The COVID19 pandemic has profoundly changed the landscape of K-12 education in our society. Last March, many states closed their brick-and-mortar schools and shifted to remote education. The massive shift is historic and unprecedented. Until now, while we see the light at the end of the tunnel in our battle against the coronavirus, millions and millions of students are still learning at home via online platforms. It is also because of this shift that digital learning all of a sudden has drawn attention from not only educators but also the general public from families to policy makers. Over the past months we have seen concerted efforts to invest in digital learning and improve the required infrastructure. In spite of this unexpected yet much welcomed attention from the society at large, digital teaching and learning a field has existed for a long time. Experts in the field have been documenting and exploring the best practice of digital teaching and learning. Today I am going to talk with three researchers who have been working in this field for a long time, Carolyn Heinrich from Vanderbilt University, Jennifer Darling-Aduana from Georgia State University and Annalee G. Good from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Last year, they published their new book with Harvard Education Press, titled Equity and Quality in Digital Learning: Realizing the Promise in K-12 Education (by Carolyn J. Heinrich, Jennifer Darling-Aduana, and Annalee G. Good, 2020). It systematically studies the implementation and best practice of using digital tools to reduce inequities in educational opportunities and improve student outcomes. Although the book was out right before the start of the pandemic, the lessons, best practice and insights they highlighted in their book have so much to offer for educators, policy makers and families to navigate a teaching-and-learning landscape during and after this pandemic.