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'iGeneration' Student Survey Reveals a Shift in the Way Teens Learn

With Classroom Boredom and Distractions Topping the List of Daily Challenges, Schools Integrate Online Learning to Re-Engage High-Tech, High-Touch Students

PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Since their earliest memories, today's "iGeneration" has been wired, Wi-Fied, mobile, virtually augmented and i-computed like no other generation before them. A recent "Beyond the Classroom" online survey of 13- to 17-year-old students commissioned by Aventa LearningTM revealed, not surprisingly, that these teens are turning to outside resources and technology to stay challenged and engaged.

"The last time we made a radical shift in education was when we moved from a one-room school house to individual classrooms"

"Middle and high school students live in a world of customization, instant gratification and feedback, so real-time, one-on-one learning is what makes sense to them," said Dr. Caprice Young, President and CEO of KC Distance Learning, which owns Aventa Learning, and former President of both the California Charter Schools Association and the Los Angeles Unified School District. "Our data shows that more than half of the students said that the easiest way for students to learn something new is by practicing and watching, which is one of several critical reasons why we need to re-wire our educational approach."

With students constantly competing for attention in the classroom - a mere 18 percent said they get the attention and the help they need all of the time - online learning has been gaining momentum in overcrowded and underfunded schools across the U.S. Instead of being bored or falling prey to distractions, which nearly 50 percent said they were, online learning has helped more teens get the individual, immediate instruction and mentoring to allow them to consistently practice and watch what they need to learn.

"The last time we made a radical shift in education was when we moved from a one-room school house to individual classrooms," Young continued. "The iGeneration is challenging the current system and we need to listen - after all, they are our future."

In fact, teens are already voicing their need for a change in the traditional school day with nearly 90 percent saying that if they were in charge of their school, they would offer more electives, allow students to take online classes and pick the time of day they took classes. And, they revealed that potentially adding back in drama/music, foreign language, Advanced Placement® and writing courses to the curriculum might help increase the popularity of "being in class" as the favorite part of their day.

Teens are College-Bound, but are They Ready for the 21st Century?

The good news for parents and teachers is that nearly 90 percent of teens said they are planning to enroll in a four-year college, community college or technical program when they graduate from high school, and 43 percent ranked going to college at the top of the list when asked if they could do anything when they graduate.

But as the number of classrooms shrinks and the student population grows, middle and high schoolers feel like they are being lost in the shuffle. Sixty percent said that when they fall behind in their classes, they have to ask for help or don't get the help they need to catch up, and more than one-third confirmed that they have to ask to be challenged when they are doing well.

Preparation for "21st Century" skills is limited as well, as a majority of students are using technology for online research or to use PowerPoint and Excel, but not much else.

"Ninety percent of the teens surveyed said that their schools have computers that are connected online, yet teens are only directed to take advantage of what's at their fingertips at a very basic level," Young continued. "The potential to take the activities that students are using on a daily basis, apply critical-thinking skills and turn them into age- and generationally appropriate learning opportunities is limitless."

Schools Offer Online Learning as a Solution

In addition to maximizing how and when teens use technology to create an enhanced learning environment, when social factors like bullying (55 percent of respondents confirmed it is an issue) enter the picture, school administrators and teachers are turning to online learning resources like Aventa to help pave a new path.

Young believes that online learning is the "great equalizer" because it ensures that teens in every location have access to high-quality teachers and consistent curriculum. Programs like Aventa, which in conjunction with school districts, give students new options to learn at their own pace and have a one-on-one relationship with educators whether they're in need of more assistance, looking for more accelerated classes or simply prefer to learn in a medium that they have grown up with. For more information about online learning, visit www.aventalearning.com.

Survey Results at a Glance

  • Classroom boredom (42 percent) and distractions from other kids (48 percent) topped the list of daily challenges of students
  • Teens are voicing their need for a change in the traditional school day
    • More than half said that the easiest way for them to learn something new is by practicing and watching
    • Nearly 90 percent said that if they were in charge of their school, they would offer more electives, allow students to take online classes and pick the time of day they took classes
  • Teens are college-bound, but are they ready for the 21st century?
    • Good news for parents and teachers
      • Nearly 90 percent of teens said they are planning to enroll in a four-year college, community college or technical program when they graduate from high school
      • 43 percent ranked going to college at the top of the list when asked if they could do anything when they graduate
    • But overcrowded classrooms have left teens feeling like they are being lost in the shuffle
      • 60 percent said that when they fall behind in their classes, they have to ask for help or don't get the help they need to catch up
      • More than 1/3 confirmed that they have to ask to be challenged when they are doing well
    • Student interaction with technology is limited to a very basic level
      • Despite 90 percent of students having computers that are connected online at school, the majority are using technology for online for research or to use PowerPoint and Excel, but not much else
  • Over half of students said that bullies are a problem at their school (55 percent)
About the Survey

The Aventa Learning "Beyond the Classroom" online survey was designed and analyzed by Ketchum Global Research Network and fielded by Braun Research. The survey was fielded to a national sample of 500 13- to 17-year-olds from April 20-24, 2010. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.4%.

About KC Distance Learning, Inc.

KC Distance Learning, Inc. (KCDL) is a leading provider of online learning programs for middle school and high school students including core, Foreign Language, Honors, and AP® courses. Since the first programs were introduced in 1974, the company has enriched the lives of more than 260,000 students through high-quality online education programs.

KCDL provides accredited online education directly to families through its Aventa Learning programs, its iQ Academy® programs, and its Keystone Schools programs. Aventa Learning programs have served and benefited more than 1,750 institutions with online learning programs, including credit recovery, individual courses designed to augment existing school curriculum, and complete virtual school solutions. KCDL also offers iQ Academy programs, statewide online schools operated in conjunction with public school districts or charter school management organizations to serve the education needs of grade, middle and high school students. iQ Academy programs are public school programs, and so are tuition-free for in-state residents. Keystone Schools programs are the nation's leading online school programs for middle school and high school students.

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