From DSC:
Below are but some of the changes to the learning ecosystems out there. Certainly, more are coming.


Ex-Google employees form virtual tech ‘school’ for gap year students amid college closures — from cnbc.com by Jennifer Elias

KEY POINTS
  • Current and former Google employees are forming an online program aimed at preparing students for the workforce if they’re taking time off school due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It comes as many college students defer school as universities shift learning models to mostly online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Google execs past and present have volunteered to mentor college students on topics ranging from career trajectory to how to stand out in virtual Zoom interviews.

Along these lines, see:

  • Google has a plan to disrupt the college degree — from inc.com by Justin Bariso
    Google’s new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college.
    Excerpt:
    Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It’s launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.

From DSC:
Also, to see some more changes to the learning ecosystems out there, set up a Google Alert (or something similar in Feedly or via another tool) for “Learning Pods,” “Pandemic Pods,” and/or the “growth of homeschooling.” Here’s but one recent example:

Zoo Knoxville to start virtual learning pods for students

 


 

Check out the Academic Warriers website

About Academic Warriors:

Life can be very hard for autistic, gifted and special needs learners.  Autistic and gifted learners often times struggle in school because they learn very differently than their peers. These special learners need a personalized approach to their education that allows them to learn in their own way at their own pace.

Many times parents and students feel as if they are the only ones like them in the world. This can often times lead to isolation and frustration. It is important for all autistic, gifted and special needs to unite in order to support one another. We are named Academic Warriors because all our students are superheroes in a world that doesn’t always understand and/or appreciate them. We help our students to become strong, independent and positive learners despite what the world may think of them.

It is the mission of Academic Warriors to help create positive learning experiences and communities throughout the United States for autistic, gifted and special needs learners. We offer online courses, programs, private school and in person events that foster an unique learning environment that promotes unity among all our students and families. We strive to create online and in person learning communities in every state that will provide educational opportunities for all families of autistic, gifted and special needs students. Together we can create a better world for the autistic, gifted and special needs learner.

 


From DSC:
As part of a homeschooling-based situation, my wife received the following item for one of our daughters (who needs additional/personalized assistance to learn). Simultaneously, she and our daughter sent them a Michigan Exchange Box. Very cool.

My wife and one of our daughters received this set of things from a homeschooler in Mississippi! Very cool!

I believe my wife found this out at the following group in Facebook:

 


Some channels out on Youtube that have to do with learning:
(and by the way, according to Jane Hart’s recent Top 200 Tools for Learning, YouTube is in the #1 spot for the 5th year in a row!)

Snake Discovery -- videos out on YouTube

Bondi Vet - videos on YouTube

 


 

From the Off-Trail Learning website, here are some self-directed learning centers

 


The Barn for Equine Learning

“Horse Sense Tutoring Services is a unique resource that combines the power of Equine Assisted Learning with evidence-based reading and math strategies that engage the mind, body, and emotions in learning.  We use the principles of discovery, experience, movement, reflection, and connection in partnership with our horse friends.

Based at The Barn for Equine Learning…my program offers targeted reading, math, and basic horsemanship tutoring for students in grades K – 8. Horses become teaching and learning partners as students experience academics and social-emotional learning in a whole new way.

If you are looking for a unique tutoring and confidence-building experience for your child, PM for more information.  Sessions are held outdoors and/or in an open barn setting.

(Small group field trips with an introduction to basic horsemanship skills are also available).

 


From DSC:
So these are just a few examples of how the learning ecosystems are changing out there! Surely, there will be more changes coming down the pike.


 

 

Google achieves first quantum simulation of a chemical reaction — from interestingengineering.com by Loukia Papadopoulos

Excerpt:

Now, researchers at Google have taken a step forward in quantum computing practicality by using one such computer to simulate a chemical reaction, albeit a simple one, reported New Scientist. The company used its Sycamore computer to achieve this lofty task.

Also see:

This Taiwanese Lecturer Draws Stunning Anatomical Drawings on the Chalkboard — from interestingengineering.com by Utku Kucukduner
His paintings are temporary, just like the mortal flesh we bear.

This Taiwanese Lecturer Draws Stunning Anatomical Drawings on the Chalkboard

 

Information re: virtual labs from the Online Learning Consortium


 7 Things You Should Know About Virtual Labs — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

Virtual labs are interactive, digital simulations of activities that typically take place in physical laboratory settings. Virtual labs simulate the tools, equipment, tests, and procedures used in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, biology, and other disciplines. Virtual labs allow students to participate in lab-based learning exercises without the costs and limitations of a physical lab. Virtual labs can be an important element in institutional efforts to expand access to lab-based courses to more and different groups of students, as well as efforts to establish contingency plans for natural disasters or other interruptions of campus activities.

 


Addendum on 8/27/20:

 

Using the TV as a key tool in our learning ecosystems

From DSC:

  • If one doesn’t have access to the Internet, a computer, or any such mobile technology as seen in the image above…could TV become the medium through which one could be educated during this next year of the Coronavirus situation? That is, until we can develop better and more equitable policies, plans, funding, systems, infrastructures, and connectivity for all students!
  • After that, could we see more televisions morph into smart/connected TVs?
  • Could PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and other major networks collaborate with the U.S. Department of Education to help us educate all students? 
  • Could the largest internet company of 2030 be an online school as Thomas Frey predicts?

A few years ago, I had hoped that Apple was going to go all-in with their tvOS platform.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 9: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the New Apple TV during a Special Event; 9/9/15.

 

Though it’s still early in the game, that really hasn’t happened to the extent that I had hoped. That said, more recently, I was encouraged to see this article from back in July:

LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND LOUISIANA PUBLIC BROADCASTING TO TELEVISE HIGH-QUALITY MATH INSTRUCTION THIS SUMMER

 



 

Let’s ask the employees of PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and other networks if they would be willing to work with the U.S. Department of Education to help educate ALL students! Though educational TV is not new, I’m talking about taking things to a *whole* new level.

With that in mind, I created the following graphic:

Let's use television to minimize the learning gaps that will otherwise be experienced by many students this next year!

(One might ask why I used an old television in the above graphic. I was trying to get at the idea that one might not have a lot of resources to work with.)

 

DSC: There are likely several things a physics professor/teacher could do with this!

 

Science apps for high school students — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Below is a collection of some good educational science apps curated  specifically for high school students. This work is based on Biology Apps collection in iTunes App Store. The apps are arranged into four main categories: Applying Life Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology, Cell and Genetics, and Plants and Animals.

 

35+ initiatives to get more women into cybersecurity — from comparitech.com by Andra Zaharia; with thanks to Karen Reinhart for this resource
With a gender imbalance in the cybersecurity field, there are lots of initiatives that aim to get women more involved. We discuss the cybersecurity gender gap and reveal more than 35 initiatives that are helping to close it.

Excerpts:

Aside from that, there are other benefits to gender-balanced infosec teams including:

  1. Helping to bring different perspectives to the table
  2. Changing the status quo to improve internal and external perceptions
  3. Providing learning and growth opportunities

challenges vs solutions for women in cybersecurity

While the gender divide in cybersecurity is clear, thankfully many women (and men) in the industry recognize the issue and are taking steps to close the gap. From the US to Ukraine, a plethora of initiatives across the globe help to attract girls and women to careers in cybersecurity and assist those already in the field.

Below is a list of some of the best initiatives I’ve discovered, including information about who each initiative serves and how to get involved. You’ll also find advice from representatives of some of the organizations aimed at helping women who are starting out in their cybersecurity careers.

 

Why education is a ‘wicked problem’ for learning engineers to solve — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

So, back to the wicked problem: How do we make education that’s both quality education and at the same time accessible and affordable?

“Now, we are building a new technology that we call Agent Smith. It’s another AI technology— and we’re very excited about it—that builds [a] Jill Watson for you. And Agent Smith can build a Jill Watson for you in less than 10 percent of the hours.”

So one question for online education is, can we build a new set of tools—and I think that’s where AI is going to go, that learning engineering is going to go—where AI is not helping individual humans as much as AI is helping human-human interaction.

Huge ethical issues and something that learning engineering has not yet started focusing on in a serious manner. We are still in a phase of, “Look ma, no hands, I can ride a bike without hands.”

Technology should not be left to technologists.

Learning from the living class room

 

From DSC:
On one hand:

Next-gen supercomputers are fast-tracking treatments for the coronavirus in a race against time  — from cnbc.com by Charlie Wood

Key points:

  • Scientists are using IBM’s Summit, the world’s fastest supercomputer, to help find promising candidate drugs to fight the coronavirus epidemic.
  • Using the computer’s muscle, researchers digitally simulated how 8,000 different molecules would interact with the virus.
  • The project was able to identify 77 candidate molecules that other researchers can now test in trials.
  • Supercomputing is also being used to tackle other major global issues, such as climate change.

On the other hand:

AI could help with the next pandemic—but not with this one — from technologyreview.comby Will Douglas Heaven
Some things need to change if we want AI to be useful next time, and you might not like them.

“The hype outstrips the reality. In fact, the narrative that has appeared in many news reports & breathless press releases—that AI is a powerful new weapon against diseases—is only partly true & risks becoming counterproductive.”

 

 

Future Today Institute's 2020 tech trends report

Key takeaways of this report:

  • Welcome to the Synthetic Decade.
  • You’ll soon have augmented hearing and sight.
  • A.I.-as-a-Service and Data-as-a-Service will reshape business.
  • China has created a new world order.
  • Home and office automation is nearing the mainstream.
  • Everyone alive today is being scored.
  • We’ve traded FOMO for abject fear.
  • It’s the end of forgetting.
  • Our new trust economy is being formed.

 

My wife sent me this video from John Bennett, a math teacher. This was posted to YouTube back on 11/8/11.

In fact, if it were up to me, I’d would no longer require math to be taught…in middle school and high school.

NOTES:

  • 300 million people in the U.S. (as John mentioned back in October 2011)
    • 1.5 million engineers
    • 1/2 of a percent; and you can add another 1/2 of a percent for other kinds of jobs that require that kind of math
    • That leaves 99% of us in the United States who don’t use what we learned about in middle school and high school math classes. But the problem is, math has caused major stress for people in the last 40 years.
  • John Bennett had some major cognitive dissonance to the reasons WHY he was suggesting his students know the math concepts that he was trying to relay.
  • He came to ask, “When do most of us use math in real life?”
    • Money. Financial stuff. Balancing checkbook. Tipping. Cooking and carpentry.
  • Why are we still teaching algebra? Because it teaches us about inductive and deductive reasoning. Math helps us develop that kind of reasoning.
  • So a better plan would be to:
    • Let people who want to take math in middle school and high school take it.
    • For the rest of the students, provide strategy games and logic puzzles that help develop those cognitive reasoning skills.

From DSC:
When this math teacher meets people out in society, people confess how much stress math brought to them in school….and they’re aren’t joking.

Given that we are all required to be lifelong learners these days, I love what John Bennett is saying here…because we really aren’t serving society at large by requiring math be taught in middle school and high school.

  • It causes stress and very negative learning experiences for many people.
  • We don’t use it. (By the way, I could plug and chug ok, but I had no idea what I was doing. No real understanding. I haven’t used algebra and/or calculus since my youth.)

What does it take to change our curricula like that?! Is it possible? I sure hope so.

 
 
 

Below are some thoughts from Michal Borkowski, CEO and Co-Founder of Brainly, regarding some emerging edtech-related trends for 2020.

2020 is coming at us fast, and it’s bringing a haul of exciting EdTech trends along with it. A new decade means new learning opportunities created to cater to the individual rather than a collective hive. There are more than one or two ways of learning — by not embracing all of the ways to teach, we risk leaving students behind in subjects they may need extra help in.

Michal Borkowski, CEO and Co-Founder of Brainly– the world’s largest online learning platform with 150 million monthly users in 35 countries– has his finger on the pulse of global education trends. He was selected to speak at Disrupt Berlin, the world’s leading authority in debuting revolutionary startups and technologies, this year and has some insightful predictions on the emerging trends 2020 will bring in EdTech.

  1. Customized learning via AI
    AI systems with customizable settings will allow students to learn based on their personal strengths and weaknesses. This stylized learning takes into account that not every student absorbs information in the same way. In turn, it helps teachers understand what each individual student needs, spend more time teaching new material, and receive higher classroom results.
  2. Responsible technological integration
    Students today are more fluent in technology than older generations. Integrating tech through digital resources, textbooks, game-style lessons, and interactive learning are efficient ways to captivate students and teach them responsible usage of technology.
  3. Expansive peer-to-peer learning
    Allowing students access to a platform where they can view different student’s educational interpretations, and one specific perspective may help information click, is invaluable. These learning platforms break down barriers, encourage active learning anywhere, and cultivate a sense of community between students all over the world.
  4. From STEM to STEAM
    Science, technology, engineering, and math curriculums have been the major educational focus of the decade, but 2020 will see more integration of classical liberal arts into educational modules, turning STEM into STEAM. Incorporating the arts into a tech-based curriculum enables students to create important connections to the world and allows them to have a well-rounded education.
  5. Options in learning environments
    Who says learning has to take place in a classroom? Advancements in EdTech has provided new and exciting avenues where educators can experiment. Grade and high school level teachers are experimenting with webinars, online tutorials, and other forms of tech-based instruction to connect to students in environments where they are more inclined to learn.

2020 is the year that education forms itself around each student’s individual needs rather than leaving kids behind who don’t benefit from traditional instruction.

 

The following information is from Rebecca West, Founder and CEO, Helium Communications

Make School is working to level the playing field for underrepresented groups in tech.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, scarcity of technology talent is an acute point of pain for many organizations. The SF Bay Area has experienced a remarkable 90% growth in tech employment and a 36.5% expansion in STEM jobs in the past decade. California’s tech workforce grew by more than 51,500 jobs in 2018, with well over half of them in the Bay Area. In the current business climate, the biggest barrier to growth for many organizations is their inability to find qualified job candidates, particularly in technical fields such as coding and computer science.

Ironically, many students graduating from US colleges and universities are still having trouble finding work because they don’t possess the skills required in the actual workplace.  According to the most recent Global Information Workforce Study, the skills gap is only going to become more pronounced in coming years, with as many as 1.8 million IT jobs that could be left unfilled by 2022, a 20 percent bump from what the same study revealed two years earlier.

Make School is a college in San Francisco that’s working to level the playing field for underrepresented groups in tech. Make School is changing the higher education landscape with a unique model of deferred tuition that makes it possible for computer science students to gain the skills they need in order to find employment in the technology market without saddling themselves with huge amounts of debt.

Make School serves high school students entering college and transfer students (either from community colleges or from other four-year institutions). Accessibility to diverse populations is a key component of their offering. Make School offers a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Computer Science, teaching students to design, program, and launch software products while providing a foundation of liberal arts to ensure a lasting career. Students who graduate from Make School do not pay tuition until they have secured employment and are earning an annual salary of at least $60K.

With four years of positive student outcomes comparable to schools like Stanford and MIT, Make School has demonstrated the success of its model. Alumni currently work at companies including Facebook, Google, Apple, Zendesk, Y Combinator startups, and other leading technology innovators.

Fall and Spring semester tuition is $15,000. Summer semester tuition is $10,000. Total tuition for the bachelor’s program is $70,000.

 

From DSC:
I’d like to see the tuition come down for this school — especially as they are marketing themselves as a school that aims to help underrepresented groups in tech. Perhaps they’ll need to develop some satellite branches/campuses outside the San Francisco area in order to make that tuition reduction happen. As it stands, this is not much of a discount. That said, I do appreciate that they are trying to address the gorillas of debt on our graduates’ backs. Plus they are pursuing new business models, alternatives to the status quo, and are making efforts to address some of the numerous gaps in our society.

 

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