way to a better world. Stay tuned!

Shawn Huffman

iAM Global Education, Director of Curriculum and Innovation

21st Century Classrooms

21st Century Blog for 7/19/18

As educators, we are preparing students for careers that don’t even exist today. So, what steps should you take to become a 21st Century educator and gain the skills you will need to make a difference for your students?  Teacher Thought organization tells us there are 4 essential rules of 21st Century learning classrooms (https://www.teachthought.com/learning/4-essential-rules-of-21st-century-learning/), but truly creating 21st Century learning environments takes strategic planning and professional development. Get started today and transform your learning environments into 21st Century learning classrooms. iAM Global Education® can provide you and your entire school with comprehensive training via online classes, webinars, and/or face-to-face workshops anywhere around the world. Meet our 21st Century learning expert team and champions that will guide you to transform your traditional learning environments into 21st Century classrooms. Be a 21st Century Educator starting today!  iAM Global Education will guide you every step of the way. Check out www.iamglobaleducation.com and learn more how to begin your 21st Century classroom transformation.  iAM Global Education: Making the World a Better Place through Education.   

– Jeannine Woolsey