A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry — from nytimes.com by Kyle Spencer

Excerpt:

Moheeb is part of a new program that is challenging the way teachers and students think about academic accomplishments, and his school is one of hundreds that have done away with traditional letter grades inside their classrooms. At M.S. 442, students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the next set of skills when they have demonstrated that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as a C or a D for a lazily written term paper. There is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later.

For struggling students, there is ample time to practice until they get it. For those who grasp concepts quickly, there is the opportunity to swiftly move ahead. The strategy looks different from classroom to classroom, as does the material that students must master. But in general, students work at their own pace through worksheets, online lessons and in small group discussions with teachers. They get frequent updates on skills they have learned and those they need to acquire.

Mastery-based learning, also known as proficiency-based or competency-based learning, is taking hold across the country. Vermont and Maine have passed laws requiring school districts to phase in the system. New Hampshire is adopting it, too, and piloting a statewide method of assessment that would replace most standardized tests. Ten school districts in Illinois, including Chicago’s, are testing the approach. In 2015, the Idaho State Legislature approved 19 incubator programs to explore the practice.

More than 40 schools in New York City — home to the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students — have adopted the program. But what makes that unusual is that schools using the method are doing so voluntarily, as part of a grass-roots movement.

 

 

 

Major Coding Bootcamps Going Out of Business — from campustechnology.com by Sri Ravipati

Excerpt:

In a surprising turn of events, two major coding bootcamps, within the span of about a week, have announced they are shutting down all operations.

Most recently, after a four-year run, South Carolina-based The Iron Yard (TIY) revealed last Friday it would close its 15 campuses, including locations like Atlanta, Austin, Houston and Charleston where other coding bootcamps are flourishing.

Similarly, Dev Bootcamp (DBC) on July 12 announced via Facebook that it would shutdown operations at all six locations — Austin, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and New York — by the end of the summer.

 

From DSC:
I can almost hear the snickering from a variety of people within higher education about this situation. If gloating had an audible sound associated with it, I’d likely have to go find some earplugs. But I have a message for those who are snickering and gloating right now — saying something along the lines of, “Ha! So much for these alternatives to traditional higher education! They’re nothing, and they’ll come to nothing!”

That may be so. Such relatively new alternatives to traditional institutions of higher education may come to nothing. But you know what? At least those organizations are trying to be much more responsive than many institutions of traditional higher education are being! They’ve recognized that there are unmet needs — gaps, if you will — arising from our current systems. Gaps in either the content that we’re providing and/or the manner in which we’re providing it. Gaps that thousands of students have signed up for in a relatively short time. Those gaps should be cause for action within traditional institutions of higher education. They should be cause for realizing that we aren’t responding nearly fast enough to today’s new pace of change.

The pace of change has changed. It is lightning fast these days. Don’t believe me? Go check out some of the descriptions for the hot jobs out there these days. Seriously. Go do it. Go find out which skills you need to get your foot in the door to acquire those types of positions. It’ll blow your mind!

And there are ramifications to this.

If our accreditation systems need to change, than so be it. Let’s identify those necessary changes and make ’em happen!

Because:

  • WE have some serious responsibility for the educations that we are providing to this next generation!!! 
  • WE need to prepare them for what they’ll need to be marketable in the future — so that they can put bread and butter on their tables throughout their careers.
  • WE need to act!
  • WE need to be responsive!

This is not a time for gloating. Rather, this is a time for some serious action.

 

 

 



Addendums on 8/2/17 and 8/3/17:



Jobs Report: 97 Percent of Flatiron School Graduates Land Jobs — from by Sri Ravipati

Excerpt:

While two major coding bootcamps shut down earlier this week, another released its latest jobs report and says it had the strongest student outcomes to date.

The Flatiron School based in New York, NY has released an independently verified jobs report every year since 2014 — “pioneering the concept of outcomes reporting and setting a standard of transparency in educational outcomes,” the latest report reads. It’s the company’s commitment to accessibility and transparency that have allowed its programs to stay open for five years now, says Adam Enbar, co-founder of the Flatiron School.

 

More bootcamps are quietly coming to a university near you — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

In the last two years, a surge of nonprofit, four-year institutions have hopped on the bootcamp bandwagon. These programs, often on skills such as software development or data analytics, have arrived in a number of ways—from universities partnering with local for-profit bootcamps, or colleges creating their own intensive training programs completely in-house.But while bootcamps are often associated with tech skills, it seems that traditional universities trying out the model are interested in more than just coding. An increasing number of traditional higher-ed institutions are now applying bootcamp trainings to other fields, such as healthcare, accounting and even civics and political science.

 

 

 

Getting students ready for the gig economy — from gettingsmart.com by Emily Liebtag

Excerpt:

1) Finding a Passion and Making an Impact
Exploring passions, interests and causes that matter should be a part of every student’s education. Projects or several short-term gigs are a great way to help students reveal (or discover) their personal passions and to facilitate their interest explorations (all while still covering core content and standards). There are many students who already have opportunities to explore their passions during the regular school day through projects and are thriving as a result.

We’ve seen students at High Tech High create business plans and sell self-designed t-shirts, students at Thrive Public Schools engage in projects around kindness and empathy in their communities, and students at One Stone work with clients on advertising and marketing gigs, exploring their passions one project at a time.

Need ideas? Engage students in projects around the Sustainable Development Goals, snag an idea from the the PBL Q & A blog or simply ask students what they are curious about exploring in their community.

 

 

Career Pathways: Five Ways to Connect College and Careers calls for states to help students, their families, and employers unpack the meaning of postsecondary credentials and assess their value in the labor market.

Excerpt:

If students are investing more to go to college, they need to have answers to basic questions about the value of postsecondary education. They need better information to make decisions that have lifelong economic consequences.

Getting a college education is one of the biggest investments people will make in their lives, but the growing complexity of today’s economy makes it difficult for higher education to deliver efficiency and consistent quality. Today’s economy is more intricate than those of decades past.

 

From this press release:

It’s Time to Fix Higher Education’s Tower of Babel, Says Georgetown University Report
The lack of transparency around college and careers leads to costly, uninformed decisions

(Washington, D.C., July 11, 2017) — A new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center), Career Pathways: Five Ways to Connect College and Careers, calls for states to help students, their families, and employers unpack the meaning of postsecondary credentials and assess their value in the labor market.

Back when a high school-educated worker could find a good job with decent wages, the question was simply whether or not to go to college. That is no longer the case in today’s economy, which requires at least some college to enter the middle class. The study finds that:

  • The number of postsecondary programs of study more than quintupled between 1985 and 2010 — from 410 to 2,260;
  • The number of colleges and universities more than doubled from 1,850 to 4,720 between 1950 and 2014; and
  • The number of occupations grew from 270 in 1950 to 840 in 2010.

The variety of postsecondary credentials, providers, and online delivery mechanisms has also multiplied rapidly in recent years, underscoring the need for common, measurable outcomes.

College graduates are also showing buyer’s remorse. While they are generally happy with their decision to attend college, more than half would choose a different major, go to a different college, or pursue a different postsecondary credential if they had a chance.

The Georgetown study points out that the lack of information drives the higher education market toward mediocrity. The report argues that postsecondary education and training needs to be more closely aligned to careers to better equip learners and workers with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy and close the skills gap.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for students to make the right decisions. Since 1980, tuition and fees at public four year colleges and universities have grown 19 times faster than family incomes. Students and families want — and need — to know the value they are getting for their investment.

 

 



Also see:

  • Trumping toward college transparency — from linkedin.com by Anthony Carnevale
    The perfect storm is gathering around the need to increase transparency around college and careers. And in accordance with how public policy generally comes about, it might just happen. 


 

 

 

Soft skills are permanent skills — from Harold Jarche

Excerpts:

HARD SKILLS
Cloud Computing Expertise
Data Mining and Statistical Analysis
Smartphone App Development
Data Storage Engineering and Management
User Interface Design
Network Security Expertise

SOFT SKILLS
Communication
Curiosity
Adaptability
Teamwork
Empathy
Time Management
Open-Mindedness


This requires a rethinking of how we categorize work, define jobs, attract and retain talent. And I mean talent, not labour. It also means a rethinking of our entire education system. These permanent (soft) skills are not developed through standardized curriculum based on temporary (hard) skills. It’s time to take the long-term view on human work and learning. Labour is a temporary skill for market and technological conditions. Talent is our long-term value as humans to each other.

 

 

 

The Classroom of Tomorrow: A Panel Discussion — sponsored by Kaltura

Description:
Technology is changing the way we approach education, rapidly. But what will tomorrow’s classroom actually look like? We’ve invited some leading experts for a spirited debate about what the future holds for educational institutions. From personalization to predictive analytics to portable digital identities, we’ll explore the biggest changes coming. We’ll see how new technologies might interact with changing demographics, business models, drop out rates, and more.

Panelists:

  • David Nirenberg – Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences, University of Chicago
  • Rick Kamal – Chief Technology Officer, Harvard Business School, HBX
  • Gordon Freedman – President, National Laboratory for Education Transformation
  • Michael Markowitz – Entrepreneur and Investor, Education
  • Dr Michal Tsur – Co-founder and President, Kaltura

 

Also see:

  • Roadmap to the Future — by Dr Michal Tsur – Co-founder and President, Kaltura
    What are some of the leading trends emerging from the educational technology space? Michal Tsur takes you on a quick tour of big trends you should be aware of. Then, get a glimpse of Kaltura’s own roadmap for lecture capture and more.

 

 

Regarding the above items, some thoughts from DSC:
Kaltura did a nice job of placing the focus on a discussion about the future of the classroom as well as on some trends to be aware of, and not necessarily on their own company (this was especially the case in regards to the panel discussion). They did mention some things about their newest effort, Kaltura Lecture Capture, but this was kept to a very reasonable amount.

 

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs [Meghan Bogardus Cortez at edtechmagazine.com]

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
These administrative all-stars, IT gurus, teachers and community experts understand how the latest technology is changing the nature of education.

Excerpt:

With summer break almost here, we’ve got an idea for how you can use some of your spare time. Take a look at the Dean’s List, our compilation of the must-read blogs that seek to make sense of higher education in today’s digital world.

Follow these education trailblazers for not-to-be-missed analyses of the trends, challenges and opportunities that technology can provide.

If you’d like to check out the Must-Read IT blogs from previous years, view our lists from 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

 

 



From DSC:
I would like to thank Tara Buck, Meghan Bogardus Cortez, D. Frank Smith, Meg Conlan, and Jimmy Daly and the rest of the staff at EdTech Magazine for their support of this Learning Ecosystems blog through the years — I really appreciate it. 

Thanks all for your encouragement through the years!



 

 

 

 

Retailers cut tens of thousands of jobs. Again. — from money.cnn.com by Paul R. La Monica
The dramatic reshaping of the American retail industry has, unfortunately, led to massive job losses in the sector.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The federal government said Friday that retailers shed nearly 30,000 jobs in March. That follows a more than 30,000 decline in the number of retail jobs in the previous month.

So-called general merchandise stores are hurting the most.

That part of the sector, which includes struggling companies like Macy’s, Sears, and J.C. Penney, lost 35,000 jobs last month. Nearly 90,000 jobs have been eliminated since last October.

“There is no question that the Amazon effect is overwhelming,” said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist of private banking for BBH. “There has been a shift in the way we buy things as opposed to a shift in the amount of money spent.”

To that end, Amazon just announced plans to hire 30,000 part-time workers.

 

From DSC:
One of the reasons that I’m posting this item is for those who say disruption isn’t real…it’s only a buzz word…

A second reason that I’m posting this item is because those of us working within higher education should take note of the changes in the world of retail and learn the lesson now before the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education*” comes on the scene. Though this organization has yet to materialize, the pieces of its foundation are beginning to come together — such as the ingredients, trends, and developments that I’ve been tracking in my “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” vision.

This new organization will be highly disruptive to institutions of traditional higher education.

If you were in an influential position at Macy’s, Sears, and/or at J.C. Penney today, and you could travel back in time…what would you do?

We in higher education have the luxury of learning from what’s been happening in the retail business. Let’s be sure to learn our lesson.

 



 

* Effective today, what I used to call the “Forthcoming Walmart of Education — which has already been occurring to some degree with things such as MOOCs and collaborations/partnerships such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Udacity, and AT&T — I now call the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education.”

Cost. Convenience. Selection. Offering a service on-demand (i.e., being quick, responsive, and available 24×7). <– These all are powerful forces.

 



 

P.S. Some will say you can’t possibly compare the worlds of retail and higher education — and that may be true as of 2017. However, if:

  • the costs of higher education keep going up and we continue to turn a deaf ear to the struggling families/students/adult learners/etc. out there
  • alternatives to traditional higher education continue to come on the landscape
  • the Federal Government continues to be more open to financially supporting such alternatives
  • technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning continue to get better and more powerful — to the point that they can effectively deliver a personalized education (one that is likely to be fully online and that utilizes a team of specialists to create and deliver the learning experiences)
  • people lose their jobs to artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation and need to quickly reinvent themselves

…I can assure you that people will find other ways to make ends meet. The Next Amazon.com of Education will be just what they are looking for.

 



 

 

 

The woman who thinks time has rendered Western education obsolete — from unlimited.world with thanks to Maree Conway for her tweet on this

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

For years, Finland has loitered in the upper echelons of global literacy and numeracy tables, leading politicians from other Western nations to see its education system as a model of inspiration. Why, then, is the Finnish government submitting it to a radical overhaul?

Dr. Marjo Kyllonen is the Education Manager for Helsinki. Having devised the blueprint for the future of Finland’s school system, she is playing a pivotal role in driving these changes through. She is doing so because she sees the structure and aims of current education systems in the West as increasingly irrelevant and obsolete, relics of an Industrial Age that we started to leave behind a long time ago. She argues that we need to rethink our entire relationship to education to equip future generations with the tools they need to face the challenges to come –challenges such as climate collapse, automated workforces, urbanisation and social division. The key to her blueprint is an emphasis on collaborative, holistic, “phenomenon” teaching – a routine that is less beholden to traditional subject-based learning and instead teaches pupils to work together to deal with problems they will face in their everyday lives, including those they encounter online and in the digital world.

Other:

  • If schools were invented today, what would they be like?
  • Instead of studying different subjects in isolation, learning should be anchored to real-life phenomena, things that kids see around them, so they see the connection between what they’re learning and real life. The traditional way of teaching isolated subjects with a teacher as the sole oracle of knowledge is widening the gap between the lives kids are living today and what they do at school.
  • So we have to think, what skills will people need in 60 years? Life is not split into subjects, so why is learning? What is more crucial for future society is cross-disciplinary thinking; all the experts say that the big problems of tomorrow won’t be solved if you only have one approach.

 

From DSC:
Whether one agrees with Marjo or not, her assertions are very thought provoking.  I really enjoyed reading this piece.

 

 

HarvardX rolls out new adaptive learning feature in online course — from edscoop.com by Corinne Lestch
Students in MOOC adaptive learning experiment scored nearly 20 percent better than students using more traditional learning approaches.

Excerpt:

Online courses at Harvard University are adapting on the fly to students’ needs.

Officials at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution announced a new adaptive learning technology that was recently rolled out in a HarvardX online course. The feature offers tailored course material that directly correlates with student performance while the student is taking the class, as well as tailored assessment algorithms.

HarvardX is an independent university initiative that was launched in parallel with edX, the online learning platform that was created by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both HarvardX and edX run massive open online courses. The new feature has never before been used in a HarvardX course, and has only been deployed in a small number of edX courses, according to officials.

 

 

From DSC:
Given the growth of AI, this is certainly radar worthy — something that’s definitely worth pulse-checking to see where opportunities exist to leverage these types of technologies.  What we now know of as adaptive learning will likely take an enormous step forward in the next decade.

IBM’s assertion rings in my mind:

 

 

I’m cautiously hopeful that these types of technologies can extend beyond K-12 and help us deal with the current need to be lifelong learners, and the need to constantly reinvent ourselves — while providing us with more choice, more control over our learning. I’m hopeful that learners will be able to pursue their passions, and enlist the help of other learners and/or the (human) subject matter experts as needed.

I don’t see these types of technologies replacing any teachers, professors, or trainers. That said, these types of technologies should be able to help do some of the heavy teaching and learning lifting in order to help someone learn about a new topic.

Again, this is one piece of the Learning from the Living [Class] Room that we see developing.

 

 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian