Recently, Classroom, Inc. co-hosted a panel discussion with the New York Life Foundation and New York Life Ventures, focused on themes and trends in education technology and the increase in virtual learning.
The discussion, “EdTech and the Future of (Remote) Learning,” explored how organizations are creating new resources to support learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel of EdTech experts offered invaluable insights and effective models of remote learning across a range of contexts, including educators leading their classes virtually, New York Life employees furthering their professional development, and parents supporting their children academically while they are learning at home.
The event was introduced by Joel Albarella, Founder and Head of New York Life Ventures, and moderated by Megan Protas, Director at New York Life Ventures. Panelists included Michael Molinaro, Chief Learning Officer at New York Life, Allisyn Levy, Product Lead at BrainPOP, and Christina Oliver, Executive Director of Classroom, Inc.
The Role of EdTech
EdTech makes it easier for teachers to tailor their instruction based on each student’s individual needs and gives students access to new types of learning experiences.
Gamification tools like Read to Lead help teachers personalize learning by allowing students to go through the curriculum at their own pace. The games adjust the reading level as students complete assignments. The platform also gives teachers the information and data they need to provide additional support for struggling students.
“There’s nothing that replaces a teacher. EdTech can help make teachers better teachers and give students the ability to learn, make decisions, and take risks in an environment where it’s safe to fail,” said Christina Oliver, adding, “Read to Lead allows students to see themselves leading their own learning, understand what it’s like to make hard decisions, and imagine themselves beyond the classroom.”
Why is EdTech Important to New York Life?
Many New York Life employees and agents are now balancing supporting their children’s learning at home with the demands of their career and professional goals.
Both Allisyn and Christina shared that, as parents, they know how challenging the transition to distance learning has been. Christina noted, “Giving your child a dedicated space to work and arranging your child’s learning environment is an important start. Zoom can be exhausting, so make sure that your child takes breaks and gets outside, which is essential for focus, mental health, and well-being.”
Michael Molinaro leads the creation of continuous learning opportunities for New York Life employees. He said there are many similarities between what works for K-12 and the professionals at New York Life when it comes to effective remote learning. Specifically, creating dedicated time and space for learning, being intentional about one’s learning goals, taking breaks to support focus and wellness, and maintaining strong peer relationships have all been essential as more professional learning opportunities have transitioned online.
EdTech plays an essential role for New York Life in supporting ongoing professional growth for their workforce and supporting the philanthropic mission of the New York Life Foundation to invest in programs that benefit young people.
EdTech Tools Highlighted at the Event
- Degreed is a learning experience platform (branded at New York Life as The Learning Exchange) that provides curated learning content pathways to New York Life employees to enhance their skill sets.
- BrainPOP resources enable students and educators to make connections and learn about the world around them from home.
- Read to Lead, created by Classroom Inc., is a game-based learning platform that invites students to “be the boss” in a virtual workplace and develop literacy, life, and career skills.
- Outschool offers 50,000+ unique online classes from hundreds of certified, independent teachers where users, regardless of household income, can access programs and learn in a collaborative environment.
- Online learning tools like Quizlet, Grammarly, Khan Academy, Blackboard, Varsity Tutors, MasterClass, and Coursera.
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About Read to Lead
Read to Lead is an education technology nonprofit that uses game-based learning to empower middle school students to develop their literacy, life, and career skills.