To the editor: One problem frequently cited as a reason not to open schools is space. Social distancing requirements would be difficult to meet if students congregated in classrooms.

Hotels and motels were opened to homeless people and healthcare providers. This arrangement helped those businesses stay open.

Similarly, why not use restaurants as classrooms? They have tables and chairs that can be spaced far apart, restrooms that can be supplemented with portable units in the parking lot, food services, water and air conditioning.

Renting the spaces might help keep these businesses alive too. Movie theaters might also be considered as facilities that could meet our educational needs.

Jennifer M. Rapaport, Los Angeles

 

Learning ecosystems across the country — especially those involving K-12 — are morphing once again.

Have you heard about the explosive interest and potential growth involving “learning pods” — also called “pandemic pods”!?! It’s amazing to see how quickly things are changing in this fluid situation. This is another great example of how the macro-learning ecosystem for K-12 is changing — as well as the changes happening at more of a micro-level. (To see how true this is, put a Google Alert or two out there for “learning pods,” “pod learning,” and/or “pandemic pods.”)

For some information about these changes, see some of the example articles below:


From DSC:

Though very interesting to see what occurs here, I, too, am concerned about the inequalities and the potential for expanding the learning gaps across the country (between the folks who have the resources and those folks who do not). For example, consider that the cost ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 dollars per studentper month — in the San Francisco Bay Area. (See COVID-19 learning pods: Here’s how they work and what Bay Area schools say about them by Luz Pena.) Or see

On the other side of things…maybe this will be a new area of opportunity for the student teachers and education programs out there.
 

How to homeschool your child during the pandemic — from learningliftoff.com by AnnElise Hatjakes

Excerpts:

According to J. Allen Weston, the executive director of the National Home School Association (NHSA), parents’ interest in homeschooling has skyrocketed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In an interview with The Sacramento Bee, he explained that the NHSA used to receive 40-50 emails a day. Now, it is receiving thousands. More parents are exploring this option for the first time as they confront the uncertainties surrounding the 2020-2021 school year.

Homeschooling is an educational format in which parents are responsible for all of the instructional and administrative duties associated with schooling. Parents who homeschool their children choose the curriculum, teach that curriculum, and keep records in accordance with their respective state’s laws.

If you were to do an online search of homeschool curriculum, you might be overwhelmed by the number of results. A good place to start is with Cathy Duffy’s curriculum reviews, which is a well-known resource for homeschoolers.

 

What should schools, colleges and Universities do in September? …7 actions — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark

Excerpts:

Let me start with a tough question. Weighing your wish to return to schools or campuses, given the current surge of Covid cases, is the return to the classroom or chasing the cash worth a single dead student, teacher or parent? Or should we see the September return as an opportunity to change things for the better and by that I mean for teachers, lecturers, students and parents? We need a reset.

Necessity is the mother of invention. I hope that this human tragedy allows us to transform the learning landscape to be better and more inclusive through Blended Learning. We have an opportunity to use contemporary technology to reduce teacher workload and improve learning at the same time.

 

Florida educators file lawsuit to protect health and well-being of students, educators and communities — from feaweb.org, with thanks to Staci Maiers for this resource

Excerpt:

TALLAHASSEE — Along with educators and parents, the Florida Education Association filed suit Monday against Gov. Ron DeSantis, Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education, the Florida State Board of Education and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to safeguard the health and welfare of public school students, educators and the community at large. The lawsuit intends to stop the reckless and unsafe reopening of public school campuses as coronavirus infections surge statewide.

Also see:

 

From DSC:
My dad is hard of hearing and the issue continues to get worse, though his hearing aids do help some. I’ve been looking for an app that could take what’s being spoken — in real-time — and write it out for him on a device (iPad, iPhone, other). But the WiFi network is not available at the retirement home where he’s at. So this needs to work off of a cellular connection. If you know of some solid apps in this regard, please leave a note in the comments section. Thanks!

Items mentioned in a video I saw the other day, but may have different applications:

 

 

Welcome to Three-Minute Ed Talks, where educators from across the globe are invited to share an insight, a teaching strategy, or an invaluable lesson you learned during the rapid transition to online learning. Your challenge is to do it in just three minutes. Three-Minute Ed Talks are part of the month-long Second Wave Summit on reopening schools and universities and preparing for “the new normal.” Do you have a powerful idea for a Three-Minute Ed Talk? See how to make a submission here.

From DSC:
I remember being at a conference years ago when the Instructional Designer from a library spoke about doing “lightning rounds” with faculty members. The faculty member would record a 3-5 minute presentation about their idea/experiment and what problem they were trying to solve. They reported on whether the pedagogy worked or whether it didn’t work as planned. Great call me thinks!

Besides teachers and professors, trainers could do this with each other. So could those involved in homeschooling. 

 

Tips for managing remote culture fatigue — from trainingmag.com by Jo Deal, Chief Human Resources Officer, LogMeIn
Making sure employees know which virtual meetings/social gatherings are mandatory, giving them the freedom to prioritize other tasks, and learning from those who already have experience working remotely are all important lessons for finding the right cultural fit.

Excerpts:

1. Be clear about what is and isn’t mandatory.
2. Reinforce a healthy work/life balance.
3. Overhaul your meetings.
4. Learn from remote employees with experience.

 

Renters, homeowners face new phase of coronavirus crisis with evictions, foreclosures looming — from finance.yahoo.com by Alexis Keenan

Excerpt:

A potential housing crisis is on the way for millions of Americans whose mortgage and rent deferrals are about to sunset.

Evictions loom as the end of state and local moratoriums will no longer protect homeowners and tenants unable to make payments because of COVID-19 lockdowns. A minority of U.S. states have already expired orders against evictions, and a host of others across the country are set to expire over the next two months.

Once they do, residents are facing a possible flood of non-payment legal actions. The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project (CEDP) predicted recently that by the end of September, more than 20 million U.S. renters —many of them Black and Latino located in big cities — will be at risk for eviction.

 

A new guide helps faculty plan equitable online courses for fall — from diverseeducation.com by Sara Weissman; guide from Every Learner Everywhere, the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) & the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU). With thanks to Ray Schroeder for the resource.

Excerpt:

A new guide for faculty, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to help professors plan their online courses for fall as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The faculty playbook, called “Delivering High-Quality Instruction Online in Response to COVID-19,” came out of a collaboration between Every Learner Everywhere, a network of non-profits focused on student outcomes, and two of its member organizations, the Online Learning Consortium and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). Their aim is to offer equity-minded online education strategies, especially for faculty who made their first foray into online education this year.

[Dr. Karen Vignare] sees the guide as a “concise” way to bring best practices together and to offer tools for “optimized online instruction,” she said.

The playbook is designed so that “you can really just dive in and get what you need,” she said. “You don’t have to read the whole thing from start to finish.”

Faculty playbook for online instruction -- concise, and meant to deliver education equitably

Faculty Playbook's Table of Contents -- Summer 2020

 

Also see:

Time For Class: COVID-19 Edition

 

Are universities going the way of CDs and cable TV? [Smith]

Are universities going the way of CDs and cable TV? — from theatlantic.com by Michael Smith; with thanks to Homa Tavangar & Will Richardson for this resource
Like the entertainment industry, colleges will need to embrace digital services in order to survive.

Excerpts:

We all know how that worked out: From 1999 to 2009, the music industry lost 50 percent of its sales. From 2014 to 2019, roughly 16 million American households canceled their cable subscriptions.

Similar dynamics are at play in higher education today. Universities have long been remarkably stable institutions—so stable that in 2001, by one account, they comprised an astonishing 70 of the 85 institutions in the West that have endured in recognizable form since the 1520s.

That stability has again bred overconfidence, overpricing, and an overreliance on business models tailored to a physical world. Like those entertainment executives, many of us in higher education dismiss the threats that digital technologies pose to the way we work.

Information technology transforms industries by making scarce resources plentiful, forcing customers to rethink the value of established products.

Paul Krugman, Economist, teaching on Masterclass.com

 

Learning from the Living Class Room

From DSC:
I can’t help but hear Clayton Christenson’s voice in the following quote:

An analogous situation prevails in higher education, where access to classroom seats, faculty experts, and university diplomas have been scarce for half a millennium. When massively open online courses first appeared, making free classes available to anyone with internet access, universities reflexively dismissed the threat. At the time, MOOCs were amateuristic, low-quality, and far removed from our degree-granting programs. But over the past 10 years, the technology has improved greatly.

 

Adobe Distance Learning Resources — from edex.adobe.com
Whether your school routinely supports distance learning or is facing unexpected closures, we’ve assembled these resources and learning opportunities to help educators engage remote students through online learning.

  • Talks and Webinars
  • Khan + Create Activities
  • Learn and Create for Social Justice
  • Courses, Articles, and Blogs
  • Go Paperless with your Teaching
  • Higher Ed and K-12 projects that make distance learning engaging
  • Resources to support young learners
 

To survive the pandemic, American colleges need a revolution — from linkedin.com by Jeff Selingo

Excerpts:

Moreover, the American higher education system is built largely for full-time students pursuing degrees that might take two or four years to finish. Unemployed workers want a new job in the next few weeks or months, not two years from now when they complete a degree. The newly unemployed also are accustomed to the cadence of regular work and can’t easily pivot to class schedules at colleges constructed for the convenience of faculty members, not students.

Higher education needs to reinvent itself for continual learning if it is going to remain relevant and expand opportunity for tens of millions of adults who find themselves unemployed in a fast-changing economy.  

 

 

Supreme Court: Public money can be used for religious education — from educationdive.com by Linda Jacobson

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Tuesday in favor of a Montana mother who wanted to use the state’s tax credit-funded scholarship to send her children to a Christian school, giving school choice advocates, …, a major victory.

From DSC:
I’ve always wondered why the funding couldn’t follow the K12 student — no matter where they go. We’ve been getting hit twice if and when we send one of our kids to a Christian-based school. We always pay our taxes, but then we have to turn around and also pay for Christian-based education. Perhaps this will give our youngest daughter a chance to attend a Christian-based high school in 2021. Otherwise, I’m not sure how we are going to afford it. 

 

4 in 10 U.S. teens say they haven’t done online learning since schools closed — from kqed.org by Anya Kamenetz

Excerpt:

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

 

From DSC:
If you are able to — whether as a business or as an individual — please consider finding ways to help level the playing field in our nation by providing computers and broadband connectivity. Our society doesn’t need yet another gap, especially when you have this type of thing going on.

Online-based learning — along with blended learning — is likely a solid component of our learning ecosystems from here on out — but it’s not a level playing field out there right now.

 

 

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