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Learning Beyond the Classroom

The rise of COVID-19 caused dramatic shifts in the U.S. education system last spring. Schools were forced to adopt online teaching and other services were also shifted to the new distance learning context.

This shift to remote and hybrid learning has not been easy for educators and parents to manage. The teaching approaches adopted by schools are not interactive enough to keep students engaged.

This is very challenging for STEM-based educators, who often rely on practical learning approaches. But here’s good news, there’s a way to work it out Now educators and students are adopting creative approaches for learning.

David Weber, a science teacher and STEM coordinator at Normal West High School in Illinois, explained how the school adapted its associate degree program in computer science to the remote environment, including by offering virtual lessons based on “escape rooms” to freshman students and web-based projects to juniors and seniors.

While remote and hybrid classes have shifted scope and lesson plans, Weber said he has found students have responded by taking creative approaches to their multiyear web projects.

“While there are differences between what we used to do and what we currently do, we have found a way to make those differences just become new opportunities for us,” he said.

Another school that took part in the session, Lanier High School’s Center for Design and Technology in Georgia, has managed to maintain consistent lessons in a hybrid format, using tools such as Google Docs to help improve collaboration. (Thirty to 40 percent of the school’s students are learning in person, with around 60 percent focused on learning virtually.)

One factor that helps is that the center is built around student flexibility. “We let the kids do projects that are authentic to them,” said CDAT founder Michael Reilly.

Margaret Rohrbaugh, a teacher at CDAT, noted that the school district is continuing to attempt laboratory-style experiences even in the hybrid format, with remote students using Zoom to interact with partners studying onsite who offer the physical hands to complete the process.

“We are trying to provide a true laboratory experience, not just for our in-person students, but for those who are learning digitally at home,” she said.

Reilly admitted that a lot of adaptation was taking place, but the district was finding ways to make it work. “At minimum, I can say we’re still trying to look at the pandemic as an opportunity to see unusual situations and unusual opportunities for our kids,” he said.

What can be done more to supplement and bridge student’s learning Gap?

We at UpBrainery are flag bearers of revolutionizing the way teaching and learning works. It always two ways and with the on-going circumstances, it’s high time to adopt the tools and mediums to fill the learning gaps. We are working tirelessly to modernize and expand the educational experience and building educational tools and platforms that will help parents and counselors to guide K-12 students effectively on the best path forward. We work on students' academic and non-academic learning journey in order to prepare them for their career aspirations.

Ghazal Qureshi started UpBrainery Technologies, an AI-driven educational platform that collects data points based on students’ interests, learning styles, skills gained, subjects explored, etc. It helps build personalized guided pathways and manage alignment with intended career and learning goals. We put the power of visualization in the hands of the students and other stakeholders through concrete tools that help envision current paths in a gamified manner. With college readiness badges and technical certifications, our services are a true game-changer in exploring and achieving career and academic goals.

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