Research Report 2019_20

Neil Lamb, PhD / Educational Outreach

COVID-19 and the "Landscape of Learning"

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the landscape of education and learning, forcing many stu- dents and teachers to quickly adapt to virtual learning and many parents to take on the role of teacher. This shift has challenged us all to think beyond traditional methods for delivering educational content. Hudson- Alpha’s vice president for Educational Outreach, Neil Lamb, PhD, and his team reacted to the ever-changing landscape in 2020 by modifying their content and events to meet the needs of virtual classrooms. This ability to be malleable and think-on-their-toes has allowed HudsonAlpha to remain at the forefront of innovation in providing experiences for learners of all ages. In April 2020, the Educational Outreach team launched Learning Together Apart 2020 , an online pro- gram to help parents and teachers educate students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is a free online portal that makes digital copies of activities, videos, and educational support materials available to educators around the globe. The programs are geared towards students in middle school through high school, and include content related to biotechnology, cells, genetics, COVID-19, and more. New content is frequent- ly added to the portal to keep the content relevant.

Beacon: Biology at a Distance is another tool that was designed to help teachers adjust to the new educa- tional landscape brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beacon helps educators find life science content from a distance and offers technology integration and best practices for virtual delivery of lessons. Experiences in- clude unique webinars along with multi-day online ses- sions that combine interactive and on-demand learning. For example, through a collaboration with scientists and educators from Harvard Medical School, Alabama edu- cators were offered a virtual learning experience called “Genetics, History, and the American Eugenics Move- ment.” It introduced teachers to lesson materials that provide a historical overview of the American eugenics movement and highlight advances and breakthroughs achieved through genetic and genomic research. COVID-19 has limited HudsonAlpha’s ability to engage students directly through on-campus field trip experiences and in-class laboratory exercises. The Educational Outreach team sought to overcome this limitation with an interactive, virtual program, Science Shorts , that was designed to allow students to explore science in a fun, easy way from the comfort of their

Jennifer Hutchinson teaching over the web at Learning Together Apart 2020


HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

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