Last year presented many challenges and accelerated a number of shifts that were already underway in K-12 education. Even before the pandemic, broadband and mobile technology was expanding connectivity across the globe, hybrid and virtual classrooms were gaining steam in providing personalized learning to students, and project-based learning was proving to be an effective, engaging and increasingly popular pedagogy.

The pandemic, however, brought all these innovative, yet still considered by some to be “alternative” education methods to the forefront in ways that our team could have never predicted. It forced school systems to not only rethink their instruction but also figure out how to best use technology to facilitate instruction. Often, that meant moving completely away from replicating in-person, lecture-based models online.

Even with a team of experienced, tech focused staff, we felt the strain of having to instantly pivot our residential summer learning academy to an all remote environment.

But as the adage goes, “necessity is the mother of invention,” and it would be a shame if we don’t collectively continue to utilize many of the innovations we’ve been forced into during the pandemic as a way to improve learning for all students after this crisis ends.

These principles highlight five of the largest, fundamental learning truths we hold at the core of our programming. And given the pandemic, we are making an even deeper commitment to seeing these principles inform and guide the design of our educational system going forward.

  1. The process of learning is as important as what is being learned.
  2. Small-group and peer-based learning offer valuable and engaging learning structures.
  3. The best educators can leverage collaborative tools and edtech to create structured learning environments.
  4. Focus on engaging content, not seat time.
  5. Team based competition is a great motivator and connector.

Read the full article about lessons learned from the pandemic by Danielle Rose at EdSurge.