Andrew T. Watson, Head of School
The Academy is very pleased to join many of the world's other top independent schools as a founder of the Global Online Academy (GOA)
. As this consortium grows beyond its founding schools to independent schools around the world, our students and teachers are joining their counterparts in a personalized introduction to online learning and global connections.
The birth of GOA was both interesting and exciting. During the 2010-11 school year, the Academy joined a group of the nation's top independent schools in Seattle for a discussion of online learning. This form of learning is growing exponentially, and many wonder about its role in the future of education. In short order, GOA was born, and its first courses were offered in the fall of 2011, taught by teachers throughout the consortium to students attending the founding schools and other member schools.
We are very excited to be part of this initiative, believing, among other things, that:
- Academy students and faculty will benefit from taking and creating courses within the consortium, with the quality of teachers from the schools involved creating online excellence that, while different, will be in line with the in-person excellence of the courses in our schools.
- Connections will be made among students, teachers, and schools, broadening all involved.
- Academy teachers will grow in their use of online tools, improving their blended instruction skills.
- Everyone will learn from this experiment, and students will be exposed to a type of learning that they will experience in their colleges and future work environments.
The list of other possible advantages for students, teachers, and schools created by consortium members as they brainstormed about this initiative is a long one. It remains to be seen whether each of these advantages comes to pass and whether the advantages outweigh any disadvantages that arise.
Broadly speaking, each course has a class size similar to Academy classes, with online instructors using technological tools to personalize the student experience. This is an important point to note, as some static online courses are built on the non-personalized model of hundreds, or even thousands, of students logging on to work through pre-packaged content and evaluations. The GOA schools believe that the active role of a teacher in an online course is necessary to create experiences similar in quality to that found in the consortium schools.
Last, but not least, let me introduce you to our Global Online Academy partners (see sidebar). In the finest tradition of independent education, each of our partners is a stand-alone educational institution with a unique mission. All of these missions start with excellence, leading to the reputation and strength these schools have achieved within the national and international community of independent education.
Students and families interested in learning more should speak with our GOA coordinator, Jill Brown
, and explore the GOA web site