The shift to remote learning: The human element — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman & Company

The current response is triage. We are adapting to maintain as much of the familiar learning and community engagement as we can in the short term. Yes, we should adopt the technologies and strategies that support effective online learning. To that end, we will benefit from the excellent prior work of online education researchers. Right now, we need the simplest and most effective methods for our students to achieve the resolution they desire, as we seek to sustain the community and connections we have formed in residence.

It’s one thing to do this online when you are already starting from that premise — where your community has self-selected for that environment. It’s quite another when your community hasn’t. 

Kristen Eshleman

Making change in higher ed is typically a daunting prospect because of these silos, but they have been broken down now in ways that I hope will be long lasting and will lead to effective responses, programs, policies and networks in the future.

Joshua R. Eyler

It will be interesting to see if this embrace of flexibility sparks a broader shift in higher education. For too long we have mistaken rigor for academic integrity when in fact, from a definitional standpoint, rigor simply means rigidity, severity and harshness — the exact opposite of the flexibility we so need during this crisis.

Penelope Adams Moon

 

 

7 guiding principles for parents teaching from home — from edutopia.org by Laura Lee
Understanding the “why” behind teaching practices can help parents create meaningful and effective at-home learning opportunities during the pandemic. 

7 guiding principles for parents teaching from home -- by Laura Lee

Excerpts:

One misconception about teaching is that its primary function is to help students retain information, but retention is just the first step. Effective learning requires that students retrieve information frequently and then make new meaning of it. This process, called consolidation, is often reinforced in traditional classrooms through reviews and quizzes, or through multi-sensory practices like drawing, composing a song, or building a model about what has recently been learned.

At home, prioritize opportunities to engage in active learning through discussion, writing, or producing art, over more passive practices such as re-reading or rote note-taking. Learning requires repeated, active manipulation of the materials being learned.

Finally, many studies reveal that teaching what you’ve learned to someone else—to a parent or to another sibling—is also a highly effective way to consolidate learning and make it stick.

 

In many parts of the world, schooling at home will continue for at least several months. Help students move beyond a compliance mindset—”I’ve completed my work, can I go now?”— by building in time for passion projects and fun. 

 

Why education is a ‘wicked problem’ for learning engineers to solve — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

So, back to the wicked problem: How do we make education that’s both quality education and at the same time accessible and affordable?

“Now, we are building a new technology that we call Agent Smith. It’s another AI technology— and we’re very excited about it—that builds [a] Jill Watson for you. And Agent Smith can build a Jill Watson for you in less than 10 percent of the hours.”

So one question for online education is, can we build a new set of tools—and I think that’s where AI is going to go, that learning engineering is going to go—where AI is not helping individual humans as much as AI is helping human-human interaction.

Huge ethical issues and something that learning engineering has not yet started focusing on in a serious manner. We are still in a phase of, “Look ma, no hands, I can ride a bike without hands.”

Technology should not be left to technologists.

Learning from the living class room

 

My thanks to a friend for causing me to further reflect on this article: “Can computers ever replace the classroom?” [Beard]


From DSC:
I’d like to thank Mr. Eric Osterberg — a fraternity brother and friend of mine — for sending me the following article. I wrote back to him. After thanking Eric for the article, I said:

Such an article makes me reflect on things — which is always a good thing for me to try to see my blindspots and/or to think about the good and bad of things. Technologies are becoming more powerful and integrated into our lives — for better at times and for worse at other times.

I’m wondering how the legal realm can assist and/or help create a positive future for societies throughout the globe…any thoughts?


Can computers ever replace the classroom? — from theguardian.com by Alex Beard
With 850 million children worldwide shut out of schools, tech evangelists claim now is the time for AI education. But as the technology’s power grows, so too do the dangers that come with it. 

Excerpts:

But it’s in China, where President Xi Jinping has called for the nation to lead the world in AI innovation by 2030, that the fastest progress is being made. In 2018 alone, Li told me, 60 new AI companies entered China’s private education market. Squirrel AI is part of this new generation of education start-ups. The company has already enrolled 2 million student users, opened 2,600 learning centres in 700 cities across China, and raised $150m from investors.

The supposed AI education revolution is not here yet, and it is likely that the majority of projects will collapse under the weight of their own hype.

The point, in short, is that AI doesn’t have to match the general intelligence of humans to be useful – or indeed powerful. This is both the promise of AI, and the danger it poses.

It was a reminder that Squirrel AI’s platform, like those of its competitors worldwide, doesn’t have to be better than the best human teachers – to improve people’s lives, it just needs to be good enough, at the right price, to supplement what we’ve got. The problem is that it is hard to see technology companies stopping there. For better and worse, their ambitions are bigger. “We could make a lot of geniuses,” Li told me.

 

The Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE): Navigating the Mainstream

In its fourth year, the Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE) Survey — conducted by Quality Matters and Eduventures Research — delved deeper into key online learning topics, including faculty preparation, OPM partnerships, online support services, enrollment trends, course design, and quality assurance practices.

The results — available in the report “CHLOE 4 The Changing Landscape of Online Education: Navigating the Mainstream” — reflect how institutions have embraced online learning as well as the range of approaches they have taken that have moved online learning from the periphery to the mainstream. Highlights from the 61-page report include:

  • Faculty Preparation — Required preparation of faculty members to teach online was reported by 60% of respondents.
  • OPM Partnerships — OPM partnerships have doubled since 2017 – from 12% to 24%.
  • Support Services — Support services for online learners are largely handled by units that also serve the on-campus population. Some services such as student recruitment, orientation and advising are more likely to be separately administered for online students.
  • Online Orientation — Online student orientation is surprisingly uncommon with only 30% of respondents reporting that it is required at their institution.
 

An analysis of the value of the ways of learning at work — from modernworkplacelearning.com by Jane Hart

An analysis of the value of the ways of learning at work

However, I think the most interesting profile of them all is for those who are in non-salaried/freelance positions in the workplace (8%). These people still highly value learning from the daily work, but for them learning from professional networking and access to external resources and blogs and feeds is much more important to them than through internal resources and courses. Interestingly, though conferences are valued less than the average profile – which is probably due to cost and the more significant fact that they can learn more efficiently in other ways.

I believe this is the profile that is going to become more and more relevant and important as the work environment changes, where there are no jobs for life and everyone needs to take responsibility for their own learning and development.

 

Healthy looks different on every body...and learning looks different with every mind.

From DSC:
What I mean by this is this:

While I certainly agree that research has produced excellent, proven, effective pedagogies that work with many students (the majority even), the fact is, learning is messy. When a child walks into a classroom, there isn’t even one other child with the exact same neural situation.

Nor is there even one other student with the exact same experiences, background, passions, motivations, interests, etc. I’ve experienced this with our daughter who isn’t a part of the 80% that the typical education train addresses. Look out if you are part of the 10% of either side of the bell curve! As your learning experiences are too costly to address and likely won’t be addressed in many cases.

All that said, I still agree that the teaching and learning strategies are still highly relevant across the masses. My point is that there is still a lot of diversity out there. They say that learning is messy for a reason. If you doubt that, go sit in on an IEP sometime.

 

Play is disappearing from kindergarten. It’s hurting kids. — from edsurge.com by  Joe Martin

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In an increasing number of schools, teachers of very young students are pressured to pack every moment of the day with structured, academically rigorous tasks. One recent whitepaper linked the practice to preparing kids for the long road of schooling ahead, in which progress is measured through standardized testing starting in third grade.

Friedrich Froebel, a pedagogue of modern education, coined the term “kindergarten” in 1840 after recognizing the importance of play in the development of young children. Inspired by the idea of a garden, he designed a classroom where the teacher presented children with objects, which they were allowed to play with in any way they could imagine. When they lost interest in one object, they would be presented with a new one to spark curiosity and creativity. Children were encouraged to grow and flourish in this free form, play-based environment.

From DSC:
Given that we are all into a lifelong learning situation now, I vote for more importance being placed on whether someone enjoyed their learning experience. That said, I know there is struggle in learning…and learning in the struggle. But we focus so much on grades and standardized testing. This robs the joy from the teaching and learning environment — for the teachers as well as for the kids.

Also see:

 

Optimal Video Length for Student Engagement — from blog.edx.org by Candace Hazlett and Philip Guo

Excerpt:

In this first post, I’ll share some preliminary results about video usage, obtained from initial analyses of a few edX math and science courses. Unsurprisingly, students engaged more with shorter videos. Traditional in-person lectures usually last an hour, but students have much shorter attention spans when watching educational videos online. The graph below shows median engagement times versus video length, aggregated over several million video watching sessions:

From DSC:
If you have access to a tool like Canvas Studio, then you can probably extend the length of your videos if you are interspersing your videos with a healthy dose of interactivity — i.e., inserting quiz questions every few minutes.

 

From DSC:
This type of thing will be constantly running on a next-generation learning platform — i.e., scanning open job descriptions and presenting the top/”hottest” occupations/skills/employers — but then offering the relevant courses, modules, webinars, local learning hubs, discussion forums, etc. that will teach you the necessary skills (similar to what justwatch.com or suppose.tv provides for the entertainment industry).

 

 

 

DC: Precursor to a next gen learning platform…? Another piece is falling into place.

 

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Coming down the pike: A next generation, global learning platform [Christian]

From DSC:
Though we aren’t quite there yet, the pieces continue to come together to build a next generation learning platform that will help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, constantly, and cost-effectively.

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Upwork debuts The Upwork 100, ranking the top 100 in-demand skills for independent professionals — from upwork.com

Excerpt:

The Upwork 100 ranks the top 100 skills and sheds light on skills that are both quickly growing and also experiencing a high level of demand, providing an indication of current trends in the independent labor market and tech industry. It also serves as a barometer of the skills businesses are seeking and that independent professionals are providing by balancing real-time insights with consistent patterns based on real work that’s been completed.

 

 

 

IN the future

 

2019 study of undergraduate students & information technology — from library.educause.edu

Excerpts:

Drawing on survey data from more than 40,000 students across 118 US institutions, this report highlights a number of important findings related to students’ technology preferences, supports, and experiences, with the goal of aiding technology and higher education professionals in improving student learning experiences and success.

But they want to be more than in-class spectators:

  • “I want my professors to stop reading PowerPoint slides word-for-word off of a screen, and to start using the technology at hand to create a different kind of lecture that will engage their students in the learning process.”
  • “I’d love for there to be more interactive polling and questions during class. Even though I don’t like the idea of being in lecture every day, that would keep me more engaged if the instructors were more dynamic with their tech use.”
  • “Integrate [technology] more into lectures. It’s very difficult to sit and watch you talk. Technology can be so beneficial to learning if used in the right ways to enhance and complement lectures. Use collaborative quizzes (Kahoot, etc.), let us research in class, etc.”
  • “Provide more online learning tools such as interactive lectures where people on laptops or tablets can also engage with the material being presented.”

 

Figure 2. Student learning environment preferences for specific course-related activities and assignments

Recommendations

  • Leverage analytics to gain a greater understanding of the student demographics that influence learning environment preferences.
  • Continue to promote online success tools and provide training to students on their use through orientations and advisement sessions.
  • Expand efforts to improve Wi-Fi reliability in campus housing and outdoor spaces.
  • Allow students to use the devices that are most important to their academic success in the classroom.
  • Establish a campus community to address accessibility issues and give “accessibility evangelists” a seat at the table.

 

From DSC:
Well students…you might find that you have a major surprise ahead of you — as a significant amount of your future learning/training will take place completely online. Go ask some folks who have graduated about their onboarding experiences. Then go ask people who have been in the workplace for over a decade. You’ll see what I mean.

 

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