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How To Login To Volusia Online Learning
Two weeks ago, Volusia County, Florida abruptly announced that it will no longer allow students to use its online learning for the upcoming school year. While parents were understandably shocked at the news, they were quick to spread the word to all and sundry. All of which prompted Volusia to reassess how it oversees the program, including writing new policies and updating how it views the appropriateness of using their Internet devices on the school playground.
Schools have been allowed to use a variety of devices for learning purposes in schools across the country for nearly a decade, and the online courses are among the most popular. Volusia County said it is still looking for the best way to move forward, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.
How is it that this school would even consider to pull its plug on its popular program? This shocking move has set off a multitude of conversations, challenges, and allegations on how the online education program should work, what that means for its students, and what parents should be doing next. As someone who not only works in education, but has family who are educators, I’m interested in offering my own perspective.
First, some background on Volusia’s program and why it came to this juncture: Over the course of a 15-year period, Volusia teachers researched and developed the curriculum for their online programs for the fall/winter/spring school year.
Now, it may sound intuitive that Volusia would review and update that program. But the fact that this happens only for the next school year, rather than a decade, made it clear that this tech tool needed to evolve in order to meet the needs of their students. They were creating a great program with terrific teachers, but they weren’t quite where they wanted to be at that point, and I imagine they’d had some hiccups along the way, too. It’s the kind of change any educator and school would be wise to make. That’s not to say they shouldn’t have persisted, however.
The Volusia government program is modeled after the one found in schools in Finland, and the district has continually applauded the similarities between the Finnish model and their own program. Earlier this year, they even posted this quote on their website that I found to be deeply inspiring:
“If a child was born in Finland and brought up by an Icelandic family, would she have a better life than a child in another part of the world? That’s the question. We strive to raise everyone on an equal playing field, using the Finnish model. That means quality and equity. We are prepared to provide whatever educational opportunities are necessary for all students.”
Needless to say, in a day and age when huge educational organizations are being scrutinized for using them, Volusia is taking extra steps to strengthen the safety of their students. They have already implemented the TRUST (Trusting Teachers and Students) program, and as a parent, I have no doubt that their policies, procedures, and procedures to handle these things will be above-and-beyond anything that I or my family ever experienced as a teacher would in my classroom.
I’m proud of Volusia County for jumping on the safety ship from the beginning, as well as for handling everything in a levelheaded, thoughtful manner that doesn’t involve school layoffs or family chaos for the sake of a policy. Learning is most effective when it happens with collaboration, not conflict.
This week, though, I’m more fired up because something I know about the Volusia program in particular and about education generally but for an added twist: After the initial shock wears off, it’s easy to see why the school made the decision they did.
That’s because testing is scheduled to happen during these online courses, and those students should get a little help, and that help may not always be verbal. For a technology program that’s used extensively for learning to go down without the assistance of certified teachers in front of the kids is a big deal. Without that program, their students are being denied a full and sometimes helpful learning experience.
So if schools in Florida and here at home are truly serious about promoting and supporting learning, we need to find a way to get those responsible for schools’ technology programs better gear, like professional development workshops to help them work with and know their teachers. We need guidance that affirms a myriad of experiences—from the personal and intense daily partnership of a teacher and child, to the intensive and comprehensive professional development that could make the difference between success and failure.
If you agree with my belief that schools should know how to keep classrooms safe, then this is a fight you can get behind. By using communication and collaboration to foster a collaborative