Moffitt believes in the right to choose - the students’ right to choose their educational opportunities, that is. Just one of the programs Moffitt spearheaded to support this was the development of an online learning platform. Now in its third year of implementation, Moffitt’s school district provides accredited online classes and a “cyber center” located at each high school where students can take a variety of classes - even those that aren’t offered in a face-to-face environment. During the first year of deployment, most decision-makers thought the platform would be used to aid in credit recovery. While it has been used for this, it has also provided students with limitless possibilities. For example, one student at a small school wanted to take a physics class. However, due to the size of the school and available resources, there weren’t any qualified instructors available to teach physics. With Moffitt’s help and the online platform, the student was able to participate in the online class of her choice.
The online classes have shifted the learning experience to ensure students have control over their choices and classes. “Kids can progress at their own pace in their own place - they get to be their own driver,” says Moffitt. While not every student has taken advantage of the online courses, students have noted they are more engaged with the online courses.
Additionally, the online offerings are enabling students to make up courses they may have failed in the past, or increase their GPA over the summer to ensure they meet the requirements to play sports. “It’s not about making it easier or reducing rigor, it’s just another way of learning,” says Moffitt. Beyond positive feedback from students, Moffitt has seen an increase in graduation rates. In fact, because of the new platform, she’s been able to work with students at the last minute before graduation to ensure they have all of the tools they need to graduate.
Recognizing that teachers had taken on the role of content creator, Moffitt wanted to shift the role back to facilitator. “It frees one up to be creative as the facilitator instead of the deliverer,” says Moffitt. Her school district isn’t interested in defining curriculum, rather it is concerned with the way it is delivered. It’s important to use data and delivery to drive the learning experience, but Moffitt knows the success of a technology really comes down to the basic art of teaching. “I think it’s really critical that we embrace technology and not fight it,” says Moffitt.
Moffitt is constantly looking for ways to improve the learning process: “I’m always climbing the mountain of learning. Because we didn’t have the ‘how to,’ we started and have continued refining and listening to our clientele - students, parents and the larger learning community - and that’s what students want today.”