Partnering With The University of Minnesota

A middle school student engages in classwork at a computer

New Code Academy presents a dynamic, flexible learning opportunity to meet the diverse needs of K-12 students throughout Minnesota. Supporting our licensed teachers at New Code Academy is the Learning + Technologies (L+T) Collaborative at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, leading a unique partnership in K-12 online learning.

“It’s important to realize that a lot of other online schools buy and use off-the-shelf curriculum. Bloomington took a different approach. They invested in people and capacity-building,” explains Lana Peterson, Director of Community Engagement and Course Coordinator at the L+T Collaborative. “There’s a community-based feel that comes from teachers writing their own curriculum, specifically designed for online learning. They’re making decisions in the moment, and we can help them do that.”

And the focus on creativity and problem-solving is unique. “The goal of the program is to position students as creators, to meet them where they're at,” Peterson notes. “Online learning can be highly personalized, more intimate in some ways because teachers can get to know their kids deeper and can learn more about their families.”

Using evidence-based practices and action-research program development, the L+T Collaborative conducts independent research on New Code Academy’s effectiveness and learning experience. By collecting data and providing insight to the New Code Academy team, “rapid cycles of feedback” help the program iterate and improve. 

“What we’re doing is building on a long-term partnership with Bloomington Public Schools focused on computer science,” she describes. “We’re translating research into practice, taking a look at what can be lofty education ideas or jargon and asking, what does that really look like for teachers?”

As New Code Academy continues to grow and build for the future, educational and technology partners such as the L+T Collaborative will play an invaluable role in supporting teachers, meeting the needs of students and enhancing student achievement.