Child Care Is in Crisis. We’ll Be Here to Cover It During the Turbulent Year Ahead. — from edsurge.com by Tony Wan

Excerpt:

Early childhood educators have long been forced to make do with limited resources, from inadequate staffing and preparation to stagnant wages and, often, an overall lack of respect from the public or understanding about their roles.

That’s what we heard repeatedly during the nine months we spent last year exploring the work lives of early childhood education professionals. And it’s what we saw first-hand during reporting trips to more than 11 center- and home-based child care programs nationwide, from California to Connecticut.

With the arrival of the pandemic, these resources have become even more scarce and the obstacles even more complex.

Also from edsurge.com:

 


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.

 

Goodbye, Guilt! Exchanging Guilt For Gratitude During COVID-19 And Beyond — from abovethelaw.com by Joseline Jean-Louis Hardrick
Shift your focus from the guilt and what is missing to what is present and helpful.

Excerpt:

Do you often feel guilty, drained, conflicted, or like, no matter what you do, it’s never enough? You aren’t alone. One poll on WorkingMother.com discovered that 57 percent of women feel guilty every day!

The pandemic has changed how we live and work. And now, more than ever, you may be getting worried and guilty about everything! This article provides one simple trick to release all that guilt and achieve peace, positivity, and assertiveness.

 

New benchmarking tool for higher ed seeks to address workplace soft skills gap — from chieflearningofficer.com by Elizabeth Loutfi
Quality Assurance Commons’ new Employability Self-Assessment will support higher education programs as they develop proficiency in teaching eight 21st century soft skills critical to today’s employers.

Excerpt:

A new assessment tool created for higher education institutions to track and measure the career success of their graduates was launched this week by nonprofit organization Quality Assurance Commons. The tool, which is called the Employability Self-Assessment, helps institutions identify the key skills employers want in candidates in the current and post-pandemic workplace.

The ESA has already been piloted at 20 colleges and universities and is being implemented at eight higher education institutions in the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System, according to a company press release.

According to the report, the top three missing soft skills reported by employers were problem solving, critical thinking, innovation and creativity; ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity; and communication.

From DSC:
Hmmm…do our current ways of doing things get students to that point? Are the ways in which we structure our educational systems facilitating the development of those skills? Apparently not. What needs to change? For me, it’s offering “More choice. More control.” to the students. And watch the energy, curiosity, and enjoyment of learning greatly increase.

 

Connectivity gap persists for at least 300K California students — from educationdive.com by Shawna De La Rosa

Dive Brief:

  • California school districts are required to provide both devices and high-speed internet connection to any student learning from home, but between 300,000 and 1 million remain disconnected, EdSource reports. A backlog of computer orders and weak broadband infrastructure in remote areas are contributing factors.
  • At a state assembly education committee hearing Wednesday, California education leaders, teachers and lawmakers discussed how to close the digital divide. Though most households have enough broadband to handle some video calls, many family networks don’t have the strength for multiple students to be connected at once.
  • Nationwide, approximately one-third of households with annual incomes under $30,000 and with children under 18 don’t have high-speed internet connection at home, impacting roughly 9.7 million students, according to a Pew Research Center report. A quarter of teens within that socio-economic bracket lack access to a computer at home.

 

 

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment — as of October 15, 2020 and as referenced late last week by The Chronicle of Higher Education

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment

From DSC:
The window of opportunity for traditional institutions of higher education to reinvent themselves, become cheaper, and offer more value is beginning to close. The window is still there…but it’s beginning to close.

 

5 things that show students aren’t the only ones learning during the pandemic — from mlive.com by Melissa Frick

Excerpts:

“Never in my 33 years of teaching did I ever think it would be like this,” the Muskegon High School teacher said of virtual learning, which the district is using this semester to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s a huge learning curve.”

With Michigan K-12 schools back in session for the fall – some virtually, some in-person, and some a mix of both – students aren’t the only ones doing the learning this year. Amid this unprecedented school year, teachers are learning some new things along the way, too.


3. Virtual learning has exposed the depth of Michigan’s digital divide
Systemic gaps in technology access among school districts around the state left thousands of students at a disadvantage this year, despite efforts by educators to fulfill short-term connectivity needs during virtual learning.

From DSC:
These are just a couple of reasons that I say that Rome wasn’t built overnight. But it’s great to see that tools are being added to teaching toolboxes and learners’ toolboxes as well:

“It’s easy for them to get onto Zoom now, they can go onto Google Classroom and go into the lesson right along with us,” she said. “I’m surprised at how smooth it’s running now.”

 

New Film Addresses Mental Health By Challenging Us To ‘Listen’ To Our Youth Voice — from gettingsmart.com by Michael Niehoff

New Film Addresses Mental Health By Challenging Us To Listen To Our Youth Voice

 


Also see:

IW Official Guide: World Mental Health Day Supporting the workplace during the pandemic and beyond

IW Official Guide: World Mental Health Day Supporting the workplace during the pandemic & beyond — from inspiring-workplaces.com by Aimee O’Leary

For World Mental Health Day 2020, we have created a quick guide of 10 top tips for you. It has been compiled from experts around the world on how to support the mental health of your people during these challenging times.

It includes:

  • How to do your part to break the stigma
  • How to create functional routines
  • How to look out for colleagues without being invasive
  • How to stay connected
  • and more

Lastly, before reading the guide, reach out to someone you know today, who you have haven’t spoken with in a while and simply ask… How are you, really? It will make a huge difference.

*****************

 


Addendum on 10/13/20:

As the Pandemic Grinds On, Here Are 5 Big Worries of College Presidents — from chronicle.com by Michael Vasquez

Excerpt:

Campus mental health is the No. 1 worry. The college leaders were asked to select their five top concerns from a list of 19 Covid-related issues. Fifty-three percent of presidents listed student mental health, and 42 percent pointed to faculty and staff mental health as being among their biggest worries. Anxiety, uncertainty, depression, and grief — compounded by the isolation of the pandemic — have exacted an often invisible toll on people who study and work in higher education.

 

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
 

We’re All New This Year: How Advice for Rookie Teachers Can Help Everyone During Virtual Learning — from kqed.org by Kara Newhouse

Excerpt:

How can I teach music if the kids aren’t allowed to sing indoors? How will lag time affect group singing online? How will I make students feel seen and heard via Zoom? Those were some of the questions that elementary music teacher Angela Carpenter spent her summer trying to figure out. Though she would be entering her 15th year of teaching, it was like being new to the job. “No one has done this before. Even the teaching that we’re doing now is so vastly different than what we did in the spring,” she said, “because that was panic teaching.”

She’s not alone with that thought.

 

From DSC:
I hesitate to post this one…but this information and the phenomenon behind it likely has impacted what’s happening in the higher education space. (Or perhaps, it’s a bit of the other way around as well.) Increasingly, higher ed is becoming out of reach for many families. Again, is this a topic for Econ classes out there? Or Poli Sci courses?


Trends in income from 1975 to 2018 — from rand.org by Carter Price and Kathryn Edwards

Excerpt:

We document the cumulative effect of four decades of income growth below the growth of per capita gross national income and estimate that aggregate income for the population below the 90th percentile over this time period would have been $2.5 trillion (67 percent) higher in 2018 had income growth since 1975 remained as equitable as it was in the first two post-War decades. From 1975 to 2018, the difference between the aggregate taxable income for those below the 90th percentile and the equitable growth counterfactual totals $47 trillion.

Trends in income

Also see:

  • ‘We were shocked’: RAND study uncovers massive income shift to the top 1% — from fastcompany.com by Rick Wartzman
    The median worker should be making as much as $102,000 annually—if some $2.5 trillion wasn’t being “reverse distributed” every year away from the working class.
    .
  • The top 1% of Americans have taken $50 trillion from the bottom 90%—And that’s made the U.S. less secure — from Time.com by by Nick Hanauer and David Rolf
    [From DSC: By the way, that title likely has some link bait appeal to it.]
    Excerpt: 
    As the RAND report [whose research was funded by the Fair Work Center which co-author David Rolf is a board member of] demonstrates, a rising tide most definitely did not lift all boats. It didn’t even lift most of them, as nearly all of the benefits of growth these past 45 years were captured by those at the very top. And as the American economy grows radically unequal it is holding back economic growth itself.

Why is our death toll so high and our unemployment rate so staggeringly off the charts? Why was our nation so unprepared, and our economy so fragile? Why have we lacked the stamina and the will to contain the virus like most other advanced nations? The reason is staring us in the face: a stampede of rising inequality that has been trampling the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of Americans, year after year after year.

 

From DSC:
Yet another example of the changes occurring in the learning ecosystems out there.

COVID-19 Fuels Big Enrollment Increases in Virtual Schools — from edweek.org by Mark Lieberman

Excerpt:

Florida Virtual School’s enrollment is up 54 percent year over year for its individual online course offerings and 64 percent for full-time programs. Public schools’ online programs managed by the for-profit provider K12 Inc. have grown from 122,000 enrollments in fall 2019 to 170,000 a year later. Applications to Connections Academy, a virtual school provider owned by Pearson, are up 61 percent.

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School filled up months before it usually starts receiving the bulk of new applicants. An Oklahoma virtual charter school earlier this summer was enrolling 1,000 students a day. Enrollment in virtual schools is also up in ConnecticutOhio, and Wisconsin.

 

 

From DSC:
The perfect storm continues to build against traditional institutions of higher education. The backlash continues to build strength. And there WILL BE change — there’s no choice now. Alternatives to these traditional institutions of higher education continue to appear on the scene.

Over the last several decades, traditional institutions of higher education had the chance to step in and do something. They didn’t take nearly enough action. As in other industries, these days of the Coronavirus just hasten the changes that were already afoot. 

Also see:

  • Alternative Credentials on the Rise — from insidehighered.com by Paul Fain, with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
    Interest is growing in short-term, online credentials amid the pandemic. Will they become viable alternative pathways to well-paying jobs?
 

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.


 

 

From DSC:
I’ve heard many people mention that what we did throughout K-16 in the spring of 2020 was remote teaching — an emergency response to the Coronavirus. And I would agree with that assessment and verbiage — that was/is very true. It wasn’t online-based learning as many of us have come to know it over the last 20+ years. It didn’t offer a lot of the things that organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and Quality Matters have been trying to promote and get us to achieve for years.

But then I hear the expectation that everything has been vastly improved over the summer and suddenly, almost overnight, all teachers, professors, trainers, adjunct faculty members, etc. have become highly proficient in matters involving online-based teaching and learning. In other words, the expectations say that:

  • Students should expect a top-notch experience now that summer is over.
  • Suddenly, Rome was built in a day!

But it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

It takes time and practice to become proficient in how to teach online. That’s the truth. It also takes a great deal of time and investments in hardware, software, tools, training/education/professional development, networking and telecommunications infrastructure, and more. It takes numerous skillsets to do it well. (By the way, that’s why I like to think in terms of team-based content creation and delivery.)

Also, often times, it takes MORE time to teach online than it does to teach in a face-to-face classroom. That is certainly the case for the first time that you will be teaching online. You need to know that going into it. You have to put your course together PLUS learn how to deliver it effectively in an online-based format. You need to learn a variety of tools and related ecosystems. Not a simple, overnight kind of task, I can assure you.

So students, don’t expect your faculty members to become professional online-based teachers overnight Again, it takes time and practice…just like anything we set out to do.

And for you student teachers and Education Departments/Programs out there, keep at it. Don’t dismiss this time as a brief period/phenomenon that will simply go away and we’ll get back to “normal.” Make the necessary adjustments to your curriculum, toolsets, “teacher placements,” and more. Let’s get prepared for the future, come what may.

For higher ed, if you want to continue to use adjunct faculty members to handle a significant amount of the teaching load out there, you will need to better address the training and the $$/reimbursements that you provide to them.

And for all of the teachers, trainers, faculty members — and now even parents and/or guardians — out there, cut yourself some slack, give yourself some grace, and keep trying. One step at a time. Don’t get discouraged.

Also relevant/see:

Build and accelerate beyond the pandemic: Consciously deliver a great online experience for lifelong learners — from evoLLLution.com by Philip Regier

Excerpt:

Today’s learners have high expectations as expert consumers in all aspects of their lives. Higher education needs to create an infrastructure that meets the needs of this tech-savvy demographic. Institutions need to recognize that the online environment is here to stay and is in need of a rebuild in order to deliver the best student experience possible, even post-pandemic. In this interview, Phil Regier discusses the today’s learners’ expectations, scaling a high-quality online environment, and how to build the right infrastructure to support learners in this new and digitized normal.

 

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