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Monday, September 17, 2012

Audubon students embrace virtual learning by Jan L. Apple

"On September 6, when the academic year officially began, 15 Audubon High School students entered a new classroom — a virtual one that has created a buzz in the hallways of the junior and senior high serving grades 7 through 12." reports Jan L. Apple.

Photo: Cherry Hill Courier Post

With the click of mouse, an interactive instructional narrative from a certified teacher and clear guidelines for assignments, students have been logging on to this new way of learning for one 45-minute period each day. And though they were born in an era of all things technological, this virtual school within a school is still a twist in their everyday education.

Students are not only enrolled in an array of online courses, the program also connects them with peers across the nation and the globe, all sharing the same classroom.

It’s made possible through the district’s membership with The VHS Collaborative. Based in

Maynard, Mass., the model, a supplement to existing coursework, began as a federally funded grant but was so well received that a non-profit was formed, VHS spokeswoman Carol Arnold explains.

"The organization has been delivering online courses to students for 15 years," said Arnold, adding there are more than 400 offerings to hundreds of member schools around the U.S. and the world.

Students represent a broad range of interests and abilities, said Smeltzer, who has been with the district for 18 years. Each student is taking a different class, including some advanced placement- and honors-level courses. Selections include History of the Holocaust, Statistics, Calculus, Computer Science, Criminology and Entrepreneurship: Starting Your Own Business, to name a few.

Borden sees the virtual school as an enhancement that’s here to stay: "We want to embrace change and want to move with the times. We think this is part of that process."

Source: Cherry Hill Courier Post