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Blog: Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Innovation at Abby Virtual

Abbotsford Virtual School (AVS) is the largest school in the district by head count, with over 2200 students annually taking one or more courses or full programs. AVS creates individual and personalized learning opportunities for students from all grade levels with continuous enrolment in both online and blended approaches.

The work at AVS supports our school system by focusing on increasing graduation rates by providing additional and alternative learning opportunities for all students, particularly secondary students. New courses such as Veterinary Science 11, Sports Marketing 11 and Forensic Science 11 add unique online options for students as attractive and interesting elective areas beyond the standard curriculum.

The focus on blended learning as a strategic goal within our district continues to spur on the innovation work at AVS. Our Fusion program (2 days on-site STEM-focused program) has been very successful in its first year and will be available for Grade 9 and 10 students starting this September.

In our research and development work, AVS is experimenting with the use of Virtual Reality (VR) as a tool for learning and assessment where students ‘experiencing’ learning. Example activities of the use of VR include students:

  • viewing their 3D created models/environments in ADST. One project involves a “Virtual Room Remodeling” where learners are recreating a room in their home and then remodeling that room to fit requirements from the owner of the room e.g. parent. Students tour their parents in the VR environment showing their creation, offering an opportunity for feedback from an authentic audience;
  • creating mazes in 3D space that are explored in VR to help develop spatial relationships as part of Math 9 e.g. use technology to explore and create patterns and relationships;
  • exploring locations of interest around the globe for research and to generate curiosity in Social Studies via Google Earth. Students can land just about anywhere and experiencing a location to scale e.g. Stonehenge or the top of Mount Everest and may be able to manipulate conditions in that environment;
  • experiencing Science providing a real sense of the relative sizes of the objects in our solar system or gaining a sense of the internal working of the anatomy of the human body; and
  • performing authentic tasks such analyzing a crime scene as a Forensic Science 11 assessment (still under development).

AVS continues to innovate forward around new technologies and its ethical and effective use in education.

BRAD HUTCHINSON
Principal, Abbotsford Virtual School