Partnering with Mesa Public Schools for free online learning


Kelly Jasper

Up to 1,000 learners from Arizona’s largest public school district will huddle in virtual classrooms up to three days a week for free, small-group learning led by teams of future educators from Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

For learners, Sun Devil Learning Labs: After School Huddles offers individualized support and extra instruction that complements classroom learning. For ASU teacher candidates, the experience offers another opportunity to hone their skills and make progress toward graduation and certification. 

Sun Devil Learning Labs is just one way MLFTC’s 1,900 interns and residents are adapting to different remote and classroom experiences this semester.

“This winning collaboration is structured to deepen and expand learning experiences and to broaden team-based instructional practices for future educators,” says Tot Wallace, director of community education and outreach at Mesa Public Schools, adding that Mesa is proud to again partner with MLFTC to provide these opportunities.

Over the summer, MLFTC worked with 450 lead teachers at partner schools to create internship and residency experiences that would work for teacher candidates and learners, regardless of whether schools operate remotely or face-to-face, says Robert Morse, MLFTC executive director of professional experiences.

Undergraduate MLFTC teacher candidates typically complete internships in their junior year and residencies in their senior year. Both experiences look different now as a result of the pandemic. 

“We know schools are significantly challenged by the pandemic,” Morse says. “We are hearing ongoing changes to school plans to return to campus. To provide some clarity to our interns, we made the decision to have all interns have remote experiences for the fall 2020 semester.” Meanwhile, MLFTC placed most residents as part of teams of educators within partner schools. A small group of residents are also participating in the college’s first fully online residency experience this fall.

The college is expanding its use of a video coaching platform it piloted in spring 2020, before the pandemic. If not for that work, “we would not have been ready to scale it up for supervision, coaching and evaluation of all of our residents and as a tool to support many of our interns,” Morse says. “The pandemic has accelerated our use of video.” So far, the response has been positive but further evaluation is needed to determine how interactive video platforms like GoReact can complement or replace face-to-face supervision and coaching, he says.

About Sun Devil Learning Labs

When schools closed and transitioned to remote instruction last spring, MLFTC launched a new learning program called Sun Devil Learning Labs to ensure that teacher candidates could teach remotely and graduate on time.

In the spring, students gained professional experience by livestreaming more than 100 lessons on new remote learning channels, created just days after schools closed or transitioned to remote instruction. 

Over the summer, students created and recorded 500 asynchronous lessons, which are available for learners to stream for free on YouTube.

Now, this fall, Sun Devil Learning Labs is partnering with Mesa Public Schools to offer synchronous, virtual learning “huddles” for students in grades K–6.

All Sun Devil Learning Labs lessons are free for learners.

Learn more:

Sun Devil Learning Labs: Stream educational videos on demand.

Sun Devil Learning Labs: After School Huddles: Register a Mesa Public Schools student for small-group lessons.