The US is experiencing a boom in microschools. What are they? — from  thehill.com by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech; via GSV

Story at a glance (emphasis DSC)

  • There has been a surge in new microschools in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The National Microschooling Network estimates there are about 95,000 microschools in the country. The median microschool serves 16 students.
  • There is no regulatory body solely responsible for tracking microschools, so it is difficult to determine just how much their popularity has grown.

Advocates for microschools say they offer some students — especially those who are gifted or have learning disabilities — a greater chance to thrive academically and socially than traditional schools do.   

At Sphinx Academy, a micro-school based in Lexington, Ky., almost all 24 students are “twice exceptional,” meaning they are gifted in one academic area but have one or more learning disabilities like ADHD or dyslexia, according to the school’s director Jennifer Lincoln.   


Student Apathy Is a Big Classroom Challenge, Teachers Say. Cellphones Aren’t Helping — from edweek.org by Madeline Will

The stakes are high: Students have a lot of academic ground to make up following the pandemic. Yet they’re not fully engaged in the classroom, teachers report in a new national survey.


 

 

Conditions that trigger behaviour change — from peoplealchemy.com by Paul Matthews; via Learning Now TV

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Learning Transfer’s ultimate outcome is behaviour change, so we must understand the conditions that trigger a behaviour to start.

According to Fogg, three specific elements must converge at the same moment for a specific behaviour to occur. Given that learning transfer is only successful when the learner starts behaving in the desired new ways, Fogg’s work is critical to understanding how to generate these new behaviours. The Fogg Behavioural Model [*1] states that B=MAP. That is, a specific behaviour will occur if at the same moment there is sufficient motivation, sufficient ability and sufficient prompt. If the behaviour does not occur, at least one of these three elements is missing or below the threshold required.

The prompt is, in effect, a call to action to do a specific behaviour. The prompt must be ‘loud’ enough for the target person to perceive it and be consciously aware of it. Once aware of a prompt, the target immediately, and largely unconsciously, assesses their ability to carry out the requested behaviour: how difficult would this be, how long will it take, who can help me, and so on. They base this on their perception of the difficulty of the requested behaviour, and their ability, as they see it, to achieve that behaviour.

 

In Iowa, a “Billy Madison Project” Yields a Different Way to do School — from by Sam Chaltain
A great flood reveals a new path . . .

The idea was simple: ask sixty community leaders to fan across the city’s public schools, follow in the footsteps of its youngest citizens, and report back on what they saw.

Fifty-nine said yes. What they found, Pickering says, “were kids with dead eyes. Kids not engaged. And kids who knew that school was a game – and the game was rigged.”

So the Billy Madison team used its findings to design a prospective high school that would actually produce what its participants said they wanted to see: 

Let kids pursue their passions. Give them real work to do.  And get them out of the school building, and in the community. 

Passion. Projects. People.


How 9 of the World’s Most Innovative Schools Ignite Children’s Love for Learning — from learntrepreneurs.com by Eva Keffenheim
And equip the next generation to become changemakers.


This thought-provoking discussion delves into the topic of system replacement in education. Is school transformation possible without replacing the existing education system? Joining [Michael] to discuss the question are Thomas Arnett of the Christensen Institute and Kelly Young of Education Reimagined.

In an educational landscape that constantly seeks marginal improvements, [Michael’s] guests speak to the importance of embracing new value networks that support innovative approaches to learning. They bring to light the issue of programs that remain niche solutions, rather than robust, learner-centered alternatives. In exploring the concept of value networks, [Michael’s] guests challenge the notion of transforming individual schools or districts alone. They argue for the creation of a new value network to truly revolutionize the education system. Of course, they admit that achieving this is no small feat, as it requires a paradigm shift in mindset and a careful balance between innovation and existing structures. In this conversation, we wrestle with the full implications of their findings and more.

From DSC:
This reminds me of the importance of TrimTab Groups who invent or test out something new apart from the mothership.


Technology in education — from unesco.org by ; via Eva Keffenheim
A tool on whose terms?

The 2023 GEM Report on technology and education explores these debates, examining education challenges to which appropriate use of technology can offer solutions (access, equity and inclusion; quality; technology advancement; system management), while recognizing that many solutions proposed may also be detrimental.

The report also explores three system-wide conditions (access to technology, governance regulation, and teacher preparation) that need to be met for any technology in education to reach its full potential.



Campus Road Trip Diary: 8 Things We Learned This Year About America’s Most Innovative High Schools — from the74million.org by Greg Toppo & Emmeline Zhao

Since last spring, journalists at The 74 have been crossing the U.S. as part of our 2023 High School Road Trip. It has embraced both emerging and established high school models, taking us to 13 schools from Rhode Island to California, Arizona to South Carolina, and in between.

It has brought us face-to-face with innovation, with programs that promote everything from nursing to aerospace to maritime-themed careers.

At each school, educators seem to be asking one key question: What if we could start over and try something totally new?

What we’ve found represents just a small sample of the incredible diversity that U.S. high schools now offer, but we’re noticing a few striking similarities that educators in these schools, free to experiment with new models, now share. Here are the top eight:
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Campus Road Trip Diary: 8 Things We Learned This Year About America’s Most Innovative High Schools

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

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Empowering Parents: School Choice and Technology — from obviouslythefuture.substack.com
Ep 2 | Joe Connor, Odyssey Education, ESAs, Streamlined Technology Platform, Informed Choices

What does it take to empower parents and decentralize schooling? Why is a diversity of school models important to parents? Are we at a tipping point?
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PROOF POINTS: Lowering test anxiety in the classroom — from hechingerreport.org/ by Jill Barshay
Review of 24 studies finds quizzes boost achievement and alleviate stress over exams

Several meta-analyses, which summarize the evidence from many studies, have found higher achievement when students take quizzes instead of, say, reviewing notes or rereading a book chapter. “There’s decades and decades of research showing that taking practice tests will actually improve your learning,” said David Shanks, a professor of psychology and deputy dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences at University College London.

Still, many students get overwhelmed during tests. Shanks and a team of four researchers wanted to find out whether quizzes exacerbate test anxiety.  The team collected 24 studies that measured students’ test anxiety and found that, on average, practice tests and quizzes not only improved academic achievement, but also ended up reducing test anxiety. Their meta-analysis was published in Educational Psychology Review in August 2023.


The End of Scantron Tests — from theatlantic.com by Matteo Wong
Machine-graded bubble sheets are the defining feature of American schools. Today’s kindergartners may never have to fill one out.


Benefits of Pretesting in the Classroom — from learningscientists.org by Cindy Nebel

There are several possible reasons why pretesting worked in this study.

  1. Students paid more attention to the pretested material during the lecture.
  2. The pretest activated prior knowledge (some of them are clearly doing a lot of prework), and allowed them to encode the new information more deeply.
  3. They were doing a lot of studying of the pretested information outside of class.
  4. There are some great spaced retrieval effects going on. That is, students saw the material before lecture, they took a quiz on it during the pretest, then later they reviewed or quizzed themselves on that same material again during self-study.

 

Next, The Future of Work is… Intersections — from linkedin.com by Gary A. Bolles; via Roberto Ferraro

So much of the way that we think about education and work is organized into silos. Sure, that’s one way to ensure a depth of knowledge in a field and to encourage learners to develop mastery. But it also leads to domains with strict boundaries. Colleges are typically organized into school sub-domains, managed like fiefdoms, with strict rules for professors who can teach in different schools.

Yet it’s at the intersections of seemingly-disparate domains where breakthrough innovation can occur.

Maybe intersections bring a greater chance of future work opportunity, because that young person can increase their focus in one arena or another as they discover new options for work — and because this is what meaningful work in the future is going to look like.

From DSC:
This posting strikes me as an endorsement for interdisciplinary degrees. I agree with much of this. It’s just hard to find the right combination of disciplines. But I supposed that depends upon the individual student and what he/she is passionate or curious about.


Speaking of the future of work, also see:

Centaurs and Cyborgs on the Jagged Frontier — from oneusefulthing.org by Ethan Mollick
I think we have an answer on whether AIs will reshape work…

A lot of people have been asking if AI is really a big deal for the future of work. We have a new paper that strongly suggests the answer is YES.
.

Consultants using AI finished 12.2% more tasks on average, completed tasks 25.1% more quickly, and produced 40% higher quality results than those without. Those are some very big impacts. Now, let’s add in the nuance.

 

Build Your Own High School: Phoenix Students Choose from 500 Classes, Internships, College Courses, Career Programs & More — from the74million.org by Beth Hawkins; via Michael Horn
At Phoenix Union City, high school doesn’t refer to a building but a personalized path of experiences that teenagers create for themselves.

PXU City HS has no physical site — its 83 students create custom programs, choosing from a menu of some 500 options from Phoenix Union High School District’s bricks-and-mortar schools; its online-only program, internships; jobs; college classes; and career training programs.

But in the process, it became clear just how many high school-aged students were working, caring for siblings, filling in for their parents or significantly behind — or ahead and bored — academically.

If PXU City works as well for all its students as it does for Dominguez, he adds, every high school in the district ought to throw away the bell schedule and offer a truly personalized education.

‘Every day matters’: CCSD students, teachers kick off 2023-24 school year — from reviewjournal.com by Julie Wootton-Greener; via Michael Horn

There are 10 areas of study students chose from: architectural design, business administration logistics-distribution, computer science, construction technology, cybersecurity, diesel/auto technology, energy technologies, human and social services, teaching and training, and sports medicine.

Students pick a job within the program they’re working toward, but that can change, Cordia said, noting that there are hundreds of possible jobs within the automotive program.

The school received e more than 1,000 applications from interested students, he said, calling it “very humbling.”


Addendum that also involves changes within the K12 learning ecosystem:

Is the Post-Pandemic Era Ripe for Rethinking High School? — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

 

Related topics from DSC:

  • Getting someone’s attention
  • Having the information sink in and mean something to someone
  • Inspiration
  • Goal setting
  • Motivation
  • Metacognition?
  • Getting psyched to try something new out!

From DSC: Engaged students do not just absorb content, they try to make meaning of what they study. Engaged learners ***care about*** the subject, ***feel motivated or excited*** to learn, and take ownership of their learning.

 

Start Lifelong Learning Now! Tips for Students & Inspiring Examples — from custom-writing.org; with thanks to Julia Reed for this resource

Excerpts:

  • Develop a growth mindset
  • Set effective learning goals
  • Work on your time management
  • Develop self-motivation
  • Reflect on your progress
  • Make learning a habit
  • …and several more items

From DSC:
I would add a few more:

  • Have fun!
  • Select something that you want to learn about and enjoy the experience!
  • In the process, take some time to enjoy the gifts of others as well as the gifts that you’ve been given.
  • Use what you’ve learned to help/serve others.
 

ChatGPT Prompts for Learner Motivation — from drphilippahardman.substack.com by Dr. Philippa Hardman
Three mega-prompts to motivate your learners like a pro

So, what can we – as educators and creators of ed-tech – do to build our learners’ intrinsic motivation and, in the process, drive both inclusion and achievement?

To help answer this question, I’ve put together a short guide. The guide includes:

  1. A whistle-stop tour of the science of intrinsic motivation.
  2. Three ChatGPT mega-prompts so you can apply the theory to the way you design learning experiences (and, perhaps, ed-tech products) and optimise for intrinsic motivation today.

How will Artificial Intelligence change higher education? — from chronicle.com by various
ChatGPT is just the beginning. 12 scholars and administrators explain.

Even discounting for hyperbole, the release of ChatGPT suggests that we’re at the dawn of an era marked by rapid advances in artificial intelligence, with far-reaching consequences for nearly every facet of society, including higher education. From admissions to assessment, academic integrity to scholarly research, university operations to disappearing jobs, here’s how 12 professors, administrators, and writers answer the question: How will AI change higher education?


Improving mathematical reasoning with process supervision — from openai.com

Excerpt:

We’ve trained a model to achieve a new state-of-the-art in mathematical problem solving by rewarding each correct step of reasoning (“process supervision”) instead of simply rewarding the correct final answer (“outcome supervision”). In addition to boosting performance relative to outcome supervision, process supervision also has an important alignment benefit: it directly trains the model to produce a chain-of-thought that is endorsed by humans.

 

Below comments/notes are from DSC (with thanks to Roberto Ferraro for this resource):
according to Dan Pink, intrinsic motivation is very powerful — much more powerful for many types of “messy/unclear” cognitive work (vs. clear, more mechanical types of work). What’s involved here according to Pink? Autonomy, mastery, and purpose. 

Dan Pink makes his case in the video below. My question is:

  • If this is true, how might this be applied to education/training/lifelong learning?

From DSC (cont’d):

As Dan mentions, we each know this to be true. For example, for each of our kids, my wife and I introduced them to a variety of things — music, sports, art, etc. We kept waiting for them to discover which thing(s) that THEY wanted to pursue. Perhaps we’ll find out that this was the wrong thing to do. but according to Pink, it’s aligned with the type of energy and productivity that gets released when we pursue something that we want to pursue. Plus creativity flows in this type of setting. 

Again, my thanks to Roberto Ferraro for resurfacing this item as his “One ‘must read’ for this week” item of his newsletter.


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

 

Is It Time to Rethink the Traditional Grading System? — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young and Robert Talbert

Excerpt:

After that, this professor vowed never to use traditional grades on tests again. But he wasn’t quite sure what to replace them with.

As Talbert soon discovered, there’s a whole world of so-called alternative grading systems. So many, in fact, that he ended up co-writing an entire book about them with a colleague at his university, David Clark. The book, which is due out this summer, is called “Grading for Growth: A Guide to Alternative Grading Practices that Promote Authentic Learning and Student Engagement in Higher Education.

EdSurge connected with Talbert to hear what he uses in his classes now, and why he argues that reforming how grading works is key to increasing student engagement.

 

Nurturing student learning and motivation through the application of cognitive science — from deansforimpact.org by Cece Zhou

Excerpt:

In particular, TutorND’s emphasis on applying principles of cognitive science – the science of our how minds work – in tutoring practice has not only bolstered the interest and confidence of some of its tutors to pursue teaching, but also strengthened their instructional skills and meaningfully contributed to PK-12 student growth.

Today, TutorND trains and supports 175 tutors in schools across the greater South Bend community and across the country. Given that these tutors are students, faculty, and staff interested in cognitive science research and its application to student learning, they’re able to bridge theory and practice, assess the effectiveness of instructional moves, and foster learning experiences for students that are rigorous, affirming, and equitable.

 

Pathways With a Purpose: Supporting Students in Revealing Meaning — from gettingsmart.com by Michalle Blanchet

Key Points

  • As we look at career pathways for students we might do more to support students to find meaningful work.
  • Data suggests young people care about having jobs that make an impact.

Difference-making, social innovation, social entrepreneurship – there’s a thread that unites these various themes. They are purpose-driven. As we look at career pathways for students we might do more to support students to find meaningful work. Data suggests young people care about having jobs that make an impact. They want to do something that contributes positively to society, and the environment while earning a paycheck. This is something that we must nurture as educators.

 

5 Playful Strategies That Reduce Language Learning Anxiety — from edutopia.org by Paige Tutt
We visited a classroom in Denmark to see how a playful learning philosophy can put students at ease and make language learning joyful and engaging.

Excerpt:

Instead of trying to convince students that their fears aren’t warranted, Belouahi makes a point of creating a positive, mistake-friendly classroom where students feel comfortable experimenting. One of the ways she does this is by incorporating playful learning strategies. “It doesn’t have to be perfect from the beginning,” Belouahi says. “The goal is for them to use their English language as much as possible and as best as they can. Not perfectly.”

Here are five playful learning strategies from Belouahi’s classroom designed to make the act of learning a new language less daunting, and more joyful, social, and engaging.

Also from edutopia.org, see:

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

 

The Secret to Great Learning Design? Focus on Problems, not Solutions — from drphilippahardman.substack.com by Dr. Philippa Hardman
What a recent resurgence of research into problem-based learning has taught us about the value & impact of problem-based approaches

Excerpts:

Problem-based learning is an instructional approach that engages students in active, collaborative, and self-directed learning by exploring complex, real-world problems (rather than sitting and listening to a stage on the stage).

In a Problem-based learning scenario, students work in small groups and, under the guidance of a facilitator or instructor, identify, research, and analyse a problem before proposing and evaluating potential solutions and reaching a resolution.

Here are five of the most interesting research projects published on problem-based learning in the last few months:

 

Why The Education Economy Is The Next Big Thing For The American Workforce — from fastcompany.com by Brandon Busteed
How can integrating our educational system, our employers, and our job creators affect our modern economy?

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Though the economy and education have long been topics of top concern to Americans, we haven’t created strong linkages between the two.

The topics are more like two castles with a large moat between them. Yet there is nothing more important we can do as a country than to build the world’s most effective “educonomy,” which would seamlessly integrate our educational system, our employers, and our job creators.

All told, we collected the voices of close to 1 million Americans on this subject in the past year alone. And what we’ve learned is alarming:

Student engagement in school drops precipitously from 5th grade through 12th grade. About three quarters of elementary school kids (76%) are engaged in school, while only 44% of high school kids are engaged. The longer students stay in school, the less engaged they become. If we were doing this right, the trend would be going in the exact opposite direction.

From DSC:
I appreciated the imagery of the economy and education being like two castles with a large moat between them. I, like many others, also use the term siloed to describe our various learning ecosystems — PreK-12, higher education and vocational programming, and the corporate/business world (I realize I could also include those who work in other areas such as the government, but hopefully folks get the gist of what I’m trying to say).

But here’s the most disturbing part (albeit likely not a surprise to those working within K-12 environments):

About seven in 10 K-12 teachers are not engaged in their work (69%), and as a profession, teachers are dead last among all professions Gallup studied in saying their “opinions count” at work and their “supervisors create an open and trusting environment.” We also found that teacher engagement is the most important driver of student engagement. We’ll never improve student engagement until we boost teachers’ own workplace engagement first.

Our older daughter works in an elementary school where several of the teachers left prior to Christmas and more have announced that they are leaving after this academic year. For teachers to leave halfway through the year, you know something is majorly wrong!

I think that legislators are part of the problem, as they straight-jacket teachers, principals, and administrators with all kinds of standardized testing.

Standardized testing is like a wrecking ball on our educational systems -- impacting things like our students' and teachers' sense of joy, play, wonder, and motivation

I would think that such testing dictates the pace and the content and the overall agendas out there. I don’t recall taking nearly as many standardized tests as our youth do today. Looking back, each of my teachers was engaged and seemed to be happy and enthusiastic. I don’t think that’s the case any longer. Let’s ask the teachers — not the legislators — why that is the case and what they would recommend to change things (before it’s too late).

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian