Lastinger Center for Learning - Univ of Florida

Research-based tools help students, parents and teachers during COVID-19

(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) — NEWS: Today, the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning, in an effort to keep all students learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, launched a new resource hub of free resources for students, parents and teachers. As students navigate distance learning, these research-based tip sheets and videos will lighten the burden. Included is free use of Math Nation which provides 24-hour access to thousands of instructional videos and on-demand support for middle school mathematics (Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, PSAT/NMSQT(R) and SAT(R)).

“These are trying times for more than 55 million students, their parents and teachers,” said Dr. Philip E. Poekert, Director of the Lastinger Center. “Thanks to our many partners, funders and content experts, together we can alleviate the stress of these challenging times and reduce the negative impacts.”

A report, released by NWEA, analyzed how students impacted by the school closures will suffer learning loss, similar to the “summer slide” they experience when out for summer breaks. Researchers estimate in math alone, students will begin the next school year with a 50-percent loss in learning gains. But they point out that with support such as distance learning, educators minimize losses. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced earlier in the week that public schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

“Pinellas County teachers and parents are working tirelessly to support students through distance learning right now. We all want our students to continue connecting, growing, and learning,” said Dr. Michael A. Grego, Superintendent, Pinellas County Schools. “Though COVID-19 disrupts our normal operations, online resources like the ones offered for free by the Lastinger Center for Learning serve as a critical lifeline to support student learning.”

Mathematics, Literacy, Self-Care and Distance Learning Resources

The Lastinger Center works with experts from across the globe to garner and develop research-based activities and data to improve student learning, educator preparedness and effectiveness, and wellness supports for those working with children.

In addition to the mathematics support offered through Math Nation, the Lastinger Center leveraged materials from its Early Learning Florida program and its partnership with The Campaign for Grade Level Reading to provide multiple supports for those caring for young children. These include tip sheets and videos on everything from building resilience, to self-care, to establishing sound literacy practices for life-long learning. There are also tips for teachers navigating distance learning with their students including videos and recommendations for which platforms serve their needs.

As part of the College of Education at the University of Florida, the Lastinger Center works closely with the University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI), an ongoing effort by faculty and students to improve literacy outcomes for students who struggle with reading and writing. UFLI has curated a comprehensive library of virtual literacy activities and support for children from birth through twelfth grade. Additionally, their proven strategies to help struggling readers is being adapted to a virtual learning environment so that teachers can continue offering intensive interventions to bridge the literacy gap in those who need it most.

About the University of Florida Lastinger Center

Housed within the College of Education, the Lastinger Center for Learning is a national leader in the design, delivery, and scaling of technology-enabled educational systems that transform teaching and learning. Focused on critical milestones of kindergarten preparedness, third grade reading proficiency, and ninth grade algebraic proficiency, the Lastinger Center envisions a world where every child and educator, regardless of circumstances, experiences high-quality learning every day. Since its founding in 2002, the Center has leveraged more than $130 million in private and public funding to develop high-impact programs, including Early Learning Florida, Literacy Matrix, and Math Nation, serving over one million students and teachers from birth through 12th grade.

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