To succeed and thrive in an online high school, you will need all the traditional skills you’ve honed over the years, plus a few more that are specific to the online format. Even if you got a taste of remote learning during the pandemic, attending online high school full-time requires forethought, follow-through, and commitment.
Your online high school checklist should include:
Good Computer and Internet
Most everything you will do in your online high school will be online, so you need a good computer and a high-speed, reliable internet connection with wireless capabilities. Don’t rely on your smartphone. Even a tablet may not fully serve your needs. You’ll want a relatively new laptop computer with at least an Intel 13 Processor (or M1 Processor for Macs) and at least 4GB of RAM. It should also have:
- Web browser(s)
- Recent version of Windows or MacOS
- Sound card, speakers, and media player (note: modern computers should have these)
The exact software you will need may depend on the courses you take. However, there are some basics, such as video communication software (Zoom, Google Meet, WebEx) and a word processor. The platform you’re most likely to interact with every single day is your school learning management system. Whether your school uses a tool like Canvas or Blackboard, you need to log in many times during the day. Your teachers will use it to post assignments, notifications, tests, and grades. Your classmates will use it to interact with you in discussion forums and email links. It’s an indispensable tool for success.
Online Learning Space
In online learning, wherever you sit down to work or study is your school. Your home learning base should be in a specific place that you use for school, and only school. That helps with separating your school life from your home life, sets boundaries, and gives your brain a break. It should be quiet, clean, and well-organized. You may want a larger monitor, external mouse and keyboard, and printer. Be sure to have pens and paper nearby. You should also decorate this space in a way that’s conducive to your best learning and concentration. That could mean a very clean and stark setup, or maybe something with motivational imagery and language, or something else entirely. However it’s decorated, it should be a place you can go to be uninterrupted and feel motivated to do your best work.
Time-Management and Scheduling Tools
In-person school schedules are organized down to the minute with classes, study halls, and breaks. Online learning leaves room for a lot more flexibility and independence to structure schedules individually. It’s on you to create studying and reading schedules that work. Even if every day in your life is different, it’s important to instill consistency in your school schedule. This way, you can stay on top of your assignments and be sure you have enough time to complete them the right way and be properly prepared for exams. Use the calendar feature of your learning management system to keep track of assignments and due dates. Also, apps like Evernote, 2DO, and Focus Keeper are great resources to help keep you organized and on-time.
Your Tech Skills
At your online high school, you will learn through your computer, so you need to be skilled enough to do this easily. You should be proficient in word processing programs, internet search engines (for research), presentation building software, video conferencing programs and all the other specific programs that your school program utilizes. In online learning, your computer is like your pencil and notebook, so you should be as comfortable using it as you would be writing on a piece of paper. If you need to brush up on your skills, YouTube is a great place to go for tutorials, as well as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and others. The key here is to be comfortable enough with the technology so that it’s a positive tool and not a stumbling block.
Gravitas is an online extension of The Stony Brook School. We created Gravitas to fulfill the new needs of our ever-changing world. It’s built on the same foundation that has made The Stony Brook School a bastion of educational excellence for more than 100 years, and the latest empirical research from the Harvard University Human Flourishing Program. No matter your schedule or lifestyle, Gravitas offers a flexible, yet rigorous educational program that can help you prepare for success at a top college, and your future beyond. Please contact us to learn more about our online prep school, and our commitment to excellence.