5 things we’ve learned about virtual school in 2020 — from npr.org by Anya Kamenetz

Excerpts:

  1. The digital divide is still big and complex.
  2. Relationships are everything when it comes to keeping kids engaged remotely.
  3. Digital teaching can be good, even great with the right support for teachers. But that’s far from the norm.
  4. Hybrid models are extremely challenging.
  5. Some kids are not learning much online. They’ll be playing catch-up in years to come.
 

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.

 

 

State Court Budget Forecast: Stormy with Rising Backlogs

State Court Budget Forecast: Stormy with Rising Backlogs — from law360.com by Andrew Strickler

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

As state lawmakers begin preparing for upcoming legislative sessions amid a resurgent pandemic, a scattered but largely grim outlook for state court funding is beginning to take shape.

With some judicial administrators already dealing with staggered budgets and new technology costs, experts and advocates say court leaders have their work cut out for them to convince budget analysts and lawmakers to pay for pandemic recovery efforts.

Perhaps nowhere is the coming financial strain more apparent than in Florida, where legislators began gathering Tuesday in Tallahassee to face a historic $5.4 billion budget deficit over the next two years.

There, court leaders have drawn on their experiences dealing with a crush of foreclosures and other litigation following the 2008 financial crisis to project that nearly 1 million additional cases will be in front of the state’s trial courts by the middle of 2021.

In New York, where the next fiscal year promises to include a gaping $14.5 billion budget hole, dozens of appellate judges over age 70 are being forced into retirement, a move court administrators said would save $55 million in the coming years and help prevent staff layoffs.


Addendum on 11/24/20:

Civil Justice Fest: A Month of Dialogues On the Most Pressing Civil Justice Issues — from vimeo.com
Judicial Education Program & Congressional Civil Justice Academy Law & Economics  Center Antonin Scalia Law School George Mason University November 2020 Virtual

 
 

College and University presidents respond to Covid-19: 2020 fall term survey — from acenet.edu by Jonathan Turk, Maria Claudia Soler Salazar, and Anna Marie Ramos

Excerpt:

 Figure 1. Most Pressing Issues Facing Presidents Due to COVID-19 in September

 

After the Pandemic, a Revolution in Education and Work Awaits — from nytimes.com by Thomas Friedman
Providing more Americans with portable health care, portable pensions and opportunities for lifelong learning is what politics needs to be about post-Nov. 3.

No job, no K-12 school, no university, no factory, no office will be spared. 

Excerpt:

Your children can expect to change jobs and professions multiple times in their lifetimes, which means their career path will no longer follow a simple “learn-to-work’’ trajectory, as Heather E. McGowan, co-author of “The Adaptation Advantage,” likes to say, but rather a path of “work-learn-work-learn-work-learn.”

“Learning is the new pension,” Ms. McGowan said. “It’s how you create your future value every day.”

The most critical role for K-12 educators, therefore, will be to equip young people with the curiosity and passion to be lifelong learners who feel ownership over their education.

 

Important New Report on Essential Lawyering Skills — from bestpracticeslegaled.com by John Lande

Excerpt:

Ohio State Professor Deborah Jones Merritt and Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System Research Director Logan Cornett just published an important report, Building a Better Bar: The Twelve Building Blocks of Minimum Competence, based on insights from 50 focus groups.

They found that minimum competence consists of 12 interlocking “building blocks,” including the ability to interact effectively with clients, communicate as a lawyer, and see the “big picture” of client matters.

They propose 10 recommendations that courts, law schools, bar associations, bar examiners, and other stakeholders should consider in their efforts to move towards better, evidence-based lawyer licensing.

 

Top IT Issues, 2021: Emerging from the Pandemic — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

The EDUCAUSE Top IT Issues list has been refactored for 2021 to help higher education shape the role technology will play in the recovery from the pandemic. What different directions might institutional leaders take in their recovery strategy? How can technology help our ecosystem emerge stronger and fitter for the future?

The 2021 EDUCAUSE IT Issues project explores these questions using a very different approach from previous years. Anticipating potential ways institutions might emerge from the pandemic, this year we offer three Top IT Issues lists and examine the top 5 issues within three scenarios that may guide institutional leaders’ use of technology: restore, evolve, and transform.

Educause's Top IT Issues for 2021

Also see:

 

The Advantages of Teaching Soft Skills to CS Undergrads Online — from cacm.acm.org by Orit Hazzan; with thanks to Sarah Huibregtse for posting this out on LinkedIn.

Excerpt:

At first, I wondered whether teaching soft skills online is even possible since, unlike theoretical courses, I assumed that close face-to-face (F2F) interaction is required in order to practice such skills. Eventually, I realized that teaching this course online has, in fact, some advantages, that this teaching format opens up new opportunities, and that this medium can even foster several soft skills that I had not previously considered teaching in the F2F format. This blog demonstrates these advantages by focusing on the use of the breakout rooms option available in Zoom, which I used extensively in the course.

 

Soft skills mentioned by CS students

 

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment — as of October 15, 2020 and as referenced late last week by The Chronicle of Higher Education

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment

From DSC:
The window of opportunity for traditional institutions of higher education to reinvent themselves, become cheaper, and offer more value is beginning to close. The window is still there…but it’s beginning to close.

 

The justice gap in the United States is striking. It ranks 103rd out of 126 countries in accessibility and affordability of civil legal services, according to a World Justice Project survey. More than 80% of those in poverty, as well as a majority of middle-income Americans, receive inadequate civil legal assistance, the nonprofit Legal Services Corporation found.

(source)    

From DSC:
If the public doesn’t have access to justice — and the majority of those involved with civil-based law cases (vs. criminal law cases) don’t — the system has failed. Throughout the last several years, I have thought about the topic of access to justice (#A2J) many times on my walks past the Michigan Hall of Justice building in Lansing, Michigan.

I am hoping that a variety of technologies can help address this problem — at least in part. The impact of the Covid19 pandemic is pushing us in the right direction, but it never should have taken that horrendous event to occur in order for such innovations and changes to take root.

Michigan's Hall of Justice

Michigan's Hall of Justice -- Freedom and Equality

Michigan's Hall of Justice -- Truth and Justice

 

“Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

Exodus 23:6 — NIV    

Also see:

 

 

New Film Addresses Mental Health By Challenging Us To ‘Listen’ To Our Youth Voice — from gettingsmart.com by Michael Niehoff

New Film Addresses Mental Health By Challenging Us To Listen To Our Youth Voice

 


Also see:

IW Official Guide: World Mental Health Day Supporting the workplace during the pandemic and beyond

IW Official Guide: World Mental Health Day Supporting the workplace during the pandemic & beyond — from inspiring-workplaces.com by Aimee O’Leary

For World Mental Health Day 2020, we have created a quick guide of 10 top tips for you. It has been compiled from experts around the world on how to support the mental health of your people during these challenging times.

It includes:

  • How to do your part to break the stigma
  • How to create functional routines
  • How to look out for colleagues without being invasive
  • How to stay connected
  • and more

Lastly, before reading the guide, reach out to someone you know today, who you have haven’t spoken with in a while and simply ask… How are you, really? It will make a huge difference.

*****************

 


Addendum on 10/13/20:

As the Pandemic Grinds On, Here Are 5 Big Worries of College Presidents — from chronicle.com by Michael Vasquez

Excerpt:

Campus mental health is the No. 1 worry. The college leaders were asked to select their five top concerns from a list of 19 Covid-related issues. Fifty-three percent of presidents listed student mental health, and 42 percent pointed to faculty and staff mental health as being among their biggest worries. Anxiety, uncertainty, depression, and grief — compounded by the isolation of the pandemic — have exacted an often invisible toll on people who study and work in higher education.

 

Civil Justice for All — from amacad.org

Excerpts:

This report calls for the legal profession, the courts, law schools, tech professionals, and partners from many other fields and disciplines to coordinate their efforts to provide necessary legal assistance to many more people in need. Past efforts to improve access to justice offer strong evidence that such an effort would have a profound effect on American society—measured in financial savings, greater trust in law and social institutions, and the safety and security of families and communities.

THE PROJECT’S SEVEN RECOMMENDATIONS ARE:

First, and above all, dedicate a consequential infusion of financial and human resources to closing the civil justice gap, and seek a significant shift in mindset—extending beyond lawyers the duty and capacity to assist those with legal need—to make genuine strides toward “justice for all”;

Secondincrease the number of legal services lawyers who focus on the needs of low-income Americans;

Thirdincrease the number of lawyers providing pro bono and other volunteer assistance, to supplement the corps of legal services lawyers;

Fourthbring many new advocates—service providers who are not lawyers—into the effort to solve civil justice problems;

Fifthfoster greater collaboration among legal services providers and other trusted professionalssuch as doctors, nurses, and social workers;

Sixthexpand efforts to make legal systems easier to understand and use through the simplification of language, forms, and procedures and the wider use of technology; and

Seventhcreate a national team, or even a new national organization, to coordinate the efforts listed above, collect much-needed data on the state of civil justice, and help identify and publicize effective innovations that improve access.

 

Learning in the Cloud: Canada’s First University to Move Operations into One Secure Cloud Infrastructure Sets the Stage for the Future of Learning — from globenewswire.com by Athabasca University
Athabasca University (AU) lays the groundwork to build a more accessible and personalized future for post-secondary learners

Excerpt:

Edmonton, Alberta, Sept. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At a time when you can personalize everything from your online shopping experience to your dating prospects, it seems only reasonable to ask: why can’t students “swipe right” on their course load? Why can’t a degree be structured around what someone wants to learn or how they learn, instead of what’s traditionally part of the program? In other words, why isn’t it possible to choose your own adventure in a university environment?

Athabasca University (AU), Canada’s Online University, recently completed a six-month rapid cloud migration project with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to construct a secure, flexible, and global infrastructure required to make personalized learning an infinitely scalable reality. With the completion of its cloud migration project, AU became the first post-secondary institution in Canada to move its entire digital operations infrastructure into its own secure AU cloud environment powered by AWS.

 

Personalized Learning Is Special Education and the Time Is Now — from gettingsmart.com by Karla Phillips-Krivickas and Rebecca Midles

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Educators have long recognized that the education strategies that work for students with additional needs would benefit all kids. These personalized learning strategies are, in fact, best practices for all students. Yet we continue to design our schools for the ‘average’ student. And then we wonder why there is so much frustration when we try to fit the proverbial square pegs into round holes.

You may assume the line between general and special education is clear, but it is quite blurry. Special education was never intended to be a separate system. It was designed to facilitate access to general education. Unfortunately, disability labels can now act as fuzzy barriers separating those who qualify for individualized instruction and those who do not. And this is the problem: the one size fits all approach to education doesn’t account for students’ differences or preferences unless they have a disability.

From DSC:
Exactly the experience our family has had as well. The K-12 education train stops for no one and moves quickly.  To *^*^ with mastery. To *^*^ with the love of learning — or even the slightest liking of it.

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

Let us not come out of this crisis with the same systems and ways of doing things. Time for greater innovation, experimentation, and invention to take place!

 

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