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

 

Homeschooling During the COVID-19 Pandemic — from cato.org by Kerry McDonald

Excerpt:

In a recent three-part Cato Daily Podcast series, I spoke with host Caleb Brown about this unprecedented educational moment, including sharing strategies and resources for overcoming the challenges of unexpected, unchosen homeschooling, as well as possible outcomes as more parents seek alternatives to conventional schooling post-pandemic.


More Free Resources For New Homeschoolers — from forbes.com by Nick Morrison

Excerpt:

Last month I highlighted some of the free resources available for parents — and teachers — during the pandemic, but since then a number of other organizations have offered their resources, expertise and support for free, so here is another selection, for the benefit of ordinary homeschoolers in these extraordinary times.


From DSC:
Below are excerpts from a recent email that I received as a cc: to our son and am passing it along in case it helps others out there.

I would like to share with you important guidance on how to get the most out of your online learning experience.

ORGANIZING YOUR SPACE
Set up your home classroom space. This is important. Be sure you have a space that is comfortable and where you can focus on your studies, your practice, your craft and your learning. This can be private or shared, whatever works for you and your family.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Computer
  • Internet Access, preferably high-speed broadband, is required for video conferencing and class assignments. Most of the expected work will not require streaming, but a secure internet connection will help a lot.
  • Headphones help minimize extraneous noise. They can also help signal to others in your home that you are online and on-task.
  • Zoom, our preferred video conferencing software, can be downloaded here

SCHEDULE
You will complete your work and engage in your lessons in two ways. Some assignments are laid out in your Canvas class and can be completed at your own pace, turning work in when due. And some of your classes and lessons will require you to connect with faculty and students in real time. When a real-time option is possible, be sure to take it. 

STAYING CONNECTED
Again, be sure to connect in real time as often as possible. There are lots of opportunities to connect with faculty and students every day.

Join in as many real time experiences as you can. These human connections, across the internet, are so important during this time when we are all separated physically.

NORMS FOR VIDEO-CONFERENCING

  • Log in on time, and be fully prepared with any necessary materials, notebooks, etc.
  • Wear clothes like what you would wear to school.
  • Remain present and engaged throughout the session. Do not open additional windows or use other technology during the session, unless it is part of class.
  • Join sessions in a quiet space, if you can, where you will not distract others and not be distracted. 
  • Mute your microphone when not speaking.

SUMMARY OF STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Establish a daily routine for your school work.
  • Find a comfortable, distraction-free place in your home where you can work.
  • Check email and Canvas each day to learn about the expectations for your work.
  • Perform tasks as outlined by instructors in Canvas and seek clarification from teachers on any assignments where you need it.
  • For classes meeting “live,” login to real-time video services (Zoom) for dialogue with teachers and members of your class. Attend faculty office hours. They want to see you!
  • Put forth your best effort.
  • Communicate with your instructors, your advisor, your residence life coordinator, and/or Academic and College Counseling.
  • If you need anything, let us know.

Under the Table and Teaching: 11 Expert Tips for Schooling Kids with ADHD from Home — from additudemag.com
Unschooling. Homeschooling. Crisis schooling. What is the difference? And what are the best learning strategies for your child with ADHD at this stressful time? Here are tips and strategies from education experts who understand the distinctions and today’s inescapable realities.

Excerpts:

11 Ways to Support Learning at Home

    1. Focus learning on your child’s natural interests.
    2. If your child gets stressed, take a break.
    3. Make learning a game.
    4. Embrace Minecraft.
    5. Add movement to promote learning.
    6. Build focus with busy hands and feet.
    7. Tap into online tutors.
    8. Ditch the worksheets. Use educational videos, phone apps, educational podcasts, or other media to introduce or expand on a subject.
    9. Take things one day at a time.
    10. Follow your child’s lead.
    11. Accept that homeschooling may not work for you.

 

unschool


 

Research Quest Live sign up
Though the museum is currently closed, the Natural History Museum of Utah is allowing kids around the globe the opportunity to transport back in time to a past where dinosaurs roamed the world. With the recently launched Research Quest Live, offering a taste of the world with virtual tours and free access to daily online science classes taught by museum educators.


Common Sense Launches Wide Open School to Help Families and Educators Transition to Students Learning from Home — from commonsensemedia.org
As Schools Continue to Close as a Result of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Some of the Most Respected Companies in Education, Media, and Tech Join Forces to Offer a Free and Open Collection of Quality Online Learning Resources to Educators and Families. 

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO, March 31, 2020—Common Sense, the leading nonprofit organization whose mission is to help kids, families, and educators thrive in a world of media and technology, has convened a group of education, media, and tech partners to launch WideOpenSchool.org, a free online resource to support families and educators who are transitioning to remote learning as a result of the coronavirus.

Wide Open School features the very best resources from publishers, nonprofits, and education companies, including the American Federation of Teachers, Amplify, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Head Start, Khan Academy, National Geographic, Noggin, PBS, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop,Time for Kids, XQ Institute, and YouTube. Find the full site at WideOpenSchool.org.

 

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.

 

My wife sent me this video from John Bennett, a math teacher. This was posted to YouTube back on 11/8/11.

In fact, if it were up to me, I’d would no longer require math to be taught…in middle school and high school.

NOTES:

  • 300 million people in the U.S. (as John mentioned back in October 2011)
    • 1.5 million engineers
    • 1/2 of a percent; and you can add another 1/2 of a percent for other kinds of jobs that require that kind of math
    • That leaves 99% of us in the United States who don’t use what we learned about in middle school and high school math classes. But the problem is, math has caused major stress for people in the last 40 years.
  • John Bennett had some major cognitive dissonance to the reasons WHY he was suggesting his students know the math concepts that he was trying to relay.
  • He came to ask, “When do most of us use math in real life?”
    • Money. Financial stuff. Balancing checkbook. Tipping. Cooking and carpentry.
  • Why are we still teaching algebra? Because it teaches us about inductive and deductive reasoning. Math helps us develop that kind of reasoning.
  • So a better plan would be to:
    • Let people who want to take math in middle school and high school take it.
    • For the rest of the students, provide strategy games and logic puzzles that help develop those cognitive reasoning skills.

From DSC:
When this math teacher meets people out in society, people confess how much stress math brought to them in school….and they’re aren’t joking.

Given that we are all required to be lifelong learners these days, I love what John Bennett is saying here…because we really aren’t serving society at large by requiring math be taught in middle school and high school.

  • It causes stress and very negative learning experiences for many people.
  • We don’t use it. (By the way, I could plug and chug ok, but I had no idea what I was doing. No real understanding. I haven’t used algebra and/or calculus since my youth.)

What does it take to change our curricula like that?! Is it possible? I sure hope so.

 

How innovations in voice technology are reshaping education — from edsurge.com by Diana Lee
Voice is the most accessible form you can think of when you think about any interface. In education, it’s already started to take off.

It could be basic questions about, “Am I taking a class to become X?” or “How strong are my skills relative to other people?” An assistant can help with that. It could potentially be a coach, something that follows you the rest of your life for education. I’m excited about that. People that can’t normally get access to this kind of information will get access to it. That’s the future.

From DSC:
The use of voice will likely be a piece of a next-generation learning platform.

Voice will likely be a piece of the next generation learning platform

 

Toward Inclusive Learning Spaces: Physiological, Cognitive, and Cultural Inclusion and the Learning Space Rating System — from er.educause.edu by Richard Holeton
Inclusive learning space design should be based on a tripartite framework addressing the diverse physiological, cognitive, and cultural needs of learners.

Excerpt:

Students with learning disabilities may have specific limitations in auditory perception and processing, visual perception and processing, information processing speed, abstract reasoning, long-term or short-term memory, spoken and written language ability, mathematical calculation, or executive functioning (e.g., planning and time management). Those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may suffer from impaired social interaction, diminished communication abilities, and sensory processing problems that may lead to agoraphobia or difficulty moving through spaces. Applying universal design and UDL principles, designers can and should go beyond the legal requirements to design truly inclusive spaces. Learning space design features that can help those with ASD include providing ordered and comprehensible spatial structures, a mix of large and small spaces, and some user control of environmental conditions, such as the amount of stimulation from light and bold colors.

The three main principles of UDL—to provide learners with multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, and multiple means of engagement—address cognitive diversity primarily through pedagogical design. Instructors applying UDL may provide course materials in multiple media, offer students different options for demonstrating their understanding and mastery, and build various ways for students to engage with instructors and one another.

Size and Space for Approach and Use: Accommodate diverse physical attributes by providing furnishings and equipment that fit various body sizes and shapes and by allowing appropriate space to permit the use of assistive devices and to accommodate reach and manipulation regardless of body size, posture, mobility, or hand and grip size.

 

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:

 

Notes from Stewart Hase’s keynote (Feb 2020) — with thanks to Dr. Lisa Marie Blaschke in Germany for her Tweet on this

  • The commodification of education – turns out sausages
    or
  • Are we creating more Greta Thunbergs?

Creating learning experiences where people are not sausages. Policymakers don’t get it. Practitioners do.

~11:00 mark –> Learner agency; have control over what they can learn about (inserted graphic from DSC below)

Heutagogy (self-determined learning)

  • …the learner is a partner (agent) in designing and realizing their own learning (Hase & Kenyon, 2000)

PAH continuum – Pedagogy –> Andragogy –>  Heutagogy

Hobby – learned to do it but didn’t go to school for it. How did you go about learning it?

  • Listened to radio, watched YouTube videos, watched other people, trial and error, repeated activity, conversations/reflections/group learning, read books, break things down into smaller parts, seek out a mentor, exploring, testing hypothesis, fail, get stuck and find a way through

Kids know how to do heutagogy – very natural; self-determined learning.

~21:45 To what extent do we incorporate heutagogy into our classrooms?

  • Context and experience – the neurons you bring to the learning table
  • Competence and capability
  • Negotiated learning; let the learner contextualize stuff for you
  • Experiential learning
  • Flexible assessment
  • Chunking the learning
  • Chunk the assessment
  • Flipped classroom
  • Project-based learning

The learning leader: New skills

  • Happy with ambiguity – have to give up control and power
  • Have to trust people
  • Relationship oriented
  • Process not content oriented
  • Coach and guide
  • Scientist
  • Facilitator
 

A two-part series from Educause regarding inclusive design/accessibility — with thanks to Ray Schroeder for his posting on this out on LinkedIn.

An excerpt from Part II:

The previous two definitions have tried to articulate the idea that students carry intersecting invisible circumstances with them into the classroom. Whether or not students disclose their circumstances—or whether faculty members invite students to disclose them—does not determine their existence. From this perspective, inclusion means designing and teaching for variability. Faculty can practice inclusive pedagogy by following universal design principles and offering multiple options for representation, engagement, and expression:

Options are essential to learning, because no single way of presenting information, no single way of responding to information, and no single way of engaging students will work across the diversity of students that populate our classrooms. Alternatives reduce barriers to learning for students with disabilities while enhancing learning opportunities for everyone.4

In a Nutshell …
Inclusive pedagogy can be an act of intention—something that is initiated before and during the course design process—rather than being an act of revision or omission.

 

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

 

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Below are some thoughts from Michal Borkowski, CEO and Co-Founder of Brainly, regarding some emerging edtech-related trends for 2020.

2020 is coming at us fast, and it’s bringing a haul of exciting EdTech trends along with it. A new decade means new learning opportunities created to cater to the individual rather than a collective hive. There are more than one or two ways of learning — by not embracing all of the ways to teach, we risk leaving students behind in subjects they may need extra help in.

Michal Borkowski, CEO and Co-Founder of Brainly– the world’s largest online learning platform with 150 million monthly users in 35 countries– has his finger on the pulse of global education trends. He was selected to speak at Disrupt Berlin, the world’s leading authority in debuting revolutionary startups and technologies, this year and has some insightful predictions on the emerging trends 2020 will bring in EdTech.

  1. Customized learning via AI
    AI systems with customizable settings will allow students to learn based on their personal strengths and weaknesses. This stylized learning takes into account that not every student absorbs information in the same way. In turn, it helps teachers understand what each individual student needs, spend more time teaching new material, and receive higher classroom results.
  2. Responsible technological integration
    Students today are more fluent in technology than older generations. Integrating tech through digital resources, textbooks, game-style lessons, and interactive learning are efficient ways to captivate students and teach them responsible usage of technology.
  3. Expansive peer-to-peer learning
    Allowing students access to a platform where they can view different student’s educational interpretations, and one specific perspective may help information click, is invaluable. These learning platforms break down barriers, encourage active learning anywhere, and cultivate a sense of community between students all over the world.
  4. From STEM to STEAM
    Science, technology, engineering, and math curriculums have been the major educational focus of the decade, but 2020 will see more integration of classical liberal arts into educational modules, turning STEM into STEAM. Incorporating the arts into a tech-based curriculum enables students to create important connections to the world and allows them to have a well-rounded education.
  5. Options in learning environments
    Who says learning has to take place in a classroom? Advancements in EdTech has provided new and exciting avenues where educators can experiment. Grade and high school level teachers are experimenting with webinars, online tutorials, and other forms of tech-based instruction to connect to students in environments where they are more inclined to learn.

2020 is the year that education forms itself around each student’s individual needs rather than leaving kids behind who don’t benefit from traditional instruction.

 

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

 

Virtual access to legal assistance becoming mainstream is hopefully not far off!

From DSC:
Along these lines, we’ll likely see more bots and virtual legal assistants that we will be able to ask questions of.

#A2J #AccessToJustice #legal #lawyers #society #legaltech #bots #videoconferencing #AI #bots #VirtualAssistants

Along these lines, also see:

Innovative and inspired: How this US law school is improving access to justice — from studyinternational.com

Excerpt:

Though court and other government websites in the US provide legal information, knowing what to search for and understanding legal jargon can be difficult for lay people.

Spot, software that is being developed at the LIT Lab, aims to fix this.

“You know you have a housing problem. But very few people think about their housing problems in terms of something like constructive eviction,” explains David Colarusso, who heads the LIT Lab. “The idea is to have the tool be able to spot those issues based upon people’s own language.”

Developed by Colarusso and students, Spot uses a machine-based algorithm to understand legal queries posed by lay persons. With Spot, entering a question in plain English like “My apartment is so moldy I can’t stay there anymore. Is there anything I can do?” brings up search results that would direct users to the right legal issue. In this case, the query is highly likely to be related to a housing issue or, more specifically, to the legal term “constructive eviction.”

 

Lastly, here’s an excerpt from INSIGHT: What’s ‘Innovative’ in BigLaw? It’s More Than the Latest Tech Tools — from news.bloomberglaw.com by Ryan Steadman and Mark Brennan

Top Innovation Factors for Success

  • The first step is always to observe and listen.
  • True innovation is about rigorously defining a client problem and then addressing it through a combination of workflow process, technology, and people.
  • Leave aside the goal of wholesale transformation and focus instead on specific client use cases.

Before revving the engines in the innovation process, the safety check comes first. Successful innovation requires a deliberate, holistic approach that takes into consideration people, process, and technology. Firms and vendors that listen and learn before implementing significant change will stand apart from competitors—and help ensure long-term success.

 

This former Apple designer is taking on Amazon’s Twitch with $146 million and Fox’s backing — from fastcompany.com by Jeff Beer
Caffeine founder and CEO Ben Keighran talks about why live streaming is much more than gaming—it’s the future of TV.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Live-streaming startup Caffeine, started by former Apple designer Ben Keighran, is emerging out of a two-year beta today and aims to overtake Amazon’s Twitch and Microsoft’s Mixer as the world’s leading live broadcasting platform. The official release version features a completely new design for its website and iOS and Android apps that combines editorial, algorithmic, and social connections to make it easier to discover live broadcasting from gamers, entertainers, and athletes, as well as create your own interactive broadcasts featuring live television content.

Twitch is the undisputed king of live-streamed gaming, but Keighran is betting that Caffeine’s more diverse focus to go beyond gaming—into entertainment and sports—will make it a more attractive place for both viewers and creators.

Keighran says another technological difference between Caffeine and Twitch is in its ease of use and quickness. “In just a couple of clicks, you can stream Red Bull 24/7 and be the commentator, you can stream Fortnite in one click, you can create an entertainment stream and talk about the new sneaker you just got, and you can do that all in one place,” he says. “And it’s all in real-time—there’s no delay in the video, whereas on Twitch, there’s up to a 60-second delay.”

 

From DSC:
Hmmm… social interaction. New platforms for streaming live content. Ability to comment and ask questions (i.e., audience interactions). Interactive chats.

Can we add learning-related experiences to the audiences and applications here?

 

 

A somewhat related item:

 

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