Experts Weigh in: Will Learning Pods Outlast the Pandemic?

Watch the 3-minute highlight reel of the panel discussion on the future of pods.

During pandemic-related school shutdowns, parents, educators, and community organizations found ways to safely bring small groups of students together to learn outside of traditional classrooms. The result is a diverse group of learning pods across the country that are meeting the educational and personalized needs of students. 

These pods — and their future as the pandemic subsides — were the focus of an online panel VELA co-hosted March 25 with the Center on Reinventing Education, with media partner The 74.

“It’s finding ways to reach kids in creative ways. When we talk to folks who teach in these small learning environments, this is their dream,” said Robin Lake, Director of the Center on Reinventing Education, during the panel. “Every parent and teacher wants these opportunities. How do we figure out how to make it happen more commonly? That’s where the hard work begins.”

VELA has made grants to a number of groups engaging in these learning models, including three that participated in this panel:

The webinar brought together the three founders to hear about the ways they have worked to meet students’ needs in their communities and what innovations they hope to keep in a post-pandemic world.

“What can I do to build on those skills? We’ve learned that parents are feeling they have that authority again,” said Engaged Detroit founder Bernita Bradley. “It’s no longer me having a conflict with a teacher to make sure my child gets what they need. If they’re baking, that’s science. It becomes a science project. There’s joy in that, and that is just wonderful.” 

Watch the full discussion here