Throwing Everyone Online

I’ve spent most of my career advocating for access to high quality learning for everyone, independent of geography or genetics. We have the tools to do this, and the best universities have been giving away their courses for free for decades.

It seems strange to me now that decades of research around what great online pedagogy looks like is completely absent from most conversations about how to teach during a pandemic. I can’t live with that.

We know how to teach well online. That body of research exists. We know that the quality of student instruction is the most important factor in student learning and achievement.

If we want our kids to learn well today and into the future, the quality of pedagogy must continue to improve, even if it is from a distance.

I am dedicating the next 100 days to digging out the best information I can find about pedagogy from a distance, and creating communications that can help draw people into the learning so that together we can build a system that empowers learners to find the best possible life trajectory.

Is it possible that we, as educators, could spend just 10 minutes each day to think about our own professional learning?

If we are to come out of this crisis with a better education system, the one thing that we all must do is to be “willing to be disturbed”, willing to pay attention to that which does not sit well with us. We must throw away our confirmation bias and sit with that which makes us uncomfortable.

Today, for my own professional learning, I am rereading Margaret Wheatley’s “Willing to be Disturbed“.

“Strong leaders cannot create change unless they are willing to be disturbed.”

If we pay attention to the ideas that make us uncomfortable, what might we learn? How might we come out of this crisis as better educators?

Featured Image by Andre Ventura

Day 1: #the100dayproject


  • Day 1: Are you willing to be disturbed? Are you willing to think differently about what learning can be?
  • Day 2: We no longer know best. It’s time to ask children and families what they need.
  • Day 3: The long game. How are we thinking about shifting what learning looks like while schools are closed?
  • Day 4: How can we turn what we want to teach into questions children want to answer?
  • Day 5: How do we organize our response to this crisis so we can focus on our wellness, and the tasks that need to be done right now?

4 thoughts on “Throwing Everyone Online

  1. Hi Donna, can’t wait for this to unroll. LU fac de is sending. A lot of info how to teach on line and those working through it now are doing a lot of sharing. This may continue into the fall semestre. I have a HS student who has a lot of experience in line sending me tips which I can share also. Interesting times.

    1. It will be wonderful to hear your contributions to this. Thanks for connecting and I look forward to the sharing!

  2. We’ve been so busy protecting teacher jobs that we’ve demonized online learning. I enjoy it for myself, but my personal experience with it doesn’t translate easily to teaching primary students. I want more PD about this. I suspect this won’t be the last time we are thrown into this sort of “teach from home” scenario and we should be better prepared next time!

    1. Agreed! This is such a perfect time to really build our capacity to meet learner needs from a distance. Let’s keep learning together!

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