DC: The next generation learning platform will likely offer us such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences such as this “flight simulator for teachers.”

Virtual reality simulates classroom environment for aspiring teachers — from phys.org by Charles Anzalone, University at Buffalo

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Two University at Buffalo education researchers have teamed up to create an interactive classroom environment in which state-of-the-art virtual reality simulates difficult student behavior, a training method its designers compare to a “flight simulator for teachers.”

The new program, already earning endorsements from teachers and administrators in an inner-city Buffalo school, ties into State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher’s call for innovative teaching experiences and “immersive” clinical experiences and teacher preparation.

The training simulator Lamb compared to a teacher flight simulator uses an emerging computer technology known as virtual reality. Becoming more popular and accessible commercially, virtual reality immerses the subject in what Lamb calls “three-dimensional environments in such a way where that environment is continuous around them.” An important characteristic of the best virtual reality environments is a convincing and powerful representation of the imaginary setting.

 

Also related/see:

 

  • TeachLive.org
    TLE TeachLivE™ is a mixed-reality classroom with simulated students that provides teachers the opportunity to develop their pedagogical practice in a safe environment that doesn’t place real students at risk.  This lab is currently the only one in the country using a mixed reality environment to prepare or retrain pre-service and in-service teachers. The use of TLE TeachLivE™ Lab has also been instrumental in developing transition skills for students with significant disabilities, providing immediate feedback through bug-in-ear technology to pre-service teachers, developing discrete trial skills in pre-service and in-service teachers, and preparing teachers in the use of STEM-related instructional strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry — from Lora Kolodny and Erin Black

  • MEL Science raised $2.2 million in venture funding to bring virtual reality chemistry lessons to schools in the U.S.
  • Eighty-two percent of science teachers surveyed in the U.S. believe virtual reality content can help their students master their subjects.

 

This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry from CNBC.

 

 


From DSC:
It will be interesting to see all the “places” we will be able to go and interact within — all from the comfort of our living rooms! Next generation simulators should be something else for teaching/learning & training-related purposes!!!

The next gen learning platform will likely offer such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences, along with voice recognition/translation services and a slew of other technologies — such as AI, blockchain*, chatbots, data mining/analytics, web-based learner profiles, an online-based marketplace supported by the work of learning-based free agents, and others — running in the background. All of these elements will work to offer us personalized, up-to-date learning experiences — helping each of us stay relevant in the marketplace as well as simply enabling us to enjoy learning about new things.

But the potentially disruptive piece of all of this is that this next generation learning platform could create an Amazon.com of what we now refer to as “higher education.”  It could just as easily serve as a platform for offering learning experiences for learners in K-12 as well as the corporate learning & development space.

 

I’m tracking these developments at:
http://danielschristian.com/thelivingclassroom/

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 


*  Also see:


Blockchain, Bitcoin and the Tokenization of Learning — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

In 2014, Kings College in New York became the first university in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin for tuition payments, a move that seemed more of a PR stunt than the start of some new movement. Much has changed since then, including the value of Bitcoin itself, which skyrocketed to more than $19,000 earlier this month, catapulting cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

A handful of other universities (and even preschools) now accept Bitcoin for tuition, but that’s hardly the extent of how blockchains and tokens are weaving their way into education: Educators and edtech entrepreneurs are now testing out everything from issuing degrees on the blockchain to paying people in cryptocurrency for their teaching.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Joy in the Classroom — from teachervision.com by Lisa Koplik
How do we keep joy in our classrooms — for both students and teachers?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Teaching today is nothing like it was in the past. Gone are the days of loose curriculum, infrequent observations by your principal, and learning cursive; we now have structured lessons, unannounced walkthroughs by both the principal and the superintendent, and a lack of downtime.

How do we keep joy in our classrooms — for the kids and also for us? Take a look at some tips for continuing to make teaching and learning fun.

4. Allow for Choice
As much as you can, give the kids choices. While this isn’t always possible, there are ways to promote student choice. If your school has an intervention time, or a “What I Need” (WIN) block, create a menu of student options. Recently, my WIN time menu has included Greek myths, multiplication practice, a persuasive essay piece, informational task cards, and multi-step word problems in math. These activities are considered Must-Do, and if they finish all Must-Dos, they can move on to optional choices. Another great way to allow for choice is by using Seesaw, a website that allows for students to represent their learning in a variety of ways. I have used Seesaw during assessments to allow students the choice of typing, voice recording, or writing by hand. They definitely enjoy filming themselves talking!

 

 

From DSC:
Seeing as all of us are now into lifelong learning, it’s to all of our benefits to make learning fun and enjoyable. In fact, I wish that were more a part of our formative assessments…not just how did our students score on this or that standardized test. The skills that are needed in the future are hard to cram into a standardized test; skills such as creativity, entrepreneurship, tenacity/grit, patience, teamwork and collaboration, being innovative, being able to quickly adapt to change, etc.

Sometimes the problem is that it takes too much time to provide a solid level of choice. I get that. But with some tools/services — as in the case where Lisa mentioned her use of Seesaw — there are some options that aren’t so labor-intensive for the teachers.

I have it that if someone has had an extended period of painful or bad learning experiences, chances are that they won’t want to “go back to school” — in whatever form that additional training/education might look like. But if they enjoyed their learning experiences, it becomes much easier for consistent, lifelong learning to get baked into our daily/weekly habits and into our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I sat down for a cup of coffee the other day with an experienced, wise, elderly learning expert. He was virtually a walking encyclopedia of knowledge around matters related to training, teaching, and learning. It was such a gift to learn from his numerous years’ worth of experience and his hard earned knowledge!!!  I rarely use the phrase learning expert because it’s very difficult to be an expert when it comes to how people learn. But in this case, that phrase works just fine for me.

This elderly gentleman had years’ worth of experiences involving instructional design, coaching, teaching, and training behind him. He mentioned several things that I want to record and relay here, such as:

  • In terms of higher education, we need to move from a content orientation to a process orientationi.e., helping our students learn how to learn (i.e., providing some effective methods/best practices such as this article and this study discuss for example).
    While
    I agree that this is a good call, I still think that we’ll need some level of content delivery though. As Daniel Willingham asserts in his book, Why don’t students like school?, students still need to have a base knowledge of a subject so that they can recall that information and integrate it into other situations. Per Willingham, we can’t expect learners to become experts and think like experts without that base level of knowledge in a subject. But if they never had that information in the first place, they couldn’t recall it or bring it up for application in another context. That said, I highly agree that students need to graduate from high school and college having a much better idea on how to learn. Such a skill will serve them very well over their lifetimes, especially in this new exponential pace of change that we’re now experiencing.

 

  • Speaking of contexts, this wise gentleman said that we need to move from being content driven to being concept driven and context driven.
    The trick here is how to implement this type of pedagogy within higher education. It’s hard to anticipate the myriad of potential contexts our students could find themselves in in the future. Perhaps we could provide 2-3 contexts as examples for them.

 

  • Students need to interact with the content. It won’t have any sort of lasting impact if it’s simply an information transmission model. This is why he practiced (what we today call) active learning based classrooms and project-based learning when he taught college students years ago. This is why he has attendees in his current training-related courses apply/practice what they’ve just been told. Along these lines, he also likes to use open-ended questions and allow for the process of discovery to occur.

 

  • The point of teaching is to make learning possible.

 

  • Learning is change. No change. No learning.
    An interesting, bold perspective that I appreciated hearing. What do you think of this assertion?

 

  • For each educational/training-related item, he asks 3 questions:
    • What does it mean?
    • Why is it important?
    • What am I going to do with it?

 

There was soooooo much knowledge in this wise man’s brain. I reflected on how much information and expertise we lose when instructional designers, teachers, professors, learning theorists (and many others) retire and leave their fields. I asked him if he was blogging to help pass this information along to the next generations, but he said no…there was too much on his plate (which I believe, as he was highly energetic, driven, and active). But I find that when one finally gets enough knowledge to even being close to being called an expert, then it’s time to retire. We often lose that knowledge and people end up reinventing the wheel all over again.

Again, it was such a pleasure to talk with an older gentleman with years of experience under his belt — one who had clearly put a great deal of time and effort into his learning about learning. In an age when America discards the elderly and worships youth, there is an important lesson here.

In an age when organizations are letting their older, more experienced employees go — only to hire much younger people at 1/2 the former wages — we should learn from some of the other nations and cultures who highly respect and lift up the more experienced employees — and the elderly — and who actively seek out their counsel and wisdom. Such people are often worth every penny of their wages.

—–

What do you think? Am I off base on some of my responses/reflections? How do these things strike you?

—–

 

It’s Time for Student Agency to Take Center Stage — from gettingsmart.com by Marie Bjerede and Michael Gielniak

Excerpt:

Jason took ownership of his class project, exhibiting agency. Students who take ownership go beyond mere responsibility and conscientiously completing assignments. These students are focused on their learning, rather than their grade. They are genuinely interested in their work and are as likely as not to get up and work on a project on a Saturday morning, even though they don’t have to (and without considerations of extra credit.)

They complete their homework on time and may well go above and beyond, and they have interesting thoughts to add to classroom dialog. For many teachers, they are a joy to teach, but they are also the ones who may ask the hard questions and they may be quick to point out what they see as hypocrisy in the authority figures.

“Responsible” students, on the other hand, are compliant. Most teachers think they are a joy to teach. They complete their homework without fail, and pay attention and participate in class. These are the kids typically considered “good” students. They usually win most of the academic awards because they are thought of as the “best and brightest.”

Responsible students are concerned about their grades, and can be identified when they ask questions like::

  • “Will that be on the test?”
  • “How many words do I have to write?”
  • “What does it take to get an A?”

Students who take ownership, on the other hand ask questions like:

  • “There are several different viewpoints on this subject so why is that, and what does it mean?
  • “Is what you are teaching, or what is in my textbook, consistent with my research?”
  • “Why is this important?”

Compliance or agency? We need to decide.

 

 

The past decades have been the age of the responsible, compliant student. Students who used to be able to get into college and then immediately secure a good job. But the world and the workforce have changed.

 

 

 

 

 

A new report from Silicon Schools: All that we've learned: 5 years working on personalized learning -- Cover of report

 

A new report from Silicon Schools: All that we've learned: 5 years working on personalized learning

 

 

 

“Personalized learning seeks to accelerate student learning by tailoring the instructional environment — what, when, how, and where students learn — to address the individual needs, skills, and interests of each student. Students can take ownership of their own learning, while also developing deep, personal connections with each other, their teachers, and other adults.”

 

 

 

A new report from Silicon Schools: All that we've learned: 5 years working on personalized learning

 

WE’VE ALWAYS HAD FOUR STRONG BELIEFS:

  1. Students’ ownership of their learning is critical to long-term success.
  2. When it comes to learning, students should get more of what they need exactly when they need it.
  3. Ensuring equity requires getting each student what he or she needs to succeed.
  4. It is possible to redesign schools to work much better for students and teachers.

 

 

 

 

We do not believe that there is yet definitive proof that personalized learning works better than other models. Ultimately, we hope that personalized learning will improve life outcomes for students, with clear evidence to support its efficacy. In the interim, we look to traditional academic measures (e.g. state assessments or assessments like NWEA MAP), to provide early signs of the efficacy of personalized learning.

Despite the lack of conclusive proof, there are two important data sets that we find compelling. First, RAND conducted a study of 11,000 students and 62 personalized learning schools nationally and found that “students made significant gains in mathematics and reading overall, and in elementary and middle schools [1].” More recently, RAND published the third of its studies of personalized learning. It again found statistically significant gains in math, however, the effect size had decreased notably [2].

 

Google AR and VR: Get a closer look with Street View in Google Earth VR

Excerpt:

With Google Earth VR, you can go anywhere in virtual reality. Whether you want to stroll along the canals of Venice, stand at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro or soar through the sky faster than a speeding bullet, there’s no shortage of things to do or ways to explore. We love this sense of possibility, so we’re bringing Street View to Earth VR to make it easier for you to see and experience the world.

This update lets you explore Street View imagery from 85 countries right within Earth VR. Just fly down closer to street level, check your controller to see if Street View is available and enter an immersive 360° photo. You’ll find photos from the Street View team and those shared by people all around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

AR and VR in STEM: The New Frontiers in Science  — from er.educause.edu by Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva

Excerpt:

Virtual and Augmented Reality are poised to profoundly transform the STEM curriculum. In this article, we offer several inspiring examples and key insights on the future of immersive learning and the sciences. Immersive technologies will revolutionize learning through experiential simulations, modelling and spatial representation of data, and a sense of presence in contextual gamification.

Understanding our place in the universe, building the next Martian Rover, designing new transportation systems, fostering sustainable communities, modeling economic stability — finding the solution for these pressing and interconnected challenges brings us to STEM and STEAM in teaching and learning. The movement behind STEAM advocates incorporating the arts and humanities to the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

From DSC:
I appreciated hearing the perspectives from Bruce Dixon and Will Richardson this morning, as I listed to a webinar that they recently offered. A few key takeaways for me from that webinar — and with a document that they shared — were:

  • The world has fundamentally changed. (Bruce and Will also mentioned the new pace of change; i.e., that it’s much faster.)
  • We need to have more urgency about the need to reimagine school, not to try to improve the existing model.
  • “Because of the advent of the Web and the technologies we use to access it, learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”
  • There is a newfound capacity to take full control of one’s own learning; self-determined learning should be at the center of students’ and teachers’ work; co-constructed curriculum
  • And today, at a moment when learners of all ages have never had more agency over their own learning, schools must unlearn centuries old mindsets and practices and relearn them in ways that truly will serve every child living in the modern, connected world.
  • Will and Bruce believe that every educator — and district for that matter — should articulate their own “principles of learning”
  • Beliefs about how kids learn (powerfully and deeply) need to be articulated and consistently communicated and lived out
  • Everything we do as educators, administrators, etc. tells a story. What stories are we telling? (For example, what does the signage around your school building say? Is it about compliance? Is is about a love of learning? Wonder? What does the 20′ jumbo tron say about priorities? Etc.)
  • Bruce and Will covered a “story audit” and how to do one

 

“Learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”

Richardson & Dixon

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

These educators have decades worth of experience. They are pulse-checking their environments. They want to see students thrive both now and into the future. For these reasons, at least for me, their perspectives are highly worth reflecting upon.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Readers of this Learning Ecosystems blog will recognize the following graphic:

 

 

I have long believed that each of us needs to draw from the relevant streams of content that are constantly flowing by us — and also that we should be contributing content to those streams as well. Such content can come from blogs, websites, Twitter, LinkedIn, podcasts, YouTube channels, Google Alerts, periodicals, and via other means.

I’m a big fan of blogging and using RSS feeds along with feed aggregators such as Feedly. I also find that Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Alerts to be excellent means of tapping into — and contributing to — these streams of content. (See Jane Hart’s compilations to tap into other tools/means of learning as well.)

This perspective is echoed in the following article at the Harvard Business Review:

  • Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It — from hbr.org by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown
    Excerpt:
    Without diminishing the value of knowledge sharing, we would suggest that the most valuable form of learning today is actually creating new knowledge. Organizations are increasingly being confronted with new and unexpected situations that go beyond the textbooks and operating manuals and require leaders to improvise on the spot, coming up with new approaches that haven’t been tried before. In the process, they develop new knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work in specific situations. We believe the old, “scalable efficiency” approach to knowledge needs to be replaced with a new, more nimble kind of “scalable learning.” To foster the latter, managers should understand five essential distinctions…

 

We need to be constantly challenging our assumptions and beliefs about what is required to achieve impact because, as the world changes, what used to work in the past may no longer work. 

— Hagel and Brown

 

So whether you are working or studying within the world of higher education, or whether you are in the corporate world, or working in a governmental office, or whether you are a student in K-12, you need to be drawing from — and contributing your voice/knowledge to — streams of content.

In fact, in my mind, that’s what Training/L&D Departments should shift their focus to, as employees are already self-motivated to build their own learning ecosystems. And in the world of higher education, that’s why I work to help students in my courses build their own online-based footprints, while encouraging them to draw from — contribute to — these streams of content. As more people are becoming freelancers and consultants, it makes even more sense to do this.

 

 

But when we recognize that the environment around us is rapidly changing, skills have a shorter and shorter half-life. While skills are still necessary for success, the focus should shift to cultivating the underlying capabilities that can accelerate learning so that new skills can be more rapidly acquired. These capabilities include curiosity, critical thinking, willingness to take risk, imagination, creativity, and social and emotional intelligence. If we can develop those learning capabilities, we should be able to rapidly evolve our skill sets in ways that keep us ahead of the game.

— Hagel and Brown

 

 

 

A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry — from nytimes.com by Kyle Spencer

Excerpt:

Moheeb is part of a new program that is challenging the way teachers and students think about academic accomplishments, and his school is one of hundreds that have done away with traditional letter grades inside their classrooms. At M.S. 442, students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the next set of skills when they have demonstrated that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as a C or a D for a lazily written term paper. There is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later.

For struggling students, there is ample time to practice until they get it. For those who grasp concepts quickly, there is the opportunity to swiftly move ahead. The strategy looks different from classroom to classroom, as does the material that students must master. But in general, students work at their own pace through worksheets, online lessons and in small group discussions with teachers. They get frequent updates on skills they have learned and those they need to acquire.

Mastery-based learning, also known as proficiency-based or competency-based learning, is taking hold across the country. Vermont and Maine have passed laws requiring school districts to phase in the system. New Hampshire is adopting it, too, and piloting a statewide method of assessment that would replace most standardized tests. Ten school districts in Illinois, including Chicago’s, are testing the approach. In 2015, the Idaho State Legislature approved 19 incubator programs to explore the practice.

More than 40 schools in New York City — home to the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students — have adopted the program. But what makes that unusual is that schools using the method are doing so voluntarily, as part of a grass-roots movement.

 

 

 

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