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Pandemic learning loss and 21st-century project-based learning

pbl project-based learning May 03, 2022

The pandemic has changed our lives beyond recognition and had some of the most disastrous effects on our education system. Our children were forced to stay at home having hardly any in-person communication with their peers for months, which resulted in not only higher rates of depression and anxiety, but also in drastic decrease in academic performance. McKinsey Management consulting company estimates that an average student risks missing out on four to eight months of learning, while students in low-income communities might lose up to an entire year of education. 

McKinsey estimates that “60 percent of K-12 students started the 2020-21 school year fully remote.” Even when students can safely return to classrooms, there will need to be programmes to help them catch up and accelerate their learning. In the meantime, remote education certainly needs improvement. Students in low-income communities are 20 percent more likely to be studying remotely, which often leads to lower academic performance due to online learning usually being less engaging. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely reverse the learning loss students have already experienced. The good news, however, is that targeted action could reduce the potential learning loss for students in low-income inner-city communities. iDEAS Empowered by Youth® is the answer!

iDEAS is a revolutionary 21st century Project-Based Learning that can be facilitated a 100% online and provides extensive resources to both facilitators and students. Leading education experts say that project-based learning that develops students’ 21st century skills is the most effective way to accelerate learning. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) founded in 2002 by governmental education organizations and business leaders such as Apple and Microsoft identified the four Cs of 21st Century Learning: collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. iDEAS curriculums are designed to help develop all of these skills. 

Now more than ever, during this pandemic, students in low-income communities need to develop 21st-century skills in order to be able to compete with their peers and succeed in post-secondary programs and modern-day workplace. iDEAS curriculum not only help improve academic performance but also build skills that are valuable and applicable in various real-life settings. Students in a traditional education system often feel that what they are learning in class is dissonant with the real world, especially when the world is changing faster than anyone can keep track of. Connecting to the real-world events and solving problems in their communities are the most effective ways to ensure that students are retaining knowledge and developing skills that will benefit them long-term.

iDEAS is the perfect solution to the problems of learning loss and insufficient remote learning. It is designed to revolutionize education by helping young people imagine and execute solutions to real-world problems. With its focus on 21st-century skills, it is a modern and holistic approach to learning that is more effective than regular remote learning. With its emphasis on teaching designed for inner-city communities, it is actively striving towards reducing the disparity in education between affluent students and students from marginalized groups. 

IDEAS offers five complete 20-unit K-12 curriculums that can be adjusted for an entire school year or an accelerated summer course. The courses are all culturally relevant and career oriented. In the climate change module, students will create proposals to solve climate problems and present them to experts and will hone their leadership and problem-solving skills. In the health and wellness module, they will create a video that tackles a current health problem such as the obesity crisis or mental illness. The goal of entrepreneurship module is for students to develop a service or business concept and present it to an investor. Finally, during the financial wellness module students learn real-world skills that conventional curriculums often leave out – using bank accounts and credit cards, buying versus renting, and writing resumes and cover letters. 

All iDEAS modules help prepare students for iDEAS by Youth Symposium, a yearly final event designed to give young people a voice. All modules are flexible in the delivery methods – they can be taught in person, in a hybrid format or completely online. This means that whatever the latest COVID-19 situation is, iDEAS can provide engaging learning and development opportunities while ensuring safety during the pandemic. 

Far too often in schools, traditional forms of teaching can limit students’ potential, or benefit some students over others. Top-down methods in which a teacher spoon-feeds information to students training them to pass a test is outdated, no longer suitable for young learners in the 21st century. iDEAS curriculums meet the demand of the modern-day world helping create lifetime learners who care about their communities and know that their voice matters. In a world defined by uncertainty and anxiety, especially around learning loss and educational disparity, this program is ideal to help bring abundant growth opportunities to young people and peace of mind to their parents. 

iDEAS curriculums are available to schools and youth organizations as well as teachers, parents and caregivers. 

We offer subscription models for individuals. You can get iDEAS to your students with just one click via an interactive learning management system. Learn more here.

To learn about group rates for your school or youth organization, schedule an information session with iDEAS creator Sonia Toledo click here.

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Responsible Leadership in the 21st Century

by Dr. Sonia Toledo

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