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Florida Virtual School to Collaborate With Social Media Site

By guest blogger Victoria O'Dea

The Florida Virtual School, a major provider of virtual K-12 education, has formed a new collaborative venture with Grom Social, LLC., a social media site created specifically for children.

The two organizations say they will work together to promote secure, educational, and fun online environments where children can safely learn and explore.

The virtual school opened in 1997 as the country's first statewide Internet-based public high school. Today, it provides online learning to students in grades K-12 and is used by students in all 50 states and in 67 countries around the world.

The virtual school has a special connection to Grom Social. The creative mind behind the social media site is 12-year-old Zach Marks, a Florida Virtual School students. The student created Grom Social as a kid-friendly alternative to popular social networking sites. The flexibility of attending of the virtual school helped allowed Zach to pursue his work with Grom Social, said Tania Clow, a spokeswoman for Florida Virtual School.

Grom Social is creating two new avatars, characters that visitors to the site can interact with, that will be based on FLVS students, said Clow. These avatars will be able to answer questions from students and parents about the virtual school and will also be able to gather feedback on the services the online provider offers.

Clow said that virtual school also hopes to contribute to Grom Social's "School Help" section, by providing access to the school's online learning tools. The "School Help" section currently contains videos that offer tutoring help for students in grades 1-10. She described the collaboration as an opportunity for the virtual school to reach more students and to get increased feedback from students.

This is the first time the online provider has worked with a social media site, Clow said, adding that her organization sees this as a great opportunity to extend the reach of online education.

"This is an opportunity for FLVS to listen to students, an opportunity to increase awareness of FLVS and what they have to offer to students around the world," she said. "Grom Social is in over 150 countries already, and they're growing, as is FLVS. It's a great tie-in and exposure for both."

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