Blockchain 50 2021 — from forbes.com by Michael del Castillo
(From DSC: I missed this one…yet wanted to get this out there.)

Excerpt:

No longer dismissed as a haven for criminals and drug dealers, Bitcoin and blockchain have gone mainstream. Bitcoin’s 2020 surge grabbed the attention of C-suite executives worldwide; not only are companies employing the technology underlying Bitcoin to perform tasks such as reconciling invoices and verifying product provenance, but dozens are now holding Bitcoin as a treasury asset. Our third annual Blockchain 50 features companies that lead in employing distributed ledger technology and have revenue or a valuation of at least $1 billion. Twenty-one newcomers—including the world’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and four others from Asia—make their debut. They take the spots of such U.S. companies as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Ripple, all of whom are still active in blockchain but kept lower profiles in the space over the past 12 months.

Quote from Jack Ma: Blockchain will fundamentally change financial systems in the next 10, 15 years.

 

Harvard and its peers should be embarrassed about how few students they educate — from washingtonpost.com by Jeff Selingo
Their minuscule admissions rates are a sign of failure, not success.

Excerpt:

Harvard’s announcement this past week that its acceptance rate fell to an all-time low of just 3.4 percent will be viewed by some alumni as a triumph — a sign of their alma mater’s popularity and prestige among high school grads. And some alumni of elite institutions like Yale (4.6 percent), Brown (5.4 percent) and Princeton (4 percent) may feel the same glow of pride. In actuality, these numbers are signs of institutional failure.

That some 55,000 applicants were denied the chance to attend Harvard — which, with its $42 billion endowment, is fully capable of serving more than 1,640 students in an incoming class — is no cause for celebration. Instead, the ever-declining proportion of applicants accepted at such top-ranked universities should spur them to consider making their freshman classes substantially larger. Such a move would be especially appropriate — and, perhaps, more imaginable — after a pandemic year when universities across the country have had to reconceive education in a multitude of ways.

From DSC:
I couldn’t agree more. These types of schools should pursue a much more noble goal and seek to educate the masses. Make far larger contributions in order to make the world a better place to live in. Open up the doors. Stop recreating the caste system we have in the U.S. 

Also see:

The Endless Sensation of Application Inflation — from chronicle.com by Eric Hoover

Excerpt:

The numbers get bigger each year. Now they’ve reached a mesospheric level of madness.

Yes, we’re talking about application totals at highly selective colleges, a fixation for a jittery subset of the planet. In the 2020-21 admissions cycle, many of the final tallies broke records — and, surely, record numbers of hearts. The more applicants that apply to a hyper-competitive college, the more rejections it must deliver.

But what do such metrics really tell us? What, if anything, does the annual OMG-ing over these statistics add to up to? Let’s pause here and remember that application inflation isn’t new: Acceptance rates at many institutions have been plummeting for years. Also, a 35-percent increase like the one Tufts University just saw didn’t mean there was a 35-percent increase in highly qualified applicants with a prayer of getting in, or a 35-percent increase in applicants who meet each of the institution’s many needs.

 

 

Bitcoin – The Currency Of The Future — from bitrebels.com by Faizan Javaid

Excerpt:

In its relatively short lifespan, Bitcoin has managed to grow from only a small movement of computer fanatics, Cypherpunks, and cryptographers into an increasingly mainstream phenomenon. Not only that but it is supported by a blueprint and ethos that could very well lead to a redesign of the internet and the financial system we know today. In its wake, many financial analysts, supporters as well as skeptics seem to be faced with the same question: Could Bitcoin be the currency of the future?

From DSC:
I like the last sentence. That should have been the title of the article — i.e., “Could Bitcoin be the currency of the future?”

 

The Art World Goes Blockchain — from protocol.com by David Pierce

Excerpt:

The NFT explosion is tied up in the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which is tied up in a general frenzy of investment, and so who knows what will eventually crash when the rest of it does.

  • But there’s something here. You probably don’t want to spend half a mil on a Pop Tart cat, but the idea that digital goods can be authenticated and verified — that you might someday buy a GIF the same way you buy a painting or a Rolex — is transformational.
 

The next normal arrives: Trends that will define 2021—and beyond

The next normal arrives: Trends that will define 2021—and beyond — from mckinsey.com by Kevin Sneader & Shubham Singhal

Excerpts:

The next normal is going to be different. It will not mean going back to the conditions that prevailed in 2019. Indeed, just as the terms “prewar” and “postwar” are commonly used to describe the 20th century, generations to come will likely discuss the pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 eras.

2021 will be the year of transition. Barring any unexpected catastrophes, individuals, businesses, and society can start to look forward to shaping their futures rather than just grinding through the present.

In this article, we identify some of the trends that will shape the next normal. Then we discuss how they will affect the direction of the global economy, how business will adjust, and how society could be changed forever as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

 

#survivingcovid19 #reinvent #highereducation #futureofhighereducation #60yearcurriculum #costofhighereducation #alternatives #innovation #learningfromthelivingclassroom and many more

 

A ‘Great Cultural Depression’ Looms for Legions of Unemployed Performers — from nytimes.com
With theaters and concert halls shuttered, unemployment in the arts has cut deeper than in restaurants and other hard-hit industries.

Excerpt:

During the quarter ending in September, when the overall unemployment rate averaged 8.5 percent, 52 percent of actors, 55 percent of dancers and 27 percent of musicians were out of work, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. By comparison, the jobless rate was 27 percent for waiters; 19 percent for cooks; and about 13 percent for retail salespeople over the same period.

Also see:

Actors and Writers and Now, Congressional Lobbyists — from nytimes.com
Be an #ArtsHero started with a failed effort to extend unemployment benefits. It’s gone on to be a prime proponent of the message: Cultural work is labor.

 

How COVID-19 Hollowed Out a Generation of Young Black Men — from propublica.org by Akilah Johnson and Nina Martin
They were pillars of their communities and families, and they are not replaceable. To understand why COVID-19 killed so many young Black men, you need to know the legend of John Henry.

Excerpt:

While COVID-19 has killed 1 out of every 800 African Americans, a toll that overwhelms the imagination, even more stunning is the deadly efficiency with which it has targeted young Black men like Bates. One study using data through July found that Black people ages 35 to 44 were dying at nine times the rate of white people the same age, though the gap slightly narrowed later in the year. And in an analysis for ProPublica this summer using the only reliable data at the time accounting for age, race and gender, from Michigan and Georgia, Harvard researcher Tamara Rushovich found that the disparity was greatest in Black men. It was a phenomenon Enrique Neblett Jr. noticed when he kept seeing online memorials for men his age. “I’ll be 45 this year,” said the University of Michigan professor, who studies racism and health. “I wasn’t seeing 60- and 70-year-old men. We absolutely need to be asking what is going on here?”

Our efforts led us to a little-known body of research that takes its name from one of the most enduring symbols of Black American resilience.

 

The Digital Divide for Tribal College Students — COVID, CARES Act, and Critical Next Steps — from diverseeducation.com

Excerpt:

In this episode staff writer Sara Weissman shares a story that focuses on the digital divide for Native Americans by bringing in voices of tribal college leaders and their students during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Many don’t know but Native American colleges and universities have long struggled with the worst internet connectivity in the nation while ironically paying the highest rates for service. Hear first-hand how students from Diné College and other institutions are currently affected. Carrie Billie (Big Water Clan), President & CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) and Dr. Cynthia Lindquist (Star Horse Woman), President of Cankdeska Cikana Community College in North Dakota, break down the data and lay out critical next steps necessary to address the digital divide.

Many don’t know but Native American colleges and universities have long struggled with the worst internet connectivity in the nation while ironically paying the highest rates for service.

From DSC:
When will there be justice!? Let’s join in and make amends and provide the funding, concrete assistance, products, and services to Native American colleges, universities, and communities. Some potential ideas:

  • For the short term, could there be Loon balloons deployed immediately to provide free and stronger access to the Internet?

Could Project Loon assist Native American colleges, universities, and communities?

  • Could our Federal Government make amends and do the right thing here? (e-rate program, put Internet access in, make policy changes, offer more grants, other?)
  • Could Silicon Valley assist with hardware and software? For example:
    • Can Apple, HP, Microsoft, and others donate hardware and software?
    • Can Zoom, Adobe, Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, and others donate whatever these communities need to provide videoconferencing licenses?
  • Could telecom providers provide free internet access?
  • Could MOOCs offer more free courses?
  • Could furniture makers such as Steelcase, Herman Miller, and others donate furniture and help establish connected learning spaces?
  • How might faculty members and staff within higher education contribute?
  • How could churches, synagogues, and such get involved?
  • Could the rest of us locate and donate to charities that aim to provide concrete assistance to Native American schools, colleges, universities, and communities?

We need to do the right thing here. This is another area* where our nation can do much better.

* Here’s another example/area where we can do much better and make amends/changes.

 


Addendum on 12/7/20:

 

New York, NY – November 26, 2020 –  The Intercept has published a video investigation by filmmaker Emily Cohen Ibañez on the impact of the switch to remote learning –– and the Coronavirus pandemic –– on students in an agro-industrial town (Watsonville, CA) and an affluent Bay Area suburb (Pine Hills, CA).

The Intercepthttps://theintercept.com/2020/11/25/remote-learning-school-education-covid/

YouTube link: https://youtu.be/7_YoSFNe2lM

“Life at Watsonville High was fast-paced, full of a lot of energy, a lot of really amazing students,” said Dr. Sara Roe, an English Learner Coach at Watsonville High. “Watsonville High is 98 percent Latinx, Latino, Latina. We are made up of a higher percentage of first-generation students. Socioeconomically, we’re predominantly a low-income area, so 100 percent of our students receive free and reduced lunch, and most likely, their parents or someone in their family has worked in the fields or is currently working in the fields.”

“If we thought then that kids had social, emotional challenges, their needs weren’t being met in particular ways,” said Dr. Roe, “If we thought there were issues then, I don’t think we could have ever imagined what the implications of going online would uncover for us in terms of issues for students.”

#digitaldivide #education #remotelearning #K12 #edtech #digitalequity

 
 

Many students complain that online-based learning doesn’t engage them. Well, check this idea out! [Christian]


From DSC…by the way, another title for this blog could have been:

WIN-WIN situations all around! The Theatre Departments out there could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging, digitally-based learning experiences! 


The future of drama and the theatre — as well as opera, symphonies, and more — will likely include a significant virtual/digital component to them. While it’s too early to say that theatre needs to completely reinvent itself and move “the stage” completely online, below is an idea that creates a variety of WIN-WIN situations for actors, actresses, stage designers, digital audio/video editors, fine artists, graphic designers, programmers, writers, journalists, web designers, and many others as well — including the relevant faculty members!

A new world of creative, engaging, active learning could open up if those involved with the Theatre Department could work collaboratively with students/faculty members from other disciplines. And in the end, the learning experiences and content developed would be highly engaging — and perhaps even profitable for the institutions themselves!

A WIN-WIN situation all around! The Theatre Department could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging learning experiences!

[DC: I only slightly edited the above image from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Though the integration of acting with online-based learning materials is not a new idea, this post encourages a far more significant interdisciplinary collaboration between the Theatre Department and other departments/disciplines.

Consider a “Dealing with Bias in Journalism” type of topic, per a class in the Digital Media and Journalism Major.

  • Students from the Theatre Department work collaboratively with the students from the most appropriate class(es?) from the Communications Department to write the script, as per the faculty members’ 30,000-foot instructions (not 1000-foot level/detailed instructions)
  • Writing the script would entail skills involved with research, collaboration, persuasion, creativity, communication, writing, and more
  • The Theatre students would ultimately act out the script — backed up by those learning about sound design, stage design, lighting design, costume design, etc.
  • Example scene: A woman is sitting around the kitchen table, eating breakfast and reading a posting — aloud — from a website that includes some serious bias in it that offends the reader. She threatens to cancel her subscription, contact the editor, and more. She calls out to her partner why she’s so mad about the article. 
  • Perhaps there could be two or more before/after scenes, given some changes in the way the article was written.
  • Once the scenes were shot, the digital video editors, programmers, web designers, and more could take that material and work with the faculty members to integrate those materials into an engaging, interactive, branching type of learning experience. 
  • From there, the finished product would be deployed by the relevant faculty members.

Scenes from WMU's Theatre Department

[DC: Above images from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Colleges and universities could share content with each other and/or charge others for their products/content/learning experiences. In the future, I could easily see a marketplace for buying and selling such engaging content. This could create a needed new source of revenue — especially given that those large auditoriums and theaters are likely not bringing in as much revenue as they typically do. 

Colleges and universities could also try to reach out to local acting groups to get them involved and continue to create feeders into the world of work.

Other tags/categories could include:

  • MOOCs
  • Learning from the Living[Class]Room
  • Multimedia / digital literacy — tools from Adobe, Apple, and others.
  • Passions, participation, engagement, attention.
  • XR: Creating immersive, Virtual Reality (VR)-based experiences
  • Learning Experience Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Interface Design
  • …and more

Also see:

What improv taught me about failure: As a teacher and academic — from scholarlyteacher.com by Katharine Hubbard

what improv taught me about failure -as a teacher and academic

In improv, the only way to “fail” is to overthink and not have fun, which reframed what failure was on a grand scale and made me start looking at academia through the same lens. What I learned about failure through improv comes back to those same two core concepts: have fun and stop overthinking.

Students are more engaged when the professor is having fun with the materials (Keller, Hoy, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2016), and teaching is more enjoyable when we are having fun ourselves.

 

From DSC:
I hesitate to post this one…but this information and the phenomenon behind it likely has impacted what’s happening in the higher education space. (Or perhaps, it’s a bit of the other way around as well.) Increasingly, higher ed is becoming out of reach for many families. Again, is this a topic for Econ classes out there? Or Poli Sci courses?


Trends in income from 1975 to 2018 — from rand.org by Carter Price and Kathryn Edwards

Excerpt:

We document the cumulative effect of four decades of income growth below the growth of per capita gross national income and estimate that aggregate income for the population below the 90th percentile over this time period would have been $2.5 trillion (67 percent) higher in 2018 had income growth since 1975 remained as equitable as it was in the first two post-War decades. From 1975 to 2018, the difference between the aggregate taxable income for those below the 90th percentile and the equitable growth counterfactual totals $47 trillion.

Trends in income

Also see:

  • ‘We were shocked’: RAND study uncovers massive income shift to the top 1% — from fastcompany.com by Rick Wartzman
    The median worker should be making as much as $102,000 annually—if some $2.5 trillion wasn’t being “reverse distributed” every year away from the working class.
    .
  • The top 1% of Americans have taken $50 trillion from the bottom 90%—And that’s made the U.S. less secure — from Time.com by by Nick Hanauer and David Rolf
    [From DSC: By the way, that title likely has some link bait appeal to it.]
    Excerpt: 
    As the RAND report [whose research was funded by the Fair Work Center which co-author David Rolf is a board member of] demonstrates, a rising tide most definitely did not lift all boats. It didn’t even lift most of them, as nearly all of the benefits of growth these past 45 years were captured by those at the very top. And as the American economy grows radically unequal it is holding back economic growth itself.

Why is our death toll so high and our unemployment rate so staggeringly off the charts? Why was our nation so unprepared, and our economy so fragile? Why have we lacked the stamina and the will to contain the virus like most other advanced nations? The reason is staring us in the face: a stampede of rising inequality that has been trampling the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of Americans, year after year after year.

 

From DSC:
Are Economics classes across the United States talking about our current situation? It seems to me that this kind of discussion would be so important, relevant, and thought-provoking. Economics is a complex subject. I know I would have appreciated learning more about the complexities, the pieces, the ingredients, the interrelationships of things in my college years. Seems like there are some solid topics for discussion board postings in here…

ECONOMY
Worries grow over a K-shaped economic recovery that favors the wealthy — from cnbc.com

KEY POINTS
  • As the economy struggles to shake off the pandemic effects, worries are growing that the recovery could look like a K.
  • That would be one where growth continues but is uneven, split between sectors and income groups.
  • One obvious area of concern is the dichotomy of the stock market vs the real economy, especially considering that 52% of the market is owned by the top 1% of earners.
  • “Let’s not get lost on different letters of the alphabet,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “There are certainly parts of the economy that need more work.”
 

The Fed’s Evolution Is Coming to a Computer Screen Near You — from nytimes.com by Jeanna Smialek
The 2020 version of the Federal Reserve’s loftiest annual meeting will be webcast this week, allowing the public to tune in for the first time. It could be the stage for an important policy shift.

Jerome Powell at the Fed

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

On Thursday, Chair Jerome H. Powell will have a chance to update America on the central bank’s soon-to-conclude framework review, in which it has revisited its policy tools for good and bad times, in a speech at the Kansas City Fed’s annual conference. The storied gathering of elite economists has been held behind closed doors in Jackson Hole, Wyo., since 1982. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event will be held remotely and streamed on the Kansas City Fed’s YouTube page this year, allowing the public to tune in for the first time ever.

 

 

From DSC:
May this be the start of something new!!! How cool/rewarding would it have been for our economics-related courses to be able to tap into this from a remote distance…then discuss (and track) things afterward!


Addendum:

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian