6 GREAT Makerspace Practices That You Need to See — from worlds-of-learning.com by Laura Fleming


One of the goals of my newest book, The Kickstart Guide to Making GREAT Makerspaces, was to highlight best practices in makerspaces around the world.  Since the book’s publication, I have continued to see many people creating not just makerspaces, but GREAT makerspaces.  I honestly could write another book based on all of the amazing things I am seeing happening, but wanted to share with you in this post, 6 that recently have stood out to me.






PD is getting so much better!! — from cultofpedagogy.com by Jennifer Gonzalez




1. Unconferences
2. Intentional professional learning communities (PLCs)
3. Choice Boards
4. Personal Action Plans
5. Voluntary Piloting
6. Peer Observation
7. Microcredentials
8. Blended Learning
9. Lab Classrooms




From DSC:
Why aren’t we further along with lecture recording within K-12 classrooms?

That is, I as a parent — or much better yet, our kids themselves who are still in K-12 — should be able to go online and access whatever talks/lectures/presentations were given on a particular day. When our daughter is sick and misses several days, wouldn’t it be great for her to be able to go out and see what she missed? Even if we had the time and/or the energy to do so (which we don’t), my wife and I can’t present this content to her very well. We would likely explain things differently — and perhaps incorrectly — thus, potentially muddying the waters and causing more confusion for our daughter.

There should be entry level recording studios — such as the One Button Studio from Penn State University — in each K-12 school for teachers to record their presentations. At the end of each day, the teacher could put a checkbox next to what he/she was able to cover that day. (No rushing intended here — as education is enough of a run-away train often times!) That material would then be made visible/available on that day as links on an online-based calendar. Administrators should pay teachers extra money in the summer times to record these presentations.

Also, students could use these studios to practice their presentation and communication skills. The process is quick and easy:





I’d like to see an option — ideally via a brief voice-driven Q&A at the start of each session — that would ask the person where they wanted to put the recording when it was done: To a thumb drive, to a previously assigned storage area out on the cloud/Internet, or to both destinations?

Providing automatically generated close captioning would be a great feature here as well, especially for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.




New push will help children meet individualized literacy goals in preschool — from news.ku.edu as posted by Brendan Lynch


LAWRENCE — Researchers from the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project at the University of Kansas are improving kids’ response to literacy instruction in Kansas City area preschool classrooms.

The new program, called Literacy 360°, will train psychologists, early childhood special educators and teachers to individualize literacy interventions for children who are not making progress (sometimes due to disabilities or factors such as coming from a home where English isn’t the primary language).

The designers of the four-year project, funded by $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education, liken it to “personalized medicine” for literacy instruction.

“One of the challenges that teachers have is knowing what to do when individual young children aren’t making progress in learning their literacy skills,” said Charles Greenwood, director of Literacy 360°. “We see a gap in the information a teacher needs to make those decisions. In using direct observations of the classroom context and teacher talk-child response, a record of what the child and teacher were doing in the classroom can be provided back to teachers.”

To house this information, the Literacy 360° team uses is a classroom observational measure called “CIRCLE,” an acronym for Code for Interactive Recording of Children’s Learning Environment, a tool specifically designed to capture organizational and behavioral features of preschool classroom instruction to help guide intervention decisions.




Personalized Learning Meets AI With Watson Classroom

Personalized Learning Meets AI With Watson Classroom — from gettingsmart.com by Erin Gohl

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Teaching is truly a Herculean challenge. Even the very best teachers can keep only so many of these insights in their heads and make only so many connections between expectations and circumstances. They can be aware of only a fraction of the research on best practices. They have only so much time to collaborate and communicate with the other adults in a particular student’s life to share information and insights. To be the best of themselves, teachers need to have access to a warehouse of information, a research assistant to mine best practices, note takers to gather and record information on each student, a statistician to gauge effective practices, and someone to collaborate with to distill the next best step with each student. In recent years, a plethora of vendors have developed software solutions that promise to simplify this process and give schools and teachers the answers to understand and address the individual needs of each student. One of the most promising, which I recently had a chance to learn about, is IBM’s Watson Classroom.

IBM is clear about what makes Watson different than existing solutions. First of all, it is a cognitive partner; not a solution. Secondly, it does not require proprietary or additional assessments, curriculum, or content. It uses whatever a district has in place. But it goes beyond the performance of tiering difficulty, pace, and reading level that is now standard fare for the solutions promising individualized, adaptive and personalized learning. Watson takes the stew of data from existing systems (including assessments, attendance records, available accommodations), adds the ability to infer meaning from written reports, and is able to connect the quality of the result to the approach that was taken. And then adjust the next recommendation based on what was learned. It is artificial intelligence (AI) brought to education that goes far beyond the adaptive learning technologies of today.

Watson Classroom is currently being piloted in 12 school districts across the country. In those classrooms, Watson Classroom is utilizing cutting-edge computing power to give teachers a full range of support to be the best versions of themselves. Watson is facilitating the kind of education the great teachers strive for every day–one where learning is truly personalized for each and every student. Bringing the power of big data to the interactions between students and teachers can help assure that every student reaches beyond our expectations to achieve their full potential.




Learn with Google AI: Making ML education available to everyone — from blog.google


To help everyone understand how AI can solve challenging problems, we’ve created a resource called Learn with Google AI. This site provides ways to learn about core ML concepts, develop and hone your ML skills, and apply ML to real-world problems. From deep learning experts looking for advanced tutorials and materials on TensorFlow, to “curious cats” who want to take their first steps with AI, anyone looking for educational content from ML experts at Google can find it here.

Learn with Google AI also features a new, free course called Machine Learning Crash Course (MLCC). The course provides exercises, interactive visualizations, and instructional videos that anyone can use to learn and practice ML concepts.



7 Ways Chatbots and AI are Disrupting HR — from chatbotsmagazine.com
Enterprises are embracing AI for automating human resources


Chatbots and AI have become household names and enterprises are taking notice. According to a recent Forrester survey, roughly “85% of customer interactions within an enterprise will be with software robots in five years’ time” and “87% of CEOs are looking to expand their AI workforce” using AI bots.

In an effort to drive increased labor efficiencies, reduce costs, and deliver better customer/employee experiences enterprises are quickly introducing AI, machine learning, and natural language understanding as core elements of their digital transformation strategy in 2018.

Human resources (HR) is one area ripe for intelligent automation within an enterprise. AI-powered bots for HR are able to streamline and personalize the HR process across seasonal, temporary, part-time, and full-time employees.

There are 7 ways in which enterprises can use HR bots to drive increased labors efficiencies, reduced costs, and better employee experiences:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Onboarding
  3. Company Policy FAQs
  4. Employee Training
  5. Common Questions
  6. Benefits Enrollment
  7. Annual Self-Assessment/Reviews


From DSC:
Again, this article paint a bit too rosy of a picture for me re: the use of AI and HR, especially in regards to recruiting employees.




Implementation of AI into eLearning. Interview with Christopher Pappas — from joomlalms.com by Darya Tarliuk


Every day we hear more and more about the impact that Artificial Intelligence gains in every sphere of our life. In order to discover how AI implementation is going to change the eLearning we decided to ask Christopher Pappas to share his views and find out what he thinks about it. Christopher is an experienced eLearning specialist and the Founder of the eLearning Industry’s Network.

How to get ready preparing course materials now, while considering the future impact of AI?
Christopher: Regardless of whether you plan to adopt an AI system as soon as they’re available to the mass market or you opt to hold off (and let others work out the glitches), infrastructure is key. You can prepare your course materials now by developing course catalogs, microlearning online training repositories, and personalized online training paths that fall into the AI framework. For example, the AI system can easily recommend existing resources based on a learners’ assessment scores or job duties. All of the building blocks are in place, allowing the system to focus on content delivery and data analysis.




Can You Trust Intelligent Virtual Assistants? — from nojitter.com by Gary Audin
From malicious hackers to accidental voice recordings, data processed through virtual assistants may open you to security and privacy risks.


Did you know that with such digital assistants your voice data is sent to the cloud or another remote location for processing? Is it safe to talk in front of your TV remote? Are you putting your business data at risk of being compromised by asking Alexa to start your meeting?





Thanks, Robots! Now These Four Non-Tech Job Skills Are In Demand — from fastcompany.com by Christian Madsbjerg
The more we rely on AI and machine learning, the more work we need social scientists and humanities experts to do.


Automation isn’t a simple struggle between people and technology, with the two sides competing for jobs. The more we rely on robots, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, the clearer it’s become just how much we need social scientists and humanities experts–not the reverse.

These four skills in particular are all unique to us humans, and will arguably rise in value in the coming years, as more and more companies realize they need the best of both worlds to unleash the potential from both humans and machines.






Why Students Forget—and What You Can Do About It — from edutopia.org by Youki Terada
Our brains are wired to forget, but there are research-backed strategies you can use to make your teaching stick.


5 Teacher Strategies
When students learn a new piece of information, they make new synaptic connections. Two scientifically based ways to help them retain learning is by making as many connections as possible—typically to other concepts, thus widening the “spiderweb” of neural connections—but also by accessing the memory repeatedly over time.

Which explains why the following learning strategies, all tied to research conducted within the past five years, are so effective:

  1. Peer-to-peer explanations: When students explain what they’ve learned to peers, fading memories are reactivated, strengthened, and consolidated. This strategy not only increases retention but also encourages active learning (Sekeres et al., 2016).
  2. The spacing effect: Instead of covering a topic and then moving on, revisit key ideas throughout the school year. Research shows that students perform better academically when given multiple opportunities to review learned material. For example, teachers can quickly incorporate a brief review of what was covered several weeks earlier into ongoing lessons, or use homework to re-expose students to previous concepts (Carpenter et al., 2012; Kang, 2016).
  3. Frequent practice tests: Akin to regularly reviewing material, giving frequent practice tests can boost long-term retention and, as a bonus, help protect against stress, which often impairs memory performance. Practice tests can be low stakes and ungraded, such as a quick pop quiz at the start of a lesson or a trivia quiz on Kahoot, a popular online game-based learning platform. Breaking down one large high-stakes test into smaller tests over several months is an effective approach (Adesope, Trevisan, & Sundararajan, 2017; Butler, 2010; Karpicke, 2016).
  4. Interleave concepts: Instead of grouping similar problems together, mix them up. Solving problems involves identifying the correct strategy to use and then executing the strategy. When similar problems are grouped together, students don’t have to think about what strategies to use—they automatically apply the same solution over and over. Interleaving forces students to think on their feet, and encodes learning more deeply (Rohrer, 2012; Rohrer, Dedrick, & Stershic, 2015).
  5. Combine text with images: It’s often easier to remember information that’s been presented in different ways, especially if visual aids can help organize information. For example, pairing a list of countries occupied by German forces during World War II with a map of German military expansion can reinforce that lesson. It’s easier to remember what’s been read and seen, instead of either one alone (Carney & Levin, 2002; Bui & McDaniel, 2015).

So even though forgetting starts as soon as learning happens—as Ebbinghaus’s experiments demonstrate—research shows that there are simple and effective strategies to help make learning stick.




Hacking Real-World Problems with Virtual and Augmented Reality — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush
A Q&A with Tilanka Chandrasekera


Oklahoma State University’s first inaugural “Virtual + Augmented Reality Hackathon” hosted January 26-27 by the Mixed Reality Lab in the university’s College of Human Sciences gave students and the community a chance to tackle real-world problems using augmented and virtual reality tools, while offering researchers a glimpse into the ways teams work with digital media tools. Campus Technology asked Dr. Tilanka Chandrasekera, an assistant professor in the department of Design, Housing and Merchandising at Oklahoma State University about the hackathon and how it fits into the school’s broader goals.


Also, on a different note, but also involving emerging technologies, see:
Campus Technology News Now Available on Alexa Devices — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly


To set up the audio feed, use the Alexa mobile app to search for “Campus Technology News” in the Alexa Skills catalog. Once you enable the skill, you can ask Alexa “What’s in the news?” or “What’s my Flash Briefing?” and she will read off the latest news briefs from Campus Technology.




A WMU Professor Is Using Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology to Teach Aviation — from news.elearninginside.com by Henry Kronk


Computer simulations are nothing new in the field of aviation education. But a new partnership between Western Michigan University and Microsoft is taking that one big step further. Microsoft has selected Lori Brown, an associate professor of aviation at WMU, to test out their new HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained holographic computer. The augmented reality interface will bring students a little closer to the realities of flight.

When it comes to the use of innovative technology in the classroom, this is by no means Professor Brown’s first rodeo. She has spent years researching the uses of virtual and augmented reality in aviation education.

“In the past 16 years that I’ve been teaching advanced aircraft systems, I have identified many gaps in the tools and equipment available to me as a professor. Ultimately, mixed reality bridges the gap between simulation, the aircraft and the classroom,” Brown told WMU News.








VR and AR: The Art of Immersive Storytelling and Journalism — from er.educause.edu by Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva


Storytelling traces its roots back to the very beginning of human experience. It’s found its way through multiple forms, from oral traditions to art, text, images, cinema, and multimedia formats on the web.

As we move into a world of immersive technologies, how will virtual and augmented reality transform storytelling? What roles will our institutions and students play as early explorers? In the traditional storytelling format, a narrative structure is presented to a listener, reader, or viewer. In virtual reality, in contrast, you’re no longer the passive witness. As Chris Milk said, “In the future, you will be the character. The story will happen to you.”

If the accepted rules of storytelling are undermined, we find ourselves with a remarkably creative opportunity no longer bound by the rectangular frame of traditional media.

We are in the earliest stages of virtual reality as an art form. The exploration and experimentation with immersive environments is so nascent that new terms have been proposed for immersive storytelling. Abigail Posner, the head of strategic planning at Google Zoo, said that it totally “shatters” the storytelling experience and refers to it as “storyliving.” At the Tribeca Film Festival, immersive stories are termed “storyscapes.”





Virtual Reality in Education: How VR can be Beneficial to the Classroom — from edtechtimes.com by Coralie Hentsch


Learning through a virtual experience
The concept to use VR as an educational tool has been gaining success amongst teachers and students, who apply the medium to a wide range of activities and in a variety of subjects. Many schools start with a simple cardboard viewer such as the Google cardboard, available for less than $10 and enough to play with simple VRs.

A recent study by Foundry10 analyzed how students perceived the usage of VR in their education and in what subjects they saw it being the most useful. According to the report, 44% of students were interested in using VR for science education, 38% for history education, 12% for English education, 3% for math education, and 3% for art education.

Among the many advantages brought by VR, the aspect that generally comes first when discussing the new technology is the immersion made possible by entering a 360° and 3-dimensional virtual space. This immersive aspect offers a different perception of the content being viewed, which enables new possibilities in education.

Schools today seem to be getting more and more concerned with making their students “future-ready.” By bringing the revolutionary medium of VR to the classroom and letting kids experiment with it, they help prepare them for the digital world in which they will grow and later start a career.

Last but not least, the new medium also adds a considerable amount of fun to the classroom as students get excited to receive the opportunity, sometimes for the first time, to put a headset viewer on and try VR.

VR also has the potential to stimulate enthusiasm within the classroom and increase students’ engagement. Several teachers have reported that they were impressed by the impact on students’ motivation and in some cases, even on their new perspective toward learning matter.

These teachers explained that when put in control of creating a piece of content and exposed to the fascinating new medium of VR, some of their students showed higher levels of participation and in some cases, even better retention of the information.


“The good old reality is no longer best practice in teaching. Worksheets and book reports do not foster imagination or inspire kids to connect with literature. I want my students to step inside the characters and the situations they face, I want them to visualize the setting and the elements of conflict in the story that lead to change.”






Paying for Personalized Learning — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser


Just how much does it cost to set up a personalized learning plan for an entire school, and is it really sustainable? Could a typical school budget cover the expense — and what would happen if budget cuts had to be made? Those are the questions addressed in a new report out from LEAP Innovations and Afton Partners. LEAP works directly with schools to implement personalized learning; Afton focuses on financial and operational efficiency aspects of public school districts and charter schools.

A joint study examined six district and charter schools in Chicago Public Schools that have implemented personalized learning models over the last two years. All of the schools are part of LEAP’s Breakthrough Schools initiative, which supports the launch of innovative school models.






For the schools in the study, introducing personalized learning models throughout the entire building required “modest investment to start.” Start-up costs ranged from $338,000 to $780,000; on a per-pupil basis that was between $233 and $1,135. The models could be sustained “without ongoing grant funding on typical district budgets,” even during severe budget cuts, Afton reported.

The report offered a series of recommendations on improving the cost effectiveness of personalized learning and scaling the personalized learning model. Among the advice:

  • Make sure principals understand the flexibilities regarding funding and other categories that are at their disposal;
  • Try piloting a compensation structure that supports the teacher-leader model;
  • Combine resources across a district for common unmet needs, such as adoption or development of a learning management system; and
  • Be strategic in the use of grant funding; for example, develop a five-year financial plan that shows how the models will remain sustainable even after the grant-funding expires.




Also see:




This report represents an exciting beginning. For any innovation to take hold, it must be effective and sustainable. Already, we’re seeing promising indicators of success: increases in scores on the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, taken by all Chicago Public Schools elementary students, in one Breakthrough Schools third-grade pilot classroom were striking. The school reports that reading attainment increased 51 percent in one year – growing from 35 percent of students meeting attainment benchmarks in 2015-2016 to 86 percent in 2016-2017. Their math results were equally impressive, reporting a 45 percent growth in student attainment – moving from 46 percent of students meeting attainment benchmarks to 91 percent within one school year. And as we outline here, not only can innovative school models be sustainable, but their innovative structures can make them so.




The Implications of Gartner’s Top 10 Tech Trends of 2018 for Education — from gettingsmart.com by Jim Goodell, Liz Glowa and Brandt Redd


In October, Gartner released a report with predictions about the top tech trends for business in 2018. Gartner uses the term the intelligent digital mesh to describe “the entwining of people, devices, content and services” that will create the “foundation for the next generation of digital business models and ecosystems.” These trends are classified within three categories.

  • Intelligent: How AI is seeping into virtually every technology and with a defined, well-scoped focus can allow more dynamic, flexible and potentially autonomous systems.
  • Digital: Blending the virtual and real worlds to create an immersive digitally enhanced and connected environment.
  • Mesh: The connections between an expanding set of people, business, devices, content and services to deliver digital outcomes.

What are the implications of these trends for education?
Education often falls behind the business world in realizing the potential of new technologies. There are however a few bright spots where the timing might be right for the tech trends in the business world to have a positive impact in education sooner rather than later.

The top 10 trends according to Gartner are analyzed below for their implications for education…

1) Artificial Intelligence Foundation
2) Intelligent Apps and Analytics
3) Intelligent Things




Aiding Reading Comprehension With Post-Its — from edutopia.org by Judy Willis


Sample Post-it Prompts
In these prompts, the students address the text directly—by calling it “you”—as though they were having a conversation with it.

To be completed before reading for prediction and preview:

  • I think you’ll be telling me…
  • I already know things about you, so I predict…

To be completed after briefly skimming the assigned pages:

  • What does the heading for this section suggest about what will come?
  • What does this picture (graph, diagram, etc.) suggest about this reading topic?

To be completed during reading as a response to what is read:

  • You’re similar to what I’ve learned before, because you remind me of…
  • I would have preferred a picture of… (Students can also sketch, describe, or download a picture, graph, or diagram)
  • This is not what I expected, which was…
  • This gives me an idea for…
  • I want to know more about…
  • This information could be useful to me because I’m interested in…
  • I think this will be on the test because…

The use of Post-its increases memory pattern linkages, understanding, and the pleasure of reading. As students become more skilled readers through strategies that promote pattern seeking and linking, they build their independent skills about how to think actively about the text—their metacognitive skills.




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