7 Things You Should Know About Research on Active Learning Classrooms — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

Research into active learning classrooms (ALCs)—spaces explicitly designed to support and promote this kind of learning and pedagogy—is expanding. This research provides educators with insights about how best to implement active learning pedagogies and support learners in ALCs. Studying how pedagogy and physical space can influence each other, researchers assess how well design elements work and how they affect learning. Higher education needs to know why active learning works, how it works best, and how these methods can be adopted more widely. Research that shows the efficacy of ALCs helps advance the use of such spaces and informs improvements in the design of learning spaces.

That item also mentions:
A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classroom

 

 

7 Things You Should Know About AR/VR/MR — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

Augmented reality can be described as experiencing the real world with an overlay of additional computer generated content. In contrast, virtual reality immerses a user in an entirely simulated environment, while mixed or merged reality blends real and virtual worlds in ways through which the physical and the digital can interact. AR, VR, and MR offer new opportunities to create a psychological sense of immersive presence in an environment that feels real enough to be viewed, experienced, explored, and manipulated. These technologies have the potential to democratize learning by giving everyone access to immersive experiences that were once restricted to relatively few learners.

 

 

 

 

Myths and Facts About Flipped Learning — from er.educause.edu by Robert Talbert

Key Takeaways

  • The combination of rapidly-accumulating research on the effectiveness of active learning combined with improvements in technology have created an ideal environment for almost any instructor to move their courses from a traditional to a flipped model.
  • Many articles on flipped learning contain misconceptions that can lead potential practitioners into error or away from using flipped learning entirely, to the detriment of their students and themselves.
  • This article looks at some of the myths about flipped learning and provides contradictory facts about this pedagogical approach.

 

Flipped learning, sometimes called the “flipped classroom,” is a pedagogical approach which uses time and space in a different way from the way courses are typically taught. In traditional instruction, students’ first contact with new ideas happens in class, usually through direct instruction from the professor; after exposure to the basics, students are turned out of the classroom to tackle the most difficult tasks in learning — those that involve application, analysis, synthesis, and creativity — in their individual spaces. Flipped learning reverses this, by moving first contact with new concepts to the individual space and using the newly-expanded time in class for students to pursue difficult, higher-level tasks together, with the instructor as a guide.

Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach whose time has come. The combination of rapidly-accumulating research on the effectiveness of active learning combined with improvements in technology have created an ideal environment for almost any instructor to move their courses from a traditional to a flipped model. At the same time, despite its popularity and the efforts of groups like the Flipped Learning Network to explain and operationalize flipped learning, it remains a somewhat poorly-understood concept among many. Many published articles on flipped learning contain misconceptions that can lead potential practitioners into error or away from using flipped learning entirely, to the detriment of their students and themselves.

Let’s take a look at some of the myths about flipped learning and try to find the facts.

 

 

 

It’s Time for Student Agency to Take Center Stage — from gettingsmart.com by Marie Bjerede and Michael Gielniak

Excerpt:

Jason took ownership of his class project, exhibiting agency. Students who take ownership go beyond mere responsibility and conscientiously completing assignments. These students are focused on their learning, rather than their grade. They are genuinely interested in their work and are as likely as not to get up and work on a project on a Saturday morning, even though they don’t have to (and without considerations of extra credit.)

They complete their homework on time and may well go above and beyond, and they have interesting thoughts to add to classroom dialog. For many teachers, they are a joy to teach, but they are also the ones who may ask the hard questions and they may be quick to point out what they see as hypocrisy in the authority figures.

“Responsible” students, on the other hand, are compliant. Most teachers think they are a joy to teach. They complete their homework without fail, and pay attention and participate in class. These are the kids typically considered “good” students. They usually win most of the academic awards because they are thought of as the “best and brightest.”

Responsible students are concerned about their grades, and can be identified when they ask questions like::

  • “Will that be on the test?”
  • “How many words do I have to write?”
  • “What does it take to get an A?”

Students who take ownership, on the other hand ask questions like:

  • “There are several different viewpoints on this subject so why is that, and what does it mean?
  • “Is what you are teaching, or what is in my textbook, consistent with my research?”
  • “Why is this important?”

Compliance or agency? We need to decide.

 

 

The past decades have been the age of the responsible, compliant student. Students who used to be able to get into college and then immediately secure a good job. But the world and the workforce have changed.

 

 

 

 

 

Future Forward: The Next Twenty Years of Higher Education — from Blackboard with a variety of contributors

Excerpts:

As you read their reflections you’ll find several themes emerge over and over:

  • Our current system is unsustainable and ill-suited for a globally connected world that is constantly changing.
  • Colleges and universities will have to change their current business model to continue to thrive, boost revenue and drive enrollment.
  • The “sage on the stage” and the “doc in the box” aren’t sustainable; new technologies will allow faculty to shift their focus on the application of learning rather than the acquisition of knowledge.
  • Data and the ability to transform that data into action will be the new lifeblood of the institution.
  • Finally, the heart and soul of any institution are its people. Adopting new technologies is only a small piece of the puzzle; institutions must also work with faculty and staff to change institutional culture.

Some quotes are listed below.

 

“What’s more, next-generation digital learning environments must bridge the divide between the faculty-directed instructivist model our colleges and universities have always favored and the learner-centric constructivist paradigm their students have come to expect and the economy now demands.”

It will be at least 10 years before systems such as this become the standard rather than the exception. Yet to achieve this timeline, we will have to begin fostering a very different campus culture that embraces technology for its experiential value rather than its transactional expediency, while viewing education as a lifelong pursuit rather than a degree-driven activity.

Susan Aldridge

 

 

 

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing higher education right now?

A: I think it is a difficult time for decisionmakers to know how to move boldly forward. It’s almost funny, nobody’s doing five-year strategic plans anymore. We used to do ten-year plans, but now it’s “What’s our guiding set of principles and then let’s sort of generally go towards that.” I think it’s really hard to move an entire institution, to know how to keep it sustainable and serving your core student population. Trying to figure out how to keep moving forward is not as simple as it used to be when you hired faculty and they showed up in the classroom. It’s time for a whole new leadership model. I’m not sure what that is, but we have to start reimagining our organizations and our institutions and even our leadership.

Marie Cini

 

 

 

One of the things that is frustrating to me is the argument that online learning is just another modality. Online learning is much more than that. It’s arguably the most transformative development since the G.I. Bill and, before that, the establishment of land-grant universities. 

I don’t think we should underestimate the profound impact online education has had and will continue to have on higher education. It’s not just another modality; it’s an entirely new industry.

Robert Hansen

 

 

From DSC:
And I would add (to Robert’s quote above) that not since the printing press was invented close to 500 years ago have we seen such an enormously powerful invention as the Internet. To bypass the Internet and the online-based learning opportunities that it can deliver is to move into a risky, potentially dangerous future. If your institution is doing that, your institution’s days could be numbered. As we move into the future — where numerous societies throughout the globe will be full of artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, algorithms, business’ digital transformations, and more — your institutions’ credibility could easily be at stake in a new, increasingly impactful way. Parents and students will want to know that there’s a solid ROI for them. They will want to know that a particular college or university has the foundational/core competencies and skills to prepare the learner for the future that the learner will encounter.

 

 

 

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing higher education right now?

A: I think the biggest challenge is the stubborn refusal of institutions to acknowledge that the 20th century university paradigm no longer works, or at least it doesn’t work anymore for the majority of our institutions. I’m not speaking on behalf of our members, but I think it’s fair to say that institutions are still almost entirely faculty-centered and not market-driven. Faculty, like so many university leaders today who come from faculty ranks, are so often ill-equipped to compete in the Wild West that we’re seeing today, and it’s not their fault. They’re trained to be biologists and historians and philosophers and musicians and English professors, and in the past there was very little need to be entrepreneurial. What’s required of university leadership now looks very much like what’s required in the fastpaced world of private industry.

If you are tuition dependent and you haven’t figured out how to serve the adult market yet, you’re in trouble.

Robert Hansen

 

 

 

It’s not just enough to put something online for autodidacts who already have the time, energy, and prior skills to be able to learn on their own. You really need to figure out how to embed all the supports that a student will need to be successful, and I don’t know if we’ve cracked that yet.

Amy Laitinen

 

 

 

The other company is Amazon. Their recent purchase of Whole Foods really surprised everybody. Now you have a massive digital retailer that has made billions staying in the online world going backwards into brick-and-mortar. I think if you look at what you can do on Amazon now, who’s to say in three years or five years, you won’t say, “You know what, I want to take this class. I want to purchase it through Amazon,” and it’s done through Amazon with their own LMS? Who’s to say they’re not already working on it?

Justin Louder

 

 

 

 

We are focused on four at Laureate. Probably in an increasing order of excitement to me are game-based learning (or gamification), adaptive learning, augmented and virtual reality, and cognitive tutoring.

Darrell Luzzo

 

 

 

 

I would wave my hand and have people lose their fear of change and recognize that you can innovate and do new things and still stay true to the core mission and values. My hope is that we harness our collective energy to help our students succeed and become fully engaged citizens.

Felice Nudelman

 

 

 

 

 

Technology Moves to the Head of the 21st Century Classroom — from technologyreview.com

 

Tomorrow’s jobs will demand collaborative workers steeped in hands-on problem solving. To that end, digital learning is leveling the playing field for far-flung disadvantaged students who previously would have had no chance to be part of this new workforce, as well as boosting the skills of students and workers closer to home. Cloud, virtualization, and software-defined networking—along with consumer electronic devices—are among the many advanced technologies enabling this development.

 

Excerpt:

The potent combination of globalization and digital transformation is upending the requirements for tomorrow’s workforce, underscoring the need for programs like the VMware-powered curriculum at the LEAP school. Such digital learning initiatives shift emphasis away from rote book- and lecture-style teaching to interactive experiences focused on collaboration, personalized content, and hands-on problem solving. The ability to leverage core IT infrastructure such as virtualized servers, networking, and storage, in concert with mobile technology, enables students in remote communities from Diepsloot to rural America to participate in digital learning experiences to which they previously had no access.

New learning prototypes are critical as the accelerated pace of change disrupts traditional business models and creates new 21st century jobs that demand different skill sets. According to a World Economic report, 35 percent of core workplace skills will change between 2015 and 2020, with complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration in high demand. At the same time, the report found that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t currently exist, underscoring the need for new skills training using hands-on and exploratory learning techniques.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I appreciated hearing the perspectives from Bruce Dixon and Will Richardson this morning, as I listed to a webinar that they recently offered. A few key takeaways for me from that webinar — and with a document that they shared — were:

  • The world has fundamentally changed. (Bruce and Will also mentioned the new pace of change; i.e., that it’s much faster.)
  • We need to have more urgency about the need to reimagine school, not to try to improve the existing model.
  • “Because of the advent of the Web and the technologies we use to access it, learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”
  • There is a newfound capacity to take full control of one’s own learning; self-determined learning should be at the center of students’ and teachers’ work; co-constructed curriculum
  • And today, at a moment when learners of all ages have never had more agency over their own learning, schools must unlearn centuries old mindsets and practices and relearn them in ways that truly will serve every child living in the modern, connected world.
  • Will and Bruce believe that every educator — and district for that matter — should articulate their own “principles of learning”
  • Beliefs about how kids learn (powerfully and deeply) need to be articulated and consistently communicated and lived out
  • Everything we do as educators, administrators, etc. tells a story. What stories are we telling? (For example, what does the signage around your school building say? Is it about compliance? Is is about a love of learning? Wonder? What does the 20′ jumbo tron say about priorities? Etc.)
  • Bruce and Will covered a “story audit” and how to do one

 

“Learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”

Richardson & Dixon

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

These educators have decades worth of experience. They are pulse-checking their environments. They want to see students thrive both now and into the future. For these reasons, at least for me, their perspectives are highly worth reflecting upon.

 

 

 

Making a MOOC — from harvardmagazine.com by Jonathan Shaw

Excerpts:

Now, as one of a small number of Harvard faculty members each year whose course is selected to become a MOOC (a massive, online, open course), he is about to go global. Just 20 new courses are chosen by a faculty review committee annually, all of them ultimately offered to learners in at least one free version—part of Harvard’s commitment to improve access to education globally through HarvardX (HX), the University’s online course initiative. Hernán’s course is based on Epidemiology (EPI) 289: “Models for Causal Inference,” the core offering he’s taught for 14 years at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). Harvard Magazine accompanied Hernán during the making of his MOOC to find out what it takes to produce one, and how that compares to creating a traditional course.

Faculty members typically spend 96 to 142 hours helping produce and run an eight-week MOOC, according to HarvardX estimates. …But when complete, it will free him from much of the time and expense of traveling to teach this fundamental introductory material.

It takes a team of skilled professionals—HX employs a staff of about 45, including managers, videographers, graphic designers, digital editors, and even a copyright attorney and an accessibility coordinator (who helps make the materials usable for sight- and hearing-impaired learners)—to make each MOOC, at a cost that ranges widely, depending on the nature of the course and the sites of location shoots. This one cost about $100,000 to make.

Among the University’s goals in supporting the production of courses like Hernán’s is maximizing their “reach” as part of “Harvard’s contribution to a rising tide of education globally,” says HX faculty director Robert Lue.

A video lecture therefore becomes a short unit in which to make one point, “not five. Because if I try to make five points, I need 50 minutes.” The hooks—the real-world applications—mean that “I start each lesson by telling students why this is important, why they should keep watching….You are in a competition for attention…

 

“For example, it seems obvious, but there’s only one Miguel Hernán. And he can either teach a class of 70” once a year, “or develop this course that reaches many more around the world and across different disciplines.”

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Readers of this Learning Ecosystems blog will recognize the following graphic:

 

 

I have long believed that each of us needs to draw from the relevant streams of content that are constantly flowing by us — and also that we should be contributing content to those streams as well. Such content can come from blogs, websites, Twitter, LinkedIn, podcasts, YouTube channels, Google Alerts, periodicals, and via other means.

I’m a big fan of blogging and using RSS feeds along with feed aggregators such as Feedly. I also find that Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Alerts to be excellent means of tapping into — and contributing to — these streams of content. (See Jane Hart’s compilations to tap into other tools/means of learning as well.)

This perspective is echoed in the following article at the Harvard Business Review:

  • Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It — from hbr.org by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown
    Excerpt:
    Without diminishing the value of knowledge sharing, we would suggest that the most valuable form of learning today is actually creating new knowledge. Organizations are increasingly being confronted with new and unexpected situations that go beyond the textbooks and operating manuals and require leaders to improvise on the spot, coming up with new approaches that haven’t been tried before. In the process, they develop new knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work in specific situations. We believe the old, “scalable efficiency” approach to knowledge needs to be replaced with a new, more nimble kind of “scalable learning.” To foster the latter, managers should understand five essential distinctions…

 

We need to be constantly challenging our assumptions and beliefs about what is required to achieve impact because, as the world changes, what used to work in the past may no longer work. 

— Hagel and Brown

 

So whether you are working or studying within the world of higher education, or whether you are in the corporate world, or working in a governmental office, or whether you are a student in K-12, you need to be drawing from — and contributing your voice/knowledge to — streams of content.

In fact, in my mind, that’s what Training/L&D Departments should shift their focus to, as employees are already self-motivated to build their own learning ecosystems. And in the world of higher education, that’s why I work to help students in my courses build their own online-based footprints, while encouraging them to draw from — contribute to — these streams of content. As more people are becoming freelancers and consultants, it makes even more sense to do this.

 

 

But when we recognize that the environment around us is rapidly changing, skills have a shorter and shorter half-life. While skills are still necessary for success, the focus should shift to cultivating the underlying capabilities that can accelerate learning so that new skills can be more rapidly acquired. These capabilities include curiosity, critical thinking, willingness to take risk, imagination, creativity, and social and emotional intelligence. If we can develop those learning capabilities, we should be able to rapidly evolve our skill sets in ways that keep us ahead of the game.

— Hagel and Brown

 

 

 

Purdue Opens Combo Library/Active Learning Center — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

Purdue University students will be attending classes starting this week in a new “active learning center” that integrates flexible classroom and study spaces with library resources and a bakery. The university opened the four-level Thomas S. and Harvey D. Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) after two years of construction.

The center includes 27 active learning classrooms, some with a traditional setup of desks, and others with collaboration tables. The building also houses the Data Visualization Experience Lab of Purdue (D-VELoP) and the Hiler Theater, both of which offer room for classes as well as spaces for students to work in after class. An on-site Au Bon Pain bakery sells coffee and baked goods.

 

 

From DSC:
With 27 active learning classrooms (ALCs) in this new facility, this is a major endorsement of ALCs by Purdue.

 

 

Campus Technology 2017: Virtual Reality Is More Than a New Medium — from edtechmagazine.com by Amy Burroughs
Experts weigh in on the future of VR in higher education.

Excerpts:

“It’s actually getting pretty exciting,” Georgieva said, noting that legacy companies and startups alike have projects in the works that will soon be on the market. Look for standalone, wireless VR headsets later this year from Facebook and Google.

“I think it’s going to be a universal device,” he said. “Eventually, we’ll end up with some kind of glasses where we can just dial in the level of immersion that we want.”

— Per Emery Craig, at Campus Technology 2017 Conference


“Doing VR for the sake of VR makes no sense whatsoever,” Craig said. “Ask when does it make sense to do this in VR? Does a sense of presence help this, or is it better suited to traditional media?”

 

 

Virtual Reality: The User Experience of Story — from blogs.adobe.com

Excerpt:

Solving the content problems in VR requires new skills that are only just starting to be developed and understood, skills that are quite different from traditional storytelling. VR is a nascent medium. One part story, one part experience. And while many of the concepts from film and theater can be used, storytelling through VR is not like making a movie or a play.

In VR, the user has to be guided through an experience of a story, which means many of the challenges in telling a VR story are closer to UX design than anything from film or theater.

Take the issue of frameless scenes. In a VR experience, there are no borders, and no guarantees where a user will look. Scenes must be designed to attract user attention, in order to guide them through the experience of a story.

Sound design, staging cues, lighting effects, and movement can all be used to draw a user’s attention.

However, it’s a fine balance between attraction to distraction.

“In VR, it’s easy to overwhelm the user. If you see a flashing light and in the background, you hear a sharp siren, and then something moves, you’ve given the user too many things to understand,” says Di Dang, User Experience Lead at POP, Seattle. “Be intentional and deliberate about how you grab audience attention.”

 

VR is a storytelling superpower. No other medium has the quite the same potential to create empathy and drive human connection. Because viewers are for all intents and purposes living the experience, they walk away with that history coded into their memory banks—easily accessible for future responses.

 

 

 

Google’s latest VR experiment is teaching people how to make coffee — from techradar.com by Parker Wilhelm
All in a quest to see how effective learning in virtual reality is

Excerpt:

Teaching with a simulation is no new concept, but Google’s Daydream Labs wants to see exactly how useful virtual reality can be for teaching people practical skills.

In a recent experiment, Google ran a simulation of an interactive espresso machine in VR. From there, it had a group of people try their virtual hand at brewing a cup of java before being tasked to make the real thing.

 

 



 

Addendum on 7/26/17:

 



 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian