The Lutheran Education
Futures Forum

Co-creating a vibrant future for Lutheran education in a digital age.

The pilot cohorts for the Lutheran Education Digital Futures & Learning Fellowship have been selected! We will announce the inaugural participants soon. In the meantime, we are keeping the application open for schools that want to be on the waiting list for the next round of cohorts.

"This is about each Lutheran school creating a digital learning vision that will expand its mission to include new modalities that can serve present and future students and families. 2020 is the year to plan and act."

In partnership with the Lutheran Education Association, the Lutheran Education Futures Forum is offering a Lutheran school fellowship program to equip Lutheran school leaders, board members, and educators as they strive to live out their school mission in view of the post digital revolution and aimed toward a bright potential future.

Each participating school will complete the fellowship with a deeper understanding of the current challenges and opportunities, a greater awareness of digital learning and future possibilities, a school-specific vision for digital learning, and a plan to make that vision a reality over the next 6-12 months.

While there is no charge for participants, there are only eight school spots available in each fellowship cohort.

This offers an outline of the fellowship, workshop dates and times, benefits, and responsibilities.

Complete this short application for one of eight spots in each of the two pilot fellowship cohorts.

Background

The 2019 COVID-19 pandemic caught many Lutheran schools by surprise. By necessity, school leaders and teachers rapidly responded by moving lessons and learning activities online. In some instances, this shift happened in a matter of days. Even those with more advance notice rushed to make this shift in three or fewer weeks.

Responses in public education ranged from cancelling school for the remainder of the school year to also making the shift to finishing the semester through remote learning tools. For Lutheran schools, most of which are largely or entirely tuition-dependent, cancelling the rest of the semester, especially if that meant reimbursing tuition, appeared to be a financial impossibility.

At the same time, many Lutheran teachers and school leaders around the world found themselves scrambling to develop new teaching and technology skills. While traditional instructional designers and online programs sometimes spend hundreds of hours carefully designing a single course for online learning, these teachers, most with limited to no formal training in the research and best practices in online learning, had the charge of making the change in far less time with significantly less support and infrastructure. School leaders and teachers embraced the necessity of this work and invested extended time and hours to make the change, but it was less than a week before many longed for the day when they could be physically together with their students once again.

While many hope that the pandemic will diminish and life can return to normal, that is only one possible future. Even if this situation is rectified in the next weeks or months, the present challenge highlights the value of strategic thinking, planning, and visioning for each Lutheran school. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the value of strategic planning and visioning, engaging in deep, careful, strategic, imaginative, and mission-minded planning and preparation; building a robust digital learning vision and strategy for their school.

This is not about putting courses, lessons, and content online with the hope of everything going back to a post-pandemic normal. This is about each Lutheran school creating a digital learning vision that will expand its mission to include new modalities that can serve present and future students and families. 2020 is the year to plan and act. A large part of the future of Lutheran education may depend upon this Lutheran education digital futures and visioning work. The solution is not to move Lutheran schools online. Rather, it is to incorporate a robust digital learning vision and strategy that will strengthen and expand the existing mission of Lutheran schools while also creating new opportunities.