The Forest School Online is a fully virtual, international school that is piloting a model of self-directed learning in online education as set forth by The Institute of Self-Directed Learning.
The Forest School Online is a fully virtual institution. We enroll learners from all over the United States, a family from Uganda, and a family from Kenya. The vast majority of instruction takes place online. With our self-directed learning model, learners spend the day engaging in both synchronous and asynchronous education. Families have the option to visit our sister school campus (The Forest School) in Fayetteville, GA, twice each year for two signature learning events—Contract Signing and Commencement.
One of the core design principles of self-directed learning is the use of Guides rather than teachers to support learners’ acquisition of knowledge, skills, and dispositions through their daily work in the Studios. Rather than teach using direct instruction (i.e., “sage on the stage”), our Guides manage the quality of learning through multiple channels (i.e., “Guide on the side”) as our Online learners pursue their unique, self-paced learning journeys. Required courses for graduation are completed through e-learning platforms such as Khan Academy.
The Forest School Online uses a variety of e-learning platforms such as ALEKS, AMIRA, Lexia, Zearn, NoRedInk, and Khan Academy to provide specific content-knowledge such as world language acquisition and technical skill building such as reading acquisition, grammar and mathematics. The school does not regularly employ human resources for instructional assistance.
Our self-directed learning model uses a competency based approach to education where learner outcomes are measured through both qualitative and quantitative data from the learners. A repository of learners’ works is kept on file, which creates the portfolio of their adolescent academic journey, and learners will regularly reflect upon their previous works using the language of mastery credits to enhance their analysis and future creations.
A secondary measure we use to provide an outside perspective with which we compare our own metrics is the CCRA+. This assessment provides a quantitative score of learners’ analysis & problem solving, writing effectiveness, and writing mechanics. We crossmap our metrics with this rubric to align on our understanding of learner progress. We use Lexile reading levels in this same way to measure learners’ reading fluency.
Student Led Government (Town Halls), Student-Led Clubs