6. COVID Learning Loss: How Adaptive Technology Can Help

September 16, 2020 Amy Baron Season 1 Episode 6
6. COVID Learning Loss: How Adaptive Technology Can Help
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6. COVID Learning Loss: How Adaptive Technology Can Help
Sep 16, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Amy Baron

GUEST: LYNELLE MORGENTHALER, VP, LEARNING DESIGN, EDMENTUM. Students are returning to school this fall having achieved less than the typical learning gains for the past academic year. Amy and her guest, Lynelle Morgenthaler, VP of Learning Design at online learning provider Edmentum, discuss the use of adaptive diagnostic assessments to address the “Covid Slide,” and technologies that can engage and motivate students during what is likely to be a difficult school year.

Show Notes Transcript

GUEST: LYNELLE MORGENTHALER, VP, LEARNING DESIGN, EDMENTUM. Students are returning to school this fall having achieved less than the typical learning gains for the past academic year. Amy and her guest, Lynelle Morgenthaler, VP of Learning Design at online learning provider Edmentum, discuss the use of adaptive diagnostic assessments to address the “Covid Slide,” and technologies that can engage and motivate students during what is likely to be a difficult school year.


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Amy Baron: Okay, we're here today to talk about Covid learning loss and how adaptive technology can help.



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Amy Baron: And my guest today is Lynelle Morgenthaler who now is vice president of learning design at online learning provider Edmentum



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Amy Baron: And in her role Lynelle helps translate educational research into effective product design when l is passionate about helping educators embrace innovative instructional practices that improve student outcomes and welcome Lynelle



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Thanks for having me, man. I'm excited to be here today.



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Amy Baron: It's great to have you here.



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Amy Baron: So we're now. Those of us in the education world have often talked about the summer slide.



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Amy Baron: Which is essentially the learning loss that takes place over the summer when students are not in school.



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Amy Baron: And many experts with code now are predicting that students are going to enter the school year. This year even further behind than usual.



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Amy Baron: In fact, a study I recently read projected that students would be returning to school. This fall, having made only two thirds of their typical school year gains in reading and less than half of their typical school year gains in math.



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Amy Baron: You recently published a White Paper entitled reopening school after coded learning loss and one of the ideas you put forward that I found very interesting is this idea of a dual approach to accelerate learning. Can you describe this



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Absolutely. So the dual approach to accelerating learning is called the universal double dose learning



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Double dosing is actually concept that's often associated with intervention and specifically the multi tiered system of supports or empty SS model.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: And in that model. There's often shown an upside down triangle with three different tiers tier one, tier two, tier three



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: And Tier one really means something that all learners would get with some level of differentiation, but it is basically for all



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: And the tier two, tier three is more specific targeted learning for students who have specific needs. Well, if you look at this, where we are with code learning loss and how much



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Loss. There is predicted to be and we're now in the midst of experiencing.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: You can take a look and understand that you need to begin Tier one that is instruction for everybody moving strongly forward on current grade level learning



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: So consolidating approach to essentials our power standards, but really making sure that kids begin fourth grade learning with fourth grade concepts.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: It's not like we're going to just teach what they missed and then eventually to get to fourth grade, we need to start on fourth grade and take it from there at the same time.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: We need to deal with covered learning loss, as you know, each grade begins on what was learned before. So it's not like we can just forget about the concepts that we're not mastered



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: So we also need to diagnose and differentiate to support any learning gaps that may have occurred during covert shutdown and we're exacerbated by the summer.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Not to mention exacerbated by some of the trauma associated with loss of friendship loss of interaction, loss of being in school, all of those things. So in the



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Second dose of a double dose learning plan that would be for everybody. We would recommend taking a diagnostic assessment.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: That identifies exactly what each student needs to learn of previous learning and taking it from there. So doing the arm level and the scoop up at the same time. That's the nature of the double dose learning plan.



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Amy Baron: So essentially, they're learning the content they're supposed to be learning for the grade they're in



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Amy Baron: As well as picking up some of the content from last year. Is that the idea



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Exactly and using mastery learning to do. So what that means is you're going to take a diagnostic assessment and identify exactly what you need and don't learn anything that you already know. That's just a waste of time.



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Amy Baron: So let's just talk for a minute about these diagnostic assessments.



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Amy Baron: Are these the type of things that students would take a sort of multiple choice type thing where



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Amy Baron: You know, they get served up a question and based on whether they know it or not, they might get a harder question. Is there anything like that, or is it more just kind of taking a test that is going to determine their level. Maybe you can explain a little bit what those should look like.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Sure. And ideally the diagnostic would be both diagnostic and adaptive I'll kind of deal with one concept at a time.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Diagnostic assessments have been around for a long time and it basically means assessing a body of knowledge in some way to determine what you know and what you don't know.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Now, these days, when you say diagnostic assessment because of the introduction of technology you typically think of a diagnostic is something that also does adapt that means



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: It. There are some fancy psychometric algorithms that run the assessment and based on that only



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Right or wrong answers, but often also based on answer choices, meaning what misconception. Did your answer choice.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Reflect, it will take you up and down and it may accelerate how much it takes you up and down again. It's not a simple algorithm that's easy to understand.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: It's like a metric complex these days. So when we think about adaptive assessments, we also need to think about machine learning and how an assessment.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: In the world of technology can now predict, you know, based on a fourth grade question. What do you need first or second grade learning. And again, it's, it is a mathematical model that's proven statistically that runs these adaptive diagnostic assessments.



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Amy Baron: Yeah. And so with the results.



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Amy Baron: That the teacher can then determine where each individual student is basically starting out the year where they're at visa v. The learning loss from last year.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Correct. And in fact, in a diagnostic learning path product, but did machine does it for you. And the teacher supplements monitors and intervenes is necessary. So it will not only will you get, like, okay, I need to be placed in second grade.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Second half of the year it'll be down to individual domains and it can be also be exactly what kinds of skills that you're going to skip in your learning path because you already know them. So these algorithms can be fairly sophisticated actually



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Amy Baron: Uh huh. And what are some of the pitfalls.



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Amy Baron: With these types of technology based assessments are there are there things that teachers should look out for, or, you know, be careful of when interpreting these types of results.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Absolutely. You know, in the end of the day, there's nothing really that replaces a teacher's understanding of a student



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Technology and teachers and relationships with students. I meant to all work hand in hand. So if you get the results of an assessment and they don't seem right to you, you may want to reassess



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: You may want to override. I know that there can sometimes be concerns for kindergarten students, you know, is it really anything I kindergarten or should be skipping. It's a good question. And there's often some questions that come back from teachers to



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: You know, companies like a my company that has adaptive system.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: I think the other issue that is always interesting and is really quite poignant today is that parents are practicing these at home with their kids.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: And as per the helicopter parents since syndrome. What do you think might be happening, Amy.



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Amy Baron: There might be some help going on, I would imagine.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: There might be some help. Yes. In fact, we're in the middle of making a video like why it's bad for your child for you to help them on their diagnostic adaptive assessment.



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Amy Baron: Want to see where your child is not where you are. Yeah.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Yes. So if you want your child to be absolutely miserable, by all means intervene on their adaptive assessment so that they get second grade content when they should get beginning first grade content and they are miserable Miserable miserable. That's not a great idea.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: And that's a great idea for teachers to use their judgment at that very moment.



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Amy Baron: So speaking of



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Amy Baron: Sort of student involvement and where the student is at



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Amy Baron: The idea of kind of competency based learning or or personalized learning or the idea of a student being in charge of their own learning and progressing at their own pace. How have you seen that working and what role does technology play in that



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: So we often talk about student control over pace in place and I do need to emphasize, it's really different, depending on the grade level because it's easy to talk about a secondary student, you know, deciding to do their entire Algebra one course in two months. And today, age.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: It's much harder to talk about, you know, first grader doing that.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: So it is important that students be able to, you know, choose any room in their house, for instance.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Or, you know, I'm hearing about families that are going to the mountains and in a cabin for a month right now because everybody's distance learning and they can



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: You know, learn during the day and then have a beautiful walk at around four o'clock or something like that. So that is control over place.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: If not pace. So we also do sometimes have a lot of needs to Amina actually there's quite a huge outcry as well.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: For students to have sufficient instructional time with their teachers so especially an elementary ASIDE. AGAIN, elementary and secondary just really different.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: But it is important for students able to have some choice whether that's in you know what they're reading or what they're making when they do.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: project based learning, which is something we have in one of our products quite prominently and, you know, so that they are able to express themselves in distance learning and digital learning in the same way they would in a classroom and that actually reminds me of



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Amy Baron: A solution that we worked on a cantina, which is called the money experience. It's a financial literacy application that used to kind of choose your own adventure style experience.



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Amy Baron: That would allow the student to make their own financial decisions and see how those decisions impact the course of their life. And that's kind of an example of how



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Amy Baron: How you can create tools using technology that can enhance engagement and make students feel like they have some control over their learning, which we know is



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Amy Baron: More motivating right



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Absolutely, absolutely. That sounds like a really neat tool I'm often bemoaning the lack of consumer education these days.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Yeah, sounds like a good foundation. I've always been



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Amy Baron: A proponent of that. I think it's something that should be mandatory students really you know need to understand how



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Money.



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Amy Baron: Is managed and



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Amy Baron: Understanding all and low



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: write a check.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: All the ancillary fundament I



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Amy Baron: Don't know how to write a check anymore, but that's



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: That's another I still have to write a few, but yeah.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Yeah. Couldn't invite my kids have had to write checks and they're just lost the actually they can't write



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Addresses on an envelope. Yeah.



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Amy Baron: Yeah. Fascinating. Yes, it is. I've



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Amy Baron: I've observed that as well, in my own life but but we digress. Um, so



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Amy Baron: Other like other emerging technologies like augmented and virtual reality or some of the other



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Amy Baron: Interesting um emerging technologies that are enhancing engagement to is that anything that



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Amy Baron: That you're I understand that, you know, this is, you know, the covert slide is not necessarily going to be, you know, people aren't necessarily schools aren't necessarily going to be able to implement these solutions right away but



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Amy Baron: As time goes on. Do you see those kinds of technologies being more prevalent to to help that individualized kind of engagement.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Well, I think that



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: I'm not sure which technologies. Exactly. We have I guess dipped our toe in the water and augmented reality ourselves.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: But I do think that any technology that consumers, and particularly children are using outside the classroom will come into the classroom because we need to advantage it to engage them so the more that we see some really



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: forward looking technologies and students everyday life, whether that's a virtual or some kind of hybrid that we can't even imagine. Yet today. I think it's, I think, I think we're going to see that in the classroom. And I do think that, you know, people talk often about



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Augmented and virtual reality as a equalizer because there are certain kinds of experiences that more affluent students are likely to have



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: But we can you know give access to a trip to the rain forest through these technologies.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: And so I do think there's something there, and there's something that will be harnessed I don't know exactly what that looks like. I do know that it's got to be something ultimately that universally available.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Right.



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Amy Baron: Right. And we know there are definitely



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Amy Baron: Challenges there in terms of the cost and getting those into the hands of the people who who are going to use them.



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Amy Baron: Well, great. I mean, we know it's, we're just about a time I wanted to thank you. I think this has been really interesting and I hope people find this information helpful as, as you think about the new school year.



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Amy Baron: So thank you again Lynelle for being with us.



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: Well, thank you. And again, it was fun to have a conversation



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Lynelle Morgenthaler: About all of this.