Remote learning, on demand


Kelly Jasper

Phoenix’s Creighton School District and Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College partner regularly during the school year on internships and residencies that prepare ASU students for careers as teachers.

This summer was no different. When the COVID-19 crisis closed schools, MLFTC launched a learning platform called Sun Devil Learning Labs so its teacher candidates could teach remotely. In spring 2020, students working under the supervision of ASU clinical faculty delivered more than 100 lessons via YouTube Live. 

With the support of school and district partners like Creighton, Sun Devil Learning Labs continues this summer in a new, flexible format for learners. MLFTC students, working with both ASU faculty and Creighton educators, are developing and recording lessons, which can be streamed for free at any time. To date, more than 400 lessons have been published online.

“The Creighton-ASU teacher teams spent time interpreting state standards and refining video lessons together. These lessons provided an opportunity for Creighton students to access materials aligned to Creighton curriculum they may have missed during the spring closure due to COVID-19,” says Susan Lugo, executive director of Human Resources at Creighton School District.

The lessons focus on English language arts and mathematics for learners in grades K–8. They’re also accompanied by new English- and Spanish-language Learning Guides, written by MLFTC students and translated by staff at Creighton to provide guidance and support for parents, families, caregivers or facilitators helping students with the lessons. Each Learning Guide details the supplies needed to complete the lesson, discussion points, and remediation and extensions that create a more dynamic experience for learners. Through the partnership, families are also able to meet with ASU and Creighton teams during “office hours” to receive real-time support for their children. 

The benefits have been clear, and not just for learners in the district, Lugo says. “[We’re] thrilled to be in partnership with ASU. This summer, our master teachers had the opportunity to pass on their knowledge to future teachers.”

Teacher candidates have expressed how their confidence has increased and skills in lesson implementation have developed, says Kathleen Haltorp, clinical assistant professor and project manager for Sun Devil Learning Labs. 

“They feel more comfortable using a virtual format for lessons,” she says. “With guidance from lead teachers, they have clear ideas of student expectations for the upcoming school year and can identify standards that are essential to the grade level in which they are practicing their instruction. The students are at an advantage because they have a ‘head start’ with virtual learning.”