From DSC:
I’m very grateful for the teachers that I’ve had in my life as well as for the teachers that our children have had throughout their lives! (This goes for the coaches and pastors that have been in our lives as well!) Many of those teachers really went the extra mile — making personal sacrifices while they contributed the additional time and efforts that it took to get the job done.

Teaching and learning is messy and very tough work.  For example, it’s very difficult — if not impossible — to simultaneously provide personalized/customized learning to 25-30+ students (and to do so every day)!

  • Not every student has the same prior knowledge.
  • Not every student has the same capabilities; some students have additional/special needs to help them learn.
  • Not every student learns at the same pace.
  • Not every student has the same goals.
  • Not every student has the same interests and/or passions.

The job can be very stressful, for a variety of reasons — one of which is that teachers have to deal with all kinds of agendas that are simultaneously coming at them.

So thank you to all the teachers out there who are making significant contributions to others’ lives.

Thank you for your service to others!

#TeacherAppreciationWeek2018

 

Special Education by the Numbers: A Look into Today’s Schools — with thanks to Caroline Linne and to USC Rossier’s Masters in Teaching online program

From DSC:
Here are a couple of excerpts from their infographic:

 

 

 

 

 

The problem with hurrying childhood learning — from edweek.org by Justin Minkel

Excerpts:

When he lectured in the United States, Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget would invariably get what he called “the American question” from a member of the audience. After he had explained various developmental phases that young children go through in their understanding of concepts like length and volume, someone would raise their hand and ask, “How can we accelerate a child’s progress through the stages?”

Baffled, Piaget would explain that there is absolutely no advantage to speeding up a child’s progression. The point of knowing the stages is to be aware of what stage a child is in, so that we can create the conditions and offer the guidance to help her move to the next one. It’s not a race.

One of the most insidious results of the testing madness afflicting education has been an emphasis on speeding toward a particular outcome—a reading level, a cut score—without taking the time to ask what is sacrificed in that rush.

We need, of course, to pay attention to academic growth. It’s one thing for a child to be below grade-level or to be on a trajectory toward catching up over the next couple of years. It’s a fundamentally different situation when a child is virtually flat-lining in his progress, or is making such slow growth that if he continues at that rate, he won’t become a proficient reader in time to acquire the content and confidence he’ll need to thrive in school.

But I see too many kids who are hurried and harried toward the level they’re “supposed” to be on by the end of a given grading period, with too little attention given to the path they’re walking to get there. I see children begin to define themselves by test scores, grades, and how quickly they’re leapfrogging from one level to the next.

Here are two ways that teachers, parents, and administrators can take a deep breath and see past the timetables set by adults to the particular journeys of the children themselves.

But here’s the critical point about their progress: that growth is a positive side effect, not the end goal, of the block of time we call the “Wild Reading Rumpus.” The true purpose of that reading time is for my students to come to love reading, so that they will lead richer lives—not just in the future, when they go on to college or a career, but in the present.

 

When we celebrated their perseverance and hard work, I had children stand and be applauded not according to how high their score was, but according to how much growth they had made.

 

 

From DSC:
I just thought this was an excellent essay.

Too often K-12 education in the United States is like a run-away train. When the train’s leaving the station, you better hop on board. It waits for no one. Its speed is set. You better keep up. Good luck to those who don’t. “Best wishes!” our system cries out.

 

 

 

What online teachers have learned from teaching online — from insidehighered.com by Mark Lieberman
Online instructors offer wisdom they’ve gathered — what to do and what not to do — from years of experience teaching in the modality.

Excerpts:

When I first began teaching online, I noticed a disconnect between students and the course content. While I worked to make it relevant to their lives, I often saw students doing the work simply for the grade. Clearly something was not translating. In the last year, I’ve become more focused on helping students connect their passions to the course content. My courses still have objectives. However, I ask students when the semester starts to identify one to three goals and create a short video about what they want to achieve in the course. They reflect on these goals and can modify them at the midpoint and the end. During the semester, I ask students to consider what they are doing during the week to help them meet their goals. They don’t always need to share this information, but having this as a thread in the course helps them stay connected to the content and each other. Students are aware of what their colleagues’ goals are and often reach out and share ideas and resources in support. [Hall]


I also began to see that teaching online could support learner variability better than teaching in a classroom. I observed one student with dyslexia express herself eloquently in video, while her written expressions were fragmented. These experiences illuminated the value of Universal Design for Learning, opening a new world of opportunities for teaching online. [Brock]

I’ve been teaching online since 2008 and entirely online since 2013. When I first started teaching online, I was afraid to create new content or change the course in any way once the course launched. I thought the course curriculum and online environment had to stay “frozen” and intact or I would risk confusing students. Now, I create additional tutorials as needed, using screen-casting tools, videos and podcasts to add additional content to assist students. I have also since learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to online teaching and learning. Some students prefer basic content and straightforward assignments. Other students like to interact with the instructor through instant messaging, email and discussion boards. I started doing optional webinars for students who wanted more interaction and personalized learning, but I don’t require them. I find that the same group of online students in each course (who enjoy interaction) usually attend the webinars. The webinars are recorded for students who couldn’t attend or prefer the recording format.

Over all, I’ve learned to be more laid-back, multimodal (e.g., webinars, podcasts, etc.), proactive and flexible for my students.

Semingson

 

 

There need to be more active learning activities in an online course.

Greenlaw

 


In a typical class, students talk only to the instructor and each other. Resources, questions and information that are created and shared rarely transition to the next course. In true community, all students and instructors within a program could regularly access information and ideas in a shared space regardless of the content they are currently learning. [Hall]

There are numerous tools and strategies for interacting with students, like web-conferencing platforms, course audio and video tools, and collaborative tools that allow for synchronous or asynchronous interaction. There are simply more ways to communicate, to collaborate and to create. [Hobgood]

Insert from DSC:
Re: this last quote from Hobgood, I love this idea of creating an online-based community of practice — or community of inquiry — that spans across classes and semesters. Great call!

 

Efforts to improve student access to online courses are key, but we also know that equity gaps get worse when minority students learn online. We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Relationships are at the core of meaningful college experiences and they’re particularly important to underserved students who are more likely to doubt their academic abilities. Underserved online students need the presence of an engaged instructor. If you teach online, your human presence matters. This has been my greatest takeaway from 15 years of teaching online and, perhaps, more striking is that this point still seems revolutionary to so many.

Pacansky-Brock

 

 

 

Addendum:
7 Steps to Better Online Teaching — from chronicle.com by Esther C. Kim

Excerpt:

Provide suggestions for a strong classroom climate. At the start of the semester, I offer ways for students to stay engaged in an online classroom environment, and I explain the importance of remaining on camera and on audio. Without a proper explanation, students mistakenly think that they can multitask during live class sessions. Among the tips I offer them:

  • Refrain from opening email, texting, or browsing the web.
  • Choose a space where you don’t encounter distractions, which could include family members, laundry, dirty dishes, or a busy street outside your window.
  • Avoid sitting on a comfortable couch or bed.
  • Pay close attention to peers’ comments and ask yourself if you agree or disagree, and why. Add to the dialogue by sharing your thoughts.
  • Avoid taking class from coffee shops or other public spaces. The background noise can create a distraction both for you and for the entire class. Also, internet connections may be inconsistent in public spaces.

Don’t use the chat box when you can speak instead. On my university’s platform, there’s a chat box in which students can type messages in real time. This could be a useful tool if used properly. But I often find it difficult to simultaneously read the chat box while listening to a student who’s speaking. The same goes for when I am speaking and someone is typing comments or questions in the chat box. If there’s a robust dialogue happening among a few of the students and others want to interject, they can place their comments in the chat box. Otherwise, I ask that they take advantage of the face-to-face online time by verbalizing their questions or comments.

From DSC:
Esther’s point on how difficult it is to both read/respond to the chat area while also trying to listen to someone else speaking is a great example of cognitive load — and it being overwhelmed with too much information to process at one time.

 

 

Grand Rapids Community College offers free laptop vending machine — from mlive.com by Monica Scott

Excerpt:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) is among higher education institutions providing free laptop vending machines to give students greater access to technology and more flexibility.

Retrieving a laptop from the machine is as quick and easy as grabbing chips from a vending machine. A student punches in their last name on the touchscreen, swipes their student ID, and out pops one of the 12 Dell laptops.

The fully charged computers are available for four hours. Students simply return them back to the machine when done. The machine automatically wipes it clean of their work and recharges it for the next person.

 

 

 

 

 

Augmented & Virtual Reality in Education
May 17th, 2018
In partnership with Oral Roberts University
Tulsa, OK

 

Description:

Over the past 12 months, Augmented and Virtual Reality technology has advanced in all sectors – with applications revolutionizing the interactions between human and machine, and humans and virtual reality.  In education in particular, AR and VR applications are rapidly changing the way we are learning, providing experiential learning by simulating real-world environments. AR and VR increases student engagement levels, and provides insights into what they will experience in various environments when they enter the workforce. The technology is particularly interesting for visual learners and students with learning challenges – providing alternatives to more traditional teaching methods.

A recent study shows that “93 percent of teachers say their students would be excited to use virtual reality and 83 percent say that virtual reality might help improve learning outcomes.”

Oral Roberts University and the Education Conference Network are pleased to partner on this exciting event – held at Oral Roberts University’s Global Learning Center, which is a world innovator and leader in AR/VR learning. The conference will provide delegates with a great opportunity to interact with the latest technologies, and see how they can be integrated within curriculum.

 

 

Also see:

Blockchain Essentials in Education
May 16th, 2018
In partnership with Oral Roberts University
Tulsa, OK

Description:

The Blockchain in Education Conference will enable education professionals to understand how blockchain technology such as cryptocurrency, smart contracts, distributed databases, and public ledgers are, and will continue to transform their sector. We are now seeing start-ups focusing on blockchain – whilst existing technology businesses are integrating blockchain technology into their overall offerings – building pilots and working with customers to develop roadmaps forward. The first blockchain was theorized by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and applied the following year as a key component of the digital currency bitcoin, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. A secure public ledger concept can be applied to almost all aspects of doing business whilst removing slow and outdated workflows. Using a peer-to-peer network and a distributed timestamping server, a blockchain database can be managed autonomously. Blockchain is the future business model of supply chain and can be applied to the entire education value chain. Are you ready to harness the capabilities of blockchain technology in education?

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Why aren’t we further along with lecture recording within K-12 classrooms?

That is, I as a parent — or much better yet, our kids themselves who are still in K-12 — should be able to go online and access whatever talks/lectures/presentations were given on a particular day. When our daughter is sick and misses several days, wouldn’t it be great for her to be able to go out and see what she missed? Even if we had the time and/or the energy to do so (which we don’t), my wife and I can’t present this content to her very well. We would likely explain things differently — and perhaps incorrectly — thus, potentially muddying the waters and causing more confusion for our daughter.

There should be entry level recording studios — such as the One Button Studio from Penn State University — in each K-12 school for teachers to record their presentations. At the end of each day, the teacher could put a checkbox next to what he/she was able to cover that day. (No rushing intended here — as education is enough of a run-away train often times!) That material would then be made visible/available on that day as links on an online-based calendar. Administrators should pay teachers extra money in the summer times to record these presentations.

Also, students could use these studios to practice their presentation and communication skills. The process is quick and easy:

 

 

 

 

I’d like to see an option — ideally via a brief voice-driven Q&A at the start of each session — that would ask the person where they wanted to put the recording when it was done: To a thumb drive, to a previously assigned storage area out on the cloud/Internet, or to both destinations?

Providing automatically generated close captioning would be a great feature here as well, especially for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

 

 

 

New push will help children meet individualized literacy goals in preschool — from news.ku.edu as posted by Brendan Lynch

Excerpt:

LAWRENCE — Researchers from the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project at the University of Kansas are improving kids’ response to literacy instruction in Kansas City area preschool classrooms.

The new program, called Literacy 360°, will train psychologists, early childhood special educators and teachers to individualize literacy interventions for children who are not making progress (sometimes due to disabilities or factors such as coming from a home where English isn’t the primary language).

The designers of the four-year project, funded by $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education, liken it to “personalized medicine” for literacy instruction.

“One of the challenges that teachers have is knowing what to do when individual young children aren’t making progress in learning their literacy skills,” said Charles Greenwood, director of Literacy 360°. “We see a gap in the information a teacher needs to make those decisions. In using direct observations of the classroom context and teacher talk-child response, a record of what the child and teacher were doing in the classroom can be provided back to teachers.”

To house this information, the Literacy 360° team uses is a classroom observational measure called “CIRCLE,” an acronym for Code for Interactive Recording of Children’s Learning Environment, a tool specifically designed to capture organizational and behavioral features of preschool classroom instruction to help guide intervention decisions.

 

 

 
 

eLearning: Predictions for 2018 — from news.elearninginside.com by Cait Etherington

Excerpts:

The educational technology sector grew substantially in 2017 and all signs point to even greater growth in 2018. Over the past year, the sector was buoyed by several key factors, including a growing recognition that as big data restructures work at an unprecedented pace, there is an urgent need to rethink how education is delivered. In fact, there is now growing evidence that colleges and universities, especially if they continue to operate as they have in the past, will simply not be able to produce the workers needed to fill tomorrow’s jobs. Ed tech, with its capacity to make education more affordable, flexible, and relevant, is increasingly being embraced as the answer to the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s growing talent pipeline challenges.

  • K-12 virtual schools will become a preferred choice
  • Voice-activation will transform the Learning Management System (LMS) sector
  • Data will drive learning
  • Higher ed will increase online course and program offerings

 


 

12 tech trends that will define 2018 — from businessinsider.com by Chris Weller

Excerpts:

No one can predict how the future will shake out, but we can make some educated guesses.

Global design and strategy firm frog has shared with Business Insider its forecasts for the technologies that will define the upcoming year. Last year, the firm correctly predicted that buildings would harness the power of nature and that businesses would continue using artificially-intelligent bots to run efficiently.

Get ready to step into the future.

  • Artificial intelligence will inspire how products are designed
  • Other companies will join Google in the ‘Algorithm Hall of Fame’
  • Virtual and augmented reality will become communal experiences
  • Democracy will cozy up to the blockchain
  • Augmented reality will invite questions about intellectual property
  • Consumer tech will feel even friendlier
  • Tech will become inclusive for all
  • Anonymous data will make life smarter but still private
  • Ultra-tiny robots will replace medicine for certain patients
  • The way we get around will fundamentally transform
  • Businesses will use data and machine learning to cater to customers
  • Social media will take on more corporate responsibility

 

 

 


 

 

 

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