In a bold move with technology a virtual learning lab provides new opportunities for students to learn and reap the benefits of team teaching. Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Boynton Beach Florida is hosting the first blended learning virtual classroom.
The school has been chosen to be featured in a French documentary called “School of the Future”. It is one of four schools featured in the documentary, which includes Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“If we’re not teaching these kids technology then we are doing them a disservice,” said Principal Jeff Silverman
The blended classroom is called ‘Christa’s Launch Pad’ and teaches eighth-grade students United States history, not in the traditional method, but with every student glued to a computer.
This is no typical classroom — instead of chairs, there are yoga balls and video game rockers. Students plug in their headphones and work on online modules provided by the Florida Virtual Learning School on topics ranging from the French and Indian War to Women’s Suffrage. Two teachers are there to help and ensure the kids stay on task.
“In this class, you have to know to learn by yourself without a teacher, but they’re always there to help” said James King, 14, an eighth-grader at the school. “More classes should do this and think of new ways of teaching.”
At first, Silverman was concerned that such a leisurely environment could impede learning, but it’s actually had the opposite effect.
“The kids are doing so well that they’re completing the course early and registering for a second course to get high school credit,” he said.
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