From DSC:
I have been trying to blog more about learning how to learn — and to provide some more resources on metacognition and the like.

Along these lines — and with permission from the author — the following excerpt is from Quentin Schultze’s solid book, Communicate like a True Leader (pages 35 & 36).  I asked Quin if I could share this excerpt because I think it’s a great strategy to share with students. Whether they know it or not, learning how to learn is THEE key skill these days.

Quin would also emphasize some other items such as listening, attending to reality, communicating effectively with others, and more…but my focus here is on learning strategies.  So I share it in the hope that it will help some of you students out there just as it helped Quin.

 

 

During the beginning of my sophomore year, I started reviewing each day’s class notes after classes were over. I soon realized how little I recalled even of that day’s lectures and discussions. It dawned on me that normal note-taking merely gave me the impression that I was learning. I implemented a strategy that revolutionized my learning, launched me successfully into graduate school, helped me become a solid teacher, equipped me to be a productive researcher-writer, and made it possible for me to be an engaging speaker.

I not only reviewed my notes daily. I rewrote them from scratch within a couple of hours of each class meeting. I used my actual course notes as prompts to recall more of the lecture and to help me organize my own reactions to the material. My notes expanded. My retention swelled.

My revised notes became a kind of journal of my dialogue with the instructor and the readings. I integrated into my revised course notes my daily reading notes, reworking them into language that was meaningful to me and preparing to ask the instructor at the next class anything that I was uncertain about. From then on I earned nearly straight A’s with far less cramming for exams.

Moreover, I had begun journaling about my learning — one of the most important communication skills. I became a real learner by discovering how to pay attention to others and myself.

In a broad sense, I learned how to listen.

 

 

 

DC: The next generation learning platform will likely offer us such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences such as this “flight simulator for teachers.”

Virtual reality simulates classroom environment for aspiring teachers — from phys.org by Charles Anzalone, University at Buffalo

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Two University at Buffalo education researchers have teamed up to create an interactive classroom environment in which state-of-the-art virtual reality simulates difficult student behavior, a training method its designers compare to a “flight simulator for teachers.”

The new program, already earning endorsements from teachers and administrators in an inner-city Buffalo school, ties into State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher’s call for innovative teaching experiences and “immersive” clinical experiences and teacher preparation.

The training simulator Lamb compared to a teacher flight simulator uses an emerging computer technology known as virtual reality. Becoming more popular and accessible commercially, virtual reality immerses the subject in what Lamb calls “three-dimensional environments in such a way where that environment is continuous around them.” An important characteristic of the best virtual reality environments is a convincing and powerful representation of the imaginary setting.

 

Also related/see:

 

  • TeachLive.org
    TLE TeachLivE™ is a mixed-reality classroom with simulated students that provides teachers the opportunity to develop their pedagogical practice in a safe environment that doesn’t place real students at risk.  This lab is currently the only one in the country using a mixed reality environment to prepare or retrain pre-service and in-service teachers. The use of TLE TeachLivE™ Lab has also been instrumental in developing transition skills for students with significant disabilities, providing immediate feedback through bug-in-ear technology to pre-service teachers, developing discrete trial skills in pre-service and in-service teachers, and preparing teachers in the use of STEM-related instructional strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry — from Lora Kolodny and Erin Black

  • MEL Science raised $2.2 million in venture funding to bring virtual reality chemistry lessons to schools in the U.S.
  • Eighty-two percent of science teachers surveyed in the U.S. believe virtual reality content can help their students master their subjects.

 

This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry from CNBC.

 

 


From DSC:
It will be interesting to see all the “places” we will be able to go and interact within — all from the comfort of our living rooms! Next generation simulators should be something else for teaching/learning & training-related purposes!!!

The next gen learning platform will likely offer such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences, along with voice recognition/translation services and a slew of other technologies — such as AI, blockchain*, chatbots, data mining/analytics, web-based learner profiles, an online-based marketplace supported by the work of learning-based free agents, and others — running in the background. All of these elements will work to offer us personalized, up-to-date learning experiences — helping each of us stay relevant in the marketplace as well as simply enabling us to enjoy learning about new things.

But the potentially disruptive piece of all of this is that this next generation learning platform could create an Amazon.com of what we now refer to as “higher education.”  It could just as easily serve as a platform for offering learning experiences for learners in K-12 as well as the corporate learning & development space.

 

I’m tracking these developments at:
http://danielschristian.com/thelivingclassroom/

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 


*  Also see:


Blockchain, Bitcoin and the Tokenization of Learning — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

In 2014, Kings College in New York became the first university in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin for tuition payments, a move that seemed more of a PR stunt than the start of some new movement. Much has changed since then, including the value of Bitcoin itself, which skyrocketed to more than $19,000 earlier this month, catapulting cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

A handful of other universities (and even preschools) now accept Bitcoin for tuition, but that’s hardly the extent of how blockchains and tokens are weaving their way into education: Educators and edtech entrepreneurs are now testing out everything from issuing degrees on the blockchain to paying people in cryptocurrency for their teaching.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Joy in the Classroom — from teachervision.com by Lisa Koplik
How do we keep joy in our classrooms — for both students and teachers?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Teaching today is nothing like it was in the past. Gone are the days of loose curriculum, infrequent observations by your principal, and learning cursive; we now have structured lessons, unannounced walkthroughs by both the principal and the superintendent, and a lack of downtime.

How do we keep joy in our classrooms — for the kids and also for us? Take a look at some tips for continuing to make teaching and learning fun.

4. Allow for Choice
As much as you can, give the kids choices. While this isn’t always possible, there are ways to promote student choice. If your school has an intervention time, or a “What I Need” (WIN) block, create a menu of student options. Recently, my WIN time menu has included Greek myths, multiplication practice, a persuasive essay piece, informational task cards, and multi-step word problems in math. These activities are considered Must-Do, and if they finish all Must-Dos, they can move on to optional choices. Another great way to allow for choice is by using Seesaw, a website that allows for students to represent their learning in a variety of ways. I have used Seesaw during assessments to allow students the choice of typing, voice recording, or writing by hand. They definitely enjoy filming themselves talking!

 

 

From DSC:
Seeing as all of us are now into lifelong learning, it’s to all of our benefits to make learning fun and enjoyable. In fact, I wish that were more a part of our formative assessments…not just how did our students score on this or that standardized test. The skills that are needed in the future are hard to cram into a standardized test; skills such as creativity, entrepreneurship, tenacity/grit, patience, teamwork and collaboration, being innovative, being able to quickly adapt to change, etc.

Sometimes the problem is that it takes too much time to provide a solid level of choice. I get that. But with some tools/services — as in the case where Lisa mentioned her use of Seesaw — there are some options that aren’t so labor-intensive for the teachers.

I have it that if someone has had an extended period of painful or bad learning experiences, chances are that they won’t want to “go back to school” — in whatever form that additional training/education might look like. But if they enjoyed their learning experiences, it becomes much easier for consistent, lifelong learning to get baked into our daily/weekly habits and into our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I’m posting this in an effort to:

  • Help students learn how to learn
  • Help students achieve the greatest possible returns on their investments (both their $$ and their time) when they are trying to learn about new things

I’d like to thank Mr. William Knapp, Executive Director at GRCC for Distance Learning & Instructional Technology, for sharing this resource on Twitter.


A better way to study through self-testing and distributed practice — from kqed.org

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

As I prepared to write this column, I relied on some pretty typical study techniques. First, as I’ve done since my student days, I generously highlighted key information in my background reading. Along the way, I took notes, many of them verbatim, which is a snap with digital copying and pasting. (Gotta love that command-C, command-V.) Then I reread my notes and highlights. Sound familiar? Students everywhere embrace these techniques and yet, as it turns out, they are not particularly good ways to absorb new material. At least not if that’s all you do.

Researchers have devoted decades to studying how to study. The research literature is frankly overwhelming. Luckily for all of us, the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest published a review article a few years ago that remains the most comprehensive guide out there. Its 47 pages hold valuable lessons for learners of any age and any subject — especially now, with end-of-semester exams looming.

The authors examined ten different study techniques, including highlighting, rereading, taking practice tests, writing summaries, explaining the content to yourself or another person and using mnemonic devices. They drew on the results of nearly 400 prior studies. Then, in an act of boldness not often seen in academic research, they actually awarded ratings: high, low or moderate utility.

The study strategies that missed the top rating weren’t necessarily ineffective, explains the lead author John Dunlosky, a psychology professor at Kent State University, but they lacked sufficient evidence of efficacy, or were proven useful only in certain areas of study or with certain types of students. “We were trying to find strategies that have a broad impact across all domains for all students,” Dunlosky says, “so it was a pretty tough rating scale.”

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

Practice testing can take many forms: flashcards, answering questions at the end of a textbook chapter, tackling review quizzes online. Research shows it works well for students from preschool through graduate and professional education.

Testing yourself works because you have to make the effort to pull information from your memory — something we don’t do when we merely review our notes or reread the textbook.


As for distributed practice vs. cramming, Dunlosky and his fellow authors write that “cramming is better than not studying at all,” but if you are going to devote four or five hours to studying for your biology mid-term, you would you be far better off spacing them out over a several days or weeks. “You get much more bang for your buck if you space,” Dunlosky told me.

 

 

Also see:

Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques — from journals.sagepub.com by John Dunlosky, Katherine A. Rawson, Elizabeth J. Marsh, Mitchell J. Nathan, and Daniel T. Willingham
Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology

Excerpt:

In this monograph, we discuss 10 learning techniques in detail and offer recommendations about their relative utility. We selected techniques that were expected to be relatively easy to use and hence could be adopted by many students. Also, some techniques (e.g., highlighting and rereading) were selected because students report relying heavily on them, which makes it especially important to examine how well they work. The techniques include elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, summarization, highlighting (or underlining), the keyword mnemonic, imagery use for text learning, rereading, practice testing, distributed practice, and interleaved practice.

 

 

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

 

 

From DSC:
This is yet another reason that I like the approach of using streams of content to help people learn something new. Because you can implement distributed practice, encourage recall, etc. when you put the content out there at regular intervals.

 

 

 

From DSC:
One of the biggest gifts that we can give our students today is learning how to learn. Along those lines, I was thinking about note-taking the other day.

Many students may not know how to take good notes, and to make the notes/thoughts their own. So I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great if, for each professor’s class, there was a place where students could go to see what exemplary notes look like for several — even many — of the sessions of a particular class?! If there were an accompanying audio-based or a video-based commentary that could relay the note-taker’s thinking/information processing, all the better.

These notes could be provided by the professor herself/himself or by a 4.0-type of student who has demonstrated solid study habits and shows a strong capacity for processing information.  The notes would want to:

  • Demonstrate what good note taking looks like
  • Provide examples of one’s own wording/understanding of the material
  • Identify/show any gaps in understanding by listing their own remaining questions. This type of gap analysis could help the learners see what a metacognitive check-in might look like.

By doing something like this, students could see what the main points were, what effective note taking looks like, and to see that the note-taker has taken the time to put some of their own reflections/summaries alongside the larger set of notes.

It would also be interesting to provide a platform whereby students could contribute/share their own notes to help others better understand not only the materials covered, but what different methods of note-taking might look like. Perhaps a certain style of note-taking would jump out at any given learner. Also, doing so would foster a more collaborative approach, as is often needed in the real-world.

An accompanying forum could be made available for students’ discussions of a particular class/topic. This forum could highlight for the professor what the areas of struggle are as well as how the material is being processed by the students.

 


On a separate thought…we also need to help students form habits of learning, such as regularly checking into streams of content (i.e., micro-learning).  If we can model this in the ways that we relay content and encourage dialog around a topic, then they will be that much better equipped to:

  • Deal with the new pace of exponential change
  • Reinvent themselves, if need be
  • Practice lifelong learning
  • Learn how to pulse-check their surroundings

 

 

 

K-12 and higher education are considered separate systems. What if they converged? — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

Education in America is a tale of two systems. There’s K-12 education policy and practice, but a separate set of rules—and a separate culture—for higher education. A new book argues that it doesn’t have to be that way.

In “The Convergence of K-12 and Higher Education: Policies and Programs in a Changing Era,” two education professors point out potential benefits of taking a more holistic view to American education (in a volume that collects essays from other academics). They acknowledge that there are potential pitfalls, noting that even well-intentioned systems can have negative consequences. But they argue that “now more than ever, K-12 and higher education need to converge on a shared mission and partner to advance the individual interests of American students and the collective interests of the nation.”

EdSurge recently talked with one of the book’s co-editors, Christopher Loss, associate professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University. The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

 

 

Which is to say that we have tended not to think of the sector as most people actually experience it—which is one continuous ladder, one that often is missing rungs, and is sometimes difficult to climb, depending on a whole host of different factors. So, I think that the research agenda proposed by Pat and I and our collaborators is one that actually gets much closer to the experience that most people actually are having with the educational sector.

 

 



From DSC:
This is a great 50,000-foot level question and one that reminds me of a graphic I created a couple of years ago that speaks of the continuum that we need to more holistically address — especially as the topic of lifelong learning is increasingly critical to members of our workforce today.

 

 

Because in actuality, the lines between high school and college continue to blur. Many students are taking AP courses and/or are dually-enrolled at colleges/universities already. Some high school graduates already have enough credits to make serious headway in obtaining a college degree.

The other thing that I see over and over again is that K-12 is out innovating higher education and is better at communicating with other educators than most of higher education is. As an example, go look at some of the K-12 bloggers and educators out there on Twitter. They have tens of thousands of followers — and many of those followers being other K-12 educators. They are sharing content, best practices, questions, issues/solutions, new pedagogies, new technologies, live communication/training sessions, etc. with each other. Some examples include:

  • Eric Sheninger 127 K followers
  • Alice Keeler 110 K followers
  • Kyle Pace 63.6 K followers
  • Monica Burns 44.5 K
  • Lisa Nielsen 32.4 K followers

The vast majority of the top bloggers within higher ed — and those who regularly are out on social media within higher education — are not even close to those kinds of numbers.

What that tells me is that while many educators within K-12 are out on social media sharing knowledge with each other via these relatively new means, the vast majority of administrators/faculty members/staff working within higher education are not doing that. That is, they are not regularly contributing streams of content to Twitter.

But that said, there are few people who are trying to “cross over the lines” of the two systems and converse with folks from both higher ed and K-12. We need more of these folks who are attempting to pulse-check the other systems out there  in order to create a more holistic, effective continuum.

I wonder about the corporate world here as well. Are folks from the training departments and from the learning & development groups pulse-checking the ways that today’s students are being educated within higher education? Within K-12? Do they have a good sense of what the changing expectations of their new employees look like (in terms of how they  prefer to learn)?

We can do better. That’s why I appreciated the question raised within Jeff’s article.

 

Is is time to back up a major step and practice design thinking on the entire continuum of lifelong learning?

Daniel Christian

 

 

 

 

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs [Meghan Bogardus Cortez at edtechmagazine.com]

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
These administrative all-stars, IT gurus, teachers and community experts understand how the latest technology is changing the nature of education.

Excerpt:

With summer break almost here, we’ve got an idea for how you can use some of your spare time. Take a look at the Dean’s List, our compilation of the must-read blogs that seek to make sense of higher education in today’s digital world.

Follow these education trailblazers for not-to-be-missed analyses of the trends, challenges and opportunities that technology can provide.

If you’d like to check out the Must-Read IT blogs from previous years, view our lists from 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

 

 



From DSC:
I would like to thank Tara Buck, Meghan Bogardus Cortez, D. Frank Smith, Meg Conlan, and Jimmy Daly and the rest of the staff at EdTech Magazine for their support of this Learning Ecosystems blog through the years — I really appreciate it. 

Thanks all for your encouragement through the years!



 

 

 

 

The 82 Hottest EdTech Tools of 2017 According to Education Experts — from tutora.co.uk by Giorgio Cassella

Excerpt:

If you work in education, you’ll know there’s a HUGE array of applications, services, products and tools created to serve a multitude of functions in education.

Tools for teaching and learning, parent-teacher communication apps, lesson planning software, home-tutoring websites, revision blogs, SEN education information, professional development qualifications and more.

There are so many companies creating new products for education, though, that it can be difficult to keep up – especially with the massive volumes of planning and marking teachers have to do, never mind finding the time to actually teach!

So how do you know which ones are the best?

Well, as a team of people passionate about education and learning, we decided to do a bit of research to help you out.

We’ve asked some of the best and brightest in education for their opinions on the hottest EdTech of 2017. These guys are the real deal – experts in education, teaching and new tech from all over the world from England to India, to New York and San Francisco.

They’ve given us a list of 82 amazing, tried and tested tools…


From DSC:
The ones that I mentioned that Giorgio included in his excellent article were:

  • AdmitHub – Free, Expert College Admissions Advice
  • Labster – Empowering the Next Generation of Scientists to Change the World
  • Unimersiv – Virtual Reality Educational Experiences
  • Lifeliqe – Interactive 3D Models to Augment Classroom Learning

 


 

 

 

 
 

5 Online Education Trends to Watch in 2017 — from usnews.com by Jordan Friedman
Experts predict more online programs will offer alternative credentials and degrees in specialized fields.

Excerpts:

  1. Greater emphasis on nontraditional credentials
  2. Increased use of big data to measure student performance
  3. Greater incorporation of artificial intelligence into classes
  4. Growth of nonprofit online programs
  5. Online degrees in surprising and specialized disciplines

 

 

The Future of Online Learning Is Offline: What Strava Can Teach Digital Course Designers — from edsurge.com by Amy Ahearn

Excerpt:

I became a Strava user in 2013, around the same time I became an online course designer. Quickly I found that even as I logged runs on Strava daily, I struggled to find the time to log into platforms like Coursera, Udemy or Udacity to finish courses produced by my fellow instructional designers. What was happening? Why was the fitness app so “sticky” as opposed to the online learning platforms?

As a thought experiment, I tried to recast my Strava experience in pedagogical terms. I realized that I was recording hours of deliberate practice (my early morning runs), formative assessments (the occasional speed workout on the track) and even a few summative assessments (races) on the app. Strava was motivating my consistent use by overlaying a digital grid on my existing offline activities. It let me reconnect with college teammates who could keep me motivated. It enabled me to analyze the results of my efforts and compare them to others. I didn’t have to be trapped behind a computer to benefit from this form of digital engagement—yet it was giving me personalized feedback and results. How could we apply the same practices to learning?

I’ve come to believe that one of the biggest misunderstandings about online learning is that it has to be limited to things that can be done in front of a computer screen. Instead, we need to reimagine online courses as something that can enable the interplay between offline activities and digital augmentation.

A few companies are heading that way. Edthena enables teachers to record videos of themselves teaching and then upload these to the platform to get feedback from mentors.

 

 

DIY’s JAM online courses let kids complete hands-on activities like drawing or building with LEGOs and then has them upload pictures of their work to earn badges and share their projects.

 

 

My team at +Acumen has built online courses that let teams complete projects together offline and then upload their prototypes to the NovoEd platform to receive feedback from peers. University campuses are integrating Kaltura into their LMS platforms to enable students to capture and upload videos.

 

 

We need to focus less on building multiple choice quizzes or slick lecture videos and more on finding ways to robustly capture evidence of offline learning that can be validated and critiqued at scale by peers and experts online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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