We all know about online universities that help students balance education with work, family, and lifestyle, but how about k-12 public school... online? Never heard of it? Neither had I. While the concept of homeschool may come to mind (having been homeschooled 7 years myself, it's what I first thought of) this virtual classroom is actually more closely related to a public school or online university for the young 'uns. Instead of a single student being taught by their parents, students are interacting with their classmates and teachers online everyday.
Who thought of this genius idea? Breaking into this new industry is Connections Academy, a fully accredited virtual school for65,000 young students across theUnited States. The students interact and collaborate with each other in virtual classrooms just like students in physical public schools. Recently, Connections Academy has been focusing on involving their parent community more with the help of Jive. I think recruiting volunteers and encouraging communication among parents is difficult enough at a physical school, let alone trying to rally parents across the US in a virtual environment!
On the Jive Blog, we had the opportunity to speak with Connections Education's manager of community outreach, Krista Mahler, about how they have worked toward parent engagement and marketing their school through word of mouth, in addition to boosting their parent volunteer participants from 1% to 15%.
Krista Mahler talked about how they have used their community on Jive, The Corner, to help the company move away from one-sided communication and toward a two-way conversation that deepens parent involvement in various marketing programs. They also encourage the parents to share tips and tricks within the community to get the most out of their virtual school experience. How cool is that? If this opportunity had been available a number of years ago, I have no doubt my parents would have opted for a virtual classroom with support and encouragement from other parents. Who knows, it may have saved them some gray hairs from having to teach their difficult student all alone (my brother, of course).
Thank you Krista Mahler for sharing your story! Keep up the good work!