A Personalized Approach to Education
Most people would argue that a child’s education is the foundation for a successful future. Desks, lockers, school hallways, lunchrooms and playgrounds are where many children grow up and are molded into their future selves.
For some students, however, learning doesn’t always have to take place in traditional classroom settings. Thanks to online education and supplemental learning tools, the torch of knowledge can continue to be ignited, regardless of location.
Matthew D. Anderson, chief brand officer for Engaged Education, a full service Educational Service Provider (ESP), spoke about how Engaged Education links education-based groups together.
“Engaged Education works with schools, districts, universities and other educational entities to make learning interesting and relevant to the learner,” Anderson said.
The organization creates opportunities that align with the passion of learners, according to Anderson.
“This could be through project-based learning, strategic partnerships with businesses and nonprofits, out-of-school programming, leadership development, building self-confidence, vision-setting and a variety of other ways,” added Anderson.
Engaged Education has also partnered with LifeTech Academy, Michigan’s Cyber School, to provide unique learning to students throughout the state of Michigan. LifeTech Academy is a blended-model cyber public charter school for grades 7-12 based in Lansing, Mich.
“Engaged Education has developed a full suite of 7-12 grade project-based learning curriculum,” Anderson said. “One of the unique components of this curriculum, is that all of the state and national standards are built into each project. This is highly valuable to schools, and is why LifeTech Academy has partnered with Engaged Education to provide unique learning to kids throughout the state.”
One of the benefits of online education is the convenience – you can be “in school” wherever an Internet connection is available.
Anne Craft, Michigan Virtual University’s interim executive director of Marketing and Communications, spoke about the many benefits to online education.
“Many students take our classes to work around scheduling conflicts or to fit in band, choir or athletics,” she said. “Another benefit is that online education can create a very personalized experience for the student.”
While online education provides a comfortable atmosphere, enabling students to feel more open to asking questions on material, it also lays the groundwork for successful workplace trends.
“Students learn valuable skills they will need, whether they go directly into the workforce or into college or a training program,” Craft said. “Many employers train their employees using online education and roughly 20 percent of all college classes are currently delivered online.”
Anderson spoke about what makes LifeTech Academy beneficial in comparison to traditional schools.
“Because LifeTech Academy is a cyber school, learners have the ability to learn at any time, in any place and at any pace,” he said. “This benefit has attracted a variety of young people to the school – everyone from 13-year-olds who work on an augmented reality, to teen moms and a rapidly-growing contingent of former homeschool families.”
While an Internet connection has proven to be an incredible asset in education, the reliability of our sources must be monitored as the future of education continues to evolve. With technology like iPads, smart phones, Siri and online sources replacing traditional libraries and even scholarly sources, the need to verify our sources credibility becomes even more important.
“We live in a world where Siri can tell us anything we need to know about anything. That means that knowledge is rapidly becoming a commodity. This has interesting implications for the future of education,” Anderson said.
“At Engaged Education, we believe that the future is going to be more and more about building relationships and learning how to work well with others. Communicating effectively and leveraging others for the benefit of all are the new must-have skills that employers tell us they are looking for.”
In terms of finance, perhaps the largest benefit is the minimal cost of online education at Michigan Virtual School. Traditional ‘back to school’ time involves plenty of shopping lists for items like backpacks, notebooks, pens, highlighters, glue sticks, tissues, lunchboxes and more. These costs for classroom materials add up quickly, but with virtual learning, they are slim to none.
The future of education, according to Dan Keedy, Senior Writer/Editor at Michigan Virtual University, is all about personalization.
“Educators from around the world are trying to figure out how to harness the power of inexpensive and powerful technology tools to help every child reach his or her full potential,” Keedy said. “We are not there yet, but the future does hold some very promising potential.”