From high school to college, students in Florida’s Florida Virtual School (FVSS) have been transforming their lives with a new digital program called “Matter of Thought”.
With the virtual classroom, students learn to think creatively and collaboratively in an immersive setting where the students are connected to real people and the teacher is real.
FVSS is currently running the largest ever virtual program in the country, with over 200 students enrolled.
This year, more than 150 students will graduate.
The program is part of a growing movement to transform education into a “digital commons”.
This movement began with the school of digital literacy (DFLS) movement, which was started in 2016.
“The idea of the digital commons is to create a shared space where all people can interact, create, share, and use knowledge and technology for good,” says Scott Haskins, an educator and co-founder of FVBS.
“This is a great opportunity to teach kids to use digital technology for creative and critical thinking and a safe space to learn, and also to grow in the skills they need to be effective learners and leaders in the digital age.”
To support this mission, the school has created a new program called Matter of Thought, which is free to the public.
“We are committed to the notion of making the most of the tools we have at our disposal,” says Dr. Scott Hoss, co-director of the FVPS Center for Creative Technology and the co-author of the book “The Next Big Thing: Making a Digital Commons.”
In the future, the FVC will be the center of a network of schools across the state, allowing students to connect and collaborate online.
This program is an extension of the school’s existing partnerships with schools, businesses, universities and other community partners.
In order to make the virtual environment more welcoming and inclusive, the program’s curriculum is tailored to students who identify as queer, trans, or gender non-conforming.
Students also have access to an online virtual library that contains over 40 books from different cultures, with the goal of giving them the tools they need in order to understand the world in a more meaningful way.
The school has partnered with online literacy programs, including the online curriculum from The Art of Storytelling and The Storyteller.
FVC is also a partner in the School of Creative Arts.
“A lot of our students don’t have a high school education and they don’t really have a chance to participate in these kinds of experiences,” says Hoss.
“As the school grows, we will expand our program to support the community in a different way.”
For students who want to pursue a career in digital education, the School for Creative Arts at Florida State University (FSU) is the ideal place to get started.
“FSU is a perfect fit for this program,” says Michael Haskin, the Director of the Office of Student Development.
“With over 20 degrees from the University of Florida, we know the value of a rigorous digital curriculum and a high-quality classroom.
We also have a strong track record of helping our students develop skills and abilities that will help them succeed as digital entrepreneurs in their fields of study.”
As a digital education program, the university offers a rigorous online course in Digital Education.
This course prepares students to enter a rapidly changing industry and work on their first venture into the field.
Students are required to take a computer science exam with an instructor who can help them answer questions in a way that suits them.
Students who successfully complete the course will have a certificate and the option to apply to work at a digital company.
Haskis says this course is the perfect fit, because it helps students prepare for careers in tech, software, media, and entrepreneurship.
“These skills can be valuable in any industry, but the real benefits are in the workforce,” he says.
“If you’re going to work in tech and start a startup, it makes sense to take this course.”
The program’s other benefit is the virtual experience.
The virtual classroom provides students with an open-ended learning environment where they can explore their own ideas and learn from peers.
“One of the things we are doing is we are allowing the students to participate, so the teachers can engage the students in conversations that are helpful to them,” says Mandy Schreiber, director of the School’s Virtual Learning Center.
“It gives them the opportunity to ask and learn directly from their peers.”
FVHS has already seen positive results.
“Students are taking this course in such a way where they are having a real impact,” says Schreib.
“They are taking an active role in learning and building relationships, and the teachers are able to connect with them through the digital learning experience.”
Schreis says the students feel safe, comfortable and connected to the teacher.
“Most importantly, students feel good about themselves because they feel like they are