School systems worldwide are struggling to figure out if, when, and how to re-open schools. Educational planning during a pandemic is no easy task, especially when there is little evidence that can be used to guide policy.

Most children are now out of school because of the pandemic. How should we think about teaching and learning during the crisis? How can we ensure the basic needs of students continue to be met out of school? And can digital learning teach the whole child?

My guest today is Armand Doucet, one of the world’s foremost pracademics and teachers in education for the Digital Age. He has recently co-written a report with Deborah Netolicky, Koen Timmers, and Francis Jim Tuscano entitled Thinking about pedagogy in an unfolding pandemic: an independent report on approaches to distance learning during Covid 19 School Closures.

I spoke with Armand from his home where he was taking care of his son while speaking with me.

Blaise Pascal, the 17th Century French mathematician and physicist, once wrote “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” As people and governments around the world are wondering whether or not to self-isolate to stop the spread of covid-19, Pascal’s adage has become more pertinent than ever.

As we grapple with our new world, I wanted to bring you a special episode of FreshEd. With me is Yaneer Bar-Yam, a physicist, systems scientist, and founding president of the New England Complex Systems Institute. Yaneer has spearheaded, which aims to minimize the impact of Covid-19 by providing useful data and guidelines for action.

In our conversation, Yaneer discusses what different countries are doing in response to the virus and talks specifically about children and whether or not they should be in school.

Citation: Bar-Yam, Yaneer, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 192, podcast audio, March 17, 2020.

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