The purpose of education is to equip every student with the prerequisite knowledge and skills needed to be competitive in an increasingly more technology-driven economy, and to become future problem-solvers of real world problems. A meaningful education is one that creates flexible, critical, and responsible risk takers who can adapt to a rapidly changing world. This education should prepare students to understand their world and their challenges, and to be able to use technology to collaborate with others on a global scale.
The role of the educator has changed. The internet has made rote memorization less important, and skills like the ability to navigate the internet, and synthesize information more crucial. For those reasons the educator has to assume the role of facilitator and guide, leading students through meaningful experience, modeling netiquette, collaboration, excitement, and wonder. Educators should guide students to use critical-thinking skills to guide their use of information, and evaluate real issues in their community.
Whenever possible, Frontier Charter Academy moves away from technology built explicitly for education (online curriculum and management systems) and replaces those technologies with technologies, forums, and websites whose purpose and value go beyond education. Technologies like Google Scholar and Google Maps are used to enhance student experience. Students learn to use technology that will help them in their future workplace and career. They learn to use this to connect with their passion to drive their education towards inquiry-based learning.
Students learn best when they find the learning experience meaningful, and they feel connected to the rest of the learning community. Most online schools are created by Digital Immigrants that do not understand the ability of Digital Natives to make meaningful connections to other students and teachers.