Does learning happen if you don’t see it?

As we settle into another academic year filled with uncertainty due to the pandemic, educators are taking a deeper look into what can be learned from the tumult of the last two years. Schools around the world were forced to quickly pivot to virtual learning and many have just recently returned to a traditional, in-person model.

Many parents still want an online option, but critics of online learning have questioned whether students really progressed academically without in-person supervision. The question on everyone’s mind: “Do students learn when you don’t see it?”

The short answer is yes, and it becomes abundantly clear why–once we update our mindset around what education can and should look like, and how we measure its success. Online learning provides access to a wealth of data that educators can use to personalize learning for students. Once educators and districts understand the unique advantages of online teaching and learning, they can update their approach to take advantage of the best of both worlds.…Read More

4 ways to create safe mental health environments for our students

The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt our nation’s youth a difficult hand. After adapting to virtual learning over the past year and a half, many students this school year prepared to return to in-person education, despite concerns about their emotional well-being and the evolving pandemic situations.

According to recent research, nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. teens are concerned about experiencing social anxiety as they transition back to “normal” life. Additionally, 47 percent express concern about falling behind in school this year, and 43 percent report that they are concerned about mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic.

As teens grapple with these uncertainties in school and beyond, educators are taking note and are anticipating that mental health issues will have a major impact on student progress this year. In fact, 41 percent of surveyed U.S. high school educators anticipate that both student anxiety about returning to in-person learning and students with pre-existing emotional or behavioral challenges experiencing exacerbated conditions will have “a lot” or “tremendous impact” on the quality of learning.…Read More

High schoolers want a permanent virtual learning option

Virtual classes may have posed difficulty for many amid COVID-19, but a recent survey of 16- to 18-year-olds in the U.S. and U.K. shows that one in three students say their ideal post-pandemic learning environment includes some kind of virtual learning component.

The survey, conducted by the nonprofit Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) in March, gathered responses from 1,060 11th and 12th grade students from across the U.S. and sixth form students in England and Wales to determine their views regarding virtual learning. The students queried are participants in this year’s MathWorks Math Modeling (M3) Challenge, an annual internet-based, intensive math modeling contest organized by SIAM.

“While the majority of students said they prefer 100 percent in-class learning, surprisingly, one third said they would choose either full-time or part-time online education when things return to normal after the pandemic,” said Michelle Montgomery, M3 Challenge program director at SIAM.

According to the survey, 67 percent of students–the vast majority whose education transitioned online to some degree amid the pandemic–prefer learning completely in-person, while 29 percent favor a hybrid arrangement with up to half of their time in a virtual learning environment. Four percent say they would be happy learning virtually full time or for a majority of their time.

Interactive virtual learning–pandemic stopgap, or here to stay?

Virtual field trips or expeditions have gained in popularity in recent years, and the COVID-19 global pandemic has given the concept a boost as schools and now parents scramble to bring relevant, stimulating learning experiences out of the classroom and into their pupils’ new reality. Now, a year into the pandemic, classrooms are beginning to reopen, but the practicality and benefit of interactive virtual learning has drawn growing appreciation throughout the field of education.

Educators everywhere have come to acknowledge how easily interactive virtual learning gives students the experience of a real field trip without leaving their homes — or their hometowns.

The heart of the interactive experience is live conversations with educators and experts who are passionate about their work and love to share their knowledge with eager learners. Museum curators, historians, authors, researchers, and other expert instructors engage directly with students during the virtual expedition to create a rich, compelling learning environment.…Read More

Discovery Inc. and Discovery Education Partner to Present Exclusive Virtual Field Trip Behind the Scenes of the Inauguration

Discovery Inc. and  Discovery Education are partnering to present  I Do Solemnly Swear: The U.S. Presidential Inauguration to help educators, students, and families across the United States and around the world explore the rich history and tradition surrounding the Inauguration of the President of the United States. This exclusive, no cost virtual learning experience provides students behind-the-scenes access to this extraordinary quadrennial event. I Do Solemnly Swear premieres Tuesday, January 19 at 12:00pm ET exclusively on  www.discoveryeducation.com and will air the same week on  Discovery Family, and in Spanish on  Discovery Familia.

During I Do Solemnly Swear, elementary and middle school students, their teachers, and families will learn about the many distinctive aspects of the Presidential Inauguration. Through a series of interviews, Inaugural experts and historians will share their perspectives and insight, and answer questions such as why we have an Inauguration, how does a First Family move into the White House during the Inauguration, and what do the symbols and language of the Inauguration mean. In addition, a surprise guest is scheduled to appear who will share a special message with students.

Interviewing the Inaugural experts featured in I Do Solemnly Swear are a group of extraordinary students from families served by  Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families. Since 2002, Operation Homefront has provided relief, resiliency, and recurring support programs that help military families overcome short-term bumps in the road so they do not become long-term chronic problems.…Read More

8 STEM learning challenges students can do at home

I was chatting with my brother the other day about how things are going with my two nieces learning at home while their schools are closed due to COVID-19.

My 13-year-old niece, Sophie, has continued to follow a typical school schedule each day with her school delivering a full learning program online. Her high school is doing a wonderful job providing lessons and activities to keep her motivated, learning, and engaged. She is enjoying this new way of learning, although she does report that hands-on subjects such as music and science are not quite us much fun sitting in her bedroom as they normally are at school.

Related content: A virtual learning lesson from Hong Kong…Read More

Dictionary.com Launches Learning At Home Center: Free Educational Resources for Kids and Parents

 

Dictionary.com announced today it has launched the Dictionary.com Learning At Home Center, offering free, educator-reviewed materials and resources for kids from pre-K through 12th grade and their parents. With virtual learning a reality for many families for the rest of the school year, the Learning at Home Center is an educational and fun supplement that features daily activities, printable worksheets, test prep quizzes, videos, and book vocabulary lists.

Written by the Dictionary.com editors with the help of educators from around the U.S., the learning center offers activities that kids can do on their own and tips for parents to help their kids, as well as family-centered projects to help bring parents and kids together in the evening. Educators spanning all grade levels review the site’s daily activities and are able to contribute their own activities and vocabulary lists.…Read More

5 things you don’t know about K-12 virtual learning

Online learning has come a long way since its early champions saw it as a supplement to classroom learning. Skeptics initially questioned the viability of the new model, wondering if it would provide the right levels of support, curriculum, and engagement needed to ensure student success. And while online learning has more than proven itself to be both an alternative to and complementary offering for traditional classroom instruction, some misconceptions still persist.

For example, because virtual instructors aren’t physically present in a classroom, their qualifications and expertise can come into question. The subject matter itself—often thought of as “boring” or “unengaging”—is another area where myths persist. And finally, online skeptics are still talking about issues like lack of teacher support and low student success rates.

Dispelling the myths about virtual learning

To help dispel these myths and provide some insider knowledge on how online education really works, here’s a five-point list of things that you may not have known about virtual learning.…Read More

Some see blended learning as future of education

Interactive and adaptive learning technologies can help advance U.S. education, experts say.

More and more school districts are embracing digital learning as the next step in improving education, and a number of stakeholder groups are hoping to guide policy makers in their efforts to implement state-level online learning policies.

A Jan. 11 International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) webinar focused on the continued work of the Digital Learning Council on the reform needed to provide all students with the opportunity to engage in high-quality online learning.…Read More

Virtual schools booming as states mull warnings

iNACOL acknowledges that states need to do a better job overseeing online schools.

More schoolchildren than ever are taking their classes online, using technology to avoid long commutes to school, add courses they wouldn’t otherwise be able to take—and save their school districts money.

But as states pour money into virtual classrooms, with an estimated 200,000 virtual K-12 students in 40 states from Washington to Wisconsin, educators are raising questions about virtual learning. States are taking halting steps to increase oversight, but regulation isn’t moving nearly as fast as the virtual school boom.…Read More