Keystones – Practical Academics has developed “Cure” for Senioritis!

Senioritis might not be a medically recognized disorder, but anyone who has spent extended time around a graduating seniors recognizes the symptoms. High school seniors continually fall victim to apathy and lack of motivation as upcoming independence draws near. If students had the necessary skills and knowledge to have confidence on their own, senioritis could become a thing of the past.

Practical Academics is an alternative education company that has developed a semester-long interactive program called Keystones, which is designed to cure senioritis and transform students into young adults. We spent more than a year surveying current and former educators, students, and parents to identify the skills and knowledge young adults need to succeed on their own. The result is more of an interactive game than a class. An 18-week online course is available to schools and service programs as a blended learning platform, and directly to individuals as on online MOOC.

The Keystones program represents an outside-of-the-box approach to teaching and learning. Students become part of an interactive course focused on a fictional story while exploring 15 life-skills together in an online learning environment. Over the course of a single semester, seniors discover important growth perspectives, assess themselves, and develop action plans for continued success.

Throughout school, students have been taught skills and content. They know how to factor for ‘n,’ and they know about history. What they need to bring to the table of life and career are unique viewpoints, strengths, and perspectives. Keystones helps students grow their perspectives by fostering conversations about five main literacies: well-being, social skills, success skills, knowledge management, and practical skills. Students will learn skills ranging from stress relief, critical thinking, public dialogue, financial management, and independent living.

Students who explored Keystones last summer were thrilled with what they found. “I absolutely loved the content across the board,” one pilot student said. “It’s is short and sweet, yet pertinent and thought-provoking.” After completing the course, students also receive continual support as part of the Practical Academics community.

At the heart of the program is a serialized audio drama called Game On. During the Keystones program, students enter the fictional world of Game On and form teams to compete against their classmates. Each Keystones module follows a new episode from the Game On story, unlocking new challenges and rewards. The audio drama was developed to help illustrate concepts and provide fictional “case studies” for analysis and discussion.

Keystones begins with a two week “onboarding” adventure, teaching students how to mater a state-of-the-art learning management systems (LMS). Following Onboarding, each week you will listen to a short episode of Game On, and full cast audio drama, then join online discussions to explore and develop your perspectives that will help you succeed on your own.

Rather than “grades,” students earn scores and unlock rewards while competing for bragging rights. The course is flexible and online, allowing students to complete their work when it’s most convenient. Content can be accessed from any PC, smart phone, or tablet.
Enrollment for Keystones upcoming semester is now open! Join the fight against senioritis by contacting Practical Academics or register directly at MOOCYou! MOOC orientation begins January 12, and the adventure begins January 27th.

Michael Freedman

Michael Freedman leads Practical Academics, a facilitated network organization that develops, operates, and hosts learner-centered programs for personal and professional development.