Methods and tools to develop future-ready skills — from blog.neolms.com by Rachelle Dene Poth

Excerpt:

Because of the changes that we experienced in the past year, I believe that it is important to have various options, whether teaching in-person, hybrid, or virtually. Choosing methods like Genius hour or project-based learning, activities such as scavenger hunts or learning stations, or selecting digital tools that promote more interaction with and between students will help foster the development of essential future-ready and SEL skills.

There are many methods and tools to explore, but it’s important to focus on the why behind the choices we make for our students. The use of digital tools promotes collaboration, communication, creativity and many more essential skills while also promoting the power of choice for students to share what they have learned.

More choice. More control.

Also see:

Escape rooms have become very popular as a place teams can go to work out how to get free from the room in which they are “trapped.” It’s like a real-world version of a computer game that makes you work together to solve puzzles to escape from somewhere.

Breakout EDU helps to bring that experience to educators so as to better engage students and help them learn while having fun.

 

Why the Science of Teaching Is Often Ignored — from chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie
There’s a whole literature on what works. But it’s not making its way into the classroom.

Excerpts:

Yet, teaching reformers argue, the dangers of ignoring the expanding body of knowledge about teaching and learning are ever more apparent. Traditional teaching may have sufficed when college campuses were more ivory tower than lifeboat, educating future generations of scholars and other elites rather than trying to lift up a diverse group of students and prepare them for an increasingly complex world.

Studies have also shown that faculty members are more likely to try evidence-based teaching practices if they feel they have supportive colleagues and departments. Faculty learning communities can be particularly helpful, teaching experts say, because instructors meet regularly over a series of months to tackle complex challenges, often by exploring the research and experimenting with small changes to their teaching.

Reforming teaching evaluations so that they reflect the hard work of reading and reflecting on teaching scholarship is also a critical lever for change.

 
 

A Crusade to End Grading in High Schools — from washingtonpost.com by Thomas Toch and Alina Tugend; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
One educator is leading an effort to evaluate students differently. Can it catch on?

Excerpt:

He envisioned schools where students learned math, history and science not as isolated subjects in classroom-bound courses but while working together to address real-world issues like soil conservation, homelessness and illegal immigration. Such learning would make schooling more meaningful for students and thus more engaging, Looney believed. It would let students demonstrate more talents to colleges, holding out the prospect of a wider, more diverse range of students entering higher education’s top ranks.

The existing high school transcript, however, with its simple summary of courses and grades, wouldn’t do justice to the interdisciplinary, project-based learning he wanted. It wouldn’t capture students’ creativity, persistence and other qualities. Looney needed a radically different way to portray students’ high school experiences, one that replaced grades with a richer picture. But he didn’t know what it was.

Today, 275 private high schools and 125 public schools are part of the nonprofit Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC). They are in various stages of designing and launching the transcript — and working to make Looney’s radical vision a reality. Started in 2017, the organization is expanding rapidly.

 

HOW SCHOOLS ARE REWRITING THE RULES ON CLASS TIME FOR STUDENTS—AND EVEN DITCHING GRADE LEVELS — from wsj.com by Yoree Koh
Educators are testing competency-based education, a form of personalized learning that emphasizes mastery of skills over hours spent in a classroom

 

 

Transforming the classroom with augmented learning — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Forbes documented the many ways that augmented reality (AR) has come to life in recent years. They list several award-winning apps that use AR. A few are:

  • The “Gatwick Airport Passenger” App, which helps passengers navigate the airport;
  • The “Dulux Visualizer” App, which  lets you virtually scan and paint your room any color you choose;
  • “Envisioned by the Mine” App, which lets you put 3D images of any type of accessory or furnishing in your home that Lowe’s offers;
  • “Sephora Virtual Artist”, which allows you to “put makeup on” without actually touching brush to face;
  • “Accuvein”, which doctors and nurses use to scan a patient’s vein network (it reduces escalations by 45%);
  • And, of course, there are apps like the “BIC DrawyBook App” just for fun.

But what about the classroom? Can we see a future in transforming the classroom with augmented learning?

From DSC:
Along the lines of developing creativity with edtech…

I saw another item recently about Book Creator, something that’s made this blog before. I love that type of tool because it promotes creativity, unleashes a student’s imagination, promotes their artwork and writing/storytelling and their musical or acting abilities, and it develops skills in design and developing multimedia-based artifacts. For teachers, it could be a nice project-based learning exercise. 

I asked our youngest daughter if she would like to use it…we’ll see. You can get a free account that allows you to publish up to 40 books. (Plus there is pricing for schools and districts.)

And who knows…? This type of thing might just produce the next J.K. Rowling or a J.J. Abrams.

Book Creator -- check it out

Book Creator -- check it out

Book Creator -- check it out

 

Today’s Tech Jobs: Skills More Important Than Knowledge — from rtinsights.com by Kwame Yangame; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
New tech jobs require workers skilled in the use of technologies and able to handle the complexities and interconnectedness of today’s world.

What then is needed in terms of tech education?
The tech education that is needed, then, is formed on the basis of active learning, project-based learning, and learning by doing: science and researched-backed learning methods, the efficacy of which has been proven, and the result of which is true preparation for work in tech jobs in the 21st century. It’s clear that companies want skills and are moving towards skills-based hiring, so it’s well past time that education moves into real skills-based learning.

The classroom-type learning was designed for high schools and universities dating back to a point in time when the most advanced technology was the printing press – before the steam engine, penicillin, the telephone, the automobile, and the personal computer.


From DSC:
I remember teaching a class called the Foundations of Information Technology. This class filled a requirement for those who didn’t major in Computer Science or some other disciplines. So several students in the class didn’t really want to be there and didn’t like technology at all. I still remember hearing some students say, “After this class, I don’t see using technology again.” Or, “I don’t see technology as being a part of my future. I don’t like it.”

My thought then and now? Good luck with that.


With a thanks to Ryan for the following resource as well:

By bridging the gap between what high schools teach and industries need, P-TECH, initially a partnership among IBM, the New York City school system and City Tech, has opened doors for thousands of students in communities with high concentrations of poverty. Its 266 schools now operate in 12 U.S. states and 28 countries…

 

What is Book Creator and How Can Educators Use It? — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang

 Excerpt:

Book Creator is a free tool that allows educators and their students to create multimedia ebooks based off of class assignments and topics.

Available on Apple and Android tablets and phones, and on Google Chrome for desktop use, Book Creator is a digital resource that helps students explore their creative sides while learning.

The tool lends itself well to active learning and collaborative projects of all kinds, and is appropriate for various subjects and age groups.

Book Creator gives students the ability to upload images, vidoes, audio, and more within the ebooks they create. It also empowers them to draw, take notes, and collaborate in real-time with their classmates and instructor.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Book Creator.

Also see the Book Creator’s website:

Clicking here will take you to the Book Creator website, where they are offering SEL template books that you can use today.

Addendum on 5/21/21:

  • Sketch, draw, and doodle — apps to unleash students’ creativity — from educatorstechnology.com
    How about using arts-based approaches to engage students in meaningful learning experiences? Drawing, sketching, doodling, and painting are three expressive forms of art with huge educational potential that students can use to unleash their creativity. They can be applied in writing, reading, speaking, and in storytelling activities. Finished products can also be included in students’ portfolios to document and showcase their learning. To this end, the selection below features some good apps students can use in this regard. Check them out and share with us your feedback.

Addendums on 5/24/21:

As with all of Book Creator we have made the image search fully accessible to screen readers and keyboard navigation. But we thought we could go a bit further with the image search and make it accessible to younger kids or ELL students who aren’t super confident with their spelling by introducing a voice search.

Addendum on 6/7/21:

  • A rubric for Book Creator — from bookcreator.com
    Sam Kary talks about helping his students elevate their work by introducing a rubric for their digital book projects, helping them focus on design and multimedia.
 

Equipping Youth to Change the World — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpt:

Through self-directed learning and impact projects, participants build stronger mindsets, develop real-world skills, learn to code, and expand their social capital. TKS’ teachers hail from leading companies in every sector.

The TKS team works with big companies to see what problems they are facing. This creates a bank of problems students can choose to work on. “[TKS] is as much about problem finding as it is about problem-solving,” says Navid.

 

 


Along the lines of technologies’ potential impact on the legal realm — especially Access to Justice (#A2J), see:


Meet the 27 startups pioneering the Justice Tech market — medium.com by Felicity Conrad

Starting with coining the umbrella term “Justice Tech,” we’re developing a common language, a community of folks working in the space, and formalizing the newly-minted Justice Tech market.

Texas Bar and Paladin Partner to Launch Statewide Pro Bono Portal — from lawsitesblog.com by

Excerpt:

A free online portal launched today in Texas is designed to help lawyers find volunteer opportunities and assist residents of the state find help with their legal needs.

The new portal, Pro Bono Texas, was launched as a partnership between The State Bar of Texas and the justice tech company Paladin. The portal provides volunteer lawyers and law students with a centralized location to search and sign up for pro bono opportunities across the state.

 

Don’t force square-peg students back into wrong-shaped holes — from crpe.org by Robin Lake Paul Hill

But what gets lost in the reopening debate is the growing evidence that a significant portion of students and their families are actually happier and learn better outside of traditional schooling.

Excerpt:

Some of the “square-peg” children are the most creative and bright students in their class, but had struggled academically or socially in the traditional classroom. According to informal surveys of parents and teachers, new approaches to learning are benefiting:

  • Students with special needs, like ADHD or autism, who focus better on learning without disruptions from other kids, and who—when learning from home—can take breaks and calm themselves when needed, not just when the classroom schedule permits.
  • Students who didn’t speak up or ask questions in regular classrooms for fear of being mocked, but are now able to send private questions to teachers or make written contributions.
  • Socially-awkward or otherwise different kids who experienced bullying.
  • Kids who best learn from small-group instruction.
  • Students who have mastered all the regular class material and are motivated to learn advanced materials and explore on their own.
  • Students who learn best by hearing about a new idea and then quickly practicing or applying it on their own.

From DSC:
One of our daughters needs a team of people around her to help her learn and grow. The one-size-fits-all, the-train-stops-for-no-one type of educational system that she often encountered did not work well for her.

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

Homeschooling has seen her grow a lot more. She even has her own blog now — and she’s excited about it! She loves reading and writing — and she’s very creative (albeit her writing gets pretty dark at times. But come to think of it…my second-grade teacher thought that my friend Andrew’s and my 38-page book with vampires, witches, and werewolves was pretty morbid too!)

 

 

2020 ties for hottest year on record, says NASA and NOAA — from bigthink.com by Kevin Dickinson
In a joint briefing at the 101st American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, NASA and NOAA revealed 2020’s scorching climate data.

Excerpts:

  • 2020 is tied with 2016 for being globally the hottest year on record.
  • The year’s hotspot included the Arctic, which is warming at three times the global mean.
  • The United States endured a record-breaking year for billion-dollar natural disasters.
 
 

Saving — and Enhancing — Music Education With Online Learning — from edcircuit.com by D. Travis Washington

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

I teach Choir and lead the Young Vocal Scholars Program, and before COVID arrived, we were excited to move forward on the culmination of learning through live performances. With school closure, all that changed, and we were forced to adapt to virtual learning. Through the initial transition, we discovered that online learning options such as Soundtrap could not only extend projects we were currently working on but expand music learning to previously unimaginable heights.

When Covid hit and we couldn’t continue with the traditional choir program, my school looked for remote solutions. Soundtrap was exactly what we needed. We began conducting Young Vocal Scholars choir sessions remotely through Soundtrap and filled our extra Soundtrap seats with students from the District 8 Choir who weren’t being served music at all — doing similar projects that we had been creating previously in my classes. It was incredible to suddenly recognize that there were far more students interested in music who could connect via their laptops and tablets at home.

Also see:

Soundtrap for Education empowers students and teachers to explore creative sound recording in all subjects, for all ages and ability levels.

Soundtrap revolutionized my classroom in a virtual setting. Students became more engaged than ever before. My “4-star artists,” as I refer to my highly motivated students, kept making songs. I recall one of them saying to me, “Music class was cool because we sang together, but Soundtrap is cooler because it allows us to make projects together and they sound good.” 

 

Many students complain that online-based learning doesn’t engage them. Well, check this idea out! [Christian]


From DSC…by the way, another title for this blog could have been:

WIN-WIN situations all around! The Theatre Departments out there could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging, digitally-based learning experiences! 


The future of drama and the theatre — as well as opera, symphonies, and more — will likely include a significant virtual/digital component to them. While it’s too early to say that theatre needs to completely reinvent itself and move “the stage” completely online, below is an idea that creates a variety of WIN-WIN situations for actors, actresses, stage designers, digital audio/video editors, fine artists, graphic designers, programmers, writers, journalists, web designers, and many others as well — including the relevant faculty members!

A new world of creative, engaging, active learning could open up if those involved with the Theatre Department could work collaboratively with students/faculty members from other disciplines. And in the end, the learning experiences and content developed would be highly engaging — and perhaps even profitable for the institutions themselves!

A WIN-WIN situation all around! The Theatre Department could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging learning experiences!

[DC: I only slightly edited the above image from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Though the integration of acting with online-based learning materials is not a new idea, this post encourages a far more significant interdisciplinary collaboration between the Theatre Department and other departments/disciplines.

Consider a “Dealing with Bias in Journalism” type of topic, per a class in the Digital Media and Journalism Major.

  • Students from the Theatre Department work collaboratively with the students from the most appropriate class(es?) from the Communications Department to write the script, as per the faculty members’ 30,000-foot instructions (not 1000-foot level/detailed instructions)
  • Writing the script would entail skills involved with research, collaboration, persuasion, creativity, communication, writing, and more
  • The Theatre students would ultimately act out the script — backed up by those learning about sound design, stage design, lighting design, costume design, etc.
  • Example scene: A woman is sitting around the kitchen table, eating breakfast and reading a posting — aloud — from a website that includes some serious bias in it that offends the reader. She threatens to cancel her subscription, contact the editor, and more. She calls out to her partner why she’s so mad about the article. 
  • Perhaps there could be two or more before/after scenes, given some changes in the way the article was written.
  • Once the scenes were shot, the digital video editors, programmers, web designers, and more could take that material and work with the faculty members to integrate those materials into an engaging, interactive, branching type of learning experience. 
  • From there, the finished product would be deployed by the relevant faculty members.

Scenes from WMU's Theatre Department

[DC: Above images from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Colleges and universities could share content with each other and/or charge others for their products/content/learning experiences. In the future, I could easily see a marketplace for buying and selling such engaging content. This could create a needed new source of revenue — especially given that those large auditoriums and theaters are likely not bringing in as much revenue as they typically do. 

Colleges and universities could also try to reach out to local acting groups to get them involved and continue to create feeders into the world of work.

Other tags/categories could include:

  • MOOCs
  • Learning from the Living[Class]Room
  • Multimedia / digital literacy — tools from Adobe, Apple, and others.
  • Passions, participation, engagement, attention.
  • XR: Creating immersive, Virtual Reality (VR)-based experiences
  • Learning Experience Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Interface Design
  • …and more

Also see:

What improv taught me about failure: As a teacher and academic — from scholarlyteacher.com by Katharine Hubbard

what improv taught me about failure -as a teacher and academic

In improv, the only way to “fail” is to overthink and not have fun, which reframed what failure was on a grand scale and made me start looking at academia through the same lens. What I learned about failure through improv comes back to those same two core concepts: have fun and stop overthinking.

Students are more engaged when the professor is having fun with the materials (Keller, Hoy, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2016), and teaching is more enjoyable when we are having fun ourselves.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian