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:

Time Management Tools and Tips for Online Students

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In order to be successful as an online learner, there is one important skill students should master: time management. Because students have the freedom to complete coursework at their own pace, it’s imperative that they learn how to utilize their time effectively to ensure they get everything done without overwhelming themselves. Here are some time management tools and tips for online students:

 

Use a planner

One of the best ways to keep yourself organized is to use a planner. Having one place to jot down assignments and important deadlines will keep you on track. There are so many planners to choose from, whether you want a digital or physical version. Many companies, such as The Happy Planner and BlueSky, allow you to personalize your planner depending on your needs. You can also choose to utilize an app, such as Wunderlist or myHomework Student Planner, which will enable you to create daily to-do lists and get reminders for any upcoming tests or assignments. You can find more planner apps here.

 

Set SMART goals

A component of having strong time management skills is being able to focus on the current task at hand. It isn’t enough to carve out the time to get something done—you want your time to be spent effectively. This is where SMART goals come in handy. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely, and this formula is designed to help you stay on task and work toward something achievable. For example, if you want to achieve a higher grade in a certain class, you can break it up into smaller, easily manageable goals throughout the semester, such as committing to doing your homework assignments every school night from 6 to 8 pm, or studying every other night for two hours before watching your favorite show. Be sure to work with your teachers to ensure you’re setting realistic goals and keep track of your progress!

 

Eliminate distractions

You can plan your day and have all of your assignments laid out to complete. But if you’re surrounded by things that make it hard to focus, chances are you won’t get much done. On top of creating a dedicated workspace that’s free of distractions, it helps to identify what your biggest distractions are. If you like to mindlessly swipe on your phone or browse the web, consider setting an alarm for ‘social media breaks’ or using apps to help limit your social media usage. There are even Google Chrome extensions, such as StayFocused and Block Site, that you can use to temporarily block access to distracting websites while you work on your laptop. And if being at home makes it harder to get your work done, that’s okay! Try heading to a local coffee shop or library for a change of scenery. 

 

Take breaks

It can be easy to work for hours on end when you’re completing coursework at home in your pajamas. But it’s important to take breaks! Working for too long can cause burnout and make it harder to complete your tasks. Scheduling downtime throughout the day will give your mind and body the break it needs, whether it’s taking a walk, having a snack, or snuggling your pet! Divide your day into easily manageable sections, whether it’s based on class subjects or specific assignments, and set a timer so you know when to stop and rest.

 

Looking for additional resources on time management and achieving success as an online student? Check out these other 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:

Preparing Your High School Student for a Career

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During this important time in your high school student’s life, they’re just beginning to explore their interests and the possible career paths. Your support is vital to making that exploration comfortable and exciting. To aid you in your student’s journey, here are several ways you can prepare your high school student for the career of their dreams:

Offer words of encouragement

As your student goes through high school, they will begin exploring career paths, joining clubs and organizations and participating in extracurricular activities. Throughout this time, your encouragement of their curiosity and hard work is essential. Nurture their passions and give them room to make their own mistakes or decisions. As long as you remain supportive and open, they will feel confident in knowing they can rely on you even when they aren’t sure of which career is right for them.

Stay up to date

The careers of today may not represent those of the future as the job market continues to evolve to meet new challenges and opportunities. It’s important you stay up to date with the latest career trends, developments, and demands to help your student choose their career wisely and ensure plenty of opportunities in the future. Check out our blog to learn how education will shape the future of jobs.

Prioritize internships

Your student is very busy on a day-to-day basis between school, homework, hobbies and jobs. However, make sure to emphasize to your student the importance of internships. Internships are a great way for students to get familiar with the daily operations of different careers and find the one that’s right for them. It’s also a great opportunity to stand out when it comes time for college admissions.

Offer to help them review online internship resources such as Chegg Internships, a site that connects high school and college students to available internships across the country. Practice interviewing skills with your student and give them genuine feedback. Or, help them shop for the right interviewing attire. Your support now can have a huge impact on whether your student is able to get an internship ahead of the curve.

 

Your high school student is about to embark on a journey of discovery. Your knowledge, love, and guidance will be vital along the way, and ASU Prep Digital is here to help. To learn more about career pathways, an essential part of a student’s journey to college, please visit our career pathways page. During this crucial stage in your student’s life, let’s work together to help them prepare for the career of their dreams.

Looking for additional information on helping your child succeed? Check out these blog posts:

What’s it Like to Attend Arizona’s Best Online High School?

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Arizona is home to many things: the Grand Canyon, the Arizona Cardinals, and Arizona’s best online high school—ASU Prep Digital.

Founded in 2017, ASU Prep Digital has quickly become Arizona’s best online high school, succeeding in bridging the gap between high school and college, equipping part-time and full-time students with the tools they need to earn their diploma, and helping them get on an accelerated path to university admission.

But Arizona’s best online high school does more than that.

ASU Prep Digital empowers students to take charge of their education in a number of ways:

  • Offering 40+ online high school and 200+ online university courses.
  • Giving students the freedom to work online, any time, from anywhere in the world.
  • Introducing adaptive learning technologies that personalize the self-paced coursework.
  • Promoting collaboration online with teachers and classmates using video, audio and text.

On top of being dedicated students, our community of learners are also athletes, creatives, musicians, and so much more.

Want a sneak peek into what it’s like to attend Arizona’s best online high school? Check out the day in the life of Olivia, an ASU Prep Digital junior who has found the perfect harmony between being a rockstar student and a talented violinist.

What Makes the Best Online High School Experience?

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As more students and school districts transition to online learning, it raises an important question: What makes the best online high school experience?

While the answer may vary depending on who you ask, there are a few components that enable students to be successful in their online high school journey. Let’s take a look:

Flexibility

Many students turn to online learning because they desire more flexibility, and the best online high school experience allows students to create a schedule that accommodates their needs both in and out of the classroom. At ASU Prep Digital, students can work anytime, from anywhere, which means more time to learn new skills, discover new hobbies, or get a head start on a future career. Curious about how flexibility helps the community of learners at ASU Prep Digital? Check out this story of Caleb, a senior who is working toward his dream of becoming a drone pilot.

Support

While online high school requires students to be independent and self-motivated, it doesn’t mean they won’t get help along the way. Academic and emotional support are essential to a student having the best online high school experience. Students normally receive support from their families and teachers, but at ASU Prep Digital there’s an additional source of guidance. Each student is paired with a Learning Success Coach who will help them make the most of their high school experience and prepare them for college and future careers. Want to learn more about the role of a Learning Success Coach? Check out this blog.

Socialization 

We’ve already debunked several socialization myths in online learning because it’s no secret socialization is an integral part of having the best online high school experience possible. From virtual clubs and study groups to in-person meet ups, online high schools like ASU Prep Digital provide students with plenty of opportunities to make friends and create long lasting bonds. Interested in what socialization looks like for an online student? Check out this story of Hannah, a senior who has immersed herself in the ASU Prep Digital community.

The best online high school experience gives students the tools they need to succeed in every area of their life—and it’s what ASU Prep Digital has been doing for its students since it opened its digital doors in 2017. Learn more about Arizona’s best online high school here and begin the enrollment process today.