Hello from My Ivy Education, and welcome one and all to the first installment of our brand-new weekly series, Scholarly Saturdays! Each week, you can expect a personal anecdote illustrating anything and everything educational, from soft skills to standardized testing.
Last Wednesday, we discussed the power of online-offline learning (see Related Posts, below). We explained why it's a cause we champion (personalization! technology!), as well as how we implemented it in our Summer Invention Camp, but as any English teacher would say, it's better to show than tell, so without further ado, let's get personal.
In the fall of my eighth grade year, an influential tutor and college counselor with whom my family was acquainted let us know that a Professor Emeritus of Modern and Contemporary History at Princeton University was putting together a weekly seminar for a small group of middle and high school students to learn and discuss world history at an advanced level. It was a great experience - we quickly grew comfortable with one another over the course of our Friday night meetings, the professor asking us questions about the reading to spark conversation. Eventually, we reached the point where we could fire back and forth over any topic, from Mao Zedong to the war in Afghanistan, offering viewpoints and connecting our debates to the weekly readings from the textbook the professor had written.
The story doesn't end there, though! The very next year, I received a pleasant surprise after enrolling in an online AP World History course: the textbook was the very same that the Princeton professor had written, and that I had been studying all throughout the past year. At the in-person seminar, I had already discussed and analyzed each chapter verbally, giving me the chance to think more critically about what I was learning the second time around, now that I had the added pressure of lengthy writing assignments and AP practice. Once it was all over - seminar and AP class, in-person and online world history - I (along with my professor) was delighted to learn I had received a top score of 5 on the AP exam.
Certainly, the same could have happened with just one class or the other. However, having gone through both, I know that my understanding of history has been broadened and deepened from my experiences. Beyond AP exam scores, which are only really useful insofar as college credit goes (and then only in limited cases), having had learned world history through both a supportive, collaborative, in-person community and a rigorous, academically intensive online setting truly offered me the best of both worlds over those two years.
Far from being at all repetitive, the two classes gave me entirely different perspectives, which have carried over to college-level social studies and to my appreciation for the world around me and how it has changed since the dawn of humanity. That's why, at My Ivy Education, we make every possible endeavor to join the too-often separated facets of online and offline learning. When combined in ways that allow each method to do what it does best, they create an unbeatable approach.