Tech conferences are going virtual, and it feels like Netflix content on demand — from .marketwatch.com by Jon Swartz

Excerpt:

Such is the new world of tech conferences in the age of COVID-19. They’ve gone all-digital, like Build and GTC Digital, and may never be the same. Absent a vaccine, the days of thousands of people herded into hotel ballrooms and convention centers like cattle, sharing cabs and eating in cramped quarters, are gone.

Far from crippling the tech industry, however, virtual shows could lead to democratization of what had once been an exclusive, pricey privilege for tech movers and shakers. In the new climate, consumers have free access to valuable technical content whenever they wish to view it.

“Last year, I paid several thousand dollars to attend, and if I was late for a session, I couldn’t rewind it. This year, I could.”

 

Learning channels of the future will offer us more choice. More control. [Christian]

 

From DSC:
And this phenomenon of learning from the living [class] room will likely pick up steam; some learning-related services are already heading that way.

 

Learning from home -- masterclass dot com

Learning from home -- masterclass dot com

 

Also see:

Preparing Students for a Lifelong Disruptive Future: The 60-Year Curriculum — from evolllution.com by Chris Dede | Professor of Learning Technologies in the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University and John Richards | Professor in the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

Although written before the pandemic, a just-published book, The 60-Year Curriculum: New Models for Lifelong Learning in the Digital Economy (Dede and Richards, 2020), describes the looming challenge/opportunity of a coming, epic half-century whose intensity of disruption will rival the historic period civilization faced from 1910-1960: two world wars, a global pandemic, a long-lasting economic depression and unceasing conflicts between capitalism and communism.

In our tactical responses to moving teaching online because of the pandemic, we have the strategic opportunity to develop a new model that blends higher and continuing education and realizes the potential of next-generation methods of instruction and assessment (National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2018) to focus on lifelong learning.

 
 

From DSC:
THIS is what active learning looks like for professors, teachers, and trainers who have been making the switch to remote/online-based teaching and learning.

 

What is unschooling? A parents guide to child-led home education — from yahoo.com by Nicole Harris

Excerpt:

Unschooling is a form of homeschooling that emphasizes a child’s interests, rather than a structured academic curriculum. “It’s a curiosity-led approach to education that relies on the natural creativity of young people,” says Krystal Dillard, co-director of the Natural Creativity Center, an unschooling center in Philadelphia. “There is no prescribed curriculum; rather, children are empowered to explore with adults offering guidance along the way.”

Parents who practice unschooling don’t set aside hours or places for education. Instead, they encourage learning as a natural part of everyday life. “As a result, self-directed education looks different for everyone, and can constitute anything from climbing a tree to building a computer to producing a film,” says Dillard. Unschooling can happen in the home, in the yard, at unschooling centers, or virtually anywhere else.

“As a result, self-directed education looks different for everyone, and can constitute anything from climbing a tree to building a computer to producing a film,” says Dillard. Unschooling can happen in the home, in the yard, at unschooling centers, or virtually anywhere else.

 

 

Flipped Learning -- April 2020 -- from flr.flglobal.org

The April issue of FLR looks at how we’re all managing the social-emotional cost of making a rapid transition to online learning.

Featured articles include:

  • Teaching From Home Is Exhausting: How Are You Keeping Your Spirits Up?
  • Why Is Online Teaching and Learning So Awesome and So Awful?
  • 10 Ways to Help Students Cope With How COVID-19 Is Disrupting School Life.
  • What Teachers Need From Administrators While Shifting to Remote Learning.
  • Why the Two Most Important Online Teaching Skills Today Are Grace and Choice.
  • We Miss Seeing Our Students, How Can We Fill That Hole in Our Soul?
  • Unmasking the Social-emotional Cost of Going Online Overnight?
  • Teaching During a Pandemic Is Fragile: Self-care Is Good, Self-compassion Is Better.
 

How the research on learning can drive change — from gettingsmart.com by Chris Sturgis

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

#2 Learning results from the interplay of cognition, emotion, and motivation.
The brain does not clearly separate cognitive from emotional functioning so that optimal learning environments will engage both. It’s important that students feel safe if learning is to be optimized. When we are afraid, our amygdala becomes activated making it harder to learn. Do students feel valued? Relationships matter in creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging. Are schools designed so that teachers and professors have the opportunity to build strong relationships with students? Do students feel that the school and teachers want them to be successful? Do they have chances to receive feedback and revise or do grading practices simply judge them?

 

From DSC:
Two instances — plus a simmering question — instantly stand out in my mind when I read the above paragraph.

First instance:
It was years ago and I was working at a Fortune 500 company outside of Chicago. I was given the chance to learn how to program in one of the divisions of this company. I was in a conference room with my brand new boss. I had asked him a question about a piece of code, which clearly must have let him know I had some serious misunderstandings.

But instead of being patient, he grew increasingly frustrated at my lack of understanding. The madder he got, the worse my learning became. My focus shifted from processing the expected syntax of the code — and the content/instruction overall that he was trying to relay — to almost completely being concerned with his anger. My processing shut down and things deteriorated from there.

Second instance:
My mom was a classical piano teacher for decades. Though she was often loved by her students, she could be very tough, strong, and forceful. (This was true of several of my siblings’ music teachers as well.) Most of the time, she developed wonderful, strong relationships with the vast majority of her students, many of which came back to our house around Christmastime / New Year’s to visit with her (even long after “graduating”).

I mention that as background to a different context…when I observed my mom trying to teach one of my nieces how to do a math problem in the kitchen of our old house. Again, the teacher in this case kept getting increasingly frustrated, while the student kept shrinking back into their shell…trying to deflect the increasingly hot anger coming at them. The cognitive processing stopped. The amount of actual learning taking place quickly declined. I finally intervened to say that they should come back to this topic later on.

(The counselors/therapists out there would probably rightly connect these two scenarios for what was happening in my mind (i.e., not wanting to deal with the other person’s growing anger). But this applies to many more of us than just me, I’m afraid.)

A simmering question involving law schools and a common teaching method:
In law schools, one of the long-standing teaching methods is the Socratic Method.

Depending upon the professor and their teaching style, one student could be under intense pressure to address the facts, rules, the legal principles of a case, and much more. They often have to stand up in front of the class.

In those instances, I wonder how much capacity to actually process information gets instantly reduced within many of the students’ brains when they get the spotlight shown on them? Do the more introverted and/or less confident students start to sweat? Do their fear levels and heart rates increase? With the issue of having other students attempting to learn from this grilling aside, I wonder what happens to the amygdalas of the students that were called upon?

You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of the Socratic Method IF it begins to involve too much emotion…too much anger or fear. Not good. The amount of learning taking place can be significantly impacted.

A professor, teacher, or trainer can’t know all of the underlying background, psychology, personality differences, emotional makeup, and experiences of each learner. But getting back to the article, I appreciate what the author was saying about the importance of establishing a SAFE learning environment. The more fear, anger, and a sense of being threatened or scared are involved, the less learning/processing can occur.

 

Healthy looks different on every body...and learning looks different with every mind.

 

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in #RemoteLearning — from jakemiller.net by Jake Miller

Excerpt:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

While, certainly, some educators are doing great things to support these students, from my observations, this has taken a backseat to other elements of remote learning.  And these students NEED OUR HELP.

Unfortunately, I am not an expert in special education, accessibility features or assistive technology. I am, however, skilled at asking other people to share their expertise. ? So, in episode 40 of the Educational Duct Tape podcast and in the 4.8.20 #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat I asked educators one simple question:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

And they DELIVERED. I mean, the awesome suggestions and resources, all from a perspective of support rather than judgment, POURED in. And so, here they are.

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in Remote Learning

 

 
 

From DSC:
NOTE: The K-12 education system that I’m talking about in this posting is the pre-COVID-19 education system.



What Cory Henwood describes here…

The paradigm of one -- as described by Cory Henwood

is what I describe as the quickly moving K-12 education train that stops for no one!

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

(image source)


This becomes especially troublesome for those on either side of the 80% bell curve.
I know about this, as one of our daughters has been living through this phenomenon for years. We are seriously considering homeschooling for her as we want her learning experiences to be more positive ones for her. We want to provide more choice, more control for what she wants to learn about — and the pace at which she can go through those experiences. We want there to be more joy in her learning experiences. This will hopefully help her build more positive perspectives about learning in general.

This is not a mute issue…nor is this a topic that’s focused on just students with special needs. In fact, this topic is relevant to every single student in America — as everyone is now required to be lifelong learners these days. Grades need to diminish in importance. The enjoyment of learning needs to rise.

Note: There were some times in public and charter schools that provided courses and topics of great interest to her, and provided some great joy to her. Plus, there were some incredibly-dedicated teachers and staff that created a team around our daughter. I’m very grateful for them and for their efforts. But positive learning experiences were becoming too few and too far between. The train left the station *for everyone* at such-and-such a time, and stopped *for everyone* at such and such a time. The education system required that she and her classmates move at a certain (high) speed — regardless of their mastery of the content. Teachers know what I’m talking about here…big time.

We need to get to what Cory discusses about when he discusses competency-based education.

We need to get to what Cory discusses about competency-based education.

Plus, we need to get to a place where there is:

 

Silver Lining for Learning, Episode 05: Rethinking school with Will Richardson — from dangerouslyirrelevant.org by Scott McLeod; joined by Chris Dede and Curt Bonk as well

Per Scott:

I was fortunate to be the primary host for Episode 05 of Silver Lining for Learning on April 18. Our guest was Will Richardson and we had a fantastic discussion about both the realities and possibilities of school transformation.

Will has been talking about how to rethink learning, teaching, and schooling for decades. He is the author of multiple books and has launched major collaboration initiatives such as the change.schoolModern Learners, and Powerful Learning Practice networks. If you weren’t able to join us, the archived video is well worth it!

 

From DSC:
Let’s hope that Cisco Webex learns from Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, and likely other products/vendors as well — in terms of providing easy-to-setup and use, seamless breakout rooms.

The breakout rooms in the Cisco Webex’ Training Center product are audio-only, which represents a major gap/disadvantage for numerous courses out there. (And, last I knew, there aren’t breakout rooms in the Cisco WebEx Meeting Center product.) The idea of community, presence, and collaboration is supported by providing audio and video. Video is critically important in certain courses.

Plus we are finding at WMU-Cooley that we need to create main rooms PLUS additional breakout rooms and assign students to each breakout room. But then, audio and video issues abound. Such a complex setup requires that the faculty member (i.e., the host) of such meetings needs to be pretty savvy in order to make things work well. 

The transitions of going from the main meeting room to breakout rooms needs to be quick and easy. Bb Collaborate did a great job with this, and I hear Zoom does a good job with this as well. Cisco Webex does not.

Cisco — if you’re going to be in the world of higher ed and in the K-12 world, you need to fix this ASAP. 

Flipping things around…Zoom, you had better learn from Cisco Webex if you want to play in the worlds of education as well. Your “Zoombombing” and security-related issues are not good.

Also see:

 

From DSC:
On the positive side…

What I appreciate about ‘s article is that it’s asking us to think about future scenarios in regards to higher education. Then, it’s proposing some potential action steps to take now to address those potential scenarios if they come to fruition. It isn’t looking at the hood when we’re traveling 180 mph. Rather, it’s looking out into the horizon to see what’s coming down the pike. 

6 Steps to Prepare for an Online Fall Semester — from chronicle.com b

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Plan for a multiyear impact. If colleges are forced to maintain online-only instruction in the fall and to defer reopening their campuses to in-person instruction to January 2021, the impact will be felt for years. College leaders should start thinking now about how to manage and potentially adjust spring-2021 (and beyond) course offerings, course sequencing, and degree requirements to avoid saddling students with graduation delays and the accompanying direct and indirect financial costs. In addition, colleges should anticipate a smaller-than-normal entering first-year class in fall 2020 (and thus a larger-than-normal enrollment a year later) and devise strategies to help mitigate the resulting stresses on admission rates and classroom and dorm capacity for first-year students entering in fall 2021 and beyond.

If instruction remains online-only in the fall, colleges won’t be able to afford that sort of inefficiency. College departments should start now to identify opportunities for collaborations that would draw on the collective wisdom and labor of faculty members from multiple institutions who are teaching similar courses. This would lessen the burden of migrating teaching materials and techniques to an online format.

From DSC:
I’ve often wondered about the place of consortiums within higher ed…i.e., pooling resources. Will the impacts of the Coronavirus change this area of higher ed? Not sure. Perhaps.

On the negative side…

I take issue with some of John’s perspectives, which are so common amongst the writers and academics out there. For example:

Conversely, an entire generation of current college students is now learning that it can be pretty boring to be one of several hundred people simultaneously watching a Zoom lecture.

You know what? I did that very same thingover and over again — at Northwestern University (NU), but in a face-to-face format. And quite frankly, it’s a better view on videoconferencing. It’s far more close up, more intimate online. I agree it’s a different experience. But our auditoriums were large and having 100-200+ students in a classroom was common. There was no interaction amongst the students. There were no breakout groups. The faculty members didn’t know most of our names and I highly doubt that the well-paid researchers at Northwestern — who were never taught how to teach in the first place nor did they or NU regard the practice of teaching and learning highly anyway — gave a rat’s ass about body language. Reading the confusion in the auditorium? Really? I highly doubt it. And those TA’s that we paid good money for? Most likely, they were never taught how to teach either. The well-paid researchers often offloaded much of the teaching responsibilities onto the teacher assistants’ backs. 

Bottom line:
Face-to-face learning is getting waaaay more credit than it sometimes deserves — though sometimes it IS warranted. And online-based learning — especially when it’s done right — isn’t getting nearly enough credit. 


Addendum: Another example of practicing futures thinking in higher ed:

 

From DSC:
The article below is meant as fodder for thought for us now…until we get back to holding class in physical learning spaces again. But it caught my attention because I’d like to see us give students “More choice. More Control.” in all areas of their learning — whether that be in the physical realm or in the digital/virtual realm.

 

 

4 reasons to build choice into classroom design — and how to make it work for students — from spaces4learning.com by Deanna Marie Lock
A look at the key elements of a modern and highly engaging learning space

 

providing more choice and more control to students within the physcial classroom

 

From DSC:
The “Pair & Share” method allows students to find a fellow student to talk about the question/topic at hand. Then, depending upon time and your learning objectives/lesson plans, some students can report back to the larger classroom about what they discussed. In the digital, synchronous realm, one can achieve this with private chat rooms — given that you’ve changed a setting to allow this to occur. Posting the pairings ahead of time should help establish a quick, smooth transition.

(The graphic below is for the Cisco Webex Meeting Center on a MacBook Pro).

Providing a quick pair and share method using the Cisco Webex Meeting Center product

 

 

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