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:

 

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.

 

 

The Dice Q3 Tech Job Report | Tech Hiring and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

The Dice Q3 Tech Job Report Tech Hiring and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

The Dice Q3 Tech Job Report: Tech Hiring and COVID-19: What You Need to Know — from techhub.dice.com
The report, issued quarterly by Dice, provides exclusive statistics and analysis on the tech hiring landscape, including top cities and states, top employers and the most sought-after skills and occupations.

From DSC:
One can quickly see how valuable this information would be as a data feed into an AI-based, next-generation learning platform.

The platform would connect the marketable skills with the courses, websites, blogs, RSS feeds/streams of content, etc. that would help a learner quickly and affordably build such in-demand skills. Given the shortening half-lives of many kinds of information, such a service is needed desperately…especially now with the impact of the Coronavirus.

Also relevant: See how ISTE built its upcoming virtual event!

 

Temperament-Inclusive Pedagogy: Helping Introverted and Extraverted Students Thrive in a Changing Educational Landscape — from onlinelearningconsortium.org by Mary R. Fry

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

So how do we take these different approaches to learning into account and foster a classroom environment that is more inclusive of the needs of both extraverts and introverts? Let’s first distinguish between how extraverts and introverts most prefer to learn, and then discuss ways to meet the needs of both. Extraverts tend to learn through active and social engagement with the material (group work, interactive learning experiences, performing and discussing). Verbalizing typically helps extraverts to think through their ideas and to foster new ones. They often think quickly on their feet and welcome working in large groups. It can be challenging for extraverts to generate ideas in isolation (talking through ideas is often needed) and thus working on solitary projects and writing can be challenging.

In contrast, introverts thrive with solitary/independent work and typically need this time to sort through what they are learning before they can formulate their thoughts and articulate their perspectives. Introverted learners often dislike group work (or at least the group sizes and structures that are often used in the classroom (more on this in a moment)) and find their voice drowned out in synchronous discussions as they don’t typically think as fast as their extroverted counterparts and don’t often speak until they feel they have something carefully thought out to share. Introverted learners are often quite content, and can remain attentive, through longer lectures and presentations and prefer engaging with the material in a more interactive way only after a pause or break.

From DSC:
Could/would a next-generation learning platform that has some Artificial Intelligence (AI) features baked into it — working in conjunction with a cloud-based learner profile — be of assistance here?

That is, maybe a learner could self-select the type of learning that they are: introverted or extroverted. Or perhaps they could use a sliding scaled to mix learning activities up to a certain degree. Or perhaps if one wasn’t sure of their preferences, they could ask the AI-backed system to scan for how much time they spent doing learning activities X, Y, and Z versus learning activities A, B, and C…then AI could offer up activities that meet a learner’s preferences.

(By the way, I love the idea of the “think-ink-pair-share” — to address both extroverted and introverted learners. This can be done digitally/virtually as well as in a face-to-face setting.)

All of this would further assist in helping build an enjoyment of learning. And wouldn’t that be nice? Now that we all need to learn for 40, 50, 60, 70, or even 80 years of our lives?

The 60-Year Curriculum: A Strategic Response to a Crisis

 

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.

 

From DSC:
Many people talk about engagement when they discuss learning, and with good reason. It seems to me that what they are really getting at is the topic of getting and maintaining someone’s *attention.* Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning. I wonder if some of the next generation learning platforms that employ some level of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled features, will look to a learner’s preferences (as stored in their cloud-based learner’s profile) in order to help gain/maintain such attention.

And this also helps explain why allowing more learner agency — i.e., more choice, more control — in pursuing their own interests and passions really helps: A motivated learner is paying closer attention to what’s going on.

 

Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning.

 

 

From DSC:
And along these lines, that’s one of the key reasons I’d like to see more involvement from the Theatre Departments, Computer Science Departments, and from those involved with creative writing across the land — in terms of helping develop content for remote and online-based education. Actors, actresses, set designers, costumer designers, audio/video editors, programmers/software developers, and more who could collaborate on these kinds of ideas.

Last comment on this. I don’t mean that we should present our classes like many advertisements do (i.e., running a thousand images by me within 30 seconds). But changing things up periodically — both visually and audibly —  can help regain/reset your students’ attentions.

 


From DSC:
Instead of the way I put it in the above graphic, they use words like empowerment and agency. But the bottom line is the same. Huge energy gets released when students own their own learning and are intrinsically motivated (i.e., can pursue their own interests, passions). Parents, teachers, profs should know about this and encourage it.

 

From DSC:
In our future learning experiences, I wonder what taking a break might look and sound like…? That is, we’re going along learning something from/with others (virtually/digitally) and then the teacher, professor, Subject Matter Expert (SME), trainer, or whoever says to take a break. What could happen then?

In the online/digital/virtual-based realm, that could mean that you have the option to set your “break” setting to bring up Spotify, or Vimeo, or YouTube, or Pandora, some VR-based app, other. The lights in your “learning space” could dim and the music could come on. Or you reach for a VR headset and watch a sunset or position yourself by a picturesque brook. Or your favorite podcast/vodcast picks up where you left off.

Hmmm…should be some interesting innovation and affordances along these lines.

 

 

The State of AI in Higher Education — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
Both industry and higher ed experts see opportunities and risk, hype and reality with AI for teaching and learning.

Excerpts:

Kurt VanLehn, the chair for effective education in STEM in the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University, knows how challenging it can be people to come up with examples of effective AI in education. Why? “Because learning is complicated.”

Nuno Fernandes, president and CEO of Ilumno, an ed tech company in Latin America, isn’t ready to count adaptive learning out yet, if only because adaptivity has worked in other industries, such as social platforms like Netflix and Amazon, to identify what could work best for the user, based on previous activities and preferred formats of curriculum.

As Ilumno’s Fernandes asserted, AI won’t “substitute for faculty in any of our lifetimes. What it will do is give us tools to work better and to complement what is being done by humans.”

From DSC:
The article is a very balanced one. On one hand, it urges caution and points out that learning is messy and complex. On the other hand, it points out some beneficial applications of AI that already exist in language learning and in matching alumni with students for mentorship-related reasons.

From my perspective, I think AI-based systems will be used to help us scan job descriptions to see what the marketplace needs and is calling for. Such a system would be a major step forward in at least pointing out the existing hiring trends, needed skillsets, job openings, and more — and to do so in REAL-TIME!

Colleges, universities, and alternatives to traditional higher education could use this information to be far more responsive to the needs of the workplace. Then, such systems could match what the workplace needs with courses, microlearning-based feeds, apprenticeships, and other sources of learning that would help people learn those in-demand skills.

That in and of itself is HUGE. Again, HUGE. Given the need for people to reinvent themselves — and to do so quickly and affordably — that is incredibly beneficial.

Also, I do think there will be cloud-based learner profiles…data that each of us control and say who has access to it. Credentials will be stored there, for example. AI-based systems can scan such profiles and our desired career goals and suggest possible matches.

We can change our career goals. We don’t have to be locked into a particular track or tracks. We can reinvent ourselves. In fact, many of us will have to.

 

New benchmarking tool for higher ed seeks to address workplace soft skills gap — from chieflearningofficer.com by Elizabeth Loutfi
Quality Assurance Commons’ new Employability Self-Assessment will support higher education programs as they develop proficiency in teaching eight 21st century soft skills critical to today’s employers.

Excerpt:

A new assessment tool created for higher education institutions to track and measure the career success of their graduates was launched this week by nonprofit organization Quality Assurance Commons. The tool, which is called the Employability Self-Assessment, helps institutions identify the key skills employers want in candidates in the current and post-pandemic workplace.

The ESA has already been piloted at 20 colleges and universities and is being implemented at eight higher education institutions in the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System, according to a company press release.

According to the report, the top three missing soft skills reported by employers were problem solving, critical thinking, innovation and creativity; ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity; and communication.

From DSC:
Hmmm…do our current ways of doing things get students to that point? Are the ways in which we structure our educational systems facilitating the development of those skills? Apparently not. What needs to change? For me, it’s offering “More choice. More control.” to the students. And watch the energy, curiosity, and enjoyment of learning greatly increase.

 

The pandemic pushed universities online. The change was long overdue. — from hbr-org.cdn.ampproject.org by Sean Gallagher and Jason Palmer; with thanks to Mike Mathews for his posting on LinkedIn re: this item

Excerpt:

A number of elite institutions — such as Princeton University, Williams College, Spelman College, and American University — have substantially discounted tuition for their fully online experience in an historically unprecedented fashion, highlighting pricing pressures and opening up Pandora’s box. This comes after a decade of growth in postsecondary alternatives, including “massively open online courses” (MOOCs), industry-driven certification programs, and coding bootcamps.

This moment is likely to be remembered as a critical turning point between the “time before,” when analog on-campus degree-focused learning was the default, to the “time after,” when digital, online, career-focused learning became the fulcrum of competition between institutions.

 

Per Dr. Honeycutt, also see:

 

The shift online has colleges looking to share courses — from educationdive.com by Alia Wong
Dozens of institutions have joined consortia for exchanging online classes since the pandemic began, and new options have sprung up.

Excerpts:

Dozens of other small, private institutions followed thanks to the Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC’s) Online Course Sharing Consortium, which was formed in late 2018 and today is the largest of the dozen or so networks on Acadeum.

CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium

 

Course recovery consortium

 

[Re: online-based learning] The Ford Model T from 1910 didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! [Christian]

From DSC:
Per Wikipedia, this is a 1910 Model T that was photographed in Salt Lake City:

The Ford Model T didn't start out looking like a Maserati from 2021!

 

This is what online/virtual learning looks like further down the road. Our journey has just begun.

From DSC:
The Ford Model T didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! Inventions take time to develop…to be improved…for new and further innovations and experiments to take place.

Thinking of this in terms of online-based learning, please don’t think we’ve reached the end of the road for online-based learning. 

The truth is, we’ve barely begun our journey.

 


Two last thoughts here


1 ) It took *teams* of people to get us to the point of producing a Maserati like this. It will take *teams* of people to produce the Maserati of online-based learning.

2) In terms of online-based learning, it’s hard to say how close to the Maserati that we have come because I/we don’t know how far things will go. But this I do know: We have come a looooonnnnnggggg ways from the late 1990s! If that’s what happened in the last 20 years — with many denying the value of online-based learning — what might the next 5, 10, or 20 years look like when further interest, needs, investments, etc. are added? Then add to all of that the momentum from emerging technologies like 5G, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, bots, algorithms, and more!


From DSC:
To drive the point home, here’s an addendum on late 9/29/20:

Mercedes-Benz Shares Video of Avatar Electric Car Prototype

 

How to Maintain Peace in Your School Pod — from nytimes.com by Katherine Cusumano
‘It’s important to approach this with the idea that there’s no ideal situation. If there were, we’d all be doing it.’

Excerpt:

Most disagreements, according to Waine Tam, a founder of Selected for Families, an online service that matches families and slearning pods with qualified teachers, “tend to come up front.” Having frank discussions early on might make finding suitable podmates and forming a pod more difficult — but they can also contribute to the long-term success of the group, if you approach them with sensitivity and flexibility.

 

DIY Checklist to Set Up Your In-Home Learning Pod — from families.getselected.com

 

Olympia parents form ‘co-op style’ learning pods to support kids without a price tag — from theolympian.com vby Katie Hayes

 

Unschooling: The New School — from risingkashmir.com
The term unschooling was coined in the 1970s and used by educator John Holt, who is regarded as the father of unschooling

  • Unschooled kids pursue Self-Directed Learning as they are free to choose what they want to learn and who they want to learn from
  • Unschooling is becoming a trend in urban India with Bengaluru and Pune leading the chart
    Learning is entirely interest driven not dictated or directed by an external curriculum, by teachers or by parents
  • Socialization, development and isolation are some of the demerits of unschooling
  • Unschooling community is not claiming that their education model is better than regular schools but say that the latter is fundamentally flawed
  • An individual’s calibre is what makes him/her a creator of circumstances or a creature of circumstances
 

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