A Pandemic's Impact on Online Learning: A Panel

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Listen and learn : Panel

Michele Eaton  
Diana Gill  
Dr. Marcus Vu  
John Watson  
Claudio Zavala Jr.  

Listen as a panel addresses some difficult questions about how our response to a global pandemic impacts the quality of online learning. As educators made a format shift overnight, what bad habits should we be reflecting upon as we settle in and focus on what online learning should look like?

Audience: Chief technology officers/superintendents/school board members, Principals/head teachers, Professional developers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Distance, online & blended learning
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Visionary Planner
  • Evaluate progress on the strategic plan, make course corrections, measure impact and scale effective approaches for using technology to transform learning.
Empowering Leader
  • Build the confidence and competency of educators to put the ISTE Standards for Students and Educators into practice.
Systems Designer
  • Ensure that resources for supporting the effective use of technology for learning are sufficient and scalable to meet future demand.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this panel is to reflect upon how a quick change to online learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic might impact online instruction long term.

Attendees will:

- Reflect upon the quality of online learning globally.
-Discuss what high quality online learning should look like and what changes need to be made to support educators.
-Consider the bad habits that we adopted as part of a quick change.
-Discuss online safety and privacy as related to technology tools.
-Discuss live streaming and its impact on interactive learning.
-Discuss equity and inclusion as related to the virtual space.
-Discuss online and blended learning models.
-Discuss systems and large scale changes.

Our evidence of success will be based on audience participation and feedback.


-Audience members will be encouraged to submit questions for the panel ahead of time.
-Audience members will be given a platform to engage during the session.

0:00-0:05: The panel moderator will introduce the panelists.
0:05-0:35 Panelists will respond to planned questions.
0:35-0:45: Time for audience questions and dialogue.
0:45 Closing

Supporting research

EdWeek Leaders to Learn From Article: High-Quality Online Learning is Possible and Indiana Leader Wants to Prove It:

ISTE Interview - 4 Tips for Creating Successful Online Content (

More [+]


Michele Eaton, MSD of Warren Township

Michele Eaton is the director of virtual and blended learning for the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indianapolis, and the author of The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide to Student-Centered Learning Experiences. At MSD of Wayne Township, she provides support for Achieve Virtual Education Academy teachers and students, overseeing online course design throughout the district, working on digital resource interoperability and training, and helping lead the district’s many online and blended learning options. It’s specifically through this course design work that Eaton developed expertise in eLearning design strategies that can be used within a traditional classroom or when teaching remotely. Eaton started her career in Wayne Township as a second grade teacher, and also taught online for Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in its Learning By Design Master’s program and the undergraduate education program. Eaton is a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) and was recently named a NextGeneration Leader by EdScoop and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and a Leader to Learn From by Education Week. She currently serves as past-president for ISTE’s Online and Blended Learning Network, and as conference chair for ISTE’s Indiana affiliate organization, Indiana Connected Educators. She earned ISTE’s Making IT Happen award in 2020 and ISTE’s President’s Volunteer Service award several years in a row. In addition to focusing on personalizing instruction through online learning, much of her work centers on transforming adult learning to showcase how technology and online learning can have a positive impact for all.

Diana Gill, East Porter County School Corporation
Dr. Marcus Vu, Fulton County Schools

Dr. Marcus Vu has been an educator innovating in online learning since 2013. Having previously worked at Florida Virtual School, Dr. Vu has worked both as an online teacher and a subject matter expert for World Languages helping the curriculum team maintaining existing courses and developing courses for credit recovery and critical thinking. Dr. Vu then moved to Fulton County Schools where he has served as program specialist and coordinator of virtual learning. He now is the inaugural principal of the Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence.

John Watson, Evergreen Education Group
Claudio Zavala Jr.

Claudio Zavala Jr. is a digital designer for the Burleson Independent School District in Texas.. He’s passionate about fostering creativity in the classroom and using digital tools to engage learners. He also enjoys helping individuals, entrepreneurs and small-business owners create their designs and build their brands. Zavala has presented at a number of national and regional conferences, including the ISTE Conference & Expo, SXSWEdu, the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) and the TCEA Convention & Exposition, and his work has been featured in Toggle and EdTech Magazine. He’s also experienced in social media management, something he learned to do as part of I Am Claudius, his digital media consulting company. An Adobe Education Leader, Adobe Creative Educator, Certified Alpha Squirrel, Flipgrid Ambassador and Participate Community Advisor, Zavala enjoys photography and videography, and growing his YouTube channel. He’s also a professional musician, master woodworker and graphic designer.

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