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Virtual (Learning in the New) Reality

In March of 2020, over 300 million students worldwide suddenly found themselves having to adjust to a whole new way of learning.

Fast-forward to the present day. Social distancing is the new norm. Homes across the country (and the globe) are performing double-duty as virtual classrooms. And parents, students, and educators alike are doing their best to adapt to the situation at hand.

While the pandemic may have hit a hard reboot on the world’s education systems, many are discovering the positive aspects of making the switch to eLearning.

In fact, there are 3 distinct benefits of taking the ‘3 Rs’ (and beyond), online.

We like to call these benefits the ‘3 Fs’:

1. FLEXIBILITY

This is number one on our list for good reason.

According to a 2020 Online Education Trends Report, flexibility and convenience are the top deciding factors for students opting to study online, versus on campus.

Considering not everybody learns at the same pace, it’s understandable how a growing number of individuals are leaning toward the flexibility of an online study environment. In a virtual setting, there are no pressures from being put on the spot to answer questions or keep up with peers. Online, students can work through lesson plans in their own time, at their own speed. Having this kind of flexibility enables students to feel more comfortable with their study/workload, which translates to them feeling better about themselves.

2. FREEDOM

From body image issues and racial biases to sexuality and gender dysphoria, today’s youth are faced with many personal struggles. This can make the confines of a classroom quite intimidating for some, particularly for those who are only just discovering their unique sense of personal identity. Online learning, on the other hand, can provide students with the freedom to be themselves, in an environment where they feel safe.

The freedom online learning provides also extends to students who are balancing busy schedules. Music lessons. Sports practices. Part-time jobs. Juggling the demands of a hectic life can be challenging at the best of times. Online learning allows these students the freedom to fit class around their schedules.

3. FUN

Brain research has shown that when the fun stops, so does the learning.

With virtual educational programs, it’s easier to break the monotony of traditional lesson plans by engaging students through interactive elements that make learning fun.

This includes the use of gamification, which is the process of taking a subject or lesson and adding game elements. Studies have shown that gamified learning experiences effectively
increase student engagement by a significant margin.

So long mind-numbing. Hello, mind-blowing.

In addition to flexibility, freedom and fun, online learning also enables students to enhance a series of very important life and career skills.

This encompasses everything from critical thinking and technical skills, to communication, collaboration and innovation. As more and more businesses make the switch to virtual teams, the demand for these kinds of skills will be greater than ever.

Virtual learning can provide students with all of the essential preparation they’ll need to succeed in whatever career path they choose.

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Bringing Hope to Kids During Times of Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 2020

100 eighth graders to be connected to their future career through a weeklong virtual camp

TEXAS – SUMMER 2020 – Education Service Center (ESC) Region 20 in Texas and Experience (ExperienceAmerica.com), a leading organization in global experiential learning, have come together to support the future career dreams of a group of eighth graders. It’s all being done through a one-of-a-kind virtual summer learning camp with one very specific focus — cybersecurity.

 

Naomi Woods, College and Career Military Readiness Regional Coordinator for ESC-20, explains why this virtual camp is so important to these students. “Due to the pandemic, students from coast-to-coast have been living in a state of limbo. They’ve been disconnected from their routines and isolated from their friends, causing anxiety and depression for many. This summer program is a ray of sunshine to help cut through all of that by providing a space kids can come together virtually and do something really amazing.”

 

The program Ms. Woods is referring to will be an innovative and fully immersive cybersecurity summer camp running from July 20-24. Students will be provided with a packed itinerary that will open their minds, introduce them to industry leaders and expand their career path toward their field of interest (cybersecurity). “Thanks to amazing regional partners such as NSA Texas, NICE/NIST, CPS Energy and the FBI, we’ve been able to offer students a comprehensive program that represents the best of the best,” states Ms. Woods. “Plus we’ve secured funding at the state level to offer full scholarships to 45 deserving students, along with Chromebooks to ensure all kids, regardless of socio-economic status, will be able to get the most out of the program. Experience has also generously provided scholarships for an additional 55 students.”

 

Experience co-founder Olen Anderson believes the partnership ESC-20 has forged with Experience will help kids plan for their future. “Apart from college, high school is one of the biggest learning jumps these kids will be making. Our program bridges that gap by giving students a clear understanding of what it means to work in cybersecurity. That way they’ll be able to confidently take those giant next steps in their education,” says Mr. Anderson. Ms. Woods sums ESC-20’s collaboration with Experience quite fittingly; “Ultimately this is a story of community. How, on a massive scale, educators and industry experts have all come together to support a group of students to provide some connection, preparation, fun and most importantly, hope.”

 

To learn more about the Texas Cybersecurity Externship, Experience Experiential Learning, including their virtual or travel programs, visit ExperienceAmerica.com.