Homeschooling High School With Interest-Led Learning — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

Think of an interest-led homeschool as one that functions more as a college than a high school. Just as a college student declares a major and the bulk of their study is in that topic area with supplemental general education, your interest-led high school can function the same way.

Also relevant/see:

This approach allows you to help them develop their interests, communicate that you see their interests as valuable, and it gives your child the chance to follow their own paths of interest. It’s an outstanding way to facilitate a self-motivated, self-directed learner and thinker. 

 

In elementary classrooms, demand grows for play-based learning — from hechingerreport.org by Ariel Gilreath
Play supporters point to improved literacy, fewer achievement gaps, and better motor skills for students

Excerpt:

It can be difficult to explain what play-based learning looks like, said Mara Krechevsky, senior researcher at Project Zero, an education research group in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Over the past seven years, Krechevsky and her research team have been working on a project called the Pedagogy of Play, studying play-based learning at schools in Boston, Denmark, South Africa and Colombia.

Through their research, Krechevsky’s group came up with three basic tenets for playful learning: students should be able to help lead their own learning, explore the unknown, and find joy. Under this framework, play time doesn’t have to be the reward for completing work and learning. Play can actually be the work, Krechevsky said.

Addendums on 11/20/22:

 

Teaching: Flipping a Class Helps — but Not for the Reason You’d Think — from the Teaching newsletter out at The Chronicle of Higher Education by Beckie Supiano

Excerpt:

The authors propose a different model of flipping that gives their paper its title, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed — Rethinking Flipped Learning: A Review of Meta-Analyses and a Subsequent Meta-Analysis.”

Their model:

  • Fail: Give students a chance to try solving problems. They won’t have all the information needed to arrive at the solution, but the attempt activates their prior learning and primes them for the coming content.
  • Flip: Deliver the content ahead of class, perhaps in a video lecture.
  • Fix: During class time, a traditional lecture can deepen understanding and correct misperceptions.
  • Feed: Formative assessment lets students check their level of understanding.

I find this paper interesting for a number of reasons. It ties into a challenge I’d like to dig into in the future: the gap that can exist between a teaching approach as described in research literature and as applied in the classroom.

From DSC:
Though I haven’t read this analysis (please accept my apology here), I would hope that it would also mention one of the key benefits of the flipped classroom approach — giving students more control over the pacing of the content. Students can stop, fast-forward, rewind, and pause the content as necessary. This is very helpful for all students, but especially for students who don’t have English as their primary language.

I like this approach because if students fail to solve the problem at first, they will likely be listening more/very carefully as to how to solve it:

Drawing on related research, we proposed a more specific model for flipping, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed” whereby students are asked to first engage in generating solutions to novel problems even if they fail to generate the correct solutions, before receiving instructions.

Plus, students will begin to recall/activate their prior knowledge on a subject in order to try to solve the problem. That retrieval practice in and of itself can be helpful.

 

In one giant classroom, four teachers manage 135 kids – and love it — from hechingerreport.org by Neal Morton
Schools in Mesa, Arizona, piloted a team teaching model to combat declining enrollment and teacher shortages; now the approach is spreading

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Five years ago, faced with high teacher turnover and declining student enrollment, Westwood’s leaders decided to try something different. Working with professors at Arizona State University’s teachers college, they piloted a classroom model known as team teaching. It allows teachers to voluntarily dissolve the walls that separate their classes across physical or grade divides.

Here, more than 130 freshmen at Westwood High School learn in one giant classroom overseen by four teachers. 

Team teaching is taking hold in Mesa, Arizona’s largest school district. Here, more than 130 freshmen at Westwood High School learn in one giant classroom overseen by four teachers. Credit: Matt York/Associated Press

 

By giving teachers more opportunities to collaborate and greater control over how and what they teach, Mesa’s administrators hoped to fill staffing gaps and boost teacher morale and retention. Initial research suggests the gamble could pay off.


Also see:

Educator shortages are a real crisis — especially in special education — from k12dive.com
Administrators are straining under the pressure of finding qualified personnel to meet federal requirements on specialized instruction and related services.

The Council of Administrators of Special Education is keenly aware of the shortage of qualified teachers, specialized instructional support personnel and administrators to fill vacancies in school districts across the country, with shortages particularly acute in special education. We hear daily from administrators citing the impossibility of finding qualified personnel to meet mandates of the federal law requiring specialized instruction and related services for children with disabilities.


 

I Never Wanted to Be a School Administrator. Here’s Why I Changed My Mind. — from edsurge.com by Patrick Harris II

Excerpt:

What made him so unique? Maybe it was his humility. He didn’t claim to have all the answers. Maybe it was the trust he put in me as a new teacher on his team. When I asked him which curriculum we used, he said, “I trust you to collaborate with the team and build it. I have some resources here to help us ensure that we create a scope-and-sequence for the literacy skills our students need. But we have to create it.” Maybe it was how frequently he said “we.”

Principal Williams had to answer to the school board, to our school’s executive director and to parents, but when it came down to decision-making, everything was up for discussion. I could walk into his office for anything. I felt motivated to become more involved in the school community because he made room for me.

He was flattening the hierarchy.

Cultivating a culture where every voice matters is not the quickest solution, nor is it the easiest, but my hope is that it will have a long-lasting impact at our school. The more that we flatten the hierarchy, focus our attention on building trust and talk more with one another, the better chance we have of creating schools that teachers want to stay at and that students want to learn in.

 

When It Comes to Picking Edtech, Are Schools Listening to Teachers? — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

Excerpt:

But where in the conversation are the people implementing those tools: the teachers? And how much say do they—or should they—have in edtech decisions?

For both questions, as it turns out, it depends on who you ask.

In a survey released earlier this year, the edtech company Clever found that 85 percent of administrators say teachers are involved in choosing tools. When the company asked teachers, more than 60 percent said they were hardly ever—or never—involved in those choices.

As we started asking educators, administrators and experts about the issue as part of an investigation into how teachers inform the development of edtech products, everyone agreed: teacher voice should be part of edtech decisions.

So what explains the disconnect?


Addendum on 11/9/22:

Lessons from Treadmills and Owls: The Most Important Feature in Educational Technology Products — from opencontent.org by David Wiley; with thanks to Mr. Stephen Downes for this resource

Excerpt:

The primary point, of course, is this: unused features in exercise technologies and educational technologies can improve neither fitness nor learning. From this perspective, one might argue:

The most important feature in educational technology products is the nudge – the feature that persuades you to actually use the features that will improve learning.

Duolingo is a great example here. On its surface, the language learning app may appear rather straightforward. But there are some pretty sophisticated things happening behind the scenes that make your language learning more effective.


 

Rethinking Learning Spaces: 4 Strategies for Student-Centered Learning — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
The Brigantine Public School district has redesigned its learning spaces and rethought how and where learning takes place. Superintendent Glenn Robbins shares how others districts can do the same and prioritize student-centered learning in the process.

Excerpt:

Robbins shares how other educators can rethink their learning spaces and encourage student voice and choice in the process.

 

Sparking Curiosity for Learning — from rdene915.com by Rachelle Dene Poth

Excerpt:

When students are curious about learning, they become more invested in the process. Sparking curiosity will lead students to become problem solvers and critical thinkers and shift from being simply consumers to becoming creators and innovators. To bring these opportunities to our classrooms, we must first engage students in learning. But how?

 

Why Now Is The Time To Overhaul K-12 Education — from forbes.com by Phyllis Lockett and Michael Horn

Excerpts:

If you take a team approach, then one adult works with students on their social-emotional learning and how they connect to their learning. And another leverages data to create small group opportunities based on the learning objective. And another connects learning to real world projects and helps students build social capital in the community, which also creates a more permeable classroom that’s open to the outside world. Or there could be other ways the teams are structured to best support the student.

For all the plans in the past to “reinvent” K-12 education, none have questioned the fundamentals of time-based instruction. It’s no surprise then that the system produces the outcomes it does. Not every child needs exactly 180 days to master the knowledge and skills required for a third grader. Conversely, some kids need more time. It’s an arbitrary system that cuts off learning for children based on a calendar, yet doesn’t provide a different pathway forward for them that’s productive. In our current system, time is fixed and learning is variable, then students are labeled and sorted accordingly.

Michael Horn


From DSC:
This quote…

The answer is for district leaders to create independent teams of educators in which they are shielded from traditional day to day pressures and have the explicit license to do things differently. They can give these new “schools within schools” the resources they need without encumbering them by the old ways of doing things.

…makes me think of a graphic I did a while back about the need for more Trim Tabs within our learning ecosystems:


 

It’s time to redesign organized learning — from chieflearningofficer.com by Eric Albertini

Excerpt:

Organizations will need to think about three layers of learning content and access methods:

  • Thoughtfully curated by the organization for business fit.
  • Semi-curated with the learner having some control of what they learn.
  • Open for all, where the learner makes all the choices of what and how they learn.

Employee-centric learning approach. There must be a match of learning to organizational objectives as well. Non-curated, open content on platforms is great for focused and deeply aware employees but may not work for everyone, especially in cultures where self-direction is not very strong. Moreover, too much open, non-curated content, driven by non-contextual algorithms, is as detrimental to choice-making for the learner as is too little quality content.

To enable effective learning, technology must be part of a more systemic learning eco-system that includes things such as rewards (the “what’s in it for me”), building blocks from one intervention to the next and post-learning support.  

Also from chieflearningofficer.com, see:

 

Innova: A Revolution in Education? — from gettingsmart.com by Chris Terrill

Key Points

  • Innova Schools is designed to rapidly cut through the vast inequities that exist and be a lever for change in Latin America.
  • Innova has the potential to revolutionize education around the globe.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The initial school start-up was funded by Carlos Rodriguez Pastor, a Peruvian businessman. He saw an opportunity to provide high-quality schools in areas where the government struggled to supply essential education services (Peru and Colombia consistently rank near the bottom on the global education survey). He enlisted the famed US design firm IDEO to develop a comprehensive program that would eventually be utilized in multiple countries.

From DSC:
Stop the presses. I love that idea of using IDEO to be involved here. It seems like that is a positive step towards implementing Design Thinking within our learning ecosystems.

In the original model, the founders designed a rigorous, engaging, personalized curriculum, with a heavy emphasis on Project-Based Learning. I wanted to know if and how that is actualized, and how that is enacted across multiple countries in schools thousands of miles apart.

Finally, IDEO’s work included a design for the physical structure of schools to be quickly and economically replicated at each location; how was that design working? The vision for Innova may be one of the most ambitious educational undertakings today. What lessons can I, as an individual educational leader, and we, as a global education community, learn from their work?

The Maker Space and the Gaming Lab demonstrate clearly how digital competency is a central element of their curriculum. I saw highly engaging lessons that were perfectly synced with classroom projects, pursuing a bigger goal of equipping Colombian students to fill the digital labor gap. 

 

nbsp;

 

HundrED Global Collection 2023 — from hundred.org
Meet the 100 most impactful innovations that are changing the face of education in a post-COVID world.

The HundrED Global Collection 2023

Excerpt:

The year 2022 has been a year to look to the future, as the global education conversation moves again toward themes of education transformation and the futures of education. The 100 innovations selected for this year’s global collection are impacting the lives of over 95 million students worldwide. The collection highlights the important role of teachers in education innovation; the continued need for students to develop 21st century skills, including social and emotional learning; an increasing focus on student wellbeing and mental health; and equity in education.

For more information, download the full Global Collection 2023 report.
You can also browse the innovation pages of the selected innovators here.
.

From DSC:
Here’s an excerpt of the email I received today from EducationHQ out of Australia — though I think it applies here in the United States as well:

.

Amplify and value teachers’ voice in education policymaking: researchers — from educationhq.com
Amplify and value teachers’ voice in education policymaking: researchers

Excerpt:

Monash University’s Teachers’ Perceptions of their Work Survey has revealed teachers’ waning satisfaction in their role and highlighted their…

Also from educationhq.com

Teachers changed my life: Trauma-informed education shows kids they matter — from educationhq.com by Beck Thompson
.

Nonprofit Bringing Businesses to Life in the Classroom — to the Tune of $400,000 — from the74million.org by Tim Newcomb
Making candles out of crayons, building birdhouses, fashioning furniture: Real World Scholars has helped 50,000 students become entrepreneurs

Not much entices a second grader to skip out on recess to get back to schoolwork. But excitement around a classroom-run business can do just that, especially when it means creating candles out of crayons and selling them in the local community.

Students design their ideal urban home in My ArchiSchool exhibition — from dezeen.com

Students were able to bring family members to the exhibition. Architectural model by Ethan Chan

Excerpt:

Promotion: fifty-two students presented digital designs and architectural models of their ideal home as part of Hong Kong-based education institute My ArchiSchool’s latest exhibition. As part of the exhibition, My ArchiSchool students were asked to design their ideal home within an urban environment. The exhibition, which took place on 2 October 2022 at the Sky100 on the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong, showcased photomontages of digital designs presented alongside physical models.

5 Resources that help students become digital citizens — from rdene915.com by Rachelle Dene Poth

Excerpt:

We need to create opportunities for students to become more digitally aware and literate, and to be responsible when using technology. There are many ways to do this, depending on our content area and grade level. We can model best practices for our students, bring in a specific digital citizenship curriculum to guide them through their learning, or use digital tools and resources available to have students explore and create.

Helping students learn to safely navigate what has become a highly digital world is something that we are all responsible for. Students need to be aware of the impact of their posts online, how to create and manage social accounts and protect their information, and how to properly access and use resources they obtain through technology.

3 Reasons School and District Leaders Should Get on Social Media — from edweek.org by Marina Whiteleather

Excerpt:

School and district leaders can—and should—be using social media in their work.

That’s the message shared by Stephanie McConnell, a superintendent in the Hawkins Independent School District in Texas, and Salome Thomas-El, a K-8 principal in Delaware, during an Education Week K-12 Essentials forum on Oct. 13.

At the event, McConnell and Thomas-El provided insights and advice for school leaders who are hesitant to post on certain social platforms or unsure how to use them.

 

How to Stanch Enrollment Loss — from chronicle.com by Jeff Selingo
It’s time to stop pretending the problem will fix itself.

Excerpt:

The latest enrollment numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, for the fall of 2022, paint an ominous picture for higher education coming out of the pandemic. Even in what many college leaders have called a “normal” fall on campuses, enrollment was down 1.1 percent across all sectors. And while the drop was smaller than the past two Covid-stricken fall semesters, colleges across every sector still have lost more than a million students since the fall of 2019.

At some point, colleges need to stop blaming the students who sat out the pandemic or the economic factors and social forces buffeting higher education for enrollment losses. Instead, institutions should look at whether the student experience they’re offering and the outcomes they’re promising provide students with a sense of belonging in the classroom and on campus and ultimately a purpose for their education.


The Key Podcast | Ep.91: The Pros and Cons of HyFlex Instruction — from insidehighered.com with Doug Lederman, Enilda Romero-Hall and Alanna Gillis

Excerpt:

During the pandemic, many colleges and universities embraced a form of blended learning called HyFlex, to mixed reviews. Is it likely to be part of colleges’ instructional strategy going forward?

This week’s episode of The Key explores HyFlex, in which students in a classroom learn synchronously alongside a cohort of peers studying remotely. HyFlex moved from a fringe phenomenon to the mainstream during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the experience was imperfect at best, for professors and students alike.

This conversation about the teaching modality features two professors who have both taught in the HyFlex format and done research on its impact.

From DSC:
When I worked for a law school, we had a Weekend Blended Learning Program.  Student evaluations of these courses constantly mentioned that these WBLP-based courses saved many students hundreds of dollars for each particular class that we offered online (i.e., cost savings in flights, hotels, meals, rental cars, parking fees, etc.).

Another thought/idea:

  • What if traditional institutions of higher education were to offer tiered pricing? That is, perhaps students participating remotely could listen in and even audit classes, but pay less.

Colleges should use K-12 performance assessments for course placement, report says — from highereddive.com by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf

Dive Brief:

  • Colleges should use K-12 performance assessments like capstone papers or portfolios for student course placements and advising, according to a recent report.
  • Typical methods of determining students’ placement in early college classes — like standardized tests — don’t fully illustrate their interests and academic potential, according to the report, which was published by postsecondary education access group Complete College America. Conversely, K-12 performance assessments ask students to demonstrate real-world skills, often in a way that ends with a tangible product.
  • The organizations recommend colleges and K-12 schools mesh their processes, such as by mutually developing a high school graduation requirement around performance assessments. This would help strengthen the K-12 school-college relationship and ease students’ transition from high school to college, the report states.

From DSC:
I post this particular item because I like the tighter integration that’s being recommended between K12 and higher education. It seems like better overall learning ecosystems design, design thinking, and on-ramping.

Along these lines, also see:

How Higher Ed Can Help Remedy K-12 Learning Losses — from insidehighered.com by Johanna Alonso
Low national scores have spurred discussion of how K-12 schools can improve student performance. Experts think institutions of higher education can help.

Excerpt:

Now educators at all levels are talking about ways to reverse the declines. Higher education leaders have already added supports for college students who suffered pandemic-related learning losses; many now aim to expand their efforts to help K-12 students who will eventually arrive on their campuses potentially with even more ground to make up.

It’s hard to tell yet what these supports will look like, but some anticipate they will involve strengthening the developmental education infrastructure that already exists for underprepared students. Others believe universities must play a role in the interventions currently ongoing at the K-12 level.


Also see:

CIN EdTech Student Survey | October 2022 — from wgulabs.org

Excerpt:

Our report shares three key takeaways:

  1. Students’ experiences with technology-enabled learning have improved since 2021.
  2. Students want online learning but institutions must overcome perceptions of lower learning quality.
  3. Students feel generally positive about an online-enabled future for higher education, but less so for themselves..

5 things colleges can do to help save the planet from climate change — from highereddive.com by Anthony Knerr
A strategy consultant explores ways colleges can improve sustainability.

Overwhelming demand for online classes is reshaping California’s community colleges — from latimes.com by Debbie Truongs; with thanks to Ray Schroeder out on LinkedIn for this resource

Excerpt:

Gallegos is among the thousands of California community college students who have changed the way they are pursuing higher education by opting for online classes in eye-popping numbers. The demand for virtual classes represents a dramatic shift in how instruction is delivered in one of the nation’s largest systems of public higher education and stands as an unexpected legacy of the pandemic.

Labster Hits Milestone of 300 Virtual Science Lab Simulations — from businesswire.com
Award-winning edtech pioneer adds new STEM titles and extensive product enhancements for interactive courseware for universities, colleges, and high schools

Excerpt:

Labster provides educators with the ability to digitally explore and enhance their science offerings and supplement their in-classroom activities. Labster virtual simulations in fields such as biology, biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology, chemistry, and physics are especially useful for pre- and post-lab assignments, so science department leads can fully optimize the time students spend on-site in high-demand physical laboratories.

AAA partners with universities to develop tech talent — from ciodive.com by Lindsey Wilkinson
Through tech internships and for-credit opportunities, the auto club established a talent pipeline that has led to new feature development.

5 enrollment trends to keep an eye on for fall 2022 — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
Although undergraduate and graduate enrollment are both down, some types of institutions saw notable increases, including HBCUs and online colleges.

 

Great leaders ask great questions: Here are 3 steps to up your questioning game. — from bigthink.com by Christopher J. Frank, Oded Netzer, and Paul F. Magnone; with thanks to Roberto Ferraro for this resource
Questioning isn’t just a way to get the right answer — it’s also a means for sustaining relationships and creative thinking.

Excerpt:

Building an inquisitive team
One of the best LinkedIn profiles starts with “I am insatiably curious.” What would it take to build a team of insatiably curious, truly inquisitive people? Building an inquisitive culture involves a combination of what and how. The what is a combination of the types of questions previously outlined, and the how is the environment you create. Great leaders create great cultures. There are three basic steps to building an inquisitive culture:

  1. Start with an open-ended question.
  2. Respond, don’t react. Embrace silence.
  3. Ask a stream of questions.

Also relevant/see:

 

 


Addendum on 10/29/22:

Innovation starts with the quality of your questions — from edte.ch by Tom Barrett
In the final publication of the October throughline we explore how to build a culture of innovation one question at a time.

Snapshot
A quick synthesis of this issue to share

  • Innovation starts with the quality of your questions. Asking the right questions leads to new possibilities and innovative solutions.
  • We are often drawn to ideas because we want to fix problems; starting with an idea feels safe and more fun than starting with a problem.
  • If we want an innovative culture in our teams, we need to start with questions instead of ideas.
  • Trust and psychological safety create the culture for collective negative capability, which John Keats coined as “the ability to live with ambiguity and uncertainty.”
  • Commit to action by being aware of your need for certainty, make space for ambiguity and uncertainty in development work, and build trust by encouraging questions.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian