by Star Kraschinsky
Florida Virtual School® (FLVS®) opened its virtual doors in August 1997 as the country’s first Internet-based public high school with seven teachers and 77 students. Today, the statewide, public virtual school serves more than 122,000 public, private, charter and home-schooled students in Kindergarten through 12th grade and provides e-solutions to all 67 Florida school districts, the remaining 49 states and to 57 countries.
Through FLVS and online learning solutions, curriculum and scheduling choices are no longer limited to local school offerings or a student’s zip code. Access is offered 24/7/365 from any place with Internet connection. Fast forward 10, maybe even just five years, and this paradigm shift on how to best serve students – where they are and not where we want them to be – will be almost complete.
The fundamental belief of FLVS that every student is unique and learns at a different pace is as true today as it was 15 years ago. It’s all about personalized learning and instruction.
In the future, when funding completely follows a child, he/she will be able to be zoned to one “home” school, but take courses from various schools. Students and their parents will have educational choices; they will be able to map out their own personalized learning journey.
With funding following the student, the bottom line will not be at the center of all decisions made; the student will be at the center – as he/she should be.
Student advancement will no longer be based on “seat time” in a classroom, but by demonstrated competency and mastery of a subject. This shift allows a student to accelerate his/her learning or, if needed, take more time to master the concept.
Highly qualified and certified instructors in the subject matters they teach will work 1-on-1 to further personalize each student’s learning experience, wherever he/she may be in the world.
We know this shift in education is possible, as FLVS has embraced this model since its inception 15 years ago. Personalized learning instruction led by caring, highly qualified teachers is the future of online educational success.
More than one million students have successfully completed courses through FLVS. The exponential growth FLVS and online learning have experienced will continue as we transform education worldwide – one student at a time.
Star Kraschinsky is director of communications for Florida Virtual School.
Tomorrow: Jeb Bush writes about the future of education reform – and the leadership it will take to get us there.