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LETTERS

Done right, online learning could be answer to our education needs

Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg

Pandemic can be catalyst to make long-sought changes

Last Sunday’s Ideas piece “A better way to do online learning” is spot-on and a must-read for educators, policy makers, and parents alike.

Online learning, when deployed correctly, has the power to transform education to provide a more personalized experience at a time when our students need that most. Utilizing online lessons he created, the teacher in Thomas Arnett’s piece “empowered his students to drive their own learning so that he could step back from delivering whole-class lessons and focus his attention on his students’ individual academic, social, and emotional needs.”

In our 2014 report, “The New Opportunity to Lead,” the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education made the case for this “blended learning” approach. Education has been slow to adopt technology that can dramatically improve instruction and allow students to learn any time, anywhere, at their own pace. That must change, and the pandemic can be the catalyst.

School closures and remote learning forced school systems to ensure access to devices and connectivity that make this kind of learning possible. Federal relief funding allows for the state and districts to make the investments needed to build on that foundation to modernize teaching and learning.

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Strong and visionary state and district leadership must drive this major cultural shift. The time is right, and our students are counting on us to get it done.

Ed Lambert

Executive director

Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education

Boston


To teach differently, educators need to learn differently

Thomas Arnett argues that as schools struggle to return to normal, they must resist returning to a conventional “mass-production,” one-size-fits-all model. He convincingly makes the case that we need an education system that values individuality and personalization over standardization and conformity.

At High Meadows Graduate School of Teaching and Learning, we could not agree more. We believe that, in order to teach differently, teachers need to learn differently. That’s why our teacher candidates learn their craft through a competency-based program that allows students to manage their own learning, with the coaching and support of our faculty, as they master the skills and knowledge they need to guide their own students. Our program has proved to be an effective model of the changes we need in our schools. We hope that others will follow our lead. Students are waiting.

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Deborah Hirsch

President

High Meadows Graduate School of Teaching and Learning

Cambridge