Advice Column, Education, Koa Academy

Meet Koa Academy Principal, Mark Anderson

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  • Category Advice Column, Education, Koa Academy

For Mark Anderson, Co-founder and Principal of Koa Academy, the journey as an innovator in the education sector has been deeply rooted in actual teaching experience and brought to life through a visionary drive for better.   A long-time educator who has worked in both South Africa and Zimbabwe, Mark spent years reflecting on a new schooling system for today’s world. His vision, which he tagged as School 2.0, has become the framework for the co-creation of Koa Academy, a unique, highly engaging online school with a focus on the future. 

Some aspects are common to learning, no matter where you live, or when you live. Others are contextual and need to be adaptive.  But transformation in the traditionally slow-moving education sector can be painstakingly slow.  In the 21st Century, with its breath-taking pace of innovation, that lack of progress in education can be deeply frustrating to educators, parents and children.

Mark says, “I started years ago with a School 2.0 folder on my computer filled with policy-like documents outlining how a better and more relevant school would operate – better staffing structures, flexible timetables, meaningful assessments, and so on.  I let my imagination run beyond the politics, economics and standardisation dogma to create a ‘gold standard’ which I actively used as an educator and school leader to steer my decisions at every possible chance.  I got seriously excited about what kind of transformations became possible as the online space was changing what and how we learn.”

In 2020, the global pandemic presented a disruption to education that truly was unprecedented for this traditionally conservative sector.  COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital platforms and tools across many aspects of our lives, and education felt that impact with force.  While some parents, teachers and students discovered that simply ‘dumping’ school online was inadequate, the pandemic education experience has opened eyes and minds to the limitless potential of online learning platforms.  Over the past year, there are families who have shifted decisively to home-school, cottage school, digital-tutor hybrids and online schools rather than return to brick and mortar institutions.

“Done well, online school gives you global access to the best educational resources and methods available,” says Mark.  “Free from your geography, free from the imposition of others’ time restrictions; your child can learn in their own way, at their own pace and at your family’s convenience.  They can learn in tune with real life, becoming prepared for the actual world of future work.”

As an educator, Mark is also excited about what this means for teachers.  “Teachers are no longer merely content experts drumming out facts for rote learners,” he says.  “Instead, they can be learning experts, adept at identifying the diverse needs of children and guiding them as they develop 21st Century skills on their unique learning journeys.  This means they can coach each child as they develop mastery, rather than teach into a middle ground where some get left behind and others feel unchallenged.”

To find out more about Koa Academy, click here

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