Meeting Students’ Needs for Emotional Support — from edutopia.org by Zi Jia Ng
A new survey finds that a large percentage of students don’t feel that they have an adult to turn to at school when they’re troubled.

Only 55 percent of elementary school students (grades three through five), 42 percent of middle school students, and 40 percent of high school students in the United States have an adult at school they can talk to when they feel upset or stressed, according to a survey of more than 200,000 students across 20 different states. At every age, students benefit from a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart to understand them.

Here’s one strategy for helping to ensure that every student has a trusted adult at school.


Getting Middle and High School Students With Low Grades Back on Track — from edutopia.org by Christine Boatman
By sitting down with students and laying out just what they need to do to pass, teachers can give them the tools to succeed.

AN ANTIDOTE TO PROCRASTINATION
There are effective preventive measures that teachers can take to support middle and high school students with time-management and organizational skills. Still, some students inevitably may find themselves behind at the end of the semester and need individualized Tier 2 interventions as a result of their procrastination.

A Tier 2 strategy that teachers can use to support student efforts to pass classes during the end-of-the-semester scramble is the creation of individual PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycles. A PDSA cycle is a process in which teachers and students work together to create a plan for improvement; implement, or do, the plan; study if the plan’s actions were successful; and act to create long-term improvement actions based on the results of the plan.

In PDSA cycles, teachers work with their students to create plans for success. These plans can be used either with a whole group or on an individual basis. Through working one-on-one with students this way, I’ve seen large gains in student achievement and agency.


A Student’s Perspective on Career and Interview Readiness — from gettingsmart.com by Tyler Robert and Todd Smith

Key Points

  • Sharing experiences in real-world learning is an asset when interviewing for early career opportunities.
  • Building confidence in not only being interviewed but also speaking about your skills in common language is a key part of creating effective pathways.

Asking Students What They Would Do If They Were The Teacher — from thebrokencopier.substack.com by Marcus Luther
one of my favorite practices we’ve normed in our classroom

Though it had been a bit since our previous check-in, the major drop in how students were doing overall was staggering—yet also very much tracked with the “vibe” of the classroom of late: students still feel pretty good about what we’re doing, but overall are exhausted and stressed, each in their own way but collectively as well.

My plan on Monday, then?

To share these results with the entire classroom followed by a simple question:

“If you were the teacher and you saw this feedback, what would you think and, more importantly, what would you do?”

And then I’ll listen to what they have to say.

Reflecting back on my own classroom over the years, though, too often the collecting of the feedback became a dead end as far as how students experienced this: they gave their results and then those results disappeared into the digital ether, in their eyes.


 

 

AI RESOURCES AND TEACHING (Kent State University) — from aiadvisoryboards.wordpress.com

AI Resources and Teaching | Kent State University offers valuable resources for educators interested in incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into their teaching practices. The university recognizes that the rapid emergence of AI tools presents both challenges and opportunities in higher education.

The AI Resources and Teaching page provides educators with information and guidance on various AI tools and their responsible use within and beyond the classroom. The page covers different areas of AI application, including language generation, visuals, videos, music, information extraction, quantitative analysis, and AI syllabus language examples.


A Cautionary AI Tale: Why IBM’s Dazzling Watson Supercomputer Made a Lousy Tutor — from the74million.org by Greg Toppo
With a new race underway to create the next teaching chatbot, IBM’s abandoned 5-year, $100M ed push offers lessons about AI’s promise and its limits.

For all its jaw-dropping power, Watson the computer overlord was a weak teacher. It couldn’t engage or motivate kids, inspire them to reach new heights or even keep them focused on the material — all qualities of the best mentors.

It’s a finding with some resonance to our current moment of AI-inspired doomscrolling about the future of humanity in a world of ascendant machines. “There are some things AI is actually very good for,” Nitta said, “but it’s not great as a replacement for humans.”

His five-year journey to essentially a dead-end could also prove instructive as ChatGPT and other programs like it fuel a renewed, multimillion-dollar experiment to, in essence, prove him wrong.

To be sure, AI can do sophisticated things such as generating quizzes from a class reading and editing student writing. But the idea that a machine or a chatbot can actually teach as a human can, he said, represents “a profound misunderstanding of what AI is actually capable of.” 

Nitta, who still holds deep respect for the Watson lab, admits, “We missed something important. At the heart of education, at the heart of any learning, is engagement. And that’s kind of the Holy Grail.”

From DSC:
This is why the vision that I’ve been tracking and working on has always said that HUMAN BEINGS will be necessary — they are key to realizing this vision. Along these lines, here’s a relevant quote:

Another crucial component of a new learning theory for the age of AI would be the cultivation of “blended intelligence.” This concept recognizes that the future of learning and work will involve the seamless integration of human and machine capabilities, and that learners must develop the skills and strategies needed to effectively collaborate with AI systems. Rather than viewing AI as a threat to human intelligence, a blended intelligence approach seeks to harness the complementary strengths of humans and machines, creating a symbiotic relationship that enhances the potential of both.

Per Alexander “Sasha” Sidorkin, Head of the National Institute on AI in Society at California State University Sacramento.

 

3 Steps for Creating Video Projects With Elementary Students — from edutopia.org by Bill Manchester
A straightforward plan for facilitating multimedia projects helps ensure collaborative learning and a fun classroom experience.

Having elementary students make their own videos instead of consuming content made by someone else sounds like a highly engaging educational experience. But if you’ve ever tried to get 25 third graders to use a video editing software platform that they’ve never seen before, it can get really frustrating really fast. It’s easy for the lesson to become entirely centered around how to use the software without any subject-area content learning.

Through years of trial and error with K–6 students, I’ve developed three guiding concepts for elementary video projects so that teachers and students have a good experience.


Supporting Students As They Work Independently — from by Marcus Luther and The Broken Copier
4 tools that have helped me improve “independent work time”


Movement-Based Games That Help Students With Spelling — from edutopia.org by Jocelyn Greene
Games that combine spelling with physical activity can make it easier for young students to learn new words.

Like actors, students are often tasked with memorization. Although education has evolved to incorporate project-based learning and guided play, there’s no getting around the necessity of knowing the multiplication tables, capital cities, and correct spelling.

The following are movement-based games that build students’ abilities to retain spelling words specifically. Ideally, these exercises support them academically as well as socially. Research shows that learning through play promotes listening, focus, empathy, and self-awareness—benefits that build students’ social and emotional learning skills.


Quizlet Survey Reveals Students Crave Life Skills Education — from prnewswire.com by Quizlet; via GSV

The survey’s key findings included:

  • Financial and life skills uncertainty: One-third of recent graduates don’t believe they have or are unsure they have the financial and core life skills needed to succeed in the world.
  • Appetite for non-academic courses: 68% of recent graduates think non-academically focused courses in formal education settings would better prepare students for the real world. This belief is especially strong among respondents that attended public schools and colleges (71%).
  • Automotive maintenance skills are stalled: More than any other skill, nearly one in five recent graduates say they are the least confident in handling automotive maintenance, such as changing a tire or their oil. This is followed by financial planning (17%), insurance (12%), minor home repairs (11%), cooking (11%), cleaning (8%) and organizing (8%).
  • Financial planning woes: A majority (79%) of recent graduates said financial planning overwhelms them the most – and of all the life skills highlighted in the survey, 29% of respondents said it negatively impacts their mental health.
  • Social media as a learning tool: Social media is helping fill the skills gap, with 33% of recent graduates turning to it for life skills knowledge.

From DSC:
Our son would agree with many of these findings. He would like to have learned things like how to do/file his taxes, learn more about healthcare insurance, and similar real-world/highly-applicable types of knowledge. Those involved with K12 curriculum decisions, please take a serious look at this feedback and make the necessary changes/additions.


How Can Educators Build Support Systems for Students Eyeing Technician Jobs? — from gettingsmart.com by Dr. Parminder Jassal

Key Points

  • Integrating technical skills into the high school curriculum can inspire and prepare students for diverse roles. This approach is key to fostering equity and inclusivity in the job market.
  • By forging partnerships with community colleges and technical schools, high schools can democratize access to education and ensure students from all backgrounds have equal opportunities for success in technical fields.
  • High schools can expand career possibilities by providing apprenticeships as viable and lucrative alternatives to traditional four-year degrees.
 

How to Make the Dream of Education Equity (or Most of It) a Reality — from nataliewexler.substack.com by Natalie Wexler
Studies on the effects of tutoring–by humans or computers–point to ways to improve regular classroom instruction.

One problem, of course, is that it’s prohibitively expensive to hire a tutor for every average or struggling student, or even one for every two or three of them. This was the two-sigma “problem” that Bloom alluded to in the title of his essay: how can the massive benefits of tutoring possibly be scaled up? Both Khan and Zuckerberg have argued that the answer is to have computers, maybe powered by artificial intelligence, serve as tutors instead of humans.

From DSC:
I’m hoping that AI-backed learning platforms WILL help many people of all ages and backgrounds. But I realize — and appreciate what Natalie is saying here as well — that human beings are needed in the learning process (especially at younger ages). 

But without the human element, that’s unlikely to be enough. Students are more likely to work hard to please a teacher than to please a computer.

Natalie goes on to talk about training all teachers in cognitive science — a solid idea for sure. That’s what I was trying to get at with this graphic:
.

We need to take more of the research from learning science and apply it in our learning spaces.

.
But I’m not as hopeful in all teachers getting trained in cognitive science…as it should have happened (in the Schools of Education and in the K12 learning ecosystem at large) by now. Perhaps it will happen, given enough time.

And with more homeschooling and blended programs of education occurring, that idea gets stretched even further. 

K-12 Hybrid Schooling Is in High Demand — from realcleareducation.com by Keri D. Ingraham (emphasis below from DSC); via GSV

Parents are looking for a different kind of education for their children. A 2024 poll of parents reveals that 72% are considering, 63% are searching for, and 44% have selected a new K-12 school option for their children over the past few years. So, what type of education are they seeking?

Additional polling data reveals that 49% of parents would prefer their child learn from home at least one day a week. While 10% want full-time homeschooling, the remaining 39% of parents desire their child to learn at home one to four days a week, with the remaining days attending school on-campus. Another parent poll released this month indicates that an astonishing 64% of parents indicated that if they were looking for a new school for their child, they would enroll him or her in a hybrid school.

 

12 Books for Instructional Designers to Read This Year — from theelearningcoach.com by Connie Malamed

Over the past year, many excellent and resourceful books have crossed my desk or Kindle. I’m rounding them up here so you can find a few to expand your horizons. The list below is in alphabetical order by title.

Each book is unique, yet as a collection, they reflect some common themes and trends in Learning and Development: a focus on empathy and emotion, adopting best practices from other fields, using data for greater impact, aligning projects with organizational goals, and developing consultative skills. The authors listed here are optimistic and forward-thinking—they believe change is possible. I hope you enjoy the books.

 

Guiding Students in Special Education to Generate Ideas for Writing — from edutopia.org by Erin Houghton
When students are stuck, breaking the brainstorming stage down into separate steps can help them get started writing.

Students who first generate ideas about a topic—access what they know about it—more easily write their outlines and drafts for the bigger-picture assignment. For Sally, brainstorming was too overwhelming as an initial step, so we started off by naming examples. I gave Sally a topic—name ways characters in Charlotte’s Web helped one another—she named examples of things (characters), and we generated a list of ways those characters helped one another.

IMPLEMENTING BRAINSTORMING AS SKILL BUILDING
This “naming” strategy is easy to implement with individual students or in groups. These are steps to get you started.

Step 1. Introduce the student to the exercise.
Step 2. Select a topic for practice.


[Opinion] It’s okay to play: How ‘play theory’ can revitalize U.S. education — from hechingerreport.org by Tyler Samstag
City planners are recognizing that play and learning are intertwined and turning public spaces into opportunities for active learning

When we’re young, playing and learning are inseparable.

Simple games like peekaboo and hide-and-seek help us learn crucial lessons about time, anticipation and cause and effect. We discover words, numbers, colors and sounds through toys, puzzles, storybooks and cartoons. Everywhere we turn, there’s something fun to do and something new to learn.

Then, somewhere around early elementary school, learning and play officially become separated for life.

Suddenly, learning becomes a task that only takes place in proper classrooms with the help of textbooks, homework and tests. Meanwhile, play becomes a distraction that we’re only allowed to indulge in during our free time, often by earning it as a reward for studying. As a result, students tend to grow up feeling as if learning is a stressful chore while playing is a reward.

Similar interactive learning experiences are popping up in urban areas from California to the East Coast, with equally promising results: art, games and music are being incorporated into green spaces, public parks, transportation stations, laundromats and more.


And on a somewhat related note, also see:


Though meant for higher ed, this is also applicable to the area of pedagogy within K12:

Space to fail. And learn — from educationalist.substack.com by Alexandra Mihai
I want to use today’s newsletter to talk about how we can help students to own their mistakes and really learn from them, so I’m sharing some thoughts, some learning design ideas and some resources…

10 ideas to make failure a learning opportunity

  • Start with yourself:
  • Admit when you don’t know something
  • Try to come up with “goal free problems”
  • Always dig deeper:
  • Encourage practice:
 

From DSC:
Given this need…

We need to take more of the research from learning science and apply it in our learning spaces.
…I’m highlighting the following resources:


How Learning Happens  — from edutopia.org
In this series, we explore how educators can guide all students, regardless of their developmental starting points, to become productive and engaged learners.

These techniques have resonated with educators everywhere: They are focused on taking advantage of the incredible opportunity to help children reach their full potential by creating positive relationships, experiences, and environments in which every student can thrive. In fact, the science is beginning to hint at even more dramatic outcomes. Practices explicitly designed to integrate social, emotional, and cognitive skills in the classroom, the research suggests, can reverse the damages wrought by childhood trauma and stress—while serving the needs of all students and moving them onto a positive developmental and academic path.


Also from edutopia.org recently, see:

How to Introduce Journaling to Young Children — from edutopia.org by Connie Morris
Students in preschool through second grade can benefit from drawing or writing to explore their thoughts and feelings.

The symbiotic relationship between reading and writing can help our youngest students grow their emergent literacy skills. The idea of teaching writing at an early age can seem daunting. However, meeting children where they are developmentally can make a journaling activity become a magical experience—and they don’t have to write words but can convey thoughts in pictures.

7 Digital Tools That Help Bring History to Life — from edutopia.org by Daniel Leonard
Challenging games, fun projects, and a healthy dose of AI tools round out our top picks for breathing new life into history lessons.

We’ve compiled a list of seven teacher-tested tools, and we lay out how educators are using them both to enhance their lessons and to bring history closer to the present than ever.

Integrating Technology Into Collaborative Professional Learning — from edutopia.org by Roxi Thompson
Incorporating digital collaboration into PD gives teachers a model to replicate when setting up tech activities for students.

 

This Teaching Routine Takes Just 5 Minutes. Its Impact Lasts Much Longer — from edweek.org by Elizabeth Heubeck

Second grade teacher Kaylee Hutcheson greets her students as they enter their classroom to start their day at Hawthorne Elementary School in Mexico, Mo., on Feb. 14, 2024.

 

Online Teaching Is Improving In-Person Instruction on Campus — from edsurge.com by Robert Ubell (Columnist)

In fact a slew of research over the past two decades has found that teaching online makes professors better teachers in their classrooms, so much so that one 2009 study recommended that “faculty should be trained in distance education methods and technologies and should be encouraged to use those methods back in the classroom.”

It’s a message I’ve been arguing for a while. But now that so many educators and students have had direct experience with online formats, it’s a narrative that seems to be sinking in.

Now is the time to fully embrace how physical classrooms can be improved by online techniques.

When professors teaching face-to-face adopt online pedagogy, the classroom is transformed into a “blended” experience, moving from conventional to active learning. And that helps students turn from passive to engaged participants in their own intellectual excursions.

 

Programs, Services, and More: A Map of CTL Tactics — from derekbruff.org

My colleagues and I at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) have been reading and discussing Mary C. Wright’s new book Centers for Teaching and Learning: The New Landscape in Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023). Wright identified all the centers for teaching and learning (CTLs) in the United States and then did a content analysis of their websites to see what they were all about. For someone like me, who has spent his career working in CTLs, Wright’s work is a fascinating look at my own field and how it represents itself through mission statements, listings of programs and services, and annual reports.

Also from Derek, see:

Recap: Study skills, flipped learning, and more at spring STEM teaching lunches — from umcetl.substack.com
With the final spring STEM teaching lunch coming up on March 4th, here’s a recap of what you missed at the first two lunches.

    • February 8th – Helping students learn how to learn
    • February 20th – Reconsidering class time through flipped learning
 
 

Syllabusters Are Outdated — from scholarlyteacher.com by Todd Zakrajsek

What does this all mean for the first day of class? Approach that first day with “learning-centered” in your mind. Focus on learning. Learning is all about curiosity and desire. Desire to know, to figure things out, to be surprised, all getting that dopamine flowing throughout the brain: That is what learning-centered is all about. An exam is best thought of as feedback, showing whether students are learning, not a date to cover on the first day and dread every class period in the meantime. An exam should never be the reason to learn, it should always be an indication of learning. Don’t spend your first 45 or 85 minutes focused solely on exams, term paper deadlines, and attendance policies. That moves teaching toward an artificial transactional arrangement where students learn in exchange for points and grades.

From DSC:
I would highly recommend starting out with a major HOOK. Some question, some video, some recording/piece of audio, etc. that would provoke interest, curiosity, or even some emotion. On that first day, the following item MUST be addressed if you expect to engage your students:

Why is this class/topic relevant?

Start with that. Immediately. The other stuff can be introduced later on, as Todd mentions.

 
 

Regional Colleges Saw Biggest Application Gains After Tuition Resets — from insidehighered.com by Kathryn Palmer
A new report compared post-reset application growth at nationally known and regional institutions. 

Dozens of colleges and universities have dropped their sticker prices for tuition over the past decade, even as research has shown that tuition resets have a nominal influence on long-term enrollment increases. But a report released this week shows that regional colleges were more likely than nationally known institutions to see increases in applications after a reset.

“Students are more focused now on return on investment than they used to be,” said Devon McGee, a principal at Kennedy & Company, the higher education consulting firm that produced the report. Compared to bigger-name colleges, “A lot of these regional institutions are great liberal arts–type institutions, but they are less associated—fairly or unfairly—with preparing students for a job.”


Why hybrid learning needs hybrid faculties — from timeshighereducation.com by An Jacobs & Norma Rossi
Online courses should be integrated into everyday faculty functions to improve remote and in-person classes as well as the overall student experience


 

Sparking online joy: five ways to keep students engaged — from timeshighereducation.com by Andrés Ordorica, Marcello Crolla, and Lizzy Garner-Foy
Five guiding principles to use when designing and developing content for short online courses that will keep students engaged

Keeping students engaged is a big challenge and one that’s key to making a short online course successful. With a diverse audience, a variety of learning preferences and a multitude of distractions in the online space, how can you create a course that successfully retains students’ attention? Here, we explore five guiding principles for designing an online course that is engaging and enjoyable.

By offering bitesize learning, embracing variety and interactivity, infusing meaning into content, fostering a learning community and adhering to the “less is more” principle, you can create a course that captivates your audience and cultivates a lasting love for learning. 


Speaking of pedagogical-related items, also see:

 
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