COVID Conversation with the Remake Learning Team

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all. For many, it has meant juggling multiple roles: parent, teacher, colleague, activities director, coach, cook, cleaning crew. It’s been stressful, and it’s been scary.

It’s also reminded us of how interconnected we are. Essential workers give others the ability to work from home. Friends, family, and co-workers give us an emotional outlet. And, we see how deeply education is interwoven with community issues like financial stability, food, housing, and healthcare.

The current moment has caused radical short-term changes in our schools and learning spaces. These changes hold tremendous opportunity. If we can use them to envision a new normal, rather than return to the status quo, we can build on what’s working and create even more opportunities for engaging, relevant, and equitable learning.

Earlier this week, a small batch of our team came together to chat about all this and more. We shared how we’re coping with teaching, parenting, and working from home, plus offered some thoughts on the future. We hope this conversation gives you some solidarity, and maybe a laugh or two!

We will continue this conversation as a team and a network in the weeks ahead. Visit to see upcoming opportunities to meet-up online.

Watch the full conversation here, and check out a few key questions and insights below.

2:04  |  COVID-19 has forced many of us to stay home and shift our interactions to digital platforms—social media, Zoom, and others. How do you feel this has impacted you and the way you engage with audiences, working group members, and others within the network?

“In general, I think it’s an opportunity for us to think about what professional learning looks like, feels like, etc. in the future…and to broach the topic of online learning, smaller cohorts using some of the virtual tools we have.” – Allyce Pinchback-Johnson, Professional Learning Collaborative Lead

5:50  |  How Remake Learning Days Across America is cultivating a national sense of community during COVID-19.

“Now that there is no Remake Learning Days Across America in the spring, [our] regional leads are still connecting with event hosts…librarians or leaders of family centers, maker spaces, etc. So they are also using their own Google Hangouts, Zoom, various virtual meetings, to connect with leaders in the community, educators…It’s very powerful to have these networks that are continuing to be engaged and support each other.” – Dorie Taylor, Remake Learning Days Producer

7:19  |  How have current events impacted the Maker Learning Collaborative?

“We’ve been doing light touches up until this point, we don’t want to overwhelm folks and make them feel like they have to contribute and engage. But we also want to create space for folks to come together.” – Nick Schiner, Maker Learning Collaborative Lead

8:47  |  How have goals shifted in your life and as a parent?

“It’s definitely made me prioritize and appreciate educators a lot more.” – Sahaar Lyles, Communications Coordinator

11:40  |  Have you developed any new skills in this time, or observed any new skills or personalities in yourself or your children?

“There’s time for skill development and acquisition, but don’t put pressure on yourself to feel like you have to…create an Instagram-ready homeschooling experience. It’s about taking care of our kids and finding opportunities to help them grow in this weird time.” – Nick Schiner, Maker Learning Collaborative Lead

14:05  |  How do you maintain a sense of balance between productivity and increased family time?

“My son tells me what his schedule is now…he told me this morning, ‘We’re going to make slime, we’re going to play with Play-Doh, and then we’re going to do numbers, okay?!'” – LaTrenda Sherrill, CSforPGH and Pittsburgh Regional STE(A)M Ecosystem Lead

19:51  |  How are you explaining COVID-19 and social distancing to very young children?

“I tried explaining the coronavirus to my four-year-old and he told me just to take the aerosol spray outside!” – Sahaar Lyles, Communications Coordinator

21:05  |  What have you learned about yourself, your spouse, your children, etc. through this experience?

“Kids are in different spaces now. What are the norms for learning at home versus the norms for learning at school? And we have to have grace in all of that, when it comes to these spaces and this transition.” – LaTrenda Sherrill, CSforPGH and Pittsburgh Regional STE(A)M Ecosystem Lead

30:08  |  How has the pandemic brought to light areas in learning, and community that we could improve upon?

“If this is not an opportunity to really examine our privilege, from a racial perspective, from a social-economic perspective, then I really don’t know what is…Let’s think about what a new normal looks like. Let’s think about what a more just society looks like.” – Allyce Pinchback-Johnson, Professional Learning Collaborative Lead