Q&A: Maxine McKinney de Royston says virtual instruction is a chance to “reimagine education”

Scott Girard:

Maxine McKinney de Royston has a pair of perspectives on virtual learning.

The parent of three is also an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, seeing the clash between the reality of what the Madison Metropolitan School District is implementing and what she considers best practices.

MMSD has moved to a nearly full-day schedule of live, remote instruction this fall after its unexpected transition to virtual learning in the spring, when students were learning through screens for fewer hours. McKinney de Royston is concerned the fall plan has “gone a little too far” in requiring too much active screen time. 

“I feel like it’s just gone too far to the over-planning side and the over-structured side, which is unfortunate, but I also understand that there’s competing needs,” she said during the first week of school. “There’s the needs by the Department of Public Instruction to get a certain number of instructional minutes. And so everybody’s between a rock and a hard place.

“It’s just as somebody who studies learning I’m like, ‘No!’”

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