Online high school Valenture expands to blended learning

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The new Valenture Institute boutique campuses are heavily reliant on technology.
The new Valenture Institute boutique campuses are heavily reliant on technology.

Valenture Institute has expanded its core online-only learning approach, to include whatit calls “future-fit” boutique campuses to offer pupils a blended learning model.

Valenture Institute is a globally recognised private institution, offering learners from grade eight to 12 an online-based curriculum recognised by universities worldwide.

It was launched by edtech entrepreneur Robert Paddock, in September 2019, across three regions – the UK, Boston and SA.

The online high school offers four levels of qualifications: Junior High (equivalent of grades eight and nine); the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE, equivalent of grades 10 and 11); International Advanced Subsidiary Levels (equivalent of grade 12); and International A-Levels (post-grade 12).

After recently securing a $7 million (approximately R114 million) funding investment from venture capital firm GSV Ventures, the learning institution is on an expansion drive to add physical campuses, in a move to re-imagine its education model.

This week, it opened its first campus based in Dunkeld, Johannesburg, which is heavily reliant on technology.

The ‘future-forward’ high school campus, according to the institution, offers students a unique learning environment, with teachers and pupils using an array of technologies, includinglearning management system Canvas;GSuite and Zoho for communication management;IXL for adaptive learning in numeracy and literacy;Wolfram Mathematica and FocusLearning for Science practical simulations;Articulate Storyline, H5P and EdPuzzle for interactive learning; and Turnitin for plagiarism management.

“Through the introduction of boutique campuses we wanted to enhance the learning experience and build out additional offerings such as new subjects and exclusive boot camps like coding, design thinking and data science,” says Bradley Elliott, chief marketing and innovation officer of Valenture Institute.

“These campuses not only allow parents and students access to unique and exclusive features and facilities, but also offer working parents the peace of mind that their kids will be learning in a supportive and safe setting.”

The new campus is one of three South African physical campuses that Valentine will officially open in 2021. Two will be based in Cape Town – Newlands and Constantia, with the first intake expected to be enrolled in January.

Pupils who wish to continue with fulltime online classes will be able to do so.

Open evenings and dummy lessons are being held at the Dunkeld campus until January 2021.

On-campus, students will receive personalised guidance from learning coaches and have the convenience of access to facilities and services like grocery delivery for their household, catered meals and take-home dinners, on-demand transfers, fitness facilities, and a production studio, among others, notes Elliott.

Access to the campus will be controlled with facial recognition software and temperature screening for COVID-19 prevention.

The institute says it is building a mobile app for parents and pupils to provide up-to-date information on academic performance and attendance.

"The technology that we use to connect our students and their teachers also allows us visibility of their progress. We can also see exactly what kinds of outcomes students are struggling with and where we need to target our interventions to help them do the best they can and we can very quickly see where we need to help learners," comments Lizzy Steenkamp, head of learning technology at Valenture.

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