Blurring the lines between education and workforce — from hechingerreport.org by Javeria Salman
A proposition to ‘blur’ the boundaries between K-12, higher ed, and the workforce industry

Excerpts:

One idea that’s been gaining steam since last year is to break down barriers between high school, college and career to create a system that bridges all three.

The concept is called the “Big Blur.”

“What would it look like to change the typical, or what we think of as the conventional high school experience and instead design something that was built for the modern economy?” said Vargas.

Vargas said that JFF is arguing for new programs or institutions that serve students in grades 11 through 14 (grades 13 and 14 being the first two years of college, under our current configuration). The institutions would be co-designed with regional employers so that all students get work-based learning experiences and graduate — without tuition costs — with a post-secondary credential that has labor market value.

 

Teacher Moves That Cultivate Learner Agency — from edutopia.org by Paul Emerich France
Helping students become independent, questioning thinkers begins with stepping back and guiding them to take the lead in their learning.

Excerpt:

Cultivating learner agency is an endless journey. It not only entails knowing our students as human beings but also requires identifying and unlearning patterns in our teaching that unknowingly engender dependence in learners.

The term agency comes from the Latin agere, meaning “to set in motion.” It is precisely what agency should do in our classrooms: empower learners so that their minds and hearts become the engines that drive learning in our classrooms. This isn’t as simple as some might believe. Providing too much voice and choice without proper scaffolds can be counterproductive, resulting in chaos in the classroom.

Consider the following moves that cultivate learner agency—and choose one to try in your classroom.

 
 

From DSC:
After seeing the item below, I thought, “Hmmm…traditional institutions of higher education better look out if alternatives continue to gain momentum.” Perhaps it’s wise to double down on efforts to gather feedback from students, families, parents, businesses, and other stakeholders in the workplace regarding what they want and need — vs. what the faculty members of institution ABC want to teach.


A Third of U.S. College Students Consider Withdrawing — from news.gallup.com by Stephanie Marken

Excerpt:

Editor’s Note: The research below was conducted in partnership between the Lumina Foundation and Gallup.

About a third (32%) of currently enrolled students pursuing a bachelor’s degree report they have considered withdrawing from their program for a semester or more in the past six months. A slightly higher percentage of students pursuing their associate degree, 41%, report they have considered stopping out in the past six months. These are similar to 2020 levels when 33% of bachelor’s degree students reported they had considered stopping out and 38% of associate degree students said the same.

 

The amazing opportunities of AI in the future of the educational metaverse [Darbinyan]

The amazing opportunities of AI in the future of the educational metaverse — from forbes.com by Rem Darbinyan

Excerpt:

Looking ahead, let’s go over several potential AI-backed applications of the metaverse that can empower the education industry in many ways.

Multilingual Learning Opportunities
Language differences may be a real challenge for students from different cultures as they may not be able to understand and keep up with the materials and assignments. Artificial intelligence, VR and AR technologies can enhance multilingual accessibility for learners no matter where they are in the world. Speech-to-text, text-to-speech and machine translation technologies enrich the learning process and create more immersive learning environments.

AI can process multiple languages simultaneously and provide real-time translations, enabling learners to engage with the materials in the language of their choice. With the ability to instantly transcribe speech across multiple languages, artificial intelligence removes any language barriers for students, enabling them to be potentially involved, learn and communicate in any language.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education Market size exceeded USD 1 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 40% between 2021 and 2027. (source)

Along the lines of innovation within our educational learning ecosystems, see:

3 Questions for Coursera’s Betty Vandenbosch & U-M’s Lauren Atkins Budde on XR — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kiim
How might extended reality shape the future of learning?

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

[Lauren Atkins Budde] “Being able to embed quality, effective extended reality experiences into online courses is exponentially a game-changer. One of the persistent constraints of online learning, especially at scale, is how do learners get hands-on practice? How do they experience specific contexts and situations? How do they learn things that are best experienced? XR provides that opportunity for actively doing different kinds of tasks, in various environments, in ways that would otherwise not be possible. It will open up  Lauren Atkins Buddeboth how we teach online and also what we teach online.”

These courses are really exciting and cover a broad range of disciplines, which is particularly important. To choose the right subjects, we did an extensive review of insights from industry partners, learners and market research on in-demand and emerging future-of-work skills and then paired that with content opportunities where immersive learning is really a value-add and creates what our learning experience designers call “embodied learning.”

Addendum on 5/1/22:
Can the Metaverse Improve Learning? New Research Finds Some Promise — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

“The findings support a deeper understanding of how creating unique educational experiences that feel real (i.e., create a high level of presence) through immersive technology can influence learning through different affective and cognitive processes including enjoyment and interest,” Mayer and his colleagues write.

 

Why One University Is Moving Toward a Subscription Model — a podcast from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpts:

One big theme in education-innovation circles is that the professional world is changing faster than ever, and so schools and colleges must adjust how they teach to meet those needs.

One college in St. Louis, Maryville University, is embracing that argument in a big way by revamping its curriculum and even changing its business model to include options like a subscription model—with the goal of helping its students get good jobs after graduation.

“By the end of this decade or before, students should pay for higher ed the way they pay for Netflix or their cell phone bill,” Lombardi says.

From DSC:
I thought this was an interesting conversation and I agreed with much of what Mark Lombardi, President of Maryville University, had to say. 

I appreciated Jeff’s attempts at trying to get Mark to hear that “learning styles” aren’t supported by the research. I wish Mark would have used the word “preferences” instead…as I do think learners have preferences when it comes to them learning about new topics.

 

 

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

From DSC:
A family member struggles with spelling — big time. This causes her major amounts of anxiety in school.

Another family member had some learning disabilities and reflects back on school with some bad memories.

Another family member struggles with social graces and learns at a much different pace than her peers — the move to her education being (predominantly) done via homeschooling has helped significantly.

A friend of mine has Dyslexia. He recently said that school was hell for him.

Another person I know doesn’t understand his daughter’s learning disabilities — at all. He’s asking a fish to climb the tree and yells at his daughter when she doesn’t produce like the other kids do. Her school is for college-bound learners, and there’s always pressure to maintain the school’s “blue-ribbon” status (i.e., sorry if you don’t fit in…but please board the train anyway, as it’s about to depart).

These people and stories about their educations got me to reflect on all the people who went through the school systems in the United States (over the last few decades) that didn’t work well for them. In fact, not only did the systems not work well for them, they were the sources of a great deal of pain, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and embarrassment.  Instead of being a place of wonder or joy, school was a painful, constant struggle to get through.

For those who can keep up or even excel at the pace that the trains travel at, school isn’t that much of a problem. There are likely different levels of engagement involved here, but school is manageable and it doesn’t cause nearly the stress for someone who struggles with it.

For those with learning disabilities, I’d like to apologize to you on behalf of all the people who legislated or created rigid, one-size-fits-all school systems that didn’t understand and/or meet your needs. (Why we allow legislators — who aren’t the ones on the front lines — to control so much of what happens in our school systems is beyond me.) I’d like to apologize on behalf of all of the teachers, administrators, and staff who just accept the systems as they are.

Please help us reinvent our school systems. Help us develop the future of education. Help us develop a more personalized, customized approach. For those who are working to provide that, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

To everyone working within Pre-K through 12th grade, help us offer: More voice. More choice. More control. The status quo has to go. School should not be a constant source of pain and anxiety.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 

 

From DSC:
Hmmm…many colleges and universities keep a close eye on their peers and often respond with similar strategies that their peers are pursuing. But who is an organization’s peer? The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s posting below — “How a College Decides Who Its Peers Are” — stated that “there is clearly no shared definition of what constitutes a peer institution.” 

Plus, I found this item especially interesting:

Harvard University selected only three peer institutions: Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. But 22 institutions, including Bowdoin, named Harvard as a peer. Bowdoin, a small, liberal-arts college with about 1,800 undergraduate students and no graduate programs, chose 98 “peers,” including the entire Ivy League and many large universities, some of which enroll more than 10,000 students. Bowdoin itself was picked by 35 institutions as a peer. All of them were small, liberal-arts colleges or universities that primarily serve undergraduates.

I have often thought that colleges and universities should care far less about what their peers are doing. Rather, they should move forward with their own solid visions, bold actions, and well-thought-through strategies — as there can be a great deal of danger and risk in the status quo.

Too many alternatives have been appearing — and will likely continue to appear — on the lifelong learning landscapes. Most likely, these new organizations will offer in-demand credentials/skills as well as the capabilities of helping people constantly reinvent themselves — with far less expensive price tags associated with these types of offerings.


How a College Decides Who Its Peers Are — from chronicle.com by Susan Poser
Questions of institutional identity are at the core of the process.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The mismatch between whom an institution chose as peers, and the colleges that reciprocated, pervades the data set. It raises the question of how institutions designate peers, which is a mystery. In some cases it is likely to be decided by someone in the Office of Institutional Research or the provost’s office in response to the Ipeds survey, while in others perhaps some process leads to a consensus among administrators. Regardless, there is clearly no shared definition of what constitutes a peer institution.

Also relevant/see:


 
 

Global Pandemics is a cutting-edge, browser-based, digital learning experience—designed to enhance student understanding of the role of pandemics in world history.

Global Pandemics — from historyadventures.co with thanks to Andrea Boros for the resource

Excerpts:

Global Pandemics is “a cutting-edge, browser-based, digital learning experience—designed to enhance student understanding of the role of pandemics in world history. One year in the making, and involving a talented, interdisciplinary team from around the world—the new product features cutting-edge digital learning design, web animation, interaction design, and digital storytelling.”

This browser-based digital learning experience introduces multiple novel technologies, including:

  • 3D Motion Design to Recreate History
  • Advanced Web Animation to Simulate Pathogens
  • Immersive 360 Panoramas of Historical Locations
  • Animated Historical Timeline & Maps
  • Choice-based Narrative Design
  • Interactive Original Historical Documents
  • Media-Rich Adaptive Assessments

Also see:

 

It’s (Past) Time to Redesign the Teaching Profession — from gettingsmart.com by Katie Kimbrell

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

I don’t care if you don’t have kids, if your kids are grown, or if you think for some reason you’re shielded from this threat: This crisis should concern everyone. Just like when any core institution is threatened to subsist, reinvention is not just an opportunity to do better, but an imperative to survive—both for an institution, but more importantly, for our collective humanity.

Please note that this piece is not making an argument for the concept of agency teaching (ie. please don’t send me your theses on why my idea is bad), but rather to demonstrate a point about the need to rethink the teaching profession and to treat educators as humans and critical stakeholders in the way we redesign it.

Asking a critical mass of past, present, and future educators these questions is where the empathy work begins—and therein the only way we will be on the right track in designing a system that works for all the humans inside of it.

Also relevant/see:

Who is Going to Teach the Kids? — from by Cameron Paterson

Key Points:

  • There have been profound changes in the work and workload of teachers.
  • During remote learning, both teachers and students discovered a new sense of autonomy.
  • Reprioritizing the focus of work for teachers is critical to the success of schools.
 

A Conversation with Ken Robinson’s Daughter about Their New Book on Transforming Education — from betterhumans.pub by Eva Keiffenheim
Kate Robinson and Co-Author of Imagine if — Creating a Future for us All

Excerpt:

In writing the book, we highlighted ten “Manifesto Statements” that really summarize the key points the book is making.

The main themes of them are:

  • we are all born with immense creative capacities
  • our incredible powers of imagination are what separates us from the rest of life on Earth
  • Education systems are based on conformity
  • real life thrives on diversity
  • we are in the midst of two climate crises: the crisis of the Earth’s natural resources, and the crisis of our human resources
  • and no matter who you are, you are the system — if you change your behavior, you have changed the system, and when enough people commit to changing the system, we have a revolution that will change the world

According to Imagine if…, the future will be grim unless we take action to change the course where we’re heading. What actions need to be taken and what needs to be done and how? Where do we start?

The first and most important step is to embrace a richer conception of human intelligence. Like any ecosystem, our cultural ecosystems depend on a wide variety of talents, interests, and capabilities to thrive. Therefore, we must actively encourage each person to connect with and make the most of their own abilities and passions.

 

Now we just need a “Likewise TV” for learning-related resources! [Christian]

Likewise TV Brings Curation to Streaming — from lifewire.com by Cesar Aroldo-Cadenas
And it’s available on iOS, Android, and some smart TVs

All your streaming services in one place. One search. One watchlist. Socially powered recommendations.

Entertainment startup Likewise has launched a new recommendations hub that pulls from all the different streaming platforms to give you personalized picks.

Likewise TV is a streaming hub powered by machine learning, people from the Likewise community, and other streaming services. The service aims to do away with mindlessly scrolling through a menu, looking for something to watch, or jumping from one app to another by providing a single location for recommendations.

Note that Likewise TV is purely an aggregator.


Also see:

Likewise TV -- All your streaming services in one place. One search. One watchlist. Socially powered recommendations.

 


From DSC:
Now we need this type of AI-based recommendation engine, aggregator, and service for learning-related resources!

I realize that we have a long ways to go here — as a friend/former colleague of mine just reminded me that these recommendation engines often miss the mark. I’m just hoping that a recommendation engine like this could ingest our cloud-based learner profiles and our current goals and then present some promising learning-related possibilities for us. Especially if the following graphic is or will be the case in the future:


Learning from the living class room


Also relevant/see:

From DSC:
Some interesting/noteworthy features:

  • “The 32- inch display has Wi-Fi capabilities to supports multiple streaming services, can stream smartphone content, and comes with a removable SlimFit Cam.”
  • The M8 has Wi-Fi connectivity for its native streaming apps so you won’t have to connect to a computer to watch something on Netflix. And its Far Field Voice mic can be used w/ the Always On feature to control devices like Amazon Alexa with your voice, even if the monitor is off.
  • “You can also connect devices to the monitor via the SmartThings Hub, which can be tracked with the official SmartThings app.”

I wonder how what we call the TV (or television) will continue to morph in the future.


Addendum on 3/31/22 from DSC:
Perhaps people will co-create their learning playlists…as is now possible with Spotify’s “Blend” feature:

Today’s Blend update allows you to share your personal Spotify playlists with your entire group chat—up to 10 users. You can manually invite these friends and family members to join you from in the app, then Spotify will create a playlist for you all to listen to using a mixture of everyone’s music preferences. Spotify will also create a special share card that everyone in the group can use to save and share the created playlist in the future.


 
 

Want Students Who Think for Themselves? Let’s Eliminate Our Standardized School System — from edsurge.com by Zachary Morita

Excerpt:

It is a wake-up call when a student feels defeated by an educational system that focuses on standardizing students who feel like they are “the problem.” We can’t expect students to understand the purpose of education on their own. They need educators, leaders and supporters to guide them to create the education system they deserve to succeed in life. I stand by what I share with all of my students: that we must reimagine and redesign our education system so that students are NOT the problem.

Instead, we must ensure that learners are intrinsically motivated through learning activities that are challenging, purposeful, relevant and empowering.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian