Van Andel Institute adapts teacher programs to support learning in virtual and “blended” environments

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 8, 2020) — Van Andel Institute for Education is helping teachers prepare for the coming school year by adapting its programs to support education in new learning environments.

Now, more than ever, students need authentic learning experiences that are meaningful, memorable and fun — and teachers must be prepared to do that with physical, distant or “blended” instruction.

To equip teachers with the tools they need to keep curiosity, creativity and critical thinking alive, VAI is supplementing its Flex PD by adding virtual options. Similarly, the Institute’s Blue Apple™ projects will now include guidance for virtual and blended learning.

A breakdown of these offerings follows:

Flex PD

  • Full-day workshops can be delivered in person or in a series of three 2-hour virtual meetings.
  • Sessions can be delivered as 1-hour in-person or virtual meetings.
  • Coaching can be conducted in person or virtually. Duration is dependent on your needs.

Blue Apple Projects

  • Projects include guidance for implementing in a blended learning environment where students alternate days in class and learning from home, as well as a fully distant learning environment where students are completely outside of the classroom.
  • Modified projects available for 100% virtual environments.

Classrooms may have to change, but the need to engage students in making the world a better place has not. VAI is here to help teachers succeed.


Van Andel Institute (VAI) is committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations through cutting edge biomedical research and innovative educational offerings. Established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1996 by the Van Andel family, VAI is now home to more than 400 scientists, educators and support staff, who work with a growing number of national and international collaborators to foster discovery. The Institute’s scientists study the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translate their findings into breakthrough prevention and treatment strategies. Our educators develop inquiry-based approaches for K-12 education to help students and teachers prepare the next generation of problem-solvers, while our Graduate School offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology. Learn more at