Online learning in Michigan, as delivered by Michigan Virtual and others, has exploded in recent years.

  • The number of K-12 students taking at least 1 virtually delivered course jumped from just over 36,000 in 2010-11 to ~91,000 in 2015-16 | page 9
  • Total # of virtual courses taken by Michigan K-12 students soared from ~90,000 in 2010-11 to 453,000+ in ’15-16 | page 9
  • In 2011, approximately 650 schools had at least one student take a virtual course. By 2015-16, more than 1,000 Michigan schools had at least one student enroll in an online course. | page 9
  • This growth highlights the success that Michigan Virtual and others have had in promoting online learning across Michigan, yet underscores the work that still needs to be done. Thirty-seven percent of Michigan districts did not have a single student take a virtual class in 2015-16, and only 6% of all K-12 students in the state took a virtual course. The statewide completion rate for all virtual enrollments has dropped from 66% in 2010-11 to 58% in 2015-16. So while online course participation has increased, it is still a small share of the overall market. Further, educational outcomes have declined, leaving opportunity for improvements in quality and online learning program implementation. This, combined with statewide efforts to make Michigan a leading education state, provides new opportunities for Michigan Virtual to advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships.

 



This strategic plan began with an extensive research and stakeholder outreach effort. This was designed to enhance our understanding of demographic and economic conditions, education policies and priorities, competitors and technology trends, stakeholder wants and needs, and views and perceptions of Michigan Virtual.

We interviewed or surveyed more than 425 individual stakeholders, including Michigan Virtual teachers, staff, students, and board members; the leadership and membership of leading educational organizations such as the Education Alliance of Michigan, the Virtual School Leadership Alliance, MASA, MAISA, MEMPSA, MASSP; and other leaders in education across Michigan. We also consulted research and data on technology trends, K-12 enrollment projections, state and national economic forecasts, education policies and priorities, and the competitive landscape.

KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE (emphasis DSC):

  • It is expected that the Michigan economy will see modest growth in coming years. This will help state  revenues remain relatively stable, but it is not expected that there will be significant growth in tax revenues available for increased spending on programs including K-12 education.
  • The Michigan Department of Education’s Top 10 in 10 strategic plan was developed with input from a broad group of stakeholders and is expected to remain a guiding document, along with the state’s ESSA plan and the 21st Century Education Commission’s report “The Best Education System for Michigan’s Success,” in coming years. Education priorities at the federal level are not as clear, though we expect an expanded focus on choice and options for parents and their students.
  • Technology infrastructure is built out to extend high-speed Internet access to the majority of schools and citizens in Michigan, though in-home access is still not fully available in some lower income or rural areas.
  • Users of online programs and websites have come to expect instant access and user-friendly designs and interfaces that they can access on any device.
  • There is growing acceptance and use of online courses across Michigan, though there remains a need to identify and demonstrate best practices, communicate benefits, and ensure quality standards are adopted to improve student outcomes.
  • There is growing competition among online course providers, with many focusing on low-cost solutions that are appealing to budget-constrained schools, but that may not adhere to best practices and quality standards that are demonstrated to improve student outcomes.
  • The false perception persists among some that Michigan Virtual is a for-profit organization that competes with traditional schools.
  • Poverty and related issues, including mental health and behavior, were cited by educators from across the state as being the most significant student-related issues facing their schools. (*insert DSC)
  • The need for, and adoption of, online and blended professional development will increase as educators increasingly see the value of integrating digital resources into their traditional classrooms.
  • While educators see the value of integrating digital resources into their traditional classrooms, many do not know how or where to start. Most schools and districts also lack the expertise to develop and implement blended learning programs on their own.

Today’s digital-learning landscape could not have been predicted when Michigan Virtual was founded in 1998, or even when our last strategic plan was developed in 2014. Some areas of digital learning have been frustratingly slow to advance, while others have perhaps grown too quickly at the expense of effectiveness and student outcomes.

This plan was intentionally designed with an unpredictable landscape in mind. The plan printed here is static, but the actions to implement the plan are dynamic. Tactics for each strategy and goal will be evaluated at least annually to stay aligned with ever-evolving challenges and opportunities. However, the goals, when taken together, provide a formula for success regardless of how the landscape evolves. We will provide an awesome experience for internal and external stakeholders alike, build partnerships to scale and grow our success, and operate efficiently and as good stewards of our resources to ensure our financial viability. Doing this, in alignment with our mission to advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships will bring us to a point where our vision (every person can use digital learning to reach his or her full potential) is a reality.

 



* In teaching, “You can’t do the Bloom stuff until you take care of the Maslow stuff.” [Beck]



 

 

 

From DSC:
In Part I, I looked at the new, exponential pace of change that colleges, community colleges and universities now need to deal with – observing the enormous changes that are starting to occur throughout numerous societies around the globe. If we were to plot out the rate of change, we would see that we are no longer on a slow, steady, incremental type of linear pathway; but, instead, we would observe that we are now on an exponential trajectory (as the below graphic from sparks & honey very nicely illustrates).

 

 

How should colleges and universities deal with this new, exponential pace of change?

1) I suggest that you ensure that someone in your institution is lifting their gaze and peering out into the horizons, to see what’s coming down the pike. That person – or more ideally, persons – should also be looking around them, noticing what’s going on within the current landscapes of higher education. Regardless of how your institution tackles this task, given that we are currently moving at an incredibly fast pace, this trend analysis is very important. The results from this analysis should immediately be integrated into your strategic plan. Don’t wait 3-5 years to integrate these new findings into your plan. The new, exponential pace of change is going to reward those organizations who are nimble and responsive.

2) I recommend that you look at what programs you are offering and consider if you should be developing additional programs such as those that deal with:

  • Artificial Intelligence (Natural Language Processing, deep learning, machine learning, bots)
  • New forms of Human Computer Interaction such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality
  • User Experience Design, User Interface Design, and/or Interaction Design
  • Big data, data science, working with data
  • The Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications, sensors, beacons, etc.
  • Blockchain-based technologies/systems
  • The digital transformation of business
  • Freelancing / owning your own business / entrepreneurship (see this article for the massive changes happening now!)
  • …and more

3) If you are not already doing so, I recommend that you immediately move to offer a robust lineup of online-based programs. Why do I say this? Because:

  • Without them, your institution may pay a heavy price due to its diminishing credibility. Your enrollments could decline if learners (and their families) don’t think they will get solid jobs coming out of your institution. If the public perceives you as a dinosaur/out of touch with what the workplace requires, your enrollment/admissions groups may find meeting their quotas will get a lot harder as the years go on. You need to be sending some cars down the online/digital/virtual learning tracks. (Don’t get me wrong. We still need the liberal arts. However, even those institutions who offer liberal arts lineups will still need to have a healthy offering of online-based programs.)
  • Online-based learning methods can expand the reach of your faculty members while offering chances for individuals throughout the globe to learn from you, and you from them
  • Online-based learning programs can increase your enrollments, create new revenue streams, and develop/reach new markets
  • Online-based learning programs have been proven to offer the same learning gains – and sometimes better learning results than – what’s being achieved in face-to-face based classrooms
  • The majority of pedagogically-related innovations are occurring within the online/digital/virtual realm, and you will want to have built the prior experience, expertise, and foundations in order to leverage and benefit from them
  • Faculty take their learning/experiences from offering online-based courses back into their face-to-face courses
  • Due to the increasing price of obtaining a degree, students often need to work to help get them (at least part of the way) through school; thus, flexibility is becoming increasingly important and necessary for students
  • An increasing number of individuals within the K-12 world as well as the corporate world are learning via online-based means. This is true within higher education as well, as, according to a recent report from Digital Learning Compass states that “the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 now tops six million, about 30% of all enrollments.”
  • Families are looking very closely at their return on investments being made within the world of higher education. They want to see that their learners are being prepared for the ever-changing future that they will encounter. If people in the workforce often learn online, then current students should be getting practice in that area of their learning ecosystems as well.
  • As the (mostly) online-based Amazon.com is thriving and retail institutions such as Sears continue to close, people are in the process of forming more generalized expectations that could easily cross over into the realm of higher education. By the way, here’s how our local Sears building is looking these days…or what’s left of it.

 

 

 

4) I recommend that you move towards offering more opportunities for lifelong learning, as learners need to constantly add to their skillsets and knowledge base in order to remain marketable in today’s workforce. This is where adults greatly appreciate – and need – the greater flexibility offered by online-based means of learning. I’m not just talking about graduate programs or continuing studies types of programs here. Rather, I’m hoping that we can move towards providing streams of up-to-date content that learners can subscribe to at any time (and can drop their subscription to at any time). As a relevant side note here, keep your eyes on blockchain-based technologies here.

5) Consider the role of consortia and pooling resources. How might that fit into your strategic plan?

6) Consider why bootcamps continue to come onto the landscape.  What are traditional institutions of higher education missing here?

7) And lastly, if one doesn’t already exist, form a small, nimble, innovative group within your organization — what I call a TrimTab Group — to help identify what will and won’t work for your institution.

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I know Quentin Schultze from our years working together at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA). I have come to greatly appreciate Quin as a person of faith, as an innovative/entrepreneurial professor, as a mentor to his former students, and as an excellent communicator. 

Quin has written a very concise, wisdom-packed book that I would like to recommend to those people who are seeking to be better communicators, leaders, and servants. But I would especially like to recommend this book to the leadership at Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Nvidia, the major companies developing robots, and other high-tech companies. Why do I list these organizations? Because given the exponential pace of technological change, these organizations — and their leaders — have an enormous responsibility to make sure that the technologies that they are developing result in positive changes for societies throughout the globe. They need wisdom, especially as they are working on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), personal assistants and bots, algorithms, robotics, the Internet of Things, big data, blockchain and more. These technologies continue to exert an increasingly powerful influence on numerous societies throughout the globe today. And we haven’t seen anything yet! Just because we can develop and implement something, doesn’t mean that we should. Again, we need wisdom here.

But as Quin states, it’s not just about knowledge, the mind and our thoughts. It’s about our hearts as well. That is, we need leaders who care about others, who can listen well to others, who can serve others well while avoiding gimmicks, embracing diversity, building trust, fostering compromise and developing/exhibiting many of the other qualities that Quin writes about in his book. Our societies desperately need leaders who care about others and who seek to serve others well.

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Quin’s book. There are few people who can communicate as much in as few words as Quin can. In fact, I wish that more writing on the web and more articles/research coming out of academia would be as concisely and powerfully written as Quin’s book, Communicate Like a True Leader: 30 Days of Life-Changing Wisdom.

 

 

To lead is to accept responsibility and act responsibly.
Quentin Schultze

 

 

 

Reuters Top 100: The World’s Most Innovative Universities – 2017 — from reuters.com with thanks to eduwire for their posting on this

Excerpts:

Reuters’ annual ranking of the World’s Most Innovative Universities identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and power new markets and industries.

The top 10 innovative universities are:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  3. Harvard University
  4. University of Pennsylvania
  5. KU Leuven
  6. KAIST
  7. University of Washington
  8. University of Michigan System
  9. University of Texas System
  10. Vanderbilt University

 

 

 

Myths and Facts About Flipped Learning — from er.educause.edu by Robert Talbert

Key Takeaways

  • The combination of rapidly-accumulating research on the effectiveness of active learning combined with improvements in technology have created an ideal environment for almost any instructor to move their courses from a traditional to a flipped model.
  • Many articles on flipped learning contain misconceptions that can lead potential practitioners into error or away from using flipped learning entirely, to the detriment of their students and themselves.
  • This article looks at some of the myths about flipped learning and provides contradictory facts about this pedagogical approach.

 

Flipped learning, sometimes called the “flipped classroom,” is a pedagogical approach which uses time and space in a different way from the way courses are typically taught. In traditional instruction, students’ first contact with new ideas happens in class, usually through direct instruction from the professor; after exposure to the basics, students are turned out of the classroom to tackle the most difficult tasks in learning — those that involve application, analysis, synthesis, and creativity — in their individual spaces. Flipped learning reverses this, by moving first contact with new concepts to the individual space and using the newly-expanded time in class for students to pursue difficult, higher-level tasks together, with the instructor as a guide.

Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach whose time has come. The combination of rapidly-accumulating research on the effectiveness of active learning combined with improvements in technology have created an ideal environment for almost any instructor to move their courses from a traditional to a flipped model. At the same time, despite its popularity and the efforts of groups like the Flipped Learning Network to explain and operationalize flipped learning, it remains a somewhat poorly-understood concept among many. Many published articles on flipped learning contain misconceptions that can lead potential practitioners into error or away from using flipped learning entirely, to the detriment of their students and themselves.

Let’s take a look at some of the myths about flipped learning and try to find the facts.

 

 

 

Lessons From Flipped Classrooms and Flipped Failures — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young, with Robert Talbert

Excerpt:

So a few years ago Talbert, a math professor at Grand Valley State University, tried a new approach, known as flipped learning—a method catching on these days in college classrooms. He describes it as a new philosophy of teaching. Unlike the lecture model, in which students first encountering new material in the classroom, in the flipped model the students’ first encounter with the material happens outside of class, usually in the form of video lectures. And class time is used for more interactive activities that encourage students to apply what they’re learning while the professor is there to step in and help if necessary.

It isn’t foolproof though, and in a new book Talbert gives a frank look into his classroom experiences, and his tips on how to avoid flipped failure. It’s called “Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty.” Talbert has long shared the ups and downs of his teaching experiments with his colleagues through his blog.

 

 

What I often tell faculty is, if you’re interested in using flipped learning, you’ve got to give yourself a lot of time to ease into it. I try to suggest a one-year plan between the moment you become interested in flipped learning and the moment you actually use it in the classroom. Take a solid year to plan, to develop materials, to test things out and so forth. Don’t try to jump straight into it.

 

 

 

 

The case for a next generation learning platform [Grush & Christian]

 

The case for a next generation learning platform — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush & Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Grush: Then what are some of the implications you could draw from metrics like that one?

Christian: As we consider all the investment in those emerging technologies, the question many are beginning to ask is, “How will these technologies impact jobs and the makeup of our workforce in the future?”

While there are many thoughts and questions regarding the cumulative impact these technologies will have on our future workforce (e.g., “How many jobs will be displaced?”), the consensus seems to be that there will be massive change.

Whether our jobs are completely displaced or if we will be working alongside robots, chatbots, workbots, or some other forms of AI-backed personal assistants, all of us will need to become lifelong learners — to be constantly reinventing ourselves. This assertion is also made in the aforementioned study from McKinsey: “AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers. The workforce needs to be re-skilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it…”

 

 

A side note from DSC:
I began working on this vision prior to 2010…but I didn’t officially document it until 2012.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:

A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • A customizable learning environment that will offer up-to-date streams of regularly curated content (i.e., microlearning) as well as engaging learning experiences
  • Along these lines, a lifelong learner can opt to receive an RSS feed on a particular topic until they master that concept; periodic quizzes (i.e., spaced repetition) determines that mastery. Once mastered, the system will ask the learner whether they still want to receive that particular stream of content or not.
  • A Netflix-like interface to peruse and select plugins to extend the functionality of the core product
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and streams of content that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)
  • (Potentially) Integration with one-on-one tutoring services

Further details here >>

 

 

 



Addendum from DSC (regarding the resource mentioned below):
Note the voice recognition/control mechanisms on Westinghouse’s new product — also note the integration of Amazon’s Alexa into a “TV.”



 

Westinghouse’s Alexa-equipped Fire TV Edition smart TVs are now available — from theverge.com by Chaim Gartenberg

 

The key selling point, of course, is the built-in Amazon Fire TV, which is controlled with the bundled Voice Remote and features Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

 

 

 

Finally…also see:

  • NASA unveils a skill for Amazon’s Alexa that lets you ask questions about Mars — from geekwire.com by Kevin Lisota
  • Holographic storytelling — from jwtintelligence.com
    The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.
    New Dimensions in Testimony is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.  Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), people are able to ask Gutter’s projected image questions that trigger relevant responses.

 

 

 

 
 

University of Michigan offering free tuition for families making less than $65K — from mlive.com by Martin Slagter

Excerpt:

ANN ARBOR, MI – The University of Michigan is offering free tuition to in-state families earning up to $65,000, the university announced at its Thursday, June 15, Board of Regents meeting.

UM President Mark Schlissel surprised the audience inside the Michigan Union by announcing the creation of the Go Blue Guarantee to kick off the meeting Thursday, prior to the Regents’ vote on the budget for the upcoming year.

 

 

New Google Earth has exciting features for teachers — from thejournal.com by Richard Chang

Excerpt:

Google has recently released a brand new version of Google Earth for both Chrome and Android. This new version has come with a slew of nifty features teachers can use for educational purposes with students in class. Following is a quick overview of the most fascinating features…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2017 | Daniel Christian