School is wrapping up and this would be a good time to reflect on how we all survived the year! What will our educators’ report card look like?

Tech Spring Break Camp Virtual from home.

Unity in learning! What did educators, parents, and students learn this year?

Rounding out the school year is always a turbulent time. Yet here we are again! In this month’s post we’ll be looking at lessons learned and how to move forward towards next year. One theme that has emerged nationwide in education (as well as in other sectors) is unity. Technology has allowed students, teachers, parents, and community members to connect and interact in new and thoughtful ways. From being able to attend school board meetings remotely, to offering recorded sessions to boost parental engagement, we are presented with the opportunity to lower barriers and raise up voices not conventionally heard in our educational halls.  

Students learning together in a classroom.

Expanding upon the idea of unity, this past year – as rocky as it may have been – could have been extremely worse if it were not for different sectors banding together to meet the needs of learners and communities. These efforts included ensuring device and internet access down to basic needs of food delivery to those who would often rely on the school to be nourished. Beyond the school day, volunteers and after school programs have quickly shifted to try to curb the learning slide. We should not turn back from this big step forward and instead continue to create an extended network of perpetual learning opportunities for our communities.  


Referenced in previous posts here at Digital Dragon, is the concept of schedules. While not for every learner, asynchronous learning time promotes student independence and allows for self guidance towards their learning goals. The blurring of “when” learning happens has also created a pathway for what educators like myself have always aimed for:  establishing “anytime learners” where learning is acknowledged and recognized regardless of whether it happens at the playground, museum, dinner table, or classroom. This will be critically important in the summer to address the learning gaps caused by the disruption of the pandemic.  

Learning in 2020 – 2021 has indeed looked different for a lot of us. We’ve seen a more sweeping shift towards whole child learning including infusing other educational activities including cooking, making, and crafting. As a result, we are right faced with creating new metrics for success – focusing attention on competencies over content.  


TLDR; Learning should always continue to look different and has been stagnant for way too long. We were given a good glance at the cracks in the system and have to come to grasp the fact that all sectors unified to start addressing our shortcomings for our current and future learners.  


About the Author:

John Balash was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now back in the fold as a consultant on all the latest and greatest in tech education.This is John’s latest contribution to a monthly blog series we’ve launched, Tech News from the Frontier. John is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally-focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.