Virtual School Meanderings

October 15, 2021

Will the pandemic lead to student-centered education❓

An item from the folks at the Digital Learning Collaborative.

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Will pandemic changes to education “bend the arc” towards student-centered learning?

BY JOHN WATSON

A recent post looked at results from a survey sponsored by the Christensen Institute, finding that “room and Zoom” hybrid instruction was common but not popular, and a substantial number of districts plan to continue with some form of online learning.

Where the first two sections of the report are based on survey findings and interview results, the final section is more speculative. To be honest, on my first read I felt it was a bit of a stretch.* As I think about it more, however, I’m intrigued by the case that author Thomas Arnett makes. (The quotes below are out of order compared to the original.)

Arnett starts with a statement that many DLC members and blog readers will agree with:

“Conventional instruction operates on an assumption that effective learning can happen for all students on a uniform schedule: students attend school at the same times on the same days and participate in the same lessons at the same pace as the rest of their classmates. The problem with this one-size-fits-all approach is that it rarely fits individual students’ needs. Even before the pandemic, students arrived in K–12 classrooms with different background knowledge, cultural and linguistic identities, family resources, parent education levels, personality traits, natural aptitudes, interests, developmental challenges, and past trauma. School systems that only make minor accommodations for these variations will inevitably frustrate many and leave some behind. K–12 students deserve schools and instructional models that can better personalize learning experiences to meet their individual learning needs and nurture their unique potential.”

He also points out that parents want new options:

“Fifty-one percent of parents surveyed by the National Parents Union in June 2021 indicated that they think schools should be “rethinking how we educate students, coming up with new ways to teach children moving forward as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.” And although most parents would prefer to have their children learn next year in person on their school’s campus, 19% want their children to learn remotely or online and 22% want hybrid learning options.” (Citations left out here but available in original.)

Based on these observations, he argues that

“Given these realities, the time is ripe for school systems to invest in student-centered learning options.”

By student-centered options, he appears to mean “for all students,” in that his first strategy is

“Empower teachers to make their classrooms more student-centered.”

This is where I became a bit skeptical, for this reason: it feels entirely reasonable to conclude that the pandemic experience has shown that a substantial percentage of students and parents want new options. But it’s also accurate to say that about the same percentage—in fact probably more than half—want schools to be more or less their pre-pandemic selves. Therefore it seems a stretch to suggest that all teachers should be making changes to be more student-centered. Of course, nobody is going to argue that instruction should be less student-centered. But perhaps much instruction was already appropriately student-centered, in the view of many parents, or perhaps changes to be more student-centered would have negative consequences.

In sum, my argument comes down to: the district response should be to offer options to all students, but not necessarily to make changes for all students.

But as mentioned earlier, as I studied Arnett’s argument, I came around to the idea that his strategies may make sense. His points, in summary form:

  1. Teachers learned many new online tools and instructional strategies during the pandemic, and they are ready to use them much more broadly.
  2. Districts invested in online tools and resources broadly during the pandemic, and they can and should continue to be used.
  3. Existing online and hybrid schools, and districts that were using technology to transform learning for all their students, illuminate a path forward.
  4. Learning hubs or pods, combined with online schooling and courses, “could be powerful incubators for student-centered learning.”

There’s a lot to unpack here, more than I can cover in full detail in two blog posts. The entire study is worth a read, and I would love to hear others’ thoughts!

*Given that, as referenced above, I was a commenter on a draft, Arnett could fairly ask me “why didn’t you raise this in the draft version?” I can only say that either 1) I didn’t read it as closely the first time, or 2) my views are inconsistent.

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October 13, 2021

DLAC 2022 Early Bird Deadline Approaching! ⏳

Note this conference update that is likely of interest to readers.

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Register today to take advantage of
the savings!

It’s officially time to register for DLAC 2022! February is going to be here in a flash, and the early bird deadline is approaching even faster. If you register by Friday October 22, you will lock in the lowest rate of $549 for All Access, and $224 for Online.  Let’s run down the important info:

  • DLAC is being held in Atlanta and Online February 7-9, 2022.
  • If you still aren’t sure if you can travel in February, we’ve got you covered. You can change your onsite registration to online by January 7, and receive a full refund for the difference in price.
  • Do you work for a school or district? Take advantage of the group rates that save you $50 per person for a group of five or more!
The Call for Proposals has closed, and the DLAC team is just getting started with reviews. Lets just say – we’re impressed!

Keep an eye out as we start announcing program details, speakers and session descriptions in the coming weeks!

Questions? Email us at DLAC@evergreenedgroup.com

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Copyright © 2021 Evergreen Education Group, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at the DLC or DLAC website.

Our mailing address is:

Evergreen Education Group

700 Main Ave Ste E

Durango, CO 81301-5437

October 9, 2021

Data from the Christensen Institute reveals pandemic hybrid learning trends

Some reflections from the folks at the Digital Learning Collaborative on a recent Christensen Institute report.

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Data from the Christensen Institute reveals pandemic hybrid learning trends

BY JOHN WATSON

We have reported that much of the hybrid learning that has taken place during the pandemic was of the “room and Zoom” variety, in which a teacher instructed students both in the physical classroom, and online, at the same time. Our sources have been the districts and other organizations that we work with, and consistent media reports (see here and here, for example.) We have been confident that our view is likely accurate, but it’s still valuable to see a study that digs further into these issues using a survey of teachers and district administrators.

CARPE DIEM: Convert pandemic struggles into student-centered learning does just that. Researchers and author Thomas Arnett of the Christensen Institute surveyed 872 administrators and 1042 teachers, and conducted a handful of follow-up interviews. (Disclosure: I reviewed and commented on a draft version of the report, and both the Digital Learning Collaborative and many of our members are mentioned. Also, the graphics below include the figure number from the original study to allow readers to find them more easily.)

Key findings include:

1. Teachers experiences during the pandemic varied widely. As the study reports, “most teachers experienced in-person, remote, and hybrid arrangements, all within the course of the school year. Furthermore, many were teaching in multiple arrangements simultaneously…” The figures below, copied from the report, shows the data in two graphs:

2. “Room and Zoom” was indeed the most common hybrid arrangement—by far. “Concurrent instruction, in which in-person and remote students participate in the same live lessons…was by far the most popular approach to hybrid learning. Close to 80% of hybrid teachers reported using this arrangement, compared to just 15% who used a split modality arrangement and 13% who used a split schedule arrangement…” In the chart below, “split modality” means that remote students received independent learning activities, and split schedule means that teachers instructed students onsite during part of their day, and separately instructed remote students at another time.
3. This version of hybrid learning was not popular among teachers. Room and zoom does not appear to work well. Quotes from teachers interviewed include:

  • “I can deal with in-person learning, I can deal with remote learning, but hybrid learning is the absolute worst. It is two jobs at the same time and it meets no one’s needs.”
  • “Teaching in-person and remote simultaneously is not ideal for students or teachers. I have made it work, but the amount of effort that is required is very draining day to day.”
  • “I couldn’t really design lessons that were good for online learning or in-person learning. I just had to figure out lessons that could happen for both. So I felt like I was failing everyone all the time.”

4. Despite—or perhaps because of—these experiences, a substantial number of leaders are implementing long-term online learning.

A good graphic is worth a thousand words:

The final portion of the study argues that pandemic-related experiences can, and should, allow districts to put increased “student-centered learning” into place. Arnett makes a nuanced argument that deserves its own analysis, which will be the topic of an upcoming post.
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www.digitallearningcollab.com
Copyright © 2021 Evergreen Education Group, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at the DLC or DLAC website.

Our mailing address is:

Evergreen Education Group

700 Main Ave Ste E

Durango, CO 81301-5437

October 8, 2021

Call For Proposals Deadline OCTOBER 10 ⏰

Note this up-coming deadline.

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Get your submissions in ASAP!

This email will be short and sweet.

We want you to share your story and present at DLAC and the deadline to get your proposals in is approaching FAST! Deadline is October 10, 2021.

Call for Proposals
If you have an idea in mind, but aren’t sure which presentation type is best, or you need help brainstroming a submission idea – shoot us an email at DLAC@evergreenedgroup.com. We’re here to help!
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www.deelac.com
Copyright © 2021 Evergreen Education Group, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at the DLC or DLAC website.

Our mailing address is:

Evergreen Education Group

700 Main Ave Ste E

Durango, CO 81301-5437

October 7, 2021

Career Readiness Virtual Panel: RSVP Today!

Note this webinar later today.

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The Nexus of Digital Learning and
Career Readiness

Reserve your spot now for one of two DLC Discussions about Career Readiness on October 7, 2021 at 12pm PT/ 3pm ET.

Register Today
Need more details? Career readiness has been a major focus of education of late, and CTE has been a topic of interest for many decades. Online and hybrid learning, of course, are much more recent developments. But digital learning in all its forms supports career readiness and CTE in several important, innovative ways. We are bringing a panel of experts on to discuss.

Panel of Experts:

  • John Ashworth – Executive Director, Virtual Arkansas
  • Shaun McAlmont – President, Career Learning, Stride, Inc.
  • Michael Connet – Assoc. Dep. Director of Outreach & Partner Development, Association for Career and Technical Education
  • David Crook – Head of School, Cyber Academy of South Carolina
Correct me if I’m wrong, but you don’t need to be an expert to ask hard questions, share good stories, or start a valuable discussion… so submit your proposal today to speak at DLAC22! Don’t worry, you don’t have come up with an hours worth of material. Keep it short with a 20 minute contributed talk, kick ideas around with peers at a Table Talk or share your story in less than 7 minutes with a PechaKucha.

If you have a half-baked idea reach out to us at DLAC@evergreenedgroup.com and we can help you bring it together. DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS IS OCTOBER 10th so don’t wait!

https://twitter.com/theDLCedu
https://www.digitallearningcollab.com/
Copyright © 2021 Evergreen Education Group, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at the DLC or DLAC website.

Our mailing address is:

Evergreen Education Group

700 Main Ave Ste E

Durango, CO 81301-5437

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