May 27th, 2020 by SD Virtual School
Online schools have been growing in popularity for years. While some people were skeptical of their legitimacy at first, they have proven to be a great addition to the vast educational opportunities available to students today. Online schools offer many benefits to both students and parents, and they truly set students up for success in whatever path they take after graduation.
Unique Course Offerings
Traditional schools can only offer classes for which they have the physical space. They also need local teachers to take on any courses. With online schooling, teachers can be located anywhere in the country, so long as they are certified in the state they’re teaching in, and physical classrooms cannot limit the course offerings. While all online schools will offer the traditional core classes to its students, they may also offer unique and interesting classes that not only foster a love of learning, but also give them access to a wealth of knowledge that they would not get at a traditional school. Students may take courses in unique subject areas that lead them to pursue jobs and careers in fields they wouldn’t have even known about otherwise. (more…)
May 20th, 2020 by SD Virtual School
Children today are busier than ever, both physically and mentally. They play sports, go to after-school clubs, and participate in family events. At the same time, they’re constantly connected via the internet, social media, and a variety of screens and devices. Because of this, it can be challenging to keep them engaged in their learning and help them stay focused on their education. One great way to embrace this challenge rather than fight against it is to aim to make learning more fun. Everyone loves to have fun, and if you can teach your students something while they’re having fun, everyone will be better off. Here is our take on why fun education can be beneficial and effective for students of all ages.
It’s More Engaging
Simply put, fun things are more attractive to students. They’re far more likely to want to play a game or do something interactive than sit as a desk and listen to a lecture or read a textbook. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to embrace a more engaging curriculum and approach to learning that is still incredibly effective and brings students a great deal of benefits. Utilizing engaging and fun ways to teach will keep students involved and more actively listening to lessons, keeping them far more engaged throughout the entirety of the lesson and unit. Fun education can involve games, hands-on activities, and even utilizing technology to teach, all of which are sure to capture and maintain a student’s attention. (more…)
March 3rd, 2020 by SD Virtual School
Virtual learning is on the rise. Not only are some states and schools requiring students to take at least one online class before they graduate from high school, but several students are opting to complete their entire education online. Online classes offer countless advantages to students, including flexible scheduling, self-pacing courses, unique and positive learning environments, and the acquisition of several important skills that are important for success later in life. Although they are increasing in popularity and availability, online classes are still an enigma to many students and parents, leaving room for misconceptions and confusion regarding how online classes work.
Here at San Diego Virtual School, we offer free public online courses for both middle school students and high school students. Our school is fully accredited and nationally recognized, meaning you get a real high school diploma upon graduating and are prepared and qualified to attend any college or university in the country. Not all online schools have this accreditation, however. At the same time, not all online schools have complete curriculum programs either. Online classes are only as comprehensive and beneficial as the school behind them, so be sure to enroll in an accredited and nationally recognized school should you choose this educational outlet.
While we can’t speak for other schools, here is an overview of how online classes work at San Diego Virtual School.
Most brick-and-mortar schools follow a traditional style of educating where the teachers lecture and the students listen. Occasionally, there will be opportunities for students to facilitate their own learning or to actively engage in the material they’re learning, but more often than not, teachers teach and students learn. In online classes, there is far more self-directed learning and independence than in traditional schools. While there may be videos for students to watch a lecture or a presentation done by the teachers, a lot of the information comes from reading text and interacting with activities. Because students don’t have a designated class time to work on assignments with a teacher present, they are responsible for completing their assignments on their own, meaning they take on more personal responsibility and independence than their traditionally educated peers.
Because of the focus on self-directed learning, we are able to offer a more individualized approach to learning than most traditional schools. We have students with varying backgrounds and academic needs, and we meet each and every student right where they are. Some students are aspiring athletes or performers with unique schedules, some are academically advanced and want to be challenged, some have learning struggles that make certain classes more difficult, and some are previously homeschooled students or students in a military family. No matter what needs your child has academically or in terms of scheduling, SDVS is a great place to take online classes and get a quality education completely online.
Timelines & Flexibility
Students who take online classes at SDVS are not required to log in to their classes at any specific time. This is very different from traditional school, of course, but we’ve found it more beneficial to our students in many ways. Not only can they complete coursework on their own schedule, but our flexibility gives them more freedom in other parts of their life, such as getting a job or attending athletic practices. Additionally, students have to improve their time management skills, as well as their abilities to self-motivate and discipline themselves to get their work done. We do set deadlines for our students, but they can complete their assignments on their own schedule and at their own pace, helping them grow in independence and self-reliance.
Interaction & Communication
One of the biggest concerns of parents who are considering online classes is the interaction their children will get with their peers and with their teachers. Our students interact in our virtual classrooms quite frequently, and they actually get a significant amount of experience with collaboration and working as part of a group. They are given ample opportunities to improve their written communication skills since that is the primary way they will interact with their peers. At the same time, our students are able to communicate with their teachers directly almost any time they want. Unlike at a traditional school where students have to meet with teachers at designated times, our teachers are available to your child during a large portion of the day so any questions can be asked and answered in a timely and thorough manner.
While our programs are only available to those who reside in the greater San Diego area, students can complete their coursework from anywhere. You may be at home, at the library, or at a local coffee shop, but as long as you have internet access, you can log in to your classes and submit your assignments. If you are a child of a military service member who travels frequently, you can still do your classwork on the road. Additionally, if you are an aspiring athlete or a performer of some sort and you travel often to compete or perform, you can still access your schoolwork and meet the required deadlines.
To learn more about how online classes work or to learn more about our programs, get in touch with San Diego Virtual School today. We can get the enrollment process started and answer any questions you might have regarding your child’s education.
March 3rd, 2020 by SD Virtual School
Spring Break is something that all students look forward to. It’s a sign that students are on the home stretch toward summer, and it’s a nice break from school to enjoy warmer weather and a quick refresh before charging toward the end of the school year. However, just like all other breaks from school, Spring Break tends to bring about a period of forgetfulness in which students return from the break not remembering what they learned just before it. This is especially troubling at this point in the school year because exams, final projects, and semester-end papers are due after Spring Break, meaning students don’t have weeks to catch up and remind themselves of past lessons. As we move toward the spring and the end of the school year, Spring Break is on everyone’s calendars and people are making grand plans for their week off. Be sure to utilize some of these tips so that you don’t forget everything you learned in class during the week of Spring Break.
Get Some Rest
Students are notorious for one of two things during their breaks from school: sleeping incessantly or packing their schedules so full that they don’t sleep at all. We don’t recommend either, but it is a good idea to get some rest during your Spring Break. That may mean going to bed earlier, sleeping in a little later, or simply giving yourself some relaxing days of just hanging out at home. You don’t want to go back to school feeling more exhausted than you were a week prior, so make sure you give yourself a chance to catch up on sleep and have a few lazy days. Getting enough rest will also benefit your memory, as a well-rested mind is better able to recall information learned previously. Being well-rested will also reduce your stress levels, which will also contribute to a better memory.
Not everyone is a writer or an avid journaler, and that’s fine, but it can be a good practice to journal from time to time. It’s more about putting your thoughts on paper than writing a masterpiece, so don’t feel like you have to be incredibly thoughtful and careful in your writing. Simply record what you’re thinking about, how you’re feeling, or what you’ve been doing. It’s good for your mind and soul to write down your thoughts, and it has proven to be beneficial in memory recall and mindfulness as well.
Take Time to Read
Reading is good for everyone and at all times. Sure, it would be best for you to read a textbook or educational material, but any novel, magazine, comic book, or blog will benefit you. Keeping your brain active and working on your reading skills will help you remember more and keep your mind from getting too lazy or lethargic. If you go to the beach or on a vacation somewhere, be sure to bring a book or two. If you’re staying at home or in town, consider going to the library to check out a new fiction book or graphic novel.
Teach Someone Something
Studies have proven that the more you repeat something, the better you know and understand it. The goal of all learning is to turn information into knowledge, and a great way to do that is to teach someone something you’ve learned. It might be something from school, such as how to do a complex math problem or how to diagram a sentence. It might be a physical skill, such as how to change a tire or how to throw a baseball properly. Any sharing of knowledge will help both you and the person you’re teaching, and it will be especially beneficial if it’s something you need to know for school. Explaining something to another person will help you to understand it more completely, and you’re far more likely to remember it once you’ve taught it to someone else.
This is probably the simplest and most straightforward way to not forget what you’ve learned in class over the break. Repetition is key when it comes to memory, as mentioned above, and what better way to remember what you learned at school than simply reviewing your notes. Remind yourself of the high points that your instructors covered and focus on understanding the main ideas behind each concept. Once you think you fully understand something, put your notes away for a bit. Then, a few hours later, try to recall the things you were studying. If you can’t, review again and try to recall the information again several hours later. Remember that the more you review and remember now, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to study for exams, write papers, and complete final projects.
Even if you don’t have your notes with you constantly or have a very busy week planned, try to be mindful and intentionally think about what you were studying and learning at school during the break. Again, the more you recall information and the more it’s repeated, the better you’ll remember it long-term.
Keep Your Brain Working
As you try to rest and relax over Spring Break, also ensure that you’re doing things to keep your brain working. Do a word search or a crossword, complete a Sudoku, or do a puzzle with your family. Don’t just stare at the TV or video games for an entire week and expect to have no lapse in memory when you return to school. Just as you need to be mindful of what you’re thinking about, be conscious of how you’re spending your time and take part in activities that keep your brain working.
February 12th, 2020 by SD Virtual School
Online school has enormous benefits for students. From flexible scheduling to positive learning environments to the acquisition of new and important skills, there is no denying the advantages of virtual learning. However, just as with any educational experience, online schooling comes with its challenges as well. One of the biggest challenges that online students face is how to study well. Since personality responsibility and self-discipline are a huge part of online schooling, some students can struggle to stay on top of their studies and maintain their grades before they master skills like time management, self-motivation, and superb studying skills. SDVS is passionate about not only giving our students a quality education, but also about preparing them for the future by giving them opportunities to learn, practice, and master new skills. In order to establish good habits, those habits must first be developed. Here are our top tips for developing online study habits that will eventually lead to mastery of these skills and improved studying capabilities and grades.
Make a Schedule & Stick to It
Time management, like many other skills, is mastered with practice. Online students should be diligent about creating a school schedule that includes time to watch or read lessons, contribute to class discussions, complete assignments, and study for tests. And more than anything else, they should stick to this schedule. This single tip can mean a world of difference for students’ grades, focus, and ability to retain information. Staying consistent with a study schedule will not only improve self-discipline, self-motivation, and focus, but it will also help you remember what you’re learning better, making it easier to do well on assignments and exams. It’s okay if your schedule changes from week to week or month to month, but be sure to lay out a schedule whenever needed and stick to what you set for yourself.
The fastest way to derail productivity is with disorganization. Let’s say you sit down to study and complete homework and you can’t find your study guide. Or that book you need is nowhere to be found and your notes have water spilled on them. Organization is a huge part of success, both physically and mentally. If you can’t find or keep track of your study materials, how will you study effectively? At the same time, if your workspace is a mess, it’s easy to get distracted or frustrated by it, and you can easily lose focus by paying attention to all the clutter in your area. Keep your schoolwork organized and keep your work area clean and tidy, and your study sessions will be much more productive.
Know Your Learning Style
This is a huge part of studying, especially for online learners. It makes a huge difference when it comes to preparing for exams, especially given the study materials you may have or need for your classes. If you are an auditory learner, for example, then reading through notes on your computer likely won’t be super effective. It would be better for you to listen to a recording of someone discussing the topics or even to read the notes out loud to yourself. If you’re a visual learner, listening to a recording may not be helpful, but watching a video with a demonstration would likely be very beneficial. Know how you learn best and tailor your studying according to that. This will not only help you establish better study habits, but it will also make your studying more effective.
Staying on top of your schoolwork and even getting ahead will only benefit you. Since you have more flexibility as an online student than you would in a traditional school, you can really work hard to stay ahead of the game whenever you have extra time on your hands. This can give you more time to tackle more challenging tasks or concepts, which will be beneficial if you need more study time or have a lot of questions. Getting ahead in your schoolwork is also a great idea for virtual students who have very unique schedules. Maybe you are an athlete or performer who has to travel a lot, or maybe you only have a few days each week or a few weeks each month to complete schoolwork. If that’s the case, getting ahead will give you a much-needed break from school when you have to focus on other things for a little while.
Ask for Help When Needed
One of the most important parts of growth, whether personal, academic, or professional, is recognizing when you need help and asking for it. Teachers are available for questions at any time, and they would always rather you ask a question or request a more thorough explanation of something than you not ask and continue to not understand something. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance in anything school-related, especially if there is something that you just can’t quite make sense of. The more you ask for help, the more likely you are to not only understand the material better, but you’re also more likely to improve your critical thinking skills so that the next time around, you may be better able to figure out something difficult on your own.
At San Diego Virtual School, we are passionate about teaching our students to be smarter, better, and more responsible individuals. Developing online study habits is an important part of being a student, and those good habits will translate to your later years after high school graduation, so it’s important to master those skills now and reap the benefits for years to come.
January 8th, 2020 by SD Virtual School
Virtual schools are becoming more prominent and common-place all across the United States. While they used to be rare and have low attendance, they are now increasing in enrollment year after year as more and more students have positive experiences and enjoy the many benefits of virtual school.
But what exactly is virtual school? Also known as online schools, virtual schools are public schools that are state-funded and free to students, but they do not require physical attendance of students as everything is completed online. Virtual schools are not private and are not considered homeschools, and they are required to fulfill the same requirements as a traditional public school. This includes state testing, certified teachers, standard curriculum and course programs, and more.
Virtual school teachers must be certified in the state they’re teaching in, and although they work remotely, they have the same responsibilities as teachers in a traditional school setting. Virtual school teachers must be accessible to their students to offer guidance, support, and instruction. They must track academic progress and attendance, they assign homework and grade tests, they communicate with students and parents regularly, they work with their school administration to improve academics, and they complete professional development courses and training programs related to their jobs.
All virtual schools are required to follow state-specific programs and have their students meet requirements for graduation. While the curriculum programs may vary based on the school, students must meet state standards in order to graduate with a high school diploma from an online school. Although there is flexibility in scheduling and when students complete coursework, they are still required to adhere to a semester-based schedule where they submit assignments, take tests, and complete activities according to deadlines set by their teachers.
Not all virtual schools are of the same quality, so if you’re exploring an online school for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to look at the legitimacy of the school. Some smaller online schools offer correspondence or supplemental classes, while more prominent virtual schools offer full course programs and a real high school diploma. Be sure to look at the accreditations of the virtual schools you’re researching. Some may have no accreditation at all, while others, like San Diego Virtual School, are fully accredited and recognized by three major accreditation organizations.
Benefits of Virtual Schools
You likely understand the basics of what a virtual school is, so let’s take a look at the benefits of these schools. As mentioned, not all virtual schools were created equal and not all virtual schools are the right fit for every student. However, if you’re interested in enrolling in an online school, you should be aware of the most significant benefits and how they’ll impact you during and after your time in school.
Probably the most common reason that students enroll in a virtual school is the flexibility. You don’t have to drive or ride to school, you don’t have to show up to a specific place at a particular time, and you don’t have to spend countless minutes wasting time between classes or completing busywork that won’t benefit you. Virtual schools allow students to log in to their classes at any time and from any place, as long as there is an internet connection. Students can complete their assignments at any time they wish, provided they submit them by the set deadline. This means that students with unique schedules can complete coursework on the weekends, at night, or even when they’re away from home. The flexibility is perfect for families with busy schedules, such as those with an aspiring athlete, talented performer, or military service member who may not have a normal schedule.
Employers nowadays agree that they can train most individuals on the technical aspects of a job. What they cannot do is teach adults the soft skills needed to be successful as an employee. Young adults today are missing some key skills that are keeping them from getting their dream jobs and becoming the successful adults they once hoped to be, but many of these skills are acquired by students enrolled in virtual schools. Online learners master the skills of self-discipline, time management, critical thinking, self-motivation, problem-solving, collaboration, personal responsibility, and so much more. Many students in traditional schools don’t have the opportunity to master these soft skills, but virtual learners do, and that benefits them a great deal both during school and after graduation.
Although online students are not physically present with their peers and teachers during class, online schools often foster a far more positive learning environment than traditional schools. Because virtual students don’t have the distractions or frustrations that come with traditional schools, they are far more likely to be focused on their work and encouraging toward other students. Additionally, teachers are accessible to help students at any time and they are incredibly supportive and helpful both during class time and in general correspondence. Due to the nature of the virtual classroom, students don’t experience social anxiety, bullying, or any other physical or emotional distractions that can so easily derail their academic progress in a traditional classroom.
If you want to learn more about virtual school or if you are interested in enrolling your child, get in touch with San Diego Virtual School to have your questions answered. We look forward to showing you all of these benefits and more as you experience the amazing advantages of an online learning environment.
January 8th, 2020 by SD Virtual School
New Year Habits to Help You Be a Successful Student
As the first semester of the school year comes to a close, students everywhere are reflecting on their recently completed courses and looking forward to the second semester. With every New Year, students make resolutions and set goals to stay on top of their studies and help them become better and more successful students. If you’re among this motivated, disciplined, and determined group of students who aim to be more successful each semester, here are a few good habits you should embrace this New Year.
Get & Stay Organized
Organization is half the battle when it comes to academic success. How can you study your notes, turn in your homework, and be prepared for an exam if you can’t find your notes, the homework assignment, or the study guide? Figure out a new organizational technique if your last one didn’t work, and do your best to fine-tune your organization to make it work for you. And be aware that it’s not just enough to get organized in January—you have to stay organized throughout the semester. This might mean cleaning out binders and your backpack every so often, cleaning up your study space weekly, and ensuring you are staying on top of organizing all of your school things.
Study Consistently & Don’t Cram
Make it a point to study consistently and not just right before a big exam. Cramming for tests isn’t as effective as most students think it is, but what is effective is studying regularly throughout the entirety of the semester. Go over your assignments regularly and ask right away if you don’t understand something. When you do have a big exam coming up, spend a little bit of time each day leading up to the exam reading over notes, assignments, and study guides, and you’ll be far more prepared for your exam and far less stressed than if you only crammed the night before.
Take Notes & Use Them
You may think you’ll remember everything your teacher said and everything you read throughout a particular class, but that’s just not the case. Take notes and be thorough in your notes. Make references to images or sections of your textbook so you can read further to refresh your memory when you’re reviewing later, and notate anything you’re uncertain about so you can learn more about it during your study time.
Stick to a Schedule
Whether you attend a traditional school or an online school, having a schedule and sticking to it is a vital part of being successful in your studies. Sticking to a schedule might mean you set aside time each night to do homework as well as a set time each weekend to review notes. Or it may mean that you schedule your school time in blocks of time that are conducive to your personal schedule. Just be sure to establish a schedule before the semester begins and stick with it until summer.
Being active is an important part of staying healthy, and being healthy will directly relate to how successful you are in school. If you’re constantly sick, you’ll have trouble focusing on assignments and may struggle to keep up in your classes. Getting enough physical exercise is good for your physical and mental health, and it can be fun to socialize in group sports and other physical activities. Be sure to include physical activity into your schedule and stay consistent with being active all semester long.
Get Enough Sleep
Middle school and high school students are notorious for not sleeping enough. Being unrested and exhausted is not good for any part of your life, but especially school and academic success. If you need to set an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed at a certain time each night, do so. Turn off your devices and lights and get in bed at the same time every night to make it easier to get used to a set sleep schedule, and don’t sacrifice sleep unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Get Involved in Class
Discussion-oriented classes are extremely beneficial, and they are usually more enjoyable than lecture-based classes. But if you don’t get involved in the discussion and actively listen, you won’t get nearly as much out of the class, and you’ll likely find yourself missing out on very important information that you need to know. Getting involved in class will not only help you learn more during your actual class time, but it will also help you establish good relationships with your teachers and peers, meaning it will be easier to ask questions and get extra help when you need it. Another important part of being involved in class is asking questions. Don’t be afraid to ask something during class time or in a separate email or correspondence with a teacher. It’s better for you to clear up any confusion right away rather than go weeks without fully understanding an important concept.
This habit applies to the short-term future as well as the long-term future. Plan ahead in your classes and be sure to look ahead on the calendar to know when you have tests, quizzes, and big deadlines for assignments. You’ll be able to plan better and won’t be stressed out due to procrastination and last-minute work. You should also be forward-thinking in the long-term. What do you want to do over the summer to improve your academic success? What do you want to do after you graduate from high school? Think about what you can be doing now to help set yourself up for future success.
December 5th, 2019 by SD Virtual School
The holidays allow time for much-needed rest and relaxation. However, many students struggle to get back into the swing of things once school starts again in January, and that can put a damper on their learning and progress. It’s important to take time to rest over the holidays, but students should also be cognizant of how they’re spending their time, taking care to do some productive and educational things that will benefit them now and in the future. Not only should students be trying to retain what they learned during the past semester over the holidays, but they should also be striving to learn more during their time off from school. Here are a few excellent ways to ensure students don’t forget what they’ve learned during their time off from school.
Take some time to look back on the past semester. What did you do well? What did you do poorly? What can you do differently or better in the upcoming semester? Consider improving study habits, sticking to a schedule, and having more accountability in your studies to keep you focused throughout the remainder of the school year. You should also reflect on the things that you learned, including what was most interesting to you, what you should maybe review and learn more about, and how you can apply what you learned in your life outside of school.
Goals should be actionable and realistic, but they can also cover a variety of topics and areas of life. You may have some academic goals, some personal goals, and some physical goals. Taking time to reflect on the past few months and look forward to the future with intentionality will help you retain what you’ve learned and also strive for more in the upcoming months.
It honestly doesn’t really matter what you’re reading as long as you are reading something. Sure, a textbook or informative non-fiction book would be ideal, but even a comic book, blog posts, or movie reviews are going to help you hone your reading skills during the holiday break. The best thing you can read would be notes from the past semester, especially those that are pertinent in your primary subject areas and that contain information you’ll need to have mastered for the remainder of the year. But again, reading a novel, a magazine, or any written text will be beneficial for memory and increased learning.
Writing can be incredibly relaxing and cathartic, and it has huge educational advantages as well. Again, you can write just about anything—journal entries, poems, blogs, letters, stories, and so on. Any form of writing is going to help you retain information and grow as a writer, provided that you apply the writing rules you’ve learned in school while you write. You may use writing as a way to reflect on the past semester and set goals for the upcoming months.
Tapping into your creative side is a good way to keep your brain active and improve your memory. Any type of creativity is welcome, whether it be drawing, painting, sculpting, coloring, mixed media, and the like. Maybe you like cooking or decorating, or maybe you want to hand-make someone’s gift this holiday season. Any sort of creativity is great, so embrace whatever gets you excited and make something amazing.
Use Math Skills in Real Life
Math skills are some of the first to go when you aren’t using them regularly, so try your best to integrate what you learned in math class into your real life over the holidays. Maybe that involves baking and working on your fractions. Maybe it’s about figuring out the percentage of a tip for a server at a restaurant or budgeting for your family’s upcoming vacation or grocery trip. Math appears in sports of all kinds, weather predictions, road trips, and so on. Find ways to use what you know and build upon your mathematical knowledge even when you’re not in school to help you retain what you learned and to learn more.
Do Science Experiments to Refresh Concepts
Everyone loves a good science experiment! Chances are you can find one or several related to some concepts you learned over the past few months, and you can get the whole family involved and teach them about how and why the experiment works. You can find a variety of fun science experiments online, but you can also look for chemical reactions and other scientific concepts in your daily life, such as when you cook, talk about the weather, and more.
The holidays are the perfect time for some fun family get-togethers, so why not make a few educational? Go to some art, history, or science museums in whatever city you’ll be in this season, and learn about interesting and educational things while getting some quality family time. It can be exciting for students to see things in a museum that they learned about at school, and they’ll enjoy teaching their families what they already know about the subject.
Being active can help you remember some things you learned from biology, health, or physical education, but it’s also just good for the brain and body. If you can get some fresh air while exercising, that’s even better. Staying active will keep you productive and focused on whatever you have going on during the holidays, and it will improve your mood and help you sleep better as well. Getting your heart pumping will bring more oxygen into your brain and muscles, improving overall function and blood flow, which can contribute to a better memory, better information retention, and an overall healthier lifestyle.
December 2nd, 2019 by SD Virtual School
Whether you’re an online student or a student at a traditional school, study groups can be hugely beneficial. They can help you increase your understanding of concepts, get clarification on certain materials, and review information to help you prepare for a test. All students can participate in or organize a study group, even those who are online students. Online study groups can be just as effective and helpful as in-person study groups, and with some preparation and organization, your online study group can help you increase your understanding and improve your grades.
Each online study group needs a goal. It may be to review information from a specific chapter and ensure everyone is comfortable with all the concepts. It may be to prepare to write a paper on a specific idea. It may be to study for a test and get the best grade possible. Everyone in the group should have a similar goal so that each study session can be focused on achieving it. Individuals should discuss their goals for an online study group before the first meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Choose a Platform
Once you’ve established a group of people for your study group, choose how you’ll actually meet online. Your school may have a platform for you to use, or you may need to set one up outside of your school. Google is a great tool for this, as you can organize Google hangouts, share screens, use Google docs, utilize a virtual whiteboard, and so much more. You may also consider using ThinkBinder, Rcampus, or something else similar.
Every student has different strengths, and it’s important to utilize everyone’s strengths within the group as well as ensure all aspects of the group are organized and taken care of. You should select a leader for the group who can ensure everyone stays on topic, knows when to move on from one concept to the next, and hold members accountable for their roles. You may also wish to have a note-taker, a time-keeper, and so on.
No one likes being part of a group where only a few people pull their weight and the rest just show up without contributing to the group. You should establish expectations for the group right from the start so that anyone who does not wish to uphold them can find another group. These expectations should include things like being prepared for the study sessions, committing to stay on task and focused during meeting times, staying positive and encouraging during study sessions, and more.
Determine How Study Time Is Managed
This may be primarily up to the group leader, but it’s important for the entire group to have a conversation about how the study session time is going to be managed at each meeting. It may change from meeting to meeting, but each group time should include asking members what they want to touch on, a review or presentation of information, and a summarization of what the group went over during the session. Certain meetings may be more focused on one concept than on a comprehensive review, but the group should decide how study time is going to be managed from the start so that everyone is on the same page.
This is a minor detail of creating a study group online, but with any study groups, the number of members should be limited. If a study group gets too big, productivity will lessen and the group may deal with some unforeseen challenges. It’s best to keep online study groups around five to eight members, but you may find that slightly fewer or slightly more work best for you. As others seek to join your group, just be aware of how the group dynamic shifts and be cognizant of the productivity and efficiency that occurs during study time.
Consistency is an important factor in the success of any study group, and it may be even more important in online study groups. Consistency is multi-faceted in these situations. Your group should be consistent in meeting regularly, ensuring that everyone is aware of the meeting schedule and what is going to be covered at each meeting. You should also be consistent in communicating with one another outside of the meeting times so that everyone knows what to expect at the next meeting and is properly prepared for it. Finally, you should be consistent in the way you run the group meetings. This includes not only sticking to the agenda you’ve determined, but also in starting and stopping on time. This consistency will make your group more effective as all group members will know what to expect and will feel as though their time with the study group is respected, leading them to then return that respect toward the group and other group members.
Wrap Up & Summarize
Having a summary at the end of each meeting should absolutely be included in your normal agenda for meetings. One person may have the job of keeping notes of key things you go over, or it may shift from one person to another during each meeting. Either way, someone should be in charge of notating the main ideas and concepts that you review during the group meetings, and the summary should be discussed at the end of each meeting. Additionally, it will serve the group best if that summary is sent in writing to each member at the end of the meetings so that they can easily reference which meetings covered what information.
November 4th, 2019 by SD Virtual School
The world is changing drastically at a break-neck pace, and while some things may remain the same for a time, just about everything will have to adapt to the technology-driven era that we now live in. Education is no exception. Online colleges and universities have seen a huge boom in enrollment, and it is estimated that about one-third of all college students take at least one class online at any given time. That is a far cry from the traditional college experience that many of us one had. Even more than that, however, is the increase in online education for younger students, including those in both middle school and high school. While private schools and homeschooling have all been available as alternatives to a traditional public school environment, more and more students and parents are discovering the benefits of an online education and are jumping aboard this fast-growing educational revolution. The more people enroll in online schools, the more those online schools have resources to pour back into their educational models, and the more the students benefit. If you’re considering enrolling your child in an online school or allowing them to take some virtual learning classes, get in touch with San Diego Virtual School to learn more and see for yourself all the amazing benefits that an online education can provide for your child.
By far, the number one benefit of getting an online education is the flexibility it allows. Most families first begin exploring online schools due to the increased flexibility. Students at traditional schools spend a lot of their time at school doing busywork, traveling between classes, socializing at lunch, and waiting for their next class to start. With an online learning environment, students don’t have any of that downtime, meaning they can get an entire day’s worth of lessons done in half the time (or less!). Online students can also work at any time. They typically need to check in with instructors regularly or log on a certain number of times per week, but that can be done at any time, day or night. If your student is a night owl, he or she can start their lessons at midnight rather than at 7 am. If you have a busy family schedule, assignments can be done on the weekends. Many of our students are those with unique schedules, like military families, students who work full-time, or those who are training or competing in athletics, performance arts, modeling, and more. No matter why you need the flexibility, online schooling offers it.
Students will learn hard skills, or job-specific skills, in college or during training for a particular job. Soft skills are things that employees are expected to have mastered already before applying for a job or beginning a career. Unfortunately, many high school and college graduates lack these soft skills that are vital for their future success. Thankfully, however, many students who are virtual learners are able to practice and master these soft skills while in school due to their unique learning opportunities and atmosphere. Soft skills include communication, empathy, self-discipline, adaptability, work ethic, teamwork, flexibility, self-motivation, conflict resolution, time management, problem-solving, critical thinking, and more.
A traditional school environment can be very challenging for some students. There are a lot of distractions and interruptions during learning time, peers can be mean, and even teachers can be discouraging and unsupportive. At San Diego Virtual School, we pride ourselves on our positive learning environments, and so do many other online education programs. Students interact in our virtual classrooms through group chats, discussion boards, and the like, and we are always so proud of how respectful and encouraging they are to one another. Our teachers set the tone for a supportive and positive environment, making all students feel safe in expressing their feelings and contributing to class discussions. If your child has struggled with focus, bullying, or social anxiety in a traditional school, an online education might be perfect for him or her.
More Access to Instructors
Many people believe the myth that online students never interact with their teachers. This is incredibly far from reality. In fact, many of our teachers are available at a variety of hours and they are always willing to offer extra assistance or answer questions for students who seek them out. Students don’t have to wait days or weeks to get to class to have their needs addressed because they can email or message their teachers at any time, helping them right when they need it and encouraging their motivation and progress on assignments.
Better Preparation for the Future
Whether your child goes on to complete an online college education or not, online learning will prepare them for the future better than any other educational environment. Not only will they have mastered the soft skills necessary for them to be a successful adult, but they will also understand the importance of personal responsibility and independence. Those two things are completely vital for high school graduates to have success in anything they take on after high school, including a job, a college education, or a training or certification program of any kind.
An online education offers countless benefits to students, no matter their age, grade level, or educational experience. While middle school students may need a little more assistance navigating their online learning environment at first, independence and self-discipline are skills they will master in a short time, followed by all the other important soft skills that young people need. To learn more about enrolling your child at SDVS and getting the best online education available for him or her, contact us today.