Online Learning and Ceiba, Learning for the 21st Century


One of the most widely-agreed characteristics sought by colleges and universities in their incoming students is that of online competency; indeed, most institutions are moving swiftly towards blended learning across their campuses. Ceiba is very much a program with a core in service-learning and global citizenship; and in a completely unique twist on the study-abroad experience, Ceiba is a leader in the educational trend of online learning  – a learning style that not only develops one’s technological prowess but also the important attributes of self-direction and individual responsibility. There are a number of distance learning options and Ceiba collaborates with teachers and administrators from participating schools to arrive at the best choice for all, whether incorporating a school’s existing online platform or merging with a comprehensive provider of accredited courses. Along with finding the strongest distance learning fit, another Ceiba priority is that all high school students receive appropriate course credit for the fantastic work they are doing while in Antigua – that students benefit from both the service in their projects and also the academic component that keeps them in line with their graduation or potential college requirements.

For schools that don’t yet have an online platform, Ceiba is excited to partner with and offer Blended Schools. Blended Schools is a learning management system with a completely-customizable curriculum that puts the power of instructional decisions to teachers. Ceiba’s partnership with Blended Schools allows us to offer a comprehensive curricular option, including AP courses, developed by certified teachers from across the country. Each employs an Understanding by Design template and aligns to Common Core standards, and, with an excellent array of interactive features, Blended Schools leaves complete content control to those who know their courses best, the teachers. With the Blended Schools platform, there is a full menu of high school classes in all content areas. Teachers can review the material already available and decide to edit the course or to approve it as is – even though the student is not sitting in the classroom itself, the online learning experience supports and represents the quality of instruction taking place. Included with Blended Schools is introductory and ongoing professional development and training, excellent technical support, and internal hosting so that questions can always be addressed by the pros at Blended Schools. Click on the link below to learn more about Blended Schools and the promise it holds to develop your students as 21st-century learners.

In addition, Ceiba employs two qualified Education Mentors. Education Mentors have a very creative, interactive, and tremendously important role within Ceiba. They will connect the service students are performing here in their projects with the courses they are completing online; therefore, the two important forums for academic development are not exclusive of each other but are rather supporting each other. For instance, how does a project with ceramic water filters apply to physics? It is the role of the Mentors to be thoroughly invested in the curriculum and engaged in the project to help bring those connections about. In this way, learning becomes a real, constant process and one that encourages students to think creatively about the connections happening all around them!

Finally, Antigua is awash in qualified, certified classroom teachers from around the world. A number of these teachers have expressed their interest in working with Ceiba students in whatever capacity needed.

We understand that this unconventional approach to education necessitates flexibility and a common goal. Scott Garrison, Ceiba’s Education Director, is versed in many different curricular models, having been a mapping consultant to schools all around the world, and Ceiba will always abide by the choices made by the school to ensure that their reporting and evaluative requirements are met. Quality control of distance education is essential and the best way to ensure that needs are met is through direct conversation and consultation. Ceiba will actively pursue these opportunities to work with teachers and administrators so that every student can participate in this holistic, unique learning environment. Please feel free to contact Scott with any questions or to discuss our collaboration with your school.