Academia needs a reality check: Life is not back to normal — from sciencemag.org by June Gruber, Jay J. Van Bavel , William A. Cunningham, Leah H. Somerville, Neil A. Lewis, Jr.; with special thanks to Dr. Kate Byerwalter for this resource

Excerpts:

The problems don’t end there. Many academics are also grappling with ongoing racial injustices and associated protests, wildfires, and hurricanes. We continue to see widespread effects on mental health, with roughly one-third of Americans reporting symptoms of clinical depression or anxiety. June and her colleague recently described the escalating mental health crisis as the next biggest coronavirus challenge.

We have struggled with our own mental and physical well-being—as well as challenges associated with canceled vacations, lack of child care, the illnesses and death of people close to us, and the mental weight of difficult conversations about racial injustices. We’ve also been worrying about our trainees and the undergraduate students in our classes. The academic and non-academic job markets have cratered, and some of our colleagues and students have lost internships and job offers as organizations have been forced to cut expenses.

Expecting the same output as in previous years, even though many people have less time and more stress than ever, is not a sustainable or humane solution. The world is not normal—so the way we do science cannot be normal either.

 

 

From DSC:
Along these lines…

Sometimes, I think we need to be very careful with Artificial Intelligence (#AI) — which elements of it and which applications of it that we use in our society and which we don’t move forward with. But in the case of cloud-based learning profiles (some might say competency profiles), AI makes sense. Algorithms could make sense. Data mining could make sense.

A cloud-based learning profile might not make sense always to us — as it could be very large indeed. But AI-based algorithms could assist with finding appropriate matches between jobs, competencies, passions, skills, and candidates.

Such services will likely be part of a next-gen learning platform.

 

Arc, Spiral, and Curve Bookshelves — from theawesomer.com by Brianna Kufa

Arc, Spiral, and Curve Bookshelves -- from theawesomer.com by Brianna Kufa

 

Heatherwick Studio designs flood-resilient park The Cove for San Francisco — from dezeen.com by Eleanor Gibson

Heatherwick Studio designs flood-resilient park The Cove for San Francisco -- from dezeen.com by Eleanor Gibson

Excerpt:

Slated for completion in 2026, The Cove is intended to provide a new hub of activity while addressing rising sea levels threatening the waterfront site and also consideration [of] its history.

From DSC:
Many years ago, my wife and I spent several years out in the San Francisco Bay area. I was there to go through SFSU’s Multimedia Studies Program. I have many good memories from our time out there. I hope to be able to take that road trip in 2026!

 

Livestreamed Chemistry Labs Keep Learning Real — Mistakes, Spills and All — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

To keep students engaged, the synchronous sessions include small-group breakout sessions and on-the-spot activities like having students name compounds; balance chemical equations; predict the outcomes of experiments; and calculate masses, amounts and concentrations for the chemicals used.

 

Civil Justice for All — from amacad.org

Excerpts:

This report calls for the legal profession, the courts, law schools, tech professionals, and partners from many other fields and disciplines to coordinate their efforts to provide necessary legal assistance to many more people in need. Past efforts to improve access to justice offer strong evidence that such an effort would have a profound effect on American society—measured in financial savings, greater trust in law and social institutions, and the safety and security of families and communities.

THE PROJECT’S SEVEN RECOMMENDATIONS ARE:

First, and above all, dedicate a consequential infusion of financial and human resources to closing the civil justice gap, and seek a significant shift in mindset—extending beyond lawyers the duty and capacity to assist those with legal need—to make genuine strides toward “justice for all”;

Secondincrease the number of legal services lawyers who focus on the needs of low-income Americans;

Thirdincrease the number of lawyers providing pro bono and other volunteer assistance, to supplement the corps of legal services lawyers;

Fourthbring many new advocates—service providers who are not lawyers—into the effort to solve civil justice problems;

Fifthfoster greater collaboration among legal services providers and other trusted professionalssuch as doctors, nurses, and social workers;

Sixthexpand efforts to make legal systems easier to understand and use through the simplification of language, forms, and procedures and the wider use of technology; and

Seventhcreate a national team, or even a new national organization, to coordinate the efforts listed above, collect much-needed data on the state of civil justice, and help identify and publicize effective innovations that improve access.

 

[Re: online-based learning] The Ford Model T from 1910 didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! [Christian]

From DSC:
Per Wikipedia, this is a 1910 Model T that was photographed in Salt Lake City:

The Ford Model T didn't start out looking like a Maserati from 2021!

 

This is what online/virtual learning looks like further down the road. Our journey has just begun.

From DSC:
The Ford Model T didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! Inventions take time to develop…to be improved…for new and further innovations and experiments to take place.

Thinking of this in terms of online-based learning, please don’t think we’ve reached the end of the road for online-based learning. 

The truth is, we’ve barely begun our journey.

 


Two last thoughts here


1 ) It took *teams* of people to get us to the point of producing a Maserati like this. It will take *teams* of people to produce the Maserati of online-based learning.

2) In terms of online-based learning, it’s hard to say how close to the Maserati that we have come because I/we don’t know how far things will go. But this I do know: We have come a looooonnnnnggggg ways from the late 1990s! If that’s what happened in the last 20 years — with many denying the value of online-based learning — what might the next 5, 10, or 20 years look like when further interest, needs, investments, etc. are added? Then add to all of that the momentum from emerging technologies like 5G, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, bots, algorithms, and more!


From DSC:
To drive the point home, here’s an addendum on late 9/29/20:

Mercedes-Benz Shares Video of Avatar Electric Car Prototype

 

From DSC: What if each learner/ person/ student could have a lifelong, cloud-based “tribute” site? [Christian]


From DSC: What if each learner/person/student could have a lifelong, cloud-based “tribute” site?

What if you could hire a career coach to sift through the tributes to find common themes?


From DSC:
I recently asked friends and family to help me celebrate a significant birthday for my wife by creating a tribute for her — using a service called Tribute.co. It was a fun, meaningful, relational experience — it opened the doors to some great communications.

Check out tribute.co -- what if each learner could have a lifelong, cloud-based tribute?

Here’s a video that describes what a Tribute is (from the company of that same name).

So I put out potential suggestions for what I hoped that we could relay to my wife, and people contributed their videos. Then a person at Tribute edited the videos to come up with a highlight reel. They also presented to my wife all of the videos, not just the highlight reel.

That got me to wonder, “What if each learner had a cloud-based, lifelong tribute site that parents, guardians, grandparents, teachers, coaches, musical directors, pastors, friends, and others could leave encouraging and instructive messages on? Or when they note something that might be of use later on in terms of career selection, they could “jot it down.” For example:

  • [First-grade teacher] “I noticed Anne that when we did the art projects, you were enthralled with any sort of creative endeavor or project. We almost lost you in another world!”
  • [Family member] “Tony, I’ve noticed ____. Here’s something to consider for your future pathways. Would you be interested in exploring _____ — such as if we signed you up for some lessons in that area?”
  • [Eight grade teacher] “Eloise, I saw that your engagement level skyrocket when we studied ____, especially when you did the project on ___.”
  • [Basketball coach] “Chan, I appreciated your hard work in practice today. Keep up the good work and you will be a super player! You are fast, strong, and seem to have a competitive spirit about you. Consider making a workout chart and charting out the workouts that you do each day. Monitor your progress over time. As of today, here are some apps to do just that: ___.
  • [Pastor] “So glad Amanda that you were able to join us on our youth group visit to ___. I appreciated your end-of-the-day reflections on the experiences of the day. I also appreciated your hard work helping others.”
  • [Friend] “It was great horsing around on Garageband with you today Zach. I look forward to diving into iMovie next with you. Let’s create a movie for each other. You seem to have a very creative side to you.”
  • [High school CS Teacher] “Keep up the good work programming Jeremy! I hope that you will consider going into some type of job that uses critical thinking, mathematics, problem-solving — perhaps it will be programming, perhaps it will be engineering, or something else.”
  • [College professor/advisor] “You mentioned that you hate college to me the last two times we met. You don’t seem happy studying ___. Have you considered ____?”
  • [Tennis coach] Remember to bend those knees…get low. Keep your eyes on the seams of the ball.”

The idea behind such a service would be to offer encouragement, feedback, (if carefully put) constructive criticism, a message that “I’m on your team”…and/or…”Here’s what I see in you.”


Additional functionality/options


  • Contributors:
    • Like Twitter imposes a limit on characters, there could be options to impose a time limit on the length of a video, ability to add more than one video, and/or set a limit on how many videos someone can upload
    • If submitting a written piece, the option would be there to limit the number of characters and/or the word count.
  • From learners themselves (to their own tribute)
    • No time limit, no word count or character limit
    • Would act like a multimedia-based diary/journal of learning
    • Option to select whether might be worth re-listening to for career selection purposes.
 

How to Maintain Peace in Your School Pod — from nytimes.com by Katherine Cusumano
‘It’s important to approach this with the idea that there’s no ideal situation. If there were, we’d all be doing it.’

Excerpt:

Most disagreements, according to Waine Tam, a founder of Selected for Families, an online service that matches families and slearning pods with qualified teachers, “tend to come up front.” Having frank discussions early on might make finding suitable podmates and forming a pod more difficult — but they can also contribute to the long-term success of the group, if you approach them with sensitivity and flexibility.

 

DIY Checklist to Set Up Your In-Home Learning Pod — from families.getselected.com

 

Olympia parents form ‘co-op style’ learning pods to support kids without a price tag — from theolympian.com vby Katie Hayes

 

Unschooling: The New School — from risingkashmir.com
The term unschooling was coined in the 1970s and used by educator John Holt, who is regarded as the father of unschooling

  • Unschooled kids pursue Self-Directed Learning as they are free to choose what they want to learn and who they want to learn from
  • Unschooling is becoming a trend in urban India with Bengaluru and Pune leading the chart
    Learning is entirely interest driven not dictated or directed by an external curriculum, by teachers or by parents
  • Socialization, development and isolation are some of the demerits of unschooling
  • Unschooling community is not claiming that their education model is better than regular schools but say that the latter is fundamentally flawed
  • An individual’s calibre is what makes him/her a creator of circumstances or a creature of circumstances
 

College Admissions in a Covid Year: SATs Are Out, Personal Stories Are In — from wsj.com by Douglas Belkin
The pandemic has dramatically changed what admissions officers are looking for

 

 

How Do You Make Zoom Breakout Rooms Less Boring? — from edsurgey.com by Bonni Stachowiak (Columnist)

Excerpt:

My first recommendation was to keep the breakout room time-frames short. If we allocate too much time, some groups will be done with the exercise with lots of time left, which can lead to social awkwardness. My preference is to have a few, shorter breakouts instead of one long one.

The second recommendation I had was around making the students’ work more visible when they are in the breakout rooms—through the use of an editable, shared document of some kind.

 

How to Engage Students (and Identify Them) — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

“The lessons that created the most engaging experiences for students often were a combination of opportunities that encouraged discussion, gave students learning choices and allowed students to create. These elements are immensely transferable both in the online and in-person classroom and can facilitate a positive learning environment, whether in a synchronous or asynchronous setting.”

The report is available with an email address through the GoGuardian website.

Go Guardian's 2020: State of Engagement Report

 

We’re All New This Year: How Advice for Rookie Teachers Can Help Everyone During Virtual Learning — from kqed.org by Kara Newhouse

Excerpt:

How can I teach music if the kids aren’t allowed to sing indoors? How will lag time affect group singing online? How will I make students feel seen and heard via Zoom? Those were some of the questions that elementary music teacher Angela Carpenter spent her summer trying to figure out. Though she would be entering her 15th year of teaching, it was like being new to the job. “No one has done this before. Even the teaching that we’re doing now is so vastly different than what we did in the spring,” she said, “because that was panic teaching.”

She’s not alone with that thought.

 

Learning in the Cloud: Canada’s First University to Move Operations into One Secure Cloud Infrastructure Sets the Stage for the Future of Learning — from globenewswire.com by Athabasca University
Athabasca University (AU) lays the groundwork to build a more accessible and personalized future for post-secondary learners

Excerpt:

Edmonton, Alberta, Sept. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At a time when you can personalize everything from your online shopping experience to your dating prospects, it seems only reasonable to ask: why can’t students “swipe right” on their course load? Why can’t a degree be structured around what someone wants to learn or how they learn, instead of what’s traditionally part of the program? In other words, why isn’t it possible to choose your own adventure in a university environment?

Athabasca University (AU), Canada’s Online University, recently completed a six-month rapid cloud migration project with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to construct a secure, flexible, and global infrastructure required to make personalized learning an infinitely scalable reality. With the completion of its cloud migration project, AU became the first post-secondary institution in Canada to move its entire digital operations infrastructure into its own secure AU cloud environment powered by AWS.

 

Personalized Learning Is Special Education and the Time Is Now — from gettingsmart.com by Karla Phillips-Krivickas and Rebecca Midles

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Educators have long recognized that the education strategies that work for students with additional needs would benefit all kids. These personalized learning strategies are, in fact, best practices for all students. Yet we continue to design our schools for the ‘average’ student. And then we wonder why there is so much frustration when we try to fit the proverbial square pegs into round holes.

You may assume the line between general and special education is clear, but it is quite blurry. Special education was never intended to be a separate system. It was designed to facilitate access to general education. Unfortunately, disability labels can now act as fuzzy barriers separating those who qualify for individualized instruction and those who do not. And this is the problem: the one size fits all approach to education doesn’t account for students’ differences or preferences unless they have a disability.

From DSC:
Exactly the experience our family has had as well. The K-12 education train stops for no one and moves quickly.  To *^*^ with mastery. To *^*^ with the love of learning — or even the slightest liking of it.

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

Let us not come out of this crisis with the same systems and ways of doing things. Time for greater innovation, experimentation, and invention to take place!

 

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