Why The Pandemic May Lead To Continuing Increases In Remote Learning

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This was originally published on kjzz.org.

Arizona students and their parents have gotten a crash course in remote learning over the past year or so. But even though schools across the state are open for in-person learning now, some families are choosing to stay online. And Julie Young says remote learning will continue to be the best choice for some students.

Young is vice president for the Education Outreach and Student Services Unit at ASU and the managing director of ASU Prep Academy. She’s looking at three education models moving forward: The traditional model, where students are in the classroom every day; a fully virtual model, where students are online every day; and a hybrid model, where the students are in person some days and remote on the others.

The Show spoke with Young to talk through all of this, and to learn how much the idea of virtual schooling has grown during the pandemic. Listen to the full recording here:

Meet an ASU Prep Digital Student with Super Powers

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Check out this article about Neva Lee Recla, one of our amazing students, previously published in “Podcast Magazine”:

Witty, wise, and eloquent. Author, entrepreneur, mentor, and podcaster.

Meet Neva Lee Recla, an 11-year-old student in Arizona.

Like many girls her age, she attends school virtually, is active in her church, and dreams of going to college. Then, there are the many ways she shines brilliantly, like a supernova traveling through the universe.

For the Recla family, podcasting is a family affair. They created the SuperPower Network in January 2016, and Neva’s mother, Tonya Dawn, was the first to host a show. Then, at the age of seven, Neva decided she wanted to follow her podcasting mother’s example and host her own show. She asked her mother if she could, and remembers her mom “looking at me like I was crazy. Like, ‘How is my seven-year-old daughter going to do a podcast?’” She was actually a little reluctant at first.

“My mom said, ‘I don’t want to coach kids.’ I explained to her that I was going to be the one who coaches them. We talked about it more, and she agreed. When I first started Super Power Kids, I had no clue what I was doing. I copied everything my mom said and memorized her exact intro.”

To see the complete article from “Podcast Magazine”, visit their web site.

Students Make Up for COVID Learning Loss with Summer School

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Students all around the country are experiencing a significant amount of learning loss due to COVID-19. According to a report published by McKinsey & Company, the average amount of learning loss will be approximately five to nine months by June 2021. As the landscape of education continues to change, it’s important we take steps to address gaps in student knowledge. ASU Prep Digital is partnering with the state of Arizona to address those gaps with a series of summer school programs.

Reading Refresh

This online summer school program for grades K–12 is perfect for students who want to keep their reading skills sharp or make up for lost learning. The experience is personalized for each student, using prescriptive assessment to meet students where they are and adapting the coursework to provide the right level of intervention or enrichment. Students will work 2-4 hours per day in both live lessons with a teacher and asynchronous digital activities. 

Math Momentum

Back by popular demand, this summer math program for grades K–12 is a great way for students to accelerate their math skills or fill any gaps in preparation for next year. Expert online teachers leverage prescriptive and adaptive software to provide both intervention and enrichment. Math Momentum requires students to work 2-4 hours per day and includes live lessons with a teacher and digital lessons that can be completed any time. High school students can choose from Algebra 1, Algebra 2 or Geometry.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math)

Grades K-5

This program combines STEM skills with the Arts to provide an engaging, hands-on experience for students. Students will be actively learning 2-4 hours per day and working with expert online teachers on projects and activities that build skills and curiosity.

Online Courses

ASU Prep Digital will also be offering their entire catalog of core and elective courses for grades 6-12 summer enrollment. Students will be actively learning 3-4 hours per day. Explore the full catalog to learn more.

Concurrent University Courses

Summer offers a great chance to take university courses and earn concurrent credit for both high school and college. This is the perfect way to explore the college experience, while earning valuable credits. Explore the full catalog to learn more.

To learn more about any of these summer programs, please join an online info session or contact an admissions advisor

Why Do Students Prefer Online Learning?

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Even before COVID-19 disrupted the way we educate, more and more students were seeking an alternative to the brick-and-mortar learning environment. Whether they wanted to take charge of their education or carve out more time for themselves and their hobbies, students discovered a different style of learning could be the key to their success both in and out of the classroom.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why students prefer online learning:

Personalized learning paths.

Education is not ‘one size fits all.’ One major reason why students prefer online learning is because it takes a personalized learning approach, ensuring that every student can be successful. Many online high schools, including ASU Prep Digital, leverage individualized teaching models and technologies to assess student needs, strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. This allows students to work at a pace that’s comfortable for them without feeling like they’re behind or  they’re moving too far ahead.

Flexible schedule.

In a traditional school setting, students are busy from morning until night. Between attending classes at set times, participating in extracurricular activities, and completing homework assignments, their schedules are jam packed and the same day after day. Another reason why students prefer online learning is because it gives them the flexibility to create their own schedule, allowing them to make more time for themselves and the things they love to do. Students at ASU Prep Digital enjoy working at their own pace and scheduling time to complete assignments while pursuing their passions, whether it’s music, dance, or athletics

Diverse learning environment.

Now more than ever, it’s important to make diversity and inclusion a priority in our classrooms. One of the unique advantages to online learning is the opportunity to connect with, and learn from, peers all around the world. At ASU Prep Digital, students are exposed to different cultures on a daily basis, allowing them to expand their horizons and make new friends that may be states or even oceans away! In fact, ASU Prep Digital offers a Global Leadership Exchange elective course where students collaborate with peers at Lydex High School in Morocco, developing important skills and establishing deeper understandings of different perspectives and cultures.

For students who are looking to learn at their own pace, set their own schedule, and have time to pursue their passions outside of school, online learning is a great option. Be sure to check out these additional posts to learn more about why students prefer online learning:

How ASU Prep Digital Met the Rising Demand for Online Learning

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It’s no secret COVID-19 has affected every part of our daily lives, forcing us to rethink the way we work, connect, and educate. As schools began to close around the country in the early days of the pandemic, parents helped their children shift to a remote learning experience and took an active role in their education. When the spring semester ended, school districts and families alike had difficult choices to make: do we resume in-person learning come fall? Parents took the time to weigh their options, and many turned to schools with proven success in online education—schools such as ASU Prep Digital. So how did ASU Prep Digital meet the rising demand for online learning?

Expanding the program to include grades K-12

ASU Prep Digital was founded in 2017 with several goals in mind. They aimed to not only prepare students for college acceptance with a rigorous curriculum that combined university courses with online high school, but also personalize the learning experience, giving every student the tools and support needed to be successful both in and out of the classroom. 

When students across the country were forced to finish out their spring semester virtually, ASU Prep Digital sprung into action and began the process of expanding its program to welcome elementary and middle school students in the fall. Families looking for stability after a rocky spring gravitated toward ASU Prep Digital, increasing their enrollment by almost 700 percent.

Introducing the Arizona Virtual Teacher Institute

Students aren’t the only ones learning to adapt to hybrid or remote learning environments. Teachers have also had to make the transition, which includes learning new tools to enhance their online classrooms and discovering ways to keep their students engaged through a screen.

Recognizing the need to support teachers across Arizona during this difficult time, Arizona State University, the Arizona Department of Education, the Helios Foundation, and Governor Doug Ducey’s office collaborated to bring the Arizona Virtual Teacher Institute to life. Managed by ASU Prep Digital, the Arizona Virtual Teacher Institute provides a flexible menu of training options for schools and teachers throughout the state, free of charge. With a range of topics and sessions, teachers can learn how to thrive and adapt to the ever-changing educational landscape through the pandemic and beyond. Visit their website to learn more and to see a calendar of the sessions.

Presenting at virtual conferences 

Though large gatherings have ceased for the time being, ASU Prep Digital has still found ways to share their experiences and expertise with educators all around the world. The annual ASU + GSV Summit was held virtually this year, making it even more accessible for those who may not have been able to attend in person. ASU Prep Digital hosted several sessions during the conference, speaking to their success in transforming K-12 education with the help of Arizona State University. You can learn more about this year’s event and register for the 2021 summit by visiting their website.

ASU will also be hosting REMOTE K12, the Connected Teacher Summit on January 9, 2021. This free, virtual event is designed to provide teachers with effective techniques, tools, and insights for online/blended learning while engaging with colleagues from all around the country. Teachers can even earn an ASU-certified Professional Development Credential by attending the event and filling out a post-show survey. Check out their website to learn more about the event and sessions that will be offered.

And this week, ASU Prep Digital is presenting at EdPalooza, a virtual conference hosted by ExcelinEd that aims to connect policymakers and educators in an effort to retool education. The three-day event will feature EdVision keynote speakers, EdTalks, and more than 100 Palooza sessions where attendees will be able to interact virtually and learn about the latest education trends, technology, and solutions. Visit their website to register and learn more about the event.

Looking to learn more about ASU Prep Digital’s growth and the future of education? Check out these posts:

Frequently Asked Questions about Online Learning

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If you’re new to online learning this year, or considering it as an option for your student next semester, chances are you have quite a few questions. Whether you’re wondering what the expectations are for family involvement or curious about how socialization works, we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of answers to frequently asked questions about online learning:

Are the courses 100% online?

Yes! One of the major benefits of online learning is that students have the freedom to complete their assignments anywhere, at any time, and at their own pace.

Can students participate in extracurricular activities?

Absolutely! Just like traditional schools, online schools, offer a variety of clubs and activities for students. In fact, students are encouraged to submit additional club ideas that match their interests.

What are the expectations for family involvement?

At ASU Prep Digital, it’s common (and encouraged!) for families to take an active role in their student’s education. For younger grades like K-8, this may mean a more hands-on approach and daily check-ins, especially if your student is new to online learning. For students in grades 9-12, this may mean giving them more freedom and checking in on a weekly basis.

How is online learning different from traditional schooling?

The major difference between online learning and traditional schooling is flexibility. In a traditional school setting, students learn at the same pace as their peers and follow a set schedule for their courses. Online learning allows students to not only complete coursework on their own time, but also work at a pace that best suits their needs. Whether this means working ahead to complete a class early or spending a little extra time on a topic, students have the freedom to make that choice for themselves!

 

Have more questions? Check out a full list of FAQs on our website and additional posts about frequently asked questions about online learning:

3 Tips for Transitioning to Online Learning

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With the fall semester underway, many families across the country have chosen to keep their children home and enroll them in online programs, like ASU Prep Digital. If your child has never taken an online course, that’s okay! To ease your worries, we’ve rounded up several tips for transitioning to online learning:

Set a schedule and check in often

One of the major differences between online learning and brick-and-mortar is that students have the freedom to work at their own pace. While this is great for students who want to work ahead or even take a little more time with certain subjects, it can also take some getting used to. Help your child put together a schedule that allows them to work on assignments in a timely fashion without feeling overwhelmed. And during the first few weeks of their first semester, it’s recommended that you check in nightly to ensure they’re staying on track.

Encourage your child to engage in extracurricular activities 

Transitions are easier when you have friends by your side! Online schools offer clubs just like brick-and-mortar schools do, which makes it easier for students to find something they’re passionate about and meet people who share the same interests. From book club to student government and everything in between, there’s no shortage of activities that will help your child break out of their shell and begin to develop connections with their peers.

Understand there will be a transitional period 

The same way it takes time to transition from each grade level, your child will need time to adjust from a physical learning environment to an online learning environmentand that’s okay! The most important thing they’ll need during this time is support. Luckily, there’s no shortage of that at ASU Prep Digital. Students will communicate with their teachers and Learning Success Coach on a regular basis, ensuring they’re staying on track to be successful in and out of the virtual classroom.

 

Looking for more insight on transitioning to online learning? Check out these posts: