Online academy helps students make virtual learning a success

Education

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)—Tuesday is National Online Learning Day, celebrating the many students attending class remotely this school year.

The Georgia Connections Academy is helping new virtual learners make this year a success. The academy is a full-time online school for students grades 5-12 across the state.

They have been teaching students virtually for ten years. With more students learning online than ever before, they are sharing advice to increase student engagement and to help keep their grades up.

Georgia Connections Academy Director of Federal Programs Marla Bowie says the academy is evolving their online teaching technology to make education more manageable and convenient for families in Georgia.

“It can be a safer option for learning. In your home, you know exactly who’s coming in and out,” Bowie said. “As long as the parents are taking precautions at home, they can definitely monitor that better than not knowing what’s happening at school.”

Bowie says it’s vital to focus on fostering relationships students have with their teachers, and instructors should still aim to provide students with an individualized experience.

“It’s challenging to ease into a virtual setting, especially when you’re so used to a brick-and-mortar school setting,” she said. “It’s not an easy adjustment. So it’s important to have a different mindset going in.”

Bowie says she’s excited about the future of online education and recognizes the advantages and potential of virtual learning. She says it’s important now more than ever for parents to be involved in their child’s curriculum and schedule.

“It really takes the parent, student, and the teacher in order for the student to be successful,” Bowie said. “Scheduling is one of the best things that families can do. We always say make sure that you look ahead for what’s coming up this week. Setting that schedule and working with your learning coach to ensure you know exactly what’s coming up so that you’re not shocked.”

She also emphasized the importance of asking questions whenever you’re unsure about something to do with a lesson plan.

Also, for both parents and students to take each day one assignment at a time to not get overwhelmed with the workload.

“Just give yourself grace. We say this all the time but especially during this time, it’s not always going to be easy. Every day is not going to be great so take a step back when you need to.”

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