How to establish rapport with online students

My experience with online education began 19 years ago after I took a break from teaching in the brick and mortar setting to give birth to my daughter. When I was ready to get back in the game, several of my colleagues recommended Florida Virtual School (FLVS), which at the time was in its infancy. What really sold me on FLVS was the organization’s dedication to meeting students where they are. It also seemed like the next natural step for me, because during my traditional schooling days I was constantly looking to add innovative methods and technology to my classroom.

Within a couple of months of teaching online with FLVS, I witnessed how intentional the instructors were when serving our students’ individual needs, and I knew this was the place for me. I remember being in awe of the relationships teachers were able to form not only with their students, but also parents and other stakeholders.

With that in mind, there were several skills I needed to learn, especially when it came to establishing rapport with students. There are many skills that teachers need to be successful teaching online, including basic technology skills like how to use a computer, run a webinar or video conferencing platform, and use a variety of systems. But the most important skill is communication. Specifically, how to actively listen, build relationships, and at many times, be a shoulder to cry on and a mirror to see in. Being an online teacher can be tough, because you are juggling a lot at one time, but the focus should always remain on the student and what they need.…Read More

This virtual science course uses real-life conservation examples to inspire students

According to a survey conducted by Amnesty International in 2019, Generation Z ranks climate change as the most vital issue facing the world today. With a generation that is so empowered, connected, empathetic, and with a drive to make a difference in the world, having real-life examples and tools to teach them about conservation and sustainability is crucial.

When our Florida Virtual School (FLVS) curriculum team and teachers began to develop our brand-new environmental science course, we knew we wanted to partner with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, which conducts scientific research and hosts educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment, as well as funds affiliated working researchers and educators to better understand our ocean ecosystem and help foster the next generation of marine conservationists. 

By partnering with the foundation, we can teach students about sustainability and conservation through real-life examples and activities so that they can build a connection with the environment around them. This is important for student success because we want them to engage with the lessons and master the content, while also feeling excited and passionate about the work they are doing.…Read More

Florida Virtual School migrates to Brightspace

Florida Virtual School (FLVS), a statewide public school district in the state of Florida and international provider of education products and services, has selected D2L, a global learning technology provider, to deploy its Brightspace platform as the district’s new learning management system (LMS).

FLVS, the largest fully accredited online state public school in the U.S., had nearly 400,000 completed semester enrollments in the 2015-16 academic year.

The Brightspace platform includes a number of advantages that were key elements in its selection by FLVS. Since the platform incorporates personalized learning, teachers can deliver their lessons with much greater flexibility and give each student the personal experience they need to succeed. Brightspace was designed with modern students in mind and offers a clean, responsive user experience as well as integrated social media, chat and advanced video features.…Read More

Tech solution connects eMailing teachers with texting students

ConnectYard, a company that integrates text messaging, social media, eMail, and other communication tools on a single platform, has announced a new partnership with Florida Virtual School (FLVS), reports the Brevard Times. The partnership aims to enhance student performance and retention by enabling more rapid and efficient communication and collaboration.

Today, text messaging and social media tools like Facebook and Twitter are high school students’ communication tools of choice. But because educators tend to rely on eMail and learning management system tools to communicate, the popularity of social media and texting among younger people has caused a communication gap between teachers, school administrators, and students. With the ConnectYard solution, FLVS students, teachers, and administrators will be able to communicate on the platforms they prefer to use.

FLVS and its teachers will not be required to “friend” or “follow” students on Facebook or Twitter, or vice versa; instead, ConnectYard enables schools, students, and teachers to send and receive messages seamlessly on their preferred platform, which can speed message receipt and response times and create a more cohesive, connected learning environment, the company says……Read More

Five lessons from the nation’s best online teacher

Teresa Dove was the winner for this year's award.
Teresa Dove of the Florida Virtual School was chosen as the first-ever National Online Teacher of the Year.

Educators who teach in an online setting should foster strong relationships with their students’ parents and should offer plenty of positive feedback, says the nation’s first-ever K-12 Online Teacher of the Year.

Teacher Teresa Dove of the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) last week was chosen as the first winner of this new award, which not only recognizes excellent teaching but also the prevalence, and importance, of online learning across the country.…Read More

Like Facebook, but for learning

Studying online in collaborative environments encourages students.
Studying online in a collaborative learning environment can motivate students.

Aiming to engage students who are multitasking with different forms of technology, companies are creating collaborative learning spaces online where students can help one another solve homework problems and study—all while building important 21st-century skills.

One such social-networking study site is Grockit, which currently offers test-prep services and is expanding its focus to include math and English for students in grades 8-12, with history and science soon to follow. Grockit has opened enrollment for a free Summer Enrichment Academy, which is designed to keep students from falling behind during summer vacation as they participate in collaborative group study forums online.…Read More

New tools will make online courses more accessible

Florida Virtual School's latest innovations could help students with reading disabilities.
Florida Virtual School's latest innovations could help students with reading disabilities.

Florida Virtual School (FLVS), a pioneer in K-12 online learning, is adding to its reputation as a national innovator with the introduction of read-aloud functionality and other accessibility tools in its online courses.

The announcement, made in the school’s home state at the 2010 Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) in mid-January, means students taking FLVS courses soon will be able to use a built-in text-to-speech reader and other tools designed to make online courses more accessible to students with a range of learning challenges.…Read More