Old Enough: Why Age Doesn’t Matter

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How ASU Prep Digital Allows Students to Learn Dynamically

Everyone has heard of students who have transcended the boundaries of age: the high schooler who starts her own business, the middle schooler who enrolls in online high school courses, the retiree who gets her high school diploma. These paradigm-breakers resist the traditional age expectations assigned by the year they were born. They do the work at their own pace of intelligence and go where their life calls them. Can you imagine what we could achieve as a culture if all people viewed lifelong learning this way? 

Those who have reached beyond their age are often labeled prodigies or phenoms. No doubt when you hear these stories, you remember back to your own experience in school. How many of us have felt held back when we had an intellectual leap that our peers did not? Or, maybe we watched as our peers moved ahead while we needed a little more time.

Some learning models naturally accommodate these leaps and pauses in the spectrum of learning and living. Multi-age classrooms or one-room schoolhouses follow the child through their learning, encouraging individualized paths. But the larger and more regulated educational systems became, the more out-of-focus the student appeared. This isn’t blame-placing; traditional educational systems operating at capacity often struggle to resist mission drift. 

In my world, age matters a little less than it does in other places. At ASU Prep Digital, students progress at their own pace through online high school and concurrent enrollment in college courses. It’s the expectation, not the exception. By getting what society perceives as a head-start, ASU Prep Digital students benefit from being seen apart from the norm — giving them a distinct, concrete advantage when they apply to college. And perhaps most importantly, by eliminating age as a construct in learning, students are empowered to shape their worlds and contribute to the global community.

To break the paradigm of age as a barrier – and as a construct – on a systemic level is an absolute game changer.

There is no more effective way to change the world, at both the community and global levels, than to liberate our students of all ages to learn faster, better, and smarter. More and more, the workforce of today is dynamic. The career you start will likely not be the career from which you retire. Or maybe, you don’t retire at all but instead, continue to work well into retirement age.

This concept of moving forward—beyond age, to allow each student to work toward their goals at a pace that matches their needs and ambitions isn’t new, but there are very few places in the world where this is the standard instead of a deviation. ASU Prep Digital is growing exponentially to meet the needs of the students and families who see this opportunity for what it truly is—the ideal way to educate students for a dynamic workforce. 

To learn more about ASU Prep Digital and their teaching model, read this blog post.  

A Day in The Life of an ASU Prep Digital Student

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So you’re thinking about enrolling in college classes online, as a high school student? You may have questions about how this new process will work within your current reality. What can you expect your day to look like as a part-time and full-time ASU Prep Digital student?

Let’s look at a day-in-the-life of an ASU Prep Digital part-time and full-time student.

Part-Time Students:

Students can usually plan on spending about 4 hours per week, per course. You may start your day going to a traditional high school or homeschool situation. Then at some point, head over to a coffee house, library or back home to start your online coursework.

Part-time students will typically start their ASU Prep Digital work by logging into their student dashboard to check for updates or messages from their personal success coach, teachers or fellow students. It’s important you take a minute to reply to those messages and check-in with your coach and teacher with any questions or concerns — then jump into some coursework. This can involve watching course videos, reading articles, reviewing course modules and working on outstanding lessons. Each week your teacher will host a live video forum which you can join or watch the recorded version at their convenience.

If it is an exam week, you may spend time studying on your own. Then, once you’re ready, you’ll log in and complete the exam online. All tests are open-book, but require higher-level thinking to answer questions.

Being a part-time student at ASU Prep Digital is convenient and challenging — giving you a taste of what learning at the college level is like, all from the comfort of your own home…or favorite coffee shop.

Typical Day for a Part-TIme Student

Full-Time Students:

A typical day as a full-time student is really similar to being a part-time student. If you’re taking 4 courses or more you can usually plan on an average of 5 hours of class-time per day. The great thing is that you can do this whenever and wherever you want. You may work a part-time job or play competitive sports and it’s easy to schedule your class work around your shifts and practice schedule.

Your daily routine consists of checking in with your success coach and teachers, as needed, to get a pulse on how your pacing your way through each course and working out the plan that you created at the beginning of the semester. Then balance your time between working through lessons, watching course videos and reading materials that relate to your subjects. You’ll have weekly live lessons with your teachers and you may even schedule a chat with them if you’re in need of additional help in a particular subject.

In a full-time environment, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with your peers on projects, develop products or business ideas, present them as part of your coursework, and even take virtual field trips to different countries (as part of your language course). Assessments are done throughout the semester and typically follow the pattern of a college term: quizzes, tests, mid-term exams, and finals.

Typical Day of a Full-Time Student

Every day is different and affords each student incredible opportunities to develop their leadership and critical thinking skills. Take a break when you need to. Meet a friend for lunch in between lessons – it’s totally up to you and when you work best. You literally get to set your own schedule and with the help of your teachers and success coach, you can customize an online learning experience that works for your life.

To learn more about online learning or about ASU Prep Digital, visit our website or read more posts on our blog

Own It!

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What is the Own it! Program All About?

One of the most crucial decisions you’ll make when starting your college career is quite literally, where to start. This can be incredibly overwhelming for high school students, trying to pick from hundreds of college majors and thousands of potential careers.

How do you know you’re on the right path, without wasting valuable time and money?

At ASU Prep Digital, there are several pre-college training programs that help students think through their interests and strengths. This early exposure to courses will help students assess what college majors and career paths would be the right fit for them. One of these tools is the Own It! Program, a 10 unit mini-course that prepares students to own their learning with a personal profile to help them guide through their college and career choices.

When students enroll at ASU Prep Digital, they are assigned a personal Learning Success Coach who works with them throughout the semester. The coaches host a week-long orientation course to help students gain confidence and recognize the level of responsibility required to own their learning in an online environment. Students learn skills in taking initiative, adapting to various real-life situations, and learn how to affect outcomes based on their thought processes.

The key concept of the Own It! Program is mindset readiness. Mindset readiness is the primary non-cognitive or “soft” skill needed for a student to successfully transition from high school to college and eventually, a career. A student’s mindset can make all the difference in their academic progress. When they have a chance to learn how to control their thoughts, they learn to understand that through dedication and hard work, they can accomplish difficult and challenging tasks. When their mind is ready, they’re ready to learn!

Taking the Own It! Program

There are 10 total modules in the program. Some of the featured topics that support and teach the mindset readiness approach are: Thinking Like an Owner, Using Destination Thinking, Owner/Victim Choice and Being Unstoppable. Students are given key objectives for each module, watch engaging videos and are prompted to give their feedback and insight about each scenario.

Students are also presented with a series of motivating quotes from world thought leaders and they choose which one relates to them the best. The quote then shows up on their profile dashboard to refer back to later in the course; giving students a personalized experience that provides ongoing motivation and direction.

Registration and support for the Own It! program are pretty simple. After they log in, students typically spend a few days (average of 4 days) completing the step-by-step course. Upon completion, students receive a certificate and a letter of recommendation.

Within the Own it! training modules, each student creates a personal learner profile. That profile serves as their introduction and support as they begin their coursework in ASU Prep Digital. The Own it! learner profile is complete with information related to their career interests, flexibility and adaptability, initiative and accountability, study habits, learning preferences, and personality traits.

To keep Own it! concepts in front of students all year long, there are also quarterly individual learning conferences providing opportunities to discuss and reflect on student skills related to progress in meeting the goals they have established.

To learn more, read this blog post on the ASU Prep Digital teaching model or visit our website.

Our Teaching Model

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The ASU Prep Digital Teaching Model

One of the biggest fears people have when considering an online education is that “students are all alone.” And we hear you.

It’s true that 100% of coursework is online and it can be done from virtually anywhere, but despite the persistence of the myth… you’re certainly not on your own.

At ASU Prep Digital, students are intentionally connected with qualified teachers, a personal success coach and fellow students throughout an entire course experience.

The ASU Prep Digital teaching model l is one-of-a-kind, in that it creates a very personal and helpful environment to support the student — with real teachers and coaches. The model is built around a personalized learning approach; which means each student’s individual needs are assessed and, how best to help them succeed throughout their course, is customized. After a student enrolls, their success coach will work closely with them, their teachers and even their parents to develop a plan that will help them to achieve their goals and stay on track.

Newly enrolled full-time students start by attending a week-long orientation course, taught by their success coaches. The course covers topics like: how to set-up your home classroom/office, how to take a screenshot, how to submit coursework and questions to your teacher, taking ownership in decision making, leadership development, and growth training.

Throughout the semester, the success coach provides a holistic perspective of the student’s overall course load and reminds them of critical dates, like registering for the PSAT and filling out college applications.

This is done in an initial connection through both phone and email, making communication convenient and personal for you and your family.

ASU Prep Digital teachers are not average — no really! Each teacher makes a personal investment in their students, creating great dialogue around what their interests and goals are for each class and how they can help them be successful. Each teacher reaches out to both the student and the parent(s) at the start of a new course and welcomes them to the class via email, phone call and sends them a welcome video message through Adobe Connect and/or YouTube.

Each teacher usually touches base with students about 3 times each week;

especially if they see that a student is lagging behind or made a failing grade on a quiz or test. That said, they don’t just follow up to tell the student that they failed, but rather, they provide feedback, offer resources for better understanding and create inroads to help students process their progress and make adjustments as needed. You rarely get that kind of one-on-one care in most traditional classroom settings.

Teachers host a weekly live video that usually lasts between 30-45 minutes. This gives an overview of coursework for the week and helps students assess where they are in the class. Students are also encouraged to connect with their teachers via email, chat, phone or text whenever they need to, to get their questions answered.

Though much of online learning is independent for a student, ASU Prep Digital has created a leading model of digital community and connection that is unprecedented. Find out more about the advantages of the ASU Prep Digital Teaching Model.

What is Personalized Learning?

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Personalized Learning

When you hear the term “personalized learning,” most people’s minds conjure images of 1:1 classrooms or customized lesson plans, not online education. The common assumption is that learning online means working on your own to complete a series of general courses, in an effort to get credits, a degree or supplemental learning of some kind. Few people would pair the term personalized learning with online high school courses.

The truth is, many online schools have the ability to provide valuable tools and individualized experiences for high school students. Making the online learning an ideal platform for personalized learning.

So, what do we mean when we say “personalized learning?” Every year, iNACOL (International Association for K-12 Online learning) speaks with thousands of online educators, in an effort to get a clear understanding of what personalized learning means to them. They define it as:

“Tailoring learning for each student’s strengths, needs, and interests – including enabling the student’s voice and choice in what, how, when and where they learn – to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible.”

Let’s break this down.

Personalized learning means tailoring to each student’s needs and interests. In an online learning environment, there are several ways that this is accomplished, but it can really be boiled down to two main influences — teachers and tools. At ASU Prep Digital, the personal touch begins with the teacher and success coach assigned to each student. When a student enrolls in a new course, the teacher reaches out to them and their parents with a personal phone call and e-mail.

Throughout the course experience, teachers and success coaches have the ability to customize modules and learning experiences for each individual student — based on their needs and abilities. If a student already understands a topic, they can move onto the next module without having to wait for an entire classroom to catch up. If they need more time, they can take it and work with their teacher to get the extra assistance they need. This allows for a tailored and flexible learning experience.

ASU Prep Digital teachers and coaches are accessible to students throughout the entire semester; connecting with students via chat and text and offering 1:1 instruction when it’s needed most. In addition, teachers host weekly live video discussions. By providing this opportunity to connect in small groups, students are encouraged to ask questions and participate in topic discussions. Therefore, the teacher’s role extends beyond providing assignments and grades. It is focused on helping students to gain knowledge and understanding of their coursework.

The online tools are a close second to teachers, and help to provide a truly customized experience.

New technology, such as the me3 application, uses the student’s interests to help them discover a potential college major and future career path. There are also unique tools made available in every course, allowing for students to connect with their teachers as well as collaborate with one another; such as Adobe Connect, Facebook Live and Canvas modules for coursework and group projects.

In addition, ASU Prep Digital plans to release Virtual Reality experiences as another tool for students to explore subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, History, and English. The VR lessons allow students to interact in their course subject as a character in a larger narrative — collecting facts, taking risks and having fun — all while learning!

The most compelling aspect of creating a personalized learning experience is the convenience for the student — they literally can learn from anywhere and on the schedule that works for them. Learning is not compartmentalized anymore. Students can learn as they live. Today, online learning provides students with the support and motivation to be independent learners and thinkers in this modern-age, while following a curriculum that is tailored to their specific needs and abilities.  

What is me3?

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The me3 Application

Most students have no idea where to start when the time comes to choose their college major or future career path. That’s where me3® steps in. The me3 application is an online interactive major and career quiz that helps students identify a potential major, and possible career, based on their personal interests. The best thing about the application is that it’s simple to use. By providing straightforward results, the me3 application gives students stepping stones to help plan their future.

me3 application
The me3 Application Planning Page

How does it work?

The me3 application is a technology designed from research and a Euclidean distance matching algorithm that calculates your RIASEC score, based on choices you’ve made on a visual quiz. This score represents your levels of interest in data, things, people, and ideas then the me3 compares your scores to those of more than 500 careers based on data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. In a nutshell, it’s a fancy picture quiz that ties your interests to possible career paths.

me3 Application
me3 quiz

How do I take the quiz?

You can access the me3 quiz on the ASU Prep Digital website and pick from one of three buttons: for high schoolers, for college students and one for parents and educators.

There, you can select what you’re interested in, fill in your answers to 3 simple questions and do a quick keyword search to target your interest:

“What do you want to study?”
“What do you want to be?”
“Where do you want to study?”

In the quiz, you’re presented with 60 slides. Each has two different images to choose from. The images are of professionals working different occupations; for example, a therapist, a surgeon, a public speaker, a salesman, etc. You simply choose the image that appeals most to you. The algorithm takes it from there. Once complete, the results are listed below and you can choose from a drop-down list of specific majors and careers that match your preference– it’s that easy!

Another cool feature of the me3 is how it provides you with the stepping stones to accomplish your goals. Once it matches you with potential majors and career paths, the app provides students with detailed information about the classes and coursework required in a specific major, the campuses at ASU where they’re offered (or if they’re offered online) and a salary range for potential careers. So, students walk away knowing where they can expect to land when they graduate.

How to Pass Your Online Algebra Class

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What a marvel the internet is. It makes nearly everything so much easier. It’s easier to find a restaurant. It’s easier to stay in touch with friends. It’s easier to watch other people play video games (and listen as they talk constantly through it).

So, why is it that when they put an Algebra class online it didn’t seem to get any easier? Well, never fear. We’ve got some tips that’ll have you rationalizing denominators faster than you can say… well… “rationalizing denominators.”

Master Your Mindset

They say that if you think about your muscles while working out, they get even stronger. Well did you know it works for your brain, too? It’s true. While your brain may not have to bench press 225 pounds, your mental mindset matters when you are learning. 

There’s a quote attributed to Henry Ford that goes “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” That means the best start to succeeding in your online Algebra class, is to believe you can! This doesn’t make it any easier, but it does give your brain extra motivation for the hard parts. Like that guy in the gym who says you can do one more rep. Go you!

Set a Routine

There’s a place for everything, and everything should be in its place. At least that’s what my mom said when I was told to clean my room. And our brains are like our rooms for learning. It’s harder to find the knowledge you need when everything’s a mess.

Tidy up your mental mathematical learning space by setting a routine. When you set a routine, your brain doesn’t waste any energy on getting going. It automatically shifts to learning mode. The best part about learning online is that some programs, like ASU Prep Digital, allow you to learn on your schedule, wherever you are. So, make your routine personal.

Grow with Teamwork

The Loch Ness Monster. Bigfoot. You’re on your own in an online course. 

All three are myths.

Nothing is more frustrating than when you are struggling with binomial distribution and you feel alone. But you aren’t! There is a whole learning community for you to call on. 

You can set up a study group with some of the other students in class. If you’re not sure who to invite, your instructor will be able to identify some peers who are in the same part of the course as you. 

Speaking of instructors, you can also ask your them for help. As scary as it is to ask an adult for help, struggling in the course is even scarier. Their whole job is to help you learn, so don’t hesitate to call, email or text your instructor with questions. 

ASU Prep Digital also has Success Coaches who are determined to help you be successful. If you don’t ask them for help, they can’t realize their dreams. And you don’t want to rob them of their dreams, right? 

Do the Practice

I may lose some of you here, but the students who really want to succeed in online algebra courses will do the practice problems. There’s no pressure, you have the freedom to get them wrong, and they are great ways to prepare for when it really counts. Many online Algebra courses offer pre-tests as well. And you can’t just select C on all the questions. You must take them seriously.

At ASU Prep Digital, Algebra 1 is set up as an adaptive course. This means that the more you show you know on pre-tests, practice and assessments, the more the course can adapt to your skills. Think of it like how Netflix suggests new shows for you based on what you’ve watched. Giving your best effort on the pre-tests and practice means the course won’t waste your time teaching you stuff you already know. You may even skip ahead!

Now that you’re on your way to mastering math online, you should think about how online classes can help you get even further ahead. Like taking college courses in high school instead of in the big lecture halls on college campuses. ASU Prep Digital is an online high school, where you can earn high school and college credits at the same time! To see the full course catalog, or sign up to take Algebra online, visit asuprepdigital.org/courses.html.