Providing students with a quality education is hopefully the main goal of any school or educational institution. In today’s academic world this has continued to become a grater challenge, as the expectations continue to rise while the available financial resources continue to dwindle. Some schools have found that by adopting innovative programs such as technology, fine arts, and other specialties that a strong educational foundation can still be provided.
New programs and resources are essential tools required in today’s academic environment. Principals are depending more on web based instruction in forms such as Khan Academy, K12, and other self paced learning options. While these new options certainly do enable schools to offer more instruction, they still do not provide one of the most important aspects of a strong educational program. The relationships between the students and the teachers have, for years, provided the students with more than just factual knowledge. The mentoring and the guidance that students can receive from their teachers is an invaluable part of the learning process. There are ideas and topics which just cannot be taught via an instructional video.
Looking back to my own high school career, it was the outside of the class relationships, that I built with some of my teacher,s that gave me the character and the tools to be successful today. These are educators from whom I certainly learned from in the classroom. But the education continued beyond the classroom walls. Through casual lunch time conversations, advising opportunities, and other informal programs, these teachers were able to combine their academic knowledge with their own life experiences. I am still in contact with many of these educators to this day, almost twenty years since graduation.
As a teacher, I have always tried to build these types of relationships with my own students. Those after class conversations about history, college, or just life’s challenges can be amazing learning experiences for both the teacher and the student.
So, back to today’s educational system. How can we give our students the unlimited academic offerings that technology brings, without losing the personalized educational approach? Tomorrow’s Genius has successfully made this possible. Online learning certainly opens unlimited doors for students and schools. In fact, principals in many schools around the world are starting to realize just how the possibilities can really be used. Thanks to Tomorrow’s Genius it is possible to create online learning options without sacrificing the personalized relationships between the students and the teachers.
Tomorrow’s Genius online classes all take place live with a fully trained and certified teacher. Students in TG online classes never watch self contained videos. They actually participate in the class sessions in real time, just like they would in a regular classroom. Because of the live interaction between the teacher and the students, the personalized relationships and mentoring can still take place, despite the fact that the teacher and the students are thousands of miles apart.
In the time since Tomorrow’s Genius began its online class programs, we have received numerous messages from our students, thanking us for making the online learning process so much more interactive. In one of our schools, students have asked their online TG teachers to serve as their senior thesis advisers. At another school, the student has already asked Tomorrow’s Genius to arrange for continuing lessons during the student’s semester abroad.
For the past three months, I have been teaching an online Jewish History course to a group of 8th grade students at the Kellman Brown Academy in Southern New Jersey. Throughout our sessions, I have been teaching the students about Israel, Jewish heritage, and other topics relevant to their lives. Next week, I will have the opportunity to meet with the students in person while they are in Israel for their class trip. If these students were just watching video recordings or were only completing online activities, the relationships that I have formed with these students would never have occurred.
So, even in an online environment the personal aspects of education can still take place. Sure, the pre-recorded lessons can be useful too, but schools do not need to sacrifice the personal approach in order to use technology as a resource.