Safer at home: Parents need online learning options

As fears about the continued spread of Covid-19 and the Delta variant circulate throughout the country, the return to in-person learning this fall has become an even more hotly debated issue than before. Many school districts are struggling to revise their back-to-school plans and alleviate parental fears, while continuing to address criticism over the subpar virtual learning many students experienced last year.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated mask guidelines and recent Covid-19 outbreaks at some K-12 schools are leaving many wondering if it’s possible to keep students and their families safe in the wake of so many unknowns.

In Arkansas, for example, one school district has placed more than 160 students in quarantine after seven students and three staff members tested positive for coronavirus. Despite this, New York City—the nation’s largest school district—is still on track to offer 100 percent in-person schooling, with no remote option available.…Read More

New Schools in Six States and Internationally Give Students Courses from VHS Learning

Boston – Aug. 30, 2021 – VHS Learning, a nonprofit empowering schools with the industry’s best teacher-led online learning programs, today announced that schools in New Jersey, North Carolina, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, along with Sierra Leone, are now offering their students access to more than 250 core and elective courses online.

The new partner schools include:

  • American International School of Freetown – Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Barnstable Academy – Oakland, New Jersey
  • Block Island School – Block Island, Rhode Island
  • JEDI Virtual School – Whitewater, Wisconsin
  • St. Patrick Academy – Providence, Rhode Island
  • Southside Christian School – Simpsonville, South Carolina
  • Stonington High School – Pawcatuck, Connecticut
  • Sugar Creek Charter School – Charlotte, North Carolina

VHS Learning has a distinguished 25-year history of supplementing face-to-face education with quality online learning that provides high school students expanded curriculum offerings. Currently, the nonprofit serves students in 66 countries and 46 states, offering hundreds of unique online courses, including 24 AP® offerings, innovative STEM programs, and a wide variety of unique electives.…Read More

Multiplying the impact of math catch-up

Elementary school education is accumulative, building on whatever instruction came during the prior grade. One year you’re learning polynomials, the next how to graph them, while social studies gradually becomes more nuanced and comprehensive. So, what happens when a break occurs in the educational track? Across the nation, despite teachers’ best efforts, students are suffering from the impact of a year of online learning, and it’s crucial to recoup that lost training and engagement before the chance is lost forever.

Unfortunately, for many children, the turbulence and uncertainty of the past 18 months have resulted in a lack of excitement around studying and learning more generally.  Studies point to a condition called “math anxiety” in young students, which hampers their abilities and ultimately discourages them from pursuing STEM subjects and related careers. A short break in a student’s learning can be a disproportionate blow to their education.

It is not only the break from classroom learning that is impacting math anxiety, but also the pressure to catch up that is putting children through more stress.…Read More

Q Academy Ventures into Online Learning for Kids

British Columbia-based Q Academy, a pioneer in tech-focused education, taps into online learning with the soft-launching of Q Academy Kids (QA Kids), a coding and design platform for young people.

With the increased internet adoption and the rising demand for real-time accessible training globally, Q Academy makes this timely shift from purely on-campus delivery to the addition of virtual delivery methods through QA Kids.

“Q Academy is known for delivering short-term training for individuals and corporate learners with a focus on upgrading their skills. It has been offering in-person summer tech camps, after-school and professional development courses for kids in Vancouver and Victoria, BC, and now with Q Academy Kids, we are able to extend our reach across the nation,” says Q Academy Campus Manager Rachael McPherson. …Read More

Did online learning mostly miss the mark?

Online learning has untapped potential for students across the nation, and while the COVID-19 pandemic forced classrooms online in early 2020, that doesn’t mean learning became more innovative and personalized. To what extent have educators used the pandemic as an opportunity to realize online learning’s benefits?

A new brief from the Clayton Christensen Institute examines that very question, pulling from surveys and discussions with more than 1,000 teachers to paint a picture of programs, technologies, and instructional practices educators are leaning on as they work through the effects of COVID-19. The intent is to learn how educators use online learning, but also whether online learning leads to the benefits the Institute has documented in its blended learning research.

The traditional–and what many (or most) would argue outdated–education system relies on uniformity, notes the report’s author, Thomas Arnett, a senior research fellow for the Clayton Christensen Institute. And this means the majority of students won’t totally fit.…Read More

5 fun tools for student collaboration

During the pandemic, side-by-side student collaboration took a back seat to online learning and distanced in-person or hybrid learning.

But student collaboration is a cornerstone of 21st-century skill-building, teaching students how to listen to others, build off of ideas that aren’t their own, compromise, and work as a team.

If you’re looking for a new student collaboration tool for your school team to try, or to try in your own classroom, take a look at the tools below.…Read More

4 ideas to create engaging online learning activities

While most schools plan for full in-person returns in the fall, plans are not 100 percent certain right now. Variables such as more contagious COVID strains, approval and availability of vaccines for children younger than 12, and local COVID outbreaks could force schools back to online learning for weeks at a time.

Teachers and students learned a lot about online learning during the past 15 months–what works and what doesn’t, strategies to engage with one another, and how to form meaningful relationships during online, hybrid, or distanced in-person learning.

During ISTELive 21, Dr. Jennifer Courduff, a professor of education at Azusa Pacific University; Dr. Peter Hessling, an assistant teaching professor at North Carolina State University; Dr. Jean Kiekel, an assistant professor at the University Of St. Thomas; and Dr. Susan Poyo, an associate professor of education at Franciscan University shared four ways to create engaging online learning opportunities for students.…Read More

Parents want post-pandemic online learning options

The pandemic has changed the way parents look at their children’s education, and most want more choices–including an online learning option–going forward.

According to a survey conducted by Stride, Inc., parents believe schools should now be equipped to quickly and effectively move online if necessary, and that students should have a variety of learning options available to them.

“There’s no question that the pandemic turned the public education system completely on its head. The events of the past year forced parents and schools across the country to recognize that the future of education is digital – a trend we saw coming two decades ago,” said James Rhyu, CEO at Stride. “As with any large scale digital innovation, there’s little wonder why parents don’t want to go back to the way things were.”…Read More

3 ways gamification engages students

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of K-12 and college students have transitioned to online learning. However, not all teachers have received the adequate resources and training needed to teach remotely.

One of the major issues teachers are struggling with is effectively engaging students. In a study of 554 teachers in the San Antonio area, 60 percent said that students turned in assignments less frequently during distance learning, and 65 percent believed that there were significantly fewer lessons that grabbed the attention of students. Because online learning cannot easily foster the social and emotional connections that in-person learning does, students have a more difficult time staying motivated in classes.

Gamification, defined as using game-like elements in non-game contexts, can help motivate online learners and solve this issue. In the context of education, gamification elements typically include digital badges, leaderboards, progress bars, and more. Integrating these elements within an online learning environment can provide students with an intriguing, immersive experience.…Read More

VHS Learning Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The nonprofit marks its quarter-century milestone collaborating with schools

Boston — May 18, 2021 — VHS Learning, a nonprofit empowering schools with the industry’s best online learning programs, is celebrating its 25th year helping schools expand curriculum and provide engaging learning experiences for students. Over the past quarter century, the online learning provider has developed a variety of school partnerships, and currently partners with more than 700 schools around the world. The nonprofit serves middle and high school students in 66 countries.

“VHS Learning collaborates with educators and educational organizations to help schools maximize their resources,” said Carol DeFuria, President & CEO of VHS Learning. “We’re very pleased to help provide students with educational options that would otherwise be unavailable to them and help them experience learning with their peers in a diverse global online classroom environment.”…Read More