Indiana Launches eLearning Lab

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INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business): Indiana’s public and private school teachers have a new, free tool at their disposal as they face the challenge and uncertainty of remote learning in the upcoming school year.

A consortium of groups, including the College Football Playoff Foundation, has announced the launch of the Indiana eLearning Lab.

The online resource provides educators a virtual hub for access to content, sharing best practices and professional growth.

“As eLearning becomes part of the new normal, educators and families across the state need enriching content, opportunities for collaboration, professional development and technical assistance so they can address common challenges and help students thrive in a remote learning environment,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and chief executive officer of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, who serves as an advisory member of the Indianapolis eLearning Fund.

The Indianapolis eLearning Fund, a collaboration of Indianapolis civic, philanthropic and corporate partners, developed the lab and will invest $1.6 million in its operations.

The lab is also getting support from the local College Football Playoff host committee and the CFP Foundation. The national collegiate football championship game will be played in Indianapolis in January 2022.

The organizations made an $800,000 gift to the eLearning Lab as part of their legacy program, which they establish in each home city where the championship game is played.

“We’re more excited about this than anything else we’ve ever done because it’s most relevant,” said Britton Banowsky, executive director of the College Football Playoff Foundation. “We have learned from teachers over the last 90 days that their worlds have been rocked and they’ve had to evolve.”

He said the evolution to remote and distance learning has been hard on parents, students and teachers “but they have risen up and are heroes.”

According to the Indiana eLearning Fund, a survey conducted in May showed 90% of teachers are interested in accessing virtual professional development and 93% are interested in connecting with other educators to discuss approaches or resources for eLearning.

More than 80% of respondents reported challenges keeping students engaged in eLearning, highlighting why it’s critical to prioritize resources, connectivity and training.

“The Indianapolis eLearning Fund developed the Indiana eLearning Lab as a way to address these needs on a statewide scale. We’re so grateful that the CFP Foundation has partnered with us to make possible this hub to support Hoosier teachers and students,” said Fiddian-Green.