Passions tend not to arise by choice. Instead they tend to grow organically. Sometimes they are all about filling an unmet need. Other times, they grow out of the desire to correct something that has gone wrong. Other times they do both.
My passion for virtual learning has grown and developed over the past fourteen years. I was there in the beginning when the first full-time virtual schools launched in Pennsylvania and Colorado. After joining K12 later that year, I spent the next several years traversing the country speaking with thousands upon thousands of families, opening schools in a myriad of states from California to Georgia to Ohio to Idaho, and so on.
More importantly though, we began using it within our own home when my oldest was in first grade (she is now a sophomore in college). We home educated our kids at first using the K12 curriculum. We then covered the range of possibilities by using K12 via their two online private schools (iCademy and George Washington University Online High School), and we even enrolled our two boys in the Tennessee Virtual Academy the first year it opened (we subsequently pulled them out after the first year).
All of this over the past fourteen years gave me an intimate look into the possibilities, the potential, and the promise that virtual schooling had within it. It also offered me a glimpse into its shortcomings, issues, and many of the problems the current model suffers from inherently.
What I believe though is the concept of virtual learning still remains a disrupting idea.
For me, it's personal. Virtual, or online, learning was good for us. It continues to be that way with our two boys. And now we have a fourth starting on her learning journey. It has allowed us to instill a life philosophy within our children that will set them upon a firm foundation of choosing themselves.
For me, it's professional. I believe in the concept of virtual and I continue to believe it has the power to revolutionize the educational paradigm. I also understand who it can serve and how it can be implemented in order to fulfill the original promise it held over a decade ago.
Is it time to re-imagine virtual learning? Absolutely. However, we must first separate the concept from the current implementation model.
This is why I work with clients who are passionate about "doing virtual right." We cannot tweak the existing model and hope for better results. We must rethink, re-imagine, and reinvent the virtual concept. This is my passion.