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.
 

Microsoft Education offers a free tutoring service to help students with their math problems — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

In today’s post I want to bring to your attention this interesting math resource from Microsoft Education called Tutoring Experts. As its name indicates, Tutoring Experts allows students to seek help with their math problems from tutors that are available 24/7.

Also see:

Get instant math help from expert tutors.

From DSC:
One wonders if there aren’t some opportunities here for more online-based tutoring services. Perhaps graduates from schools of education will move more towards this type of thing…

Perhaps the online-based materials in the future will have a question mark “?” icon that instantly connects to that service’s teachers, professors, trainers, pastors, and/or other SMEs. Or perhaps this type of thing is already there…I’m not sure.

 

Best Online Educational Games for High School Students — from edtechreview.in by Saniya Khan

Excerpt:

…the introduction of educational games to kids helps increase their motivation and engagement, enhance visual skills, improve students’ interaction and collaboration abilities with their peers, and apply gaming values in a real-world situation; most importantly, it improves learning.

Learning Apps For Kids To Explore in 2021 — from edtechreview.in by Priyanka Gupta

Excerpt:

Living in a digital era and in times when technology has kept education going, let’s look at some promising learning apps for kids to explore in 2021.

 

 

3 Main Changes to Help Fill College Classrooms — from fierceeducation.com by Alison Diana

Excerpt:

Reducing Tuition:
Southern New Hampshire University last month announced it will cut the cost of its Fall 2021 campus-based programs to $15,000 or $10,000 per year and use “an increased focus on experiential and project-based learning; a new and more transparent financial aid process, shifting from merit-based to need-based financial aid awards to level the playing field for all students.”

This marks more than a 50% reduction of its fees, according to SNHU. The university also plans to increase its on-site campus enrollment to 4,500 students from 3,000, although it did not say how or if it expects to adapt faculty or administrative staffing.

SNHU is not alone in addressing tuition to encourage people to attend their schools.

 

From DSC:
Videoconferencing vendors out there:

  • Have you done any focus group tests — especially within education — with audio-based or digital video-based versions of emoticons?
    .
  • So instead of clicking on an emoticon as feedback, one could also have some sound effects or movie clips to choose from as well!
    .

To the videoconferencing vendors out there -- could you give us what DJ's have access to?

I’m thinking here of things like DJ’s might have at their disposal. For example, someone tells a bad joke and you hear the drummer in the background:

Or a team loses the spelling-bee word, and hears:

Or a professor wants to get the classes attention as they start their 6pm class:

I realize this could backfire big time…so it would have to be an optional feature that a teacher, professor, trainer, pastor, or a presenter could turn on and off. (Could be fun for podcasters too!)

It seems to me that this could take
engagement to a whole new level!

 

College & Career Guide for Students with Disabilities — from study.com

College students with disabilities have rights that allow for specific accommodations to help them succeed in school. Learn about legal protections, scholarships, technologies, and other assistance available to students with disabilities.

 
 

Teaching: Giving Students Better Information Before They Sign Up for Class — from chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie

Excerpt:

A New Tool for Course Transparency
The days when students flipped through course catalogues to determine what they wanted to study are long over. So why do so many colleges continue to provide students only brief course descriptions on which to base their enrollment decisions? Couldn’t those descriptions be much more expansive online, including course-material costs, a syllabus, and even a professor’s statement of their teaching philosophy?

Why?
Particularly now, students require information about classes as they plan their upcoming semester to find the best fit for their learning. Course descriptions rarely provide all the information students seek around class structure, attendance, cost, and more. Completing this not only serves as a communication mechanism for prospective students, it may reduce the number of emails and drop/adds to your course. (source)

 

Best Headphones for Students in Remote Learning — from techlearning.com by Luke Edwards
Get the best headphones for students to hear and be heard in remote learning

Excerpts:

  • Sony WH-1000XM4: Best headphones overall for students
  • Plantronics BackBeat Go 810: Best affordable wireless headphones for students
 

From DSC:
For me the Socratic method is still a question mark, in terms of effectiveness. (I suppose it depends on who is yielding the tool and how it’s being utilized/implemented.)

But you have one student — often standing up and/or in the spotlight — who is being drilled on something. That student could be calm and collected, and their cognitive processing could actually get a boost from the adrenaline.

But there are other students who dread being called upon in such a public — sometimes competitive — setting. Their cognitive processing could shut down or become greatly diminished.

Also, the professor is working with one student at a time — hopefully the other students are trying to address each subsequent question, but some students may tune out once they know it’s not their turn in the spotlight.

So I was wondering…could the Socratic method be used with each student at the same time? Could a polling-like tool be used in real-time to guide the discussion?

For example, a professor could start out with a pre-created poll and ask the question of all students. Then they could glance through the responses and even scan for some keywords (using their voice to drive the system and/or using a Ctrl+F / Command+F type of thing).

Then in real-time / on-the-fly, could the professor use their voice to create another poll/question — again for each student to answer — based on one of the responses? Again, each student must answer the follow up question(s).

Are there any vendors out there working on something like this? Or have you tested the effectiveness of something like this?

Vendors: Can you help us create a voice-driven interface to offer the Socratic method to everyone to see if and how it would work? (Like a Mentimeter type of product on steroids…er, rather, using an AI-driven backend.)

Teachers, trainers, pastors, presenters could also benefit from something like this — as it could engage numerous people at once.

#Participation #Engagement #Assessment #Reasoning #CriticalThinking #CommunicationSkills #ThinkingOnOnesFeet #OnlineLearning #Face-to-Face #BlendedLearning #HybridLearning

Could such a method be used in language-related classes as well? In online-based tutoring?

 

Big Changes in the Federal Student-Aid System Are Coming. Here’s Why They Matter. — from chronicle.com by Eric Hoover

Excerpt:

After all, a recent NCAN analysis led the organization to conclude that fewer than half of community colleges and only a quarter of public four-year institutions are affordable for the average Pell Grant recipient.

That’s why the group plans to push for a doubling of the maximum award in the months ahead. “Fafsa simplification and getting more students to apply for aid is a first step,” Warick said, “but we know there are not enough affordable options out there for families considering higher ed. We need a broad investment in the Pell Grant program.”

Also see:

Their Stories Helped Lift a 26-Year Ban on Pell Grants for Prisoners — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan
A college education transformed former inmates’ lives. But some critics fear low-quality programs will rush in.

Excerpts:

“Every time we sat before elected officials, sharing expertise and stories about the transformative power of education, we lived a paradox,” Nixon wrote in a statement after the ban was lifted. “The power of our testimony came with the stigma of incarceration. Yet, chins held high, we claimed that we are worthy of educational opportunity. And many educators stood with us — keeping hope alive by providing college behind bars when Pell was not an option.”

Expanding such opportunities has enjoyed growing bipartisan support as a way to reduce recidivism, save taxpayers money, and mitigate the discriminatory effects of mass incarceration and unequal schooling. But some fear that inmates might end up exhausting Pell eligibility on poor-quality programs that are rolled out too quickly, without the wraparound supports and face-to-face contact they say incarcerated students especially need.

 

 

Could AI-based techs be used to develop a “table of contents” for the key points within lectures, lessons, training sessions, sermons, & podcasts? [Christian]

From DSC:
As we move into 2021, the blistering pace of emerging technologies will likely continue. Technologies such as:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) — including technologies related to voice recognition
  • Blockchain
  • Augment Reality (AR)/Mixed Reality (MR)/Virtual Reality (VR) and/or other forms of Extended Reality (XR)
  • Robotics
  • Machine-to-Machine Communications (M2M) / The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Drones
  • …and other things will likely make their way into how we do many things (for better or for worse).

Along the positive lines of this topic, I’ve been reflecting upon how we might be able to use AI in our learning experiences.

For example, when teaching in face-to-face-based classrooms — and when a lecture recording app like Panopto is being used — could teachers/professors/trainers audibly “insert” main points along the way? Similar to something like we do with Siri, Alexa, and other personal assistants (“Heh Siri, _____ or “Alexa, _____).

Like an audible version of HTML -- using the spoken word to insert the main points of a presentation or lecture

(Image purchased from iStockphoto)

.

Pretend a lecture, lesson, or a training session is moving right along. Then the professor, teacher, or trainer says:

  • “Heh Smart Classroom, Begin Main Point.”
  • Then speaks one of the main points.
  • Then says, “Heh Smart Classroom, End Main Point.”

Like a verbal version of an HTML tag.

After the recording is done, the AI could locate and call out those “main points” — and create a table of contents for that lecture, lesson, training session, or presentation.

(Alternatively, one could insert a chime/bell/some other sound that the AI scans through later to build the table of contents.)

In the digital realm — say when recording something via Zoom, Cisco Webex, Teams, or another application — the same thing could apply. 

Wouldn’t this be great for quickly scanning podcasts for the main points? Or for quickly scanning presentations and webinars for the main points?

Anyway, interesting times lie ahead!

 

 

My Favorite Wonder Tools of 2020 — from wondertools.substack.com by Jeremy Caplan

Excerpts:

Here are a few things I loved in 2020:

Math Tango
If you have a little one, this app is a grand slam. Recommended by her teacher, Math Tango was a surprise favorite for my younger daughter, who started kindergarten this fall. She rarely used a screen until remote school began. She loves the app’s creative puzzles and she’s enjoyed learning lots of basic math. It’s $8/month or $50/year, for ages 5-10.

Seek
Point the app at a plant, flower, bug or animal and it magically identifies it. Depending on how close you are, how much light there is, and how good your phone’s camera is, results vary, but I was impressed.

Use the power of image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you.

 

Interleaving: How Mixed Practice Can Boost Learning— from effectiviology.com

Excerpt:

Interleaving is a learning technique that involves mixing together different topics or forms of practice, in order to facilitate learning. For example, if a student uses interleaving while preparing for an exam, they can mix up different types of questions, rather than study only one type of question at a time.

Interleaving, which is sometimes referred to as mixed practice or varied practice, is contrasted with blocked practice (sometimes referred to as specific practice), which involves focusing on only a single topic or form of practice at a time.

Also see:

 Also see:

Excerpts:

Interleaving boosts learning by mixing up closely related topics, encouraging discrimination between similarities and differences. (Agarwal & Bain, p. 14)

It’s “re-arranging the order of retrieval opportunities during spacing without changing the content to be learned.”  It’s mixing up concepts. (Agarwal & Bain, pgs. 106-107).

Consider this basic example of practice problems in any math course:

Problem Set 1: AAAA BBBB CCCC DDDD [i.e., blocked practice]
Problem Set 2: ABCD BCAD DBAC CBDA [i.e., interleaved practice]

Both have the same practice problems, but they’ve been re-arranged. If letters represented addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, the students need to be able to choose and retrieve the appropriate strategy — vs. plug-and-chug without thinking about which strategy to use.

Also see:
retrievalpractice.org/interleaving

 

 
 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian