Building your own website is cool again, and it’s changing the whole internet — from protocol.com by David Pierce
Writers, creators and businesses of all kinds are looking to set up their own space online again. To do that, companies are trying to figure out how to deal with two very different internets.

Excerpt:

Websites are back. After years of being sucked into the vortexes of Facebook and Yelp pages, devoting their time to amassing Twitter followers and Instagram likes, creators and businesses alike have seen the benefits of hanging up their own shingle again. Legions of writers are setting up Substack newsletters. Millions of people and businesses are setting up shop for the first time online using Squarespace or WordPress. Wix reported 7.8 million new users in the last quarter alone, and more than 29% revenue growth.

Substack doesn’t see itself as a newsletter platform, or an email-based product. The company is fundamentally interested in fostering direct relationships between readers and writers, rather than let them be mediated by companies whose interests are not always aligned with either side.

The driving force behind all that growth? Thanks to a pandemic closing stores, keeping people at home and leaving a lot of people without jobs, the only way to move forward is to figure out the internet. 

From DSC:
Though I really like WordPress — and this blog uses it — look at the stock performance in 2020 for Wix!

Stock price of Wix is way up in 2020

Our youngest daughter and I are going to set up a blog for her, as she loves to write. The idea was from her and my wife, but I love it! I think it’s highly motivating to her and she can have a voice…that she can share her writings with others. She’s got quite an imagination — so look out all!  🙂 

 

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.

 

 

Lincoln Financial CIO: How to build a learning culture – even in a pandemic — from enterprisersproject.com by Ken Solon
Lincoln Financial CIO Ken Solon shares how he’s bringing a virtual perspective to his longtime commitment to prioritizing the people behind the technology

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In the spirit of test-and-learn, we created “Lean In and Learn IT,” an interactive digital program that provides a deep dive into one key IT strategy each month. Topics include digital and architecture, agile and DevOps, cloud, big data, and cybersecurity.

Based in our virtual collaboration platform, each topic features a kick-off video followed by a drip of content and interaction, including snackable articles, video clips, quizzes, and prizes to keep the team engaged. The month wraps up with a webcast focused on a key business application of the strategy, featuring subject matter experts both from within the IT organization and our business partners.

The involvement of partners is key, as our surveys tell us that few things motivate our teams as effectively as seeing the impact of their work.

From DSC:
Love their use of “streams of content.”

 

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.

 
 

Per Dr. Honeycutt, also see:

 

Pay attention! Attention is a necessary condition for learning experience design, but poorly understood… — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark

Excerpts:

Attention is to selectively focus your mind and effort on that which has to be learned. Attention matters as it is what manages new data that has to be processed in working memory. Focused attention narrows down input from sensory memory and your recall knowledge from long-term memory. At any moment in time attention is what determines what is processed. We must always be aware that attention is the bottleneck through which everything must go in learning, first into working memory, then if you successfully learn, into long-term memory. The selective nature of attention is what regulates and limits cognitive overload.

So, over a century of research has shown that attention is not one thing but a very complex phenomena. We select inputs, interpretations of those inputs, then select plans of action and actions themselves. Attention is tied up with motivation, interest, feelings and ultimately action. It is the basecamp for understanding how learning experiences should be designed.

 

From DSC:
Interest…motivation…this is why I’m a big fan of offering learners more choice. More control.

 

Transfer – why is it ignored? Here’s how to fix it… — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark

Excerpt:

You must design with transfer in mind and blends or learning journeys must move learning forward towards action, towards doing, towards practice and performance. No matter how much training you deliver, it can be illusory in the sense of not leading to transfer from cognitive change to actual performance, which in turn has impact on the organisation.

Doing and Practice are experiences. In fact without doing or practice it is unlikely to be retained long-term. Your design must move from experiences that match whatever type of learning you need, cognitive, psychomotor and affective, but practice and application experiences also matter. Your design should provide transfer pathways towards mastery, through actual doing and practice in the formal learning as well as practice and extension activities beyond the initial learning experiences.

 

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
 

From DSC:
Below are but some of the changes to the learning ecosystems out there. Certainly, more are coming.


Ex-Google employees form virtual tech ‘school’ for gap year students amid college closures — from cnbc.com by Jennifer Elias

KEY POINTS
  • Current and former Google employees are forming an online program aimed at preparing students for the workforce if they’re taking time off school due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It comes as many college students defer school as universities shift learning models to mostly online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Google execs past and present have volunteered to mentor college students on topics ranging from career trajectory to how to stand out in virtual Zoom interviews.

Along these lines, see:

  • Google has a plan to disrupt the college degree — from inc.com by Justin Bariso
    Google’s new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college.
    Excerpt:
    Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It’s launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.

From DSC:
Also, to see some more changes to the learning ecosystems out there, set up a Google Alert (or something similar in Feedly or via another tool) for “Learning Pods,” “Pandemic Pods,” and/or the “growth of homeschooling.” Here’s but one recent example:

Zoo Knoxville to start virtual learning pods for students

 


 

Check out the Academic Warriers website

About Academic Warriors:

Life can be very hard for autistic, gifted and special needs learners.  Autistic and gifted learners often times struggle in school because they learn very differently than their peers. These special learners need a personalized approach to their education that allows them to learn in their own way at their own pace.

Many times parents and students feel as if they are the only ones like them in the world. This can often times lead to isolation and frustration. It is important for all autistic, gifted and special needs to unite in order to support one another. We are named Academic Warriors because all our students are superheroes in a world that doesn’t always understand and/or appreciate them. We help our students to become strong, independent and positive learners despite what the world may think of them.

It is the mission of Academic Warriors to help create positive learning experiences and communities throughout the United States for autistic, gifted and special needs learners. We offer online courses, programs, private school and in person events that foster an unique learning environment that promotes unity among all our students and families. We strive to create online and in person learning communities in every state that will provide educational opportunities for all families of autistic, gifted and special needs students. Together we can create a better world for the autistic, gifted and special needs learner.

 


From DSC:
As part of a homeschooling-based situation, my wife received the following item for one of our daughters (who needs additional/personalized assistance to learn). Simultaneously, she and our daughter sent them a Michigan Exchange Box. Very cool.

My wife and one of our daughters received this set of things from a homeschooler in Mississippi! Very cool!

I believe my wife found this out at the following group in Facebook:

 


Some channels out on Youtube that have to do with learning:
(and by the way, according to Jane Hart’s recent Top 200 Tools for Learning, YouTube is in the #1 spot for the 5th year in a row!)

Snake Discovery -- videos out on YouTube

Bondi Vet - videos on YouTube

 


 

From the Off-Trail Learning website, here are some self-directed learning centers

 


The Barn for Equine Learning

“Horse Sense Tutoring Services is a unique resource that combines the power of Equine Assisted Learning with evidence-based reading and math strategies that engage the mind, body, and emotions in learning.  We use the principles of discovery, experience, movement, reflection, and connection in partnership with our horse friends.

Based at The Barn for Equine Learning…my program offers targeted reading, math, and basic horsemanship tutoring for students in grades K – 8. Horses become teaching and learning partners as students experience academics and social-emotional learning in a whole new way.

If you are looking for a unique tutoring and confidence-building experience for your child, PM for more information.  Sessions are held outdoors and/or in an open barn setting.

(Small group field trips with an introduction to basic horsemanship skills are also available).

 


From DSC:
So these are just a few examples of how the learning ecosystems are changing out there! Surely, there will be more changes coming down the pike.


 

 

With an eye towards the future…what questions should we be asking about learning experience design (#LXD)? [Christian]

From DSC:
Some of the following questions came to my mind recently:

  • In this age of the Coronavirus, how can we think differently about learning experience design (#LXD)?
  • How can *teams* of people come together to reimagine what learning could look like in the future? Who might be some new players at the table? More students? Artists? Actors? More animators? More technicians and people from A/V? Specialists in XR? Corporate trainers coming together with Instructional Designers from higher ed and from K-12? #learningecosystems #future
  • How can we better tighten up the alignment between K-12, higher ed / vocational programs, and the corporate world?
  • How can we make self-directed learning more prevalent (which would release an enormous amount of energy & creativity)? #heutagogy

Maybe those aren’t even the right questions…

If not, what do you think? What questions should we be asking about learning these days?

#LXD #learningecosystems #future #lifelonglearning #onlinelearning #highereducation #K12 #corporatelearning #heutagogy

 

The main thing we need to remember is that this space no longer serves as an accessory to face-to-face teaching. It is now our main contact point with learners, so it needs to play different roles: communication channel, learning path, interaction platform and community space. Teachers therefore need a certain degree of freedom to design this space in the best way that suits their teaching style and philosophy as well as their course content and learning objectives.

What became obvious in the past months is that when it comes to teaching and learning
 fully online, the learning experience design aspect, including look, feel and logic of the platform from the users’ perspective- be it teachers or students-, are at least as important as the content.

(source)

 

Online, personalized learning considered the future for education in wake of pandemic — from purdue.edu

Excerpt:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — COVID-19 has changed the outlook for education, highlighting the potential for online learning and the need for more personalized learning options for students, according to a Purdue University College of Education professor.

William Watson, associate professor of learning design and technology, said student education levels are more likely to be spread all along the spectrum this school year based on what educational support they received at home.

Using personalized approaches to online instruction allows learning to be based more on each student’s individual strengths, weaknesses, goals and motivations, he said.

“A personalized approach to learning supports student autonomy and the direction of each student’s learning process,” Watson said. “It values a student’s self-direction, motivation and engagement beyond simple knowledge acquisition.”

 

Another type of learning ecosystem (online, but from beautiful places!)

From DSC:
I instantly see the inequities involved here — as only those with the resources can choose this route. Also, one would have to be careful about how many others are around you choosing to do the same thing. (Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of social distancing, and one might as well be back in a physical classroom.)

All that said, I post this because I’m intrigued by the different ways people are enhancing their learning ecosystems. The creativity out there is wonderful to see. Learning should be fun.

For that matter, a few words could be interchanged to create a slightly different perspective here…

Teach from here instead

Work from here instead

 

The 12 Shifts for Student-Centered Hybrid Environments — from gettingsmart.com by Kyle Wagner

During the time of remote learning, our students have become more independent and empowered. They have been given more freedom in establishing their own learning outcomes, and organizing schedules and deadlines to meet them. When they return to us in the fall, whether for an in-person, hybrid, or a 100% online learning experience, we will have to offer them something different than we have in the past. Instead of disconnected, impersonalized, one-size-fits-all learning, we will need to offer our students deep, personalized, and more connected learning experiences.

Our role as a result will shift from being the ‘sage on stage,’ to a ‘facilitator of learning experiences.’ To make this transformation possible, we will have to make 12 key shifts.

The 12 shifts are the result of conversations and insights from expert practitioners worldwide, who have not only adapted to an uncertain education climate, but thrived.

The 12 Shifts for Student-Centered Hybrid Environments

From DSC:
This was a great article with numerous solid ideas and suggestions! What I saw several times was offering the students more choice, more control. In fact, the point hit close to home. Our son finally said, “I actually want to learn this stuff!” (i.e., how to act and thrive within the world of the theatre). When we’re able to tap into students’ intrinsic motivation, we unleash a *huge* amount of creativity,  energy, and effort!!!

 

2020 trends in online student demographics -- from bestcolleges.com

2020 trends in online student demographics — from bestcolleges.com, with thanks to Lisa Marquez for this resource

A Note from BestColleges on Coronavirus and the Transition to Online Education
The data reported here was collected shortly before the coronavirus outbreak. The students who participated in this study had already chosen or were planning to take online courses. Their insights into the challenges of becoming successful online students, including lessons learned along the way, help to inform the development of future online programs.

 

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