This December, Bill Crockett, the Principal of the free, online school Capistrano Connections Academy in Southern California, spoke about the definition and benefits of a virtual school model on the TheLip.tv. His interview with Greg Matuskiewicz gives a detailed, inside scoop to online learning and Connections Education.

In the video, Crockett describes the Connections Academy model in comparison to homeschooling. The major difference is that Connections Academy students are taught by certified and qualified teachers with the same training found in Brick-and-Mortar schools rather than a parent. Many online learning supporters will contest that while the courses are not taught by parents, parental support is key to students’ success.

While enrollment requirements are the same as public schools, there’s not a specific type of student that attends a virtual school. At Connections Academy, many of the students need increased flexibility around schedules in acting, competitive sports, and more. Others have special family needs that make it difficult to attend a school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

One key benefit to online courses is that the content is available for increased review at any time, says Crockett. As Matuskiewicz, the ability to gain increased review of videos or written materials is a benefit that underpins successful online lessons like the ones found at Khan Academy.

One of the greatest misconceptions about the online environment is that students experience a decrease socialization. Crockett says that students build strong relationships with their instructors online and experience face-to-face time with events and field trips.

At Capistrano Connections Academy, students and educators use a closed system to manage assignments, email, and communication with others. In the age of Facebook and Blackboard, this method of interaction is effective and comfortable for students in the program.

Toward the end, Connections Academy student Alanna discusses her experience learning online via Skype. She began the program in order to gain increased flexibility around her competitive dance schedule. Now in her senior year, Alanna articulated that she appreciated the experience. She found some of her best friends through the program. Parents also enjoy the increased access to their students’ learning, says Crockett.

For more, view the video below:

View the video on TheLip.tv.

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