Starting in mid-March 2020, national attention was turning to the coronavirus and how it would affect schools across the country. Justin Reich was sought by local Boston and national media as an expert in online and distance learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to offer insights on what research shows can help shape policy.

From the Boston Globe to Forbes, NPR, and The Atlantic, here are some of the highlights from Justin:

“Some researchers have argued that districts that are under-resourced and have large numbers of students living in poverty might serve their students better by forgoing remote lessons altogether, and instead focusing on providing face-to-face instruction when schools reopen—possibly during the summer. “A growing body of evidence suggests that online learning works least well for our most vulnerable learners,” Justin Reich, an assistant professor at MIT and the director of the Teaching Systems Lab there, argued in EdSurge. “If you are going online, the number one question is not: ‘What tech to use to teach online?’ It should be: ‘How will you support your most struggling students?’”

The Atlantic, April 13th  

“But this is not the best practice, online-learning researchers say. According to Justin Reich, who studies online learning at MIT, “Young people don’t have the attention or the executive-function skills to be able to sit and learn online for hours every day on their own” when learning from home.”

Washington Post, March 27

“[Reich] advocates instead a pattern sometimes known as “hybrid,” “blended learning” or a “flipped classroom.” It’s a combination of relatively short, live video check-in meetings and self-paced work, with teachers available to students over email, phone, text or any other method that is convenient to both.”

NPR: All Things Considered, March 26 

“We’re going to realize what extraordinary people commit themselves to this service [teaching] during their life.” 

On Point, March 24

“I expect that most schools will find what 10 years of research shows— that high-performing students who do well anywhere do well online, but that most students experience an online penalty, and that penalty is worse for the most vulnerable students in our system.”

Forbes, March 16

“How might we help the students who are already behind from falling further behind? In a recent Twitter exchange, Justin Reich of MIT and I came to a short and easy-to-implement answer: summer school. (Thanks to Sue Dynarski for initiating the conversation.) Students who struggled to learn during the coronavirus school closure period could attend in the summer to catch back up.”

Brookings, March 11

 “A growing body of evidence suggests that online learning works least well for our most vulnerable learners,” Justin Reich, an educational technology expert at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said on Twitter. He’s recommending that public schools make up days rather than try to rely on tech-based teaching.

NPR, March 11

“If a gazillion schools and colleges are shut down and turn their learning online, the students we should be most worried about are students with lower prior achievement,” Reich said. “Our most vulnerable students are going to have the hardest time in this transition.”

Boston Globe, March 10th

Check out the Failure to Disrupt Virtual Book Club Podcast!

In the Fall of 2020 Justin Reich invited guest presenters and students from MIT for a ten week book club exploring themes in Failure to Disrupt. Now he has turned into a Podcast to relive those discussions and offer more insights.