I wear a lot of hats. I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, and friend. As a writer, I write fiction and nonfiction. I write for children and for adults. Another hat I wear is that of educator. The job title varies. It may be instructional designer, curriculum developer, or content creator. But it all revolves around learning.
As you can guess, the COVID-19 virus has affected education just as it has so many facets of our lives. Children learning at home. Employees doing their professional development and training remotely. Sometimes it works; sometimes, it doesn’t.
In my state, public school ended early—two weeks ago. The question everyone is asking and that no one knows the answer to is what will education look like when the new school year starts?
Summer learning loss was already a thing even before the virus. It was a thing even when I was in grade school eons ago. One report from the Measures of Academic Progress Tests show that children lose about a month of reading and math skills during their first summer vacation. It jumps to three months of reading and math skills during their second summer vacation.
I think we can safely assume that the unexpected remote learning of the last couple of months has likely contributed to this year’s summer learning loss. And with the future uncertain, perhaps we need to look at ways we can continue learning.
Today’s learning is different. With 21st learning, the emphasis is on skills that can be applied to a smorgasbord of subjects. These skills or competencies include digital literacy, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. It’s learning how to apply this knowledge to what fascinates us.
Perhaps you have a fledgling astronaut at home. Math can be a lot more interesting in the way it is applied. Like figuring out payloads and the effect of space flight. What variables are involved in the SpaceX Dragon getting to the International Space Station? And June 30 is International Asteroid Day. Think of what you could learn by taking a deep dive into that!
Luckily, there are lots of resources out there. You just have to look. One of the publishers I’ve written for, Nomad Press, has lots of educational resources and enrichment activities at their website. Here are some other favorites of mine:
This year is the 100th anniversary of American women getting the vote. There are fascinating stories out there, starting with the National Women’s History Alliance. But don’t stop there. You can also You find more at the National Archives, National Portrait Gallery, and the Library of Congress.
Check out the STEM resources that NASA offers.
Chances are that your public libraries can send you on all kinds of adventures, just like the New York Public Library has been doing.
Learning is important no matter how old you are. Because as long as you’re learning, you’re growing. Find out more about what interests you!