“You are the disrupters and lid lifters. 100 years from now, you will be remembered as the pioneers of this new form of schooling.” Founding Principal speaks as teaching gets underway at Pearson Online Academy UK Global.
It was the first assembly of the 2021-22 academic year – the first ever assembly for Pearson Online Academy UK Global – and founding principal Jo Vigneron addressed students from the UK to the UAE, Spain to Singapore, Morocco to Mexico.
Across the world, these students sat at laptops and tablets, excited to embark on the next stage of their education. For these students would be learning wholly online.
Online schools are a relatively new concept to many, though Pearson has been running virtual schools in the US for twenty years.
Vigneron, who has opened two highly successful schools in recent years, says: “As educators who’ve worked through the last 18 months of change and developments in the sector, gone is the perception that education is limited by location. Our young people today are more connected than ever and readily embrace global opportunities. It is for us as educators to push open doors and facilitate meaningful links and access to learning opportunities globally.”
Julie Larrucea, whose son attends Harrow School Online, an online school that opened its virtual doors last year, says: “I think online is great because it's going to prepare him better for university. He has to figure out how to schedule his own time. How to get things done, when to get them done, how to be disciplined enough to get it done as there's not somebody every day checking it. I think it will prepare him better for his life.”
Asked if face to face teaching is better than online, Julie smiles. “I will tell you a quote from Antonio – he felt like he was in class. There were absolutely zero obstacles to learning. He sees the other kids in his class on the screen and the feeling he gets is that he's in class.”
Students seem to enjoy online learning too. One Harrow School Online student says: “It has been a great experience. I have really enjoyed the switch to online learning. I have noticed that I am becoming more independent and developing other skills that allow me to be more flexible with my time.”
The structure of learning in an online school is noticeably different. At both Harrow School Online and Pearson Online Academy students follow the flipped classroom method: study from home, progressing through interactive self-study materials to develop an understanding of subject content before joining live sessions in virtual classrooms with their teachers and fellow students.
It is this rigorous and inspiring academic approach combined with extra-curricular experiences that will help the Pearson Online Academy students starting their journey this week to develop transferable skills, build their wellness and become valuable members of society who will go on to lift the lid on the issues of the future.