Collaboration and Social Networking | News

Florida Virtual School Adopts New Communication Portal

Students and teachers at Florida Virtual Schools (FLVS) will soon be able to connect with each other through their preferred communication channels. The public K-12 distance learning school announced this week that it has partnered with Web 2.0 solutions provider ConnectYard with the goal of improving communication and collaboration among its more than 120,000 students and 1,400 teachers.

FLVS will use ConnectYard to create a new communication portal that integrates e-mail, text, and social media networks—including Facebook and Twitter—with its learning management system. Students and teachers will be able to send and receive messages on through their preferred devices and platform. All messages are stored in the learning management system. Staff training is already underway and the new system is expected to go live this summer, according to a prepared statement released Tuesday by ConnectYard.

"The most appealing benefit to us is ConnectYard's ability to connect students, teachers, parents and staff using social media without requiring them to change their behavior," said John Logan, vice president of curriculum innovation for Florida Virtual School. "Each user can choose their preferred method of communication. We think this will increase the adoption rate well beyond social media tools that force students and teachers to use a proprietary platform."

FLVS's new system features social media tools, including trending topics that enable users to follow popular discussion topics, as well as capabilities to support online tutoring and study groups. Educators can track messages to ensure students receive them and send communications to individuals or entire classes with ConnectYard's view tool. The school plans to use the system to send routine communication to parents as well as for broadcasting emergency notifications.

Additional details about ConnectYard are available at the company's Web site.

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].