From DSC:
Below are some resources for teaching at home. And some of this (much of this?) is not typical homeschooling, just as much of what’s being done out there isn’t necessarily typical online-based learning. And some out there may not like such lists, and would prefer a detailed report on just one tool. But this last week was incredibly busy — and time is not a luxury I have right now. And these resources might provide someone out there with just the right tool or pedagogy that they’ve been looking for.

Also, I might suggest:

  • Creating a Google alert (google.com/alerts) on HSLDA, on homeschooling, on homeschoolers, and/or on related searches.
  • Create a Keyword Alert on an RSS aggregator such as Feedly
  • Follow relevant hashtags on Twitter such as #homeschooling

Some analog ideas:

  • Reading a book together
  • Watching a play, drama, or another type of program together
  • Taking a walk out in nature together
  • Gather together as a family and/or lingering over breakfast or dinner
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Taking pictures

And now is a great time to see what your child or children WANT TO LEARN ABOUT! Turn over the control to them for a while — and watch what happens when intrinsic motivation takes hold! 


Not a teacher but find yourself homeschooling? These educational apps are free — from parade.com by Stephanie Osmanski

  • This posting covers 25 Free Learning Apps

We are all homeschoolers now (podcast) — from cato.org featuring Kerry McDonald and Caleb Brown
Thanks to COVID-19, many parents find themselves with kids at home all day. What’s the best way to keep them engaged in their educations? Kerry McDonald, author of Unschooled, comments.

Getting Smart’s Getting Through

Free, Online Learning Resources When Coronavirus Closes Schools — from cato.org by Kerry McDonald

Homeschooling Mother and Author: 6 Ideas For Parents While Schools Are Closed — from fee.org by Kerry McDonald
Amid the Covid-19 lockdown, there are steps parents can take to make time at home with their children more rewarding and tolerable.

Apps for Special Needs Students—As School Buildings Shutter — from edutopia.org by Janey Clare
The coronavirus creates a unique challenge for special needs students—educators share recommendations for apps to support learning at home.

How to Support Home Learning in Elementary Grades — from edutopia.org by John Thomas
A first and second grade teacher shares his home learning plan for his students and how he is engaging their families.

6 Lessons Learned About Remote Learning During the Coronavirus Outbreak — from blogs.edweek.org by Mark Lieberman

 

Play is disappearing from kindergarten. It’s hurting kids. — from edsurge.com by  Joe Martin

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In an increasing number of schools, teachers of very young students are pressured to pack every moment of the day with structured, academically rigorous tasks. One recent whitepaper linked the practice to preparing kids for the long road of schooling ahead, in which progress is measured through standardized testing starting in third grade.

Friedrich Froebel, a pedagogue of modern education, coined the term “kindergarten” in 1840 after recognizing the importance of play in the development of young children. Inspired by the idea of a garden, he designed a classroom where the teacher presented children with objects, which they were allowed to play with in any way they could imagine. When they lost interest in one object, they would be presented with a new one to spark curiosity and creativity. Children were encouraged to grow and flourish in this free form, play-based environment.

From DSC:
Given that we are all into a lifelong learning situation now, I vote for more importance being placed on whether someone enjoyed their learning experience. That said, I know there is struggle in learning…and learning in the struggle. But we focus so much on grades and standardized testing. This robs the joy from the teaching and learning environment — for the teachers as well as for the kids.

Also see:

 

From DSC:
When I saw the learning space as pictured below, I couldn’t help but ask a couple of questions:

  • Doesn’t this look like a colorful, fun, engaging active learning space?
  • One that encourages communication and collaboration?

The natural light is wonderful. And the physical setup seems to let the students know that they will be collaborating with each other the second they walk into this learning space…and it does so without saying a word. 

This type of learning setup seems like learning could be very fun and collaborative!

 

The Dangers of “Teaching the Way We Best Learn” — from scholarlyteacher.com by Todd Zakrajsek

Excerpts:

Not everyone sees the world as I do, and not everyone learns the way I do. Thinking of the implications of implicit bias is scary, but there is freedom in knowledge. Using evidence-based teaching allows faculty to overcome the adverse effects of teaching as we were taught.

We, as faculty members, are not passive recipients who choose a pedagogical strategy because we have no choice. We may select teaching approaches that work for ourselves as learners, not because we are consciously deciding to ignore the needs of others, but more so because we fail to understand effective alternatives exist.

This need not be an admonishment on our professional responsibility to educate others. It is merely a recognition that when we look at the world, we tend to see it from our perspective, the one with which we are most familiar. It takes effort to consider other perspectives.

The challenge is that teaching is not about our learning; it is about our learners. It is not the job of the server in a restaurant to offer only the food they most prefer, but instead to help you to navigate the menu to identify what works best for you, food allergies, preferences, and all.

I should not always “teach the way I best learned.” To do so will disadvantage students who are least like me, and those students deserve an opportunity to be successful.

If I primarily use the lecture method of teaching, I should add a “think-pair-share” at times. Perhaps even a jigsaw and problem-based learning sprinkled throughout the semester. If I get bold, I might also try a role-play in class.

From DSC:
I appreciate Todd’s reflections and insights in the above posting. I’d like to sprinkle in a couple of graphics to it.

 

A two-part series from Educause regarding inclusive design/accessibility — with thanks to Ray Schroeder for his posting on this out on LinkedIn.

An excerpt from Part II:

The previous two definitions have tried to articulate the idea that students carry intersecting invisible circumstances with them into the classroom. Whether or not students disclose their circumstances—or whether faculty members invite students to disclose them—does not determine their existence. From this perspective, inclusion means designing and teaching for variability. Faculty can practice inclusive pedagogy by following universal design principles and offering multiple options for representation, engagement, and expression:

Options are essential to learning, because no single way of presenting information, no single way of responding to information, and no single way of engaging students will work across the diversity of students that populate our classrooms. Alternatives reduce barriers to learning for students with disabilities while enhancing learning opportunities for everyone.4

In a Nutshell …
Inclusive pedagogy can be an act of intention—something that is initiated before and during the course design process—rather than being an act of revision or omission.

 

Also see:

Live from Bett: What’s new in EDU–Free resources to boost engagement and collaboration — from the Microsoft Education Team on January 22, 2020

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In addition, on the day of a presentation, educators and students now can help every person in the classroom or audience understand what they’re saying by clicking on “Present Live.” Live Presentations enables every audience member to view the presentation on their own device, such as a laptop, tablet or phone. Each audience member can turn on live captioning and choose subtitles from more than 60 languages. They can even navigate between slides, so they don’t miss a single, important detail. The audience is engaged throughout the presentation and sends reactions in real-time. After the presentation, the audience can provide feedback on the content and delivery of the presentation, which educators and students can use to improve skills over time.

Live Presentations will be coming soon to PowerPoint for the web as part of Office Education, which educators and students can access for free. If you haven’t already done so, get started with Office 365 Education now.

 

From DSC:
Might this type of functionality be a solid component of a global, next generation learning platform? Hmmmm…

 

From DSC:
If you are using a tool like Cisco Webex in your school, consider implementing the idea below.
I’d like to thank Mr. Steve Grant and Mr. Nelson Miller from the WMU-Cooley Law School for their work in implementing/recommending this approach.

If you are using a tool like Cisco Webex, you can use it to share content to displays, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. If the professor starts a Cisco Webex Meeting Center session using their own personal room, the students can then join that meeting via their devices. (To eliminate noise and confusion — as well as to reduce bandwidth — the students should mute their microphones and choose not to send the video from their webcams.)

If you were doing a think-pair-share, for example, and you really liked what a certain pair of students had going on, one of the students could share their work with the rest of the class. By doing so, whatever was going on on that student’s device could be displayed by any projectors in the room, as well as on any other devices that were connected to the Cisco Webex Meeting Room.

“So you could project any student’s work as students proceed with in-class exercises. Projecting student work adds another level of accountability, excitement, and concentration to in-class exercises.” 

*********

Also, using the Cisco Webex Meeting Center in your face-to-face classroom not only opens up that sort of collaboration channel, but, via the chat feature, it can also open up a running backchannel to draw out your more introverted students, or those students who have questions but don’t want to have the spotlight thrown on them. 

*********

 

Coming down the pike: A next generation, global learning platform [Christian]

From DSC:
Though we aren’t quite there yet, the pieces continue to come together to build a next generation learning platform that will help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, constantly, and cost-effectively.

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

XR for Teaching and Learning — from educause

Key Findings

  • XR technologies are being used to achieve learning goals across domains.
  • Effective pedagogical uses of XR technologies fall into one of three large categories: (1) Supporting skills-based and competency-based teaching and learning, such as nursing education, where students gain practice by repeating tasks. (2) Expanding the range of activities with which a learner can gain hands-on experience—for example, by enabling the user to interact with electrons and electromagnetic fields. In this way, XR enables some subjects traditionally taught as abstract knowledge, using flat media such as illustrations or videos, to be taught as skills-based. (3) Experimenting by providing new functionality and enabling new forms of interaction. For example, by using simulations of materials or tools not easily available in the physical world, learners can explore the bounds of what is possible in both their discipline and with the XR technology itself.
  • Integration of XR into curricula faces two major challenges: time and skills.
  • The adoption of XR in teaching has two major requirements: the technology must fit into instructors’ existing practices, and the cost cannot be significantly higher than that of the alternatives already in use.
  • The effectiveness of XR technologies for achieving learning goals is influenced by several factors: fidelity, ease of use, novelty, time-on-task, and the spirit of experimentation.

XR for Teaching and Learning

 

Greta Thunberg is the youngest TIME Person of the Year ever. Here’s how she made history — from time.com

Excerpt:

The politics of climate action are as entrenched and complex as the phenomenon itself, and Thunberg has no magic solution. But she has succeeded in creating a global attitudinal shift, transforming millions of vague, middle-of-the-night anxieties into a worldwide movement calling for urgent change. She has offered a moral clarion call to those who are willing to act, and hurled shame on those who are not. She has persuaded leaders, from mayors to Presidents, to make commitments where they had previously fumbled: after she spoke to Parliament and demonstrated with the British environmental group Extinction Rebellion, the U.K. passed a law requiring that the country eliminate its carbon footprint. She has focused the world’s attention on environmental injustices that young indigenous activists have been protesting for years. Because of her, hundreds of thousands of teenage “Gretas,” from Lebanon to Liberia, have skipped school to lead their peers in climate strikes around the world.

 

Young people! You CAN and will make a big impact/difference!

 

Artificial Intelligence has a gender problem — why it matters for everyone — from nbcnews.com by Halley Bondy
To fight the rise of bias in AI, more representation is critical in the computing workforce, where only 26 percent of workers are women, 3 percent are African-American women, and 2 percent are Latinx.

Excerpt:

More women and minorities must work in tech, or else they risk being left behind in every industry.

This grim future was painted by Artificial Intelligence (AI) equality experts who spoke at a conference Thursday hosted by LivePerson, an AI company that connects brands and consumers.

In that future, if AI goes unchecked, workplaces will be completely homogenous, hiring only white, nondisabled men.

Guest speaker Cathy O’Neil, who authored “Weapons of Math Destruction,” explained how hiring bias works with AI: company algorithms are created by (mostly white male) data scientists, and they are based on the company’s historic wins. If a CEO is specifically looking for hirees who won’t leave the company after a year, for example, he might turn to AI to look for candidates based on his company’s retention rates. Chances are, most of his company’s historic wins only include white men, said O’Neil.

 

Five companies using virtual reality to improve the lives of senior citizens — from immersivelearning.news

Excerpt:

Virtual reality is emerging as a useful tool to bring about positive change for many, including the elderly. From reducing loneliness to transporting the infirm to far-flung places, without the need to travel, VR is enhancing the lives of senior citizens across the globe.

To mark National Senior Citizen’s Day, I’ve taken a look at some of the companies using the immersive power of virtual reality to make a difference.

 

A parent’s guide to prioritizing emotional well-being — from modernlearners.com by Richard Ten Eyck, with thanks to Missy Emler from Modern Learners for this resource

Excerpt:

I wonder what we are doing in our families, in our schools, in our society that is causing this dramatic rise among our youth. I wonder if my kids feel like they belong at their school? I wonder what school policies/practices my kids find stressful?

I wonder what we could do differently in our families, in our schools, in our society that could make a difference. I wonder why we still have grades, age grouped classes, separate subjects? I wonder what would happen if, like some schools, we tried to eliminate them?

Couldn’t we at least try? Should we just keep doing what we are doing even though we know it’s making kids anxious?

How can we help one another?

What really matters?

 

 

A lesson in active learning — from characterlab.org
How to make difficulty desirable

Excerpt:

Recently, a group of physics professors at Harvard University ran an experiment you should know about.

There were no balls rolling down planks. No springs or pulleys, no magnets, and no electricity.

What these professors wanted to know was, how can we get students to learn more? More generally, how do people learn anything—and what gets in the way?

Years of experience suggested that students learn best when assigned hands-on laboratory activities, weekly problem sets, in-class opportunities to discuss material with fellow students, and frequent short quizzes. This active approach seemed far superior to the more traditional—and more passive—approach of sage-on-a-stage lectures.

To test their hunch, the professors randomly assigned students in introductory physics to classes using either active or passive instruction. The material was identical—only the style of teaching differed.

 

The above article reference this item:

 

Also see:

  • Normalizing struggle — by Catherine Martin Christopher
    Abstract:
    Learning lawyering skills, and becoming competent or proficient in them, is a struggle. This article is a call to action for all legal educators: We need to acknowledge that students struggle, to expect it, and to convey to students that their struggle is normal. In fact, struggle is productive — learning is hard, and lawyers learn and struggle throughout their careers. This article examines and criticizes the ways legal academia treats law students’ academic struggle as a problem, and suggests that legal educators reorient their attitudes toward struggle, forgiving and embracing student struggle, even building opportunities for struggle into the curriculum. By normalizing the fact of struggle, law schools will not only improve the wellness of their students, but also create lawyers who are better prepared to cope with the constant problem-solving required of successful lawyers.Keywords: Academic success, academic support, legal education, student support, academic struggle, successful lawyers, law school

 

Addendum on 11/12/19:

Neuroscientists have found that mistakes are helpful for brain growth and connectivity and if we are not struggling, we are not learning. Not only is struggle good for our brains but people who know about the value of struggle improve their learning potential. This knowledge would not be earth shattering if it was not for the fact that we in the Western world are trained to jump in and prevent learners from experiencing struggle.

 

Using technology to inspire creativity boosts student outcomes — from thejournal.com by Sara Friedman

Transformative technology uses include using tablets or computers to create multimedia projects, conduct research and analyze information.

Teachers’ use of creativity in learning was determined how many times students were allowing to:

  • Choose what to learn in class.
  • Try different ways of doing things, even if they might not work.
  • Come up with their own ways to solve a problem
  • Discuss topics with no right or wrong answer.
  • Create a project to express what they’ve learned.
  • Work on a multidisciplinary project.
  • Work on a project with real-world applications.
  • Publish or share projects with people outside the classroom.
 

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