Approaches to Education while Social Distancing











Event Summary

Monthly Theme: Creative Community During Times of Crisis
Weekly Topic: Approaches to Education while Social Distancing

Presenter: Emily Sullivan, Robinson Center

Emily Sullivan, who is a youth educator with the Robinson Center, led some of the opening conversation on education initiatives that the Robinson Center is a part of during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emily shared the increased need for social interactions and physical activity for the youth she works with. There is also a huge academic decline in primary and secondary schooling with the shift to virtual programming and the disruption in the school year. There will be a bigger need for enrichment activities during the summer months. In turn, they are organizing an increased focus on curriculum during the summer to help lessen the gap. They are making decisions on how to make stronger connections with a combination of some in person activities and some virtual. The Robinson Center has uniquely had an abundance of volunteers where other organizations are struggling to connect with volunteers. They are feeling optimistic about the fall and future plans. Also, Emily was able to share that fortunately the digital divide isn’t impacting the population that she works with as strongly but during the discussion several community partners shared that the digital divide is a growing obstacle. It is particularly challenging to engage with elderly clients and clients with varying abilities. Participants emphasized that asynchronous learning strategies are being used in an attempt to meet these limitations. These creative responses to the challenges that arise during COVID-19 have yielded many opportunities to bridge gaps in new ways and so community partners continue to emphasize that some will be carried over even after shelter-in-place is fully lifted.

From a university standpoint we are receiving consistent responses from students who want to volunteer with organizations and so faculty are thinking creatively on what our students can do to help partners and provide resources. There is intentional planning going into doing risk management with a virtual context, adequate training, and technology. We are working to make sure learning outcomes are consistent with community needs. There is acknowledgment that this virtual landscape changes how to safeguard vulnerable populations. There’s a need to reassess how to be a mandated reporter in a virtual space and how to communicate this with volunteers. Many of the local universities, including Notre Dame, have recently announced they are opening campus back up in the fall which means there is also rapid planning ahead for what these partnerships will mean in light of the change.

There were several resources mentioned by participants during the conversation that are useful examples of virtual techniques and tools. They are as follows:


A special collection of resources organized by grade and subject area. Find videos, lesson plans, and activities that support learning at home.

Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. Sign up to receive regular email updates with information about activities that can be completed from home.

Fun, informative, and captivating talks to inspire young minds. Find content about new skills, life advice, and more.

Multimedia resources from the 19 museums, galleries, research centers, and the National Zoo.

Lesson plans, schedules, and strategies on a range of topics including life skills and physical activity.

A digital library comprised of standards-aligned engineering curricula for K-12 educators to make applied science and math come alive through engineering design.

There are many Louvre resources available online that can be enjoyed by all the family. Visit the museum's exhibition rooms and galleries, contemplate the façades of the Louvre. Come along on a virtual tour and enjoy the view.

Experience the best museums from London to Seoul in the comfort of your own home. Google Arts & Culture’s collection includes the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Guggenheim in New York City, and literally hundreds of more places where you can gain knowledge about art, history, and science.


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