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.

 

 

The Journal 2020 Award Winners

THE Journal 2020 New Product Award Winners

For THE Journal’s first-ever New Product Award program, judges selected winners in 30 categories spanning all aspects of technology innovations in K–12 education, from the classroom to the server room and beyond. We are proud to honor these winners for their outstanding contributions to the institution of education, in particular at this time of upheaval in the way education is being delivered to the nation’s 50 million students.

 

Distracted Minds: The Role of Tempo in Good Teaching — from chronicle.com by James Lang
To help students stay attentive in class, think like a conductor, and recognize that students need you to change the pace and the action.

Excerpt:

In this third installment of a series on distraction and attention in education — based on my new bookDistracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It — I want to draw inspiration from creative artists who have long counted it as one of their tasks to keep audiences attentive to works that stretch over long periods of time. Directors and playwrights, conductors and composers, all recognize the limited attention span of an audience, which is why they structure the work itself and its performance in particular ways.

The classroom is one of the only places where we expect humans in seats to maintain their attention through an extended, uninterrupted performance of an hour or more. I suspect that’s the case because we (the teachers) are able to keep ourselves fully engaged during the class period: We’re managing our slides, thinking about the next discussion question, writing on the board, and more. It’s all very engaging — for us — but not necessarily for our students.

From DSC:
I appreciated reading this solid article by James Lang — in it, he offers up some excellent points and suggestions. I would guess that the top reasons why these things don’t occur most offer are:

  1. The design of a class takes time. Time is hard to come by. That’s why instructional design is very helpful but is sometimes put on a backburner…to the students’ detriment.
  2. There aren’t enough Instructional Designers to go around.
  3. Faculty don’t seek out Instructional Designers or, when an Instructional Designer is around, they may have a queue that’s way too long and they’ve become a bottleneck.
 

From DSC:
Our oldest daughter showed me a “Bitmoji Classroom” that her mentor teacher — Emily Clay — uses as her virtual classroom. Below are some snapshots of the Google Slides that Emily developed based on the work of:

  • Kayla Young (@bitmoji.kayla)
  • MaryBeth Thomas 
  • Ms. Smith 
  • Karen Koch
  • The First Grade Creative — by C. Verddugo

My hats off to all of these folks whose work laid the foundations for this creative, fun, engaging, easy-to-follow virtual classroom for a special education preschool classroom — complete with ties to videoconferencing functionalities from Zoom. Emily’s students could click on items all over the place — they could explore, pursue their interests/curiosities/passions. So the snapshots below don’t offer the great interactivity that the real deal does.

Nice work Emily & Company! I like how you provided more choice, more control to your students — while keeping them engaged! 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

From DSC:
I also like the idea of presenting this type of slide (immediately below, and students’ names have been blurred for privacy’s sake) prior to entering a videoconferencing session where you are going to break out the students into groups. Perhaps that didn’t happen in Emily’s class…I’m not sure, but in other settings, it would make sense to share one’s screen right before sending the students to those breakout rooms and show them that type of slide (to let them know who will be in their particular breakout group).

The students in the different breakout sessions could then collaboratively work on Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides and you could watch their progress in real-time!

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

Also see:

 

Maths mastery through stop-motion animation — from innovatemyschool.com by Rachel Cully

Do you want your learners to be resilient, confident mathematicians with secure conceptual understanding and a love of Maths? Well, come with me to a land of stories and watch the magic unfold.

Maths mastery through stop-motion animation -- by Rachel Cully

Also see:

 

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

 

Saving — and Enhancing — Music Education With Online Learning — from edcircuit.com by D. Travis Washington

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

I teach Choir and lead the Young Vocal Scholars Program, and before COVID arrived, we were excited to move forward on the culmination of learning through live performances. With school closure, all that changed, and we were forced to adapt to virtual learning. Through the initial transition, we discovered that online learning options such as Soundtrap could not only extend projects we were currently working on but expand music learning to previously unimaginable heights.

When Covid hit and we couldn’t continue with the traditional choir program, my school looked for remote solutions. Soundtrap was exactly what we needed. We began conducting Young Vocal Scholars choir sessions remotely through Soundtrap and filled our extra Soundtrap seats with students from the District 8 Choir who weren’t being served music at all — doing similar projects that we had been creating previously in my classes. It was incredible to suddenly recognize that there were far more students interested in music who could connect via their laptops and tablets at home.

Also see:

Soundtrap for Education empowers students and teachers to explore creative sound recording in all subjects, for all ages and ability levels.

Soundtrap revolutionized my classroom in a virtual setting. Students became more engaged than ever before. My “4-star artists,” as I refer to my highly motivated students, kept making songs. I recall one of them saying to me, “Music class was cool because we sang together, but Soundtrap is cooler because it allows us to make projects together and they sound good.” 

 

Librarians become go-to resource during school closures — from educationdive.com by  Shawna De La Rosa

Dive Brief:

  • School librarians’ roles have been evolving for years, but now they’ve become the go-to resource for innovative ideas and new distance learning technology, District Administration reports.
  • Shannon McClintock Miller, district teacher librarian and director of innovation at Van Meter Community School District in Iowa, gives presentations on these changes and also administers the 26,000-member Facebook group Future Ready Librarians, giving others in the field a chance to connect and share best practices. In her district — where all 1,000 K-12 students have devices — librarians have been instrumental in helping students and teachers use technology.
  • Miller also touts the Destiny Discover management system, which connects students to books, audio books and ebooks. The platform also allows librarians to embed databases, digital tools and other resources so students have easy access.

 

 
 
 
 

Best Practices 7 Ways Students Can Maintain Good Study Habits During COVID-19 — from fierceeducation.com by Peggy Bresnick

Excerpts:

  1. Stay organized.
  2. Don’t multitask.
  3. Make the most of video lectures.
  4. Set a schedule.
  5. Swap out study strategies.
  6. Collaborate remotely.
  7. Stay connected to others.

The guide being referenced from the University of Michigan:

Adjusting your study habits during COVID

 
 

Musical Mentors collaborative mobilizes and expands in response to pandemic — with thanks to Bristol Jones for this resource/information
Organization connects musicians in need of work with students lacking access to music instruction
(Emphasis below from DSC)

New York, NY — November 12, 2020 — Musical Mentors Collaborative (“MMC”), which provides free private music instruction and instruments to students who would not otherwise have access, announced today its Winter Gala to benefit the 1:1 Music Fund which will enable the organization to provide 10,000 more lessons in the years to come.

MMC was founded in 2009 as a partnership between Columbia University students and PS 145, a neighboring elementary school in Morningside Heights, and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in New York State in 2011. Since 2009, MMC’s university chapters have provided over 7,500 lessons to more than 450 students in the United States.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 caused dramatic and painful changes in the musical community. Many performing arts institutions were forced to close indefinitely, and many talented musicians found themselves out of work.

In response, MMC launched a teaching fellowship in early April to pay professional musicians to teach one-on-one virtual lessons to students without access to private instruction. Teachers include members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as collaborators of Herbie Hancock, Lauryn Hill, and others. The organization has since onboarded over 35 teaching artists and nearly 200 students. Since the onset of the pandemic, MMC has paid more than $150,000 to its Teaching Fellows and shipped over $30,000 worth of instruments to students, collectively in support of over 1,300 virtual lessons.

“We are inspired by the response from the musical community, and immensely grateful for the support musicians have shown MMC students. These students represent our musical future and would otherwise lack access to the instruction and mentorship they deserve,” said Zack Susel, Co-Founder and Executive Director of MMC. “We are excited to announce our Winter Gala in support of our 1:1 Music Fund, through which we aim to provide 10,000 more private lessons in the coming years.”

In support of its growth and response to the pandemic, MMC has recruited 12 Grandmentors to lead pedagogical development, including GRAMMY® award winning pianist Emmanuel Ax, and Tony® award winning composer Jeanine Tesori, social work experts, and faculty from The Juilliard School and Curtis Institute of Music.

About Musical Mentors Collaborative
Musical Mentors Collaborative connects musicians with underserved students around the country. Since launching in 2009, MMC has taught over 8,800 free private lessons across instruments and genres, furthering their goal to support young musicians through one-on-one instruction. MMC operates chapters at universities across the United States, and mobilizes professional musicians through their selective Teaching Fellowship.

For more information, visit www.musicalmentors.org. | Instagram | Twitter

Musical Mentors Collaborative connects musicians with underserved students around the country.

Also see:

 

Present and accounted for? Coronavirus-related school closures create attendance challenges — from educationdive.com by Linda Jacobson
Experts say regardless of the method used to track e-learning participation, ongoing contact with students will be essential.

Excerpt:

Alisa Belzer, an education professor at Rutgers University, says K-12 teachers can learn from those who teach online in higher education.

“When instructors stay on top of evaluating the work they are asking learners to complete, they can easily determine who is ‘there’ and who’s not. A key ingredient in this process is creating engaging assignments with clear deliverables,” she says. “When instructors give feedback that is specific, clear, and actionable, students know their instructors are very much a part of their learning process. This also encourages ‘attendance.’”

From DSC:
I also think the more choice we give students will help with their levels of motivation — their sense of purpose. They will chose what’s relevant, enjoyable to them — what they are curious about and want to learn more about. I’ve witnessed this with our daughter, whose spark for writing has ignited. Her imagination is great, and she loves to write. She is going to start her own blog, which will allow her to practice. It’s highly motivating/exciting to her — to have a voice and to be able to share her work with a wider audience.

I think that if we could give students some more leeway to study what they want to study, we wouldn’t have to worry nearly as much about attendance and lack of learning. Naive? Maybe. But I’ve witnessed the K-12 runaway train that won’t stop for anyone. It travels fast, and it doesn’t stop, no matter if mastery is achieved or not.

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

I’ve also seen controlling K-12 environments that create gameplayers (our son is one of them).

In these rough times, I hope we don’t throw away the chance to change what’s not working within our K-12 systems. Let not this pain go to waste. My vote is to give students more agency.

 

 

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