A recently launched ‘digital experience’ is endeavoring to mitigate the effects of summer learning loss — a phenomenon EverFi, Inc, a D.C.-based education technology company, says afflicts K-12 students during the summer months when educational engagement is at a minimum.
The online program, ‘Verano — Summer LearningTM’, will aim to develop its participants skills in small chunks over the course of the summer. Age-tailored subject sets include math reinforcement, literacy, STEM readiness, financial wellness, civic education and digital citizenship, according to an EverFi press statement released last week.
The company announced the Verano launch at the TED2014 Conference in Vancouver, Canada this past weekend.
EverFi Chief Executive Officer Tom Davidson said engagement is the key to closing the achievement gap that widens during the summer months when students tend to experience decreases in their academic abilities due to a lack of exposure to educational content.
“Summer learning loss is the great open space of education,” Davidson said. “To close the widening achievement gap, we must close the summer engagement gap. The only options cannot be poorly funded remediation programs or pure entertainment options. We launched EverFi at TED six years ago, and we return to this innovative community to champion and fill this open space with real learning.”
Students most at risk for knowledge-loss are those from lower-income communities, and EverFi says unequal access to summer learning opportunities between higher and lower income youth during the elementary school years can explain two-thirds of the achievement gap that manifests itself among 9th graders.
“While there is significant national and state focus on evolving school year core curriculum, there is limited attention and financial investment to make summer a productive and engaging learning experience, especially for low-income students,” EverFi wrote in the statement.
Verano will in addition to its web and mobile experience allow students to opt-in for motivational components that allow them to virtually share their progress with school mentors and family members.
The program is set to roll out this summer among ten pre-selected communities in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, southern Alabama, Los Angeles and the Mississippi Delta, with more than 200 communities anticipated to gain access to the program in 2015.