Giving Thanks: A COVID Collaborative

In the midst of Thanksgiving, former US Secretaries of Education and Directors of the Office of Educational Technology of Education came together as a COVID Collaborative with an integrated resource to help us with our online learning environment. This is especially timely, as they note, “With the recent resurgence of coronavirus infections across the country, as much as we would like to safely reconvene in-person learning, online learning will likely make up part or all of student learning for most schools for the foreseeable future. This makes it imperative that we improve the quality of online learning for students and educators this year. Intentional focus, planning, and resources are needed to ensure that online learning closes – not widens – the inequity in learning that students experience. To that end, we offer 10 ways to make online learning work better, based on concrete data and evidence.”

  1. Connect all learners
  2. Support teachers
  3. Align online programs with quality standards
  4. Rethink use of instructional time
  5. Foster connections and relationships
  6. Assess learning needs
  7. Identify students not being served
  8. Support special populations
  9. Ensure continuity of services to care for the whole child
  10. Leverage the crisis to build a better system

Take some time to read and connect to the resource as they provide a robust set of tools to support the 10 offerings above. The authors conclude with, “Times of crisis have always summoned the greatest of our people. Educational institutions are now at the center of a national crisis that demands that we meet this moment with renewed creativity and energy for the sake of millions of children and youth. COVID-19 has given us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink and reimagine all parts of the learning experience. We have an opportunity to use this moment to address many of the long-standing challenges that have plagued our education system. But taking advantage of this moment requires action and vision – beyond just ‘getting through’ the moment. We must take advantage of this runway that we have been given to provide a more equitable, engaging and effective learning experience for our students and their families and provide equal access to the American Dream.”How will you take advantage of the runway in your system?