2016 Student Scholar: Ericka Woods | Do What You Love

Our 2016 Student Scholarship Program recipients represent every corner of the country. From big cities to small towns, they attended a variety of schools and are exploring a wide range of academic, professional, and personal interests. A common trait we found among many of them, however, is a fondness for studying in their pajamas (just as is true of their brick-and-mortar peers). While we don’t count “pajama appropriate” chief among the benefits of online learning, we must admit that there is some appeal there.

While online students can choose to take classes in their pajamas, they still have to get their work completed. PJs or jacket and tie, it’s up to them to make it happen. Self-discipline and initiative are required to succeed in an online learning environment. The characteristics that support achievement in an online school often lead to significant personal and academic growth, and are life skills they will carry forever.

2016 scholarship recipient Ericka Woods shares this in a video clip below.

We are so proud to support Ericka’s future aspirations, which include getting her purple pride on at Northwestern University. She also offers some good advice for up and coming high school students: “Don’t stress out too much. Do what you can do. Do what you like to do. I promise you it will pay off in the end.” Northwestern is lucky to have you, Ericka!

Please share with your network via Twitter using: @NorthwesternU @K12Learn @FoundationBOL #onlinelearning

Ericka Woods | Chicago Virtual Charter School | Chicago, IL

2016 Student Scholar: Austin Bowers | Cars, Creativity, and Career Paths

In August, we announced the winners of our 2016 Student Scholarship Program. As part of the application process, students were asked to submit videos and essays to share how studying in blended and online learning environments has impacted their academic journey. Over the next several weeks, we are proud to share these student insights with you here and via social media. We launch this series with scholar Austin Bower’s story as he heads off to Weber State in Ogden, UT.

Please share with your network via Twitter using: @WeberStateU @CareerPathHigh @FoundationBOL #blendedlearning

Austin Bowers | Career Path High | Utah

2016 Student Scholarship Spotlight

Last month, the foundation announced that thirty-one recent graduates from a variety of online and blended high school programs would be recipients of post-secondary financial support through our 2016 Student Scholarship Program. Scholarship recipients represent more than twenty-one states around the country, attended a mix of traditional public, public charter, and private schools, and have plans to matriculate to a wide range of 2-year, 4-year, and vocational schools to continue their personalized educational journeys.

As our executive director, Amy Valentine, stated in remarks at a Washington, DC reception celebrating the scholarship winners:

It is a privilege to recognize the incredible achievements of our first cohort of scholarship winners and to support their future academic pursuits. Having taken the road less traveled through online and blended learning opportunities, these young scholars are poised to tackle the next phase of their schooling with focus and determination.

We are proud to share with you a video featuring a number of our 2016 scholars, in their own words:

Simple, scalable steps toward digital learning

Last week, I attended ISTE’s annual gathering in Denver. It was just as big and busy as ever, but despite the bustle, I was able to have deeply engaging conversations with several edtech leaders and test drive a number of new tools supporting the transition of our traditional classrooms to digital learning environments.

Announcements from two technology giants struck me as worthy of a quick note, not because the resources they released were jaw-dropping, but rather, because they were not. They were simple and useful. Most importantly, they were made available at scale and for free to educators.

Demonstrating their commitment to ED’s #GoOpen initiative on Monday, Amazon showcased Amazon Inspire, a new service that allows teachers to search and share open digital education resources. An online repository is not a new approach to the distribution of lessons and other course elements, but the combination of Amazon’s infrastructure and ability to attract, identify, and make available the very best teacher-developed content could have a tremendous impact on the adoption of OER in schools and districts throughout the country.

That same day, Google released a suite of classroom tools that enable richer digital learning experiences for and interactions between teachers and students. Chief among them, the public availability of their Expeditions program. Emerging from early efforts to support accessible VR through their Cardboard viewer, Google has been piloting Expeditions in schools for the past year.

The prospect of children who might not typically have the chance to journey much beyond their neighborhood suddenly “exploring” the ruins of an ancient civilization, “swimming” with sea life around a coral reef, or “strolling” through the Louvre provides schools and educators with a remarkable opportunity to both enrich the cultural lives of their students and deepen their understanding of concepts that might otherwise be abstract.

More to come…

Foundation Director Rod Paige Selected to the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame

We are so pleased to be able to share with you the news that Dr. Rod Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education and a founding member of the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning’s Board of Directors, has been selected as a 2016 inductee to the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame.

Dr. Paige has been a fierce advocate for educational opportunity for all children and inspires the foundation’s work every day as we support the empowerment of students through personalized learning by advancing the availability and quality of blended and online learning opportunities and outcomes.