The Think Academy International Virtual School in Santiago will open its doors on 8 March. Or to put it better: it will go online. The first virtual school in Chile will educate the close to 60 students enrolled for this year, who will use all of the tools that the Internet offers to be able to study and do their assignments from the comfort of their own homes without needing a uniform or a backpack.
To access the innovative system, the school’s students must log onto the website www.ta.cl, where they will study the different subjects that their teachers will teach them using the advantages of video conferencing.
The revolutionary model of education, which started in 2007 under the close watch of educational entrepreneur Rodrigo Pérez, the principal of Think Academy, is aimed at establishing a platform for virtual education in the country. The results so far have been promising, with enrollment growing from 10 students in 2007 to almost 60 this year. Pérez believes in the method so much that even his own children are enrolled.
The model is based on the Finnish education system, considered the best in the world. According to the University of Memphis, USA, the system allows students to socialize up to 9% more while learning 6% more compared to traditional parameters.
Likewise, the students aged 13-18 share their education and experiences with peers from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, England and Portugal, using a method that combines adventure and entertainment and provides a large amount of information using current technology to its maximum potential. In the case of disabled people, classes are subtitled for the deaf and spoken for the blind.
For logical reasons, the only class that is not taught is physical education. To overcome this limitation, students are authorized to go out and play with their friends or do sports after 1:30 PM. At the end of the year the youths must take open exams and they can even obtain a certificate from a school in the United States.
Next December Pérez will have the chance to engage in a more concrete analysis of the results of his virtual bet, as that is the month that the first generation of graduates from the school will take the University Selection Exam (PDU). If they fulfill the expectations and the students obtain good scores, then Pérez intends to access the subsidy that the Education Ministry offers. «This is a good education,” the principal affirms.
The area of virtual education in Chile has experienced a significant boom over the last few years. Initiatives like the implementation of a virtual catalogue with the best technological tools for education, the development of educational video games and the creation of virtual platforms to improve reading comprehension are examples that demonstrate this positive situation.