Homeschooling During the COVID-19 Pandemic — from cato.org by Kerry McDonald

Excerpt:

In a recent three-part Cato Daily Podcast series, I spoke with host Caleb Brown about this unprecedented educational moment, including sharing strategies and resources for overcoming the challenges of unexpected, unchosen homeschooling, as well as possible outcomes as more parents seek alternatives to conventional schooling post-pandemic.


More Free Resources For New Homeschoolers — from forbes.com by Nick Morrison

Excerpt:

Last month I highlighted some of the free resources available for parents — and teachers — during the pandemic, but since then a number of other organizations have offered their resources, expertise and support for free, so here is another selection, for the benefit of ordinary homeschoolers in these extraordinary times.


From DSC:
Below are excerpts from a recent email that I received as a cc: to our son and am passing it along in case it helps others out there.

I would like to share with you important guidance on how to get the most out of your online learning experience.

ORGANIZING YOUR SPACE
Set up your home classroom space. This is important. Be sure you have a space that is comfortable and where you can focus on your studies, your practice, your craft and your learning. This can be private or shared, whatever works for you and your family.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Computer
  • Internet Access, preferably high-speed broadband, is required for video conferencing and class assignments. Most of the expected work will not require streaming, but a secure internet connection will help a lot.
  • Headphones help minimize extraneous noise. They can also help signal to others in your home that you are online and on-task.
  • Zoom, our preferred video conferencing software, can be downloaded here

SCHEDULE
You will complete your work and engage in your lessons in two ways. Some assignments are laid out in your Canvas class and can be completed at your own pace, turning work in when due. And some of your classes and lessons will require you to connect with faculty and students in real time. When a real-time option is possible, be sure to take it. 

STAYING CONNECTED
Again, be sure to connect in real time as often as possible. There are lots of opportunities to connect with faculty and students every day.

Join in as many real time experiences as you can. These human connections, across the internet, are so important during this time when we are all separated physically.

NORMS FOR VIDEO-CONFERENCING

  • Log in on time, and be fully prepared with any necessary materials, notebooks, etc.
  • Wear clothes like what you would wear to school.
  • Remain present and engaged throughout the session. Do not open additional windows or use other technology during the session, unless it is part of class.
  • Join sessions in a quiet space, if you can, where you will not distract others and not be distracted. 
  • Mute your microphone when not speaking.

SUMMARY OF STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Establish a daily routine for your school work.
  • Find a comfortable, distraction-free place in your home where you can work.
  • Check email and Canvas each day to learn about the expectations for your work.
  • Perform tasks as outlined by instructors in Canvas and seek clarification from teachers on any assignments where you need it.
  • For classes meeting “live,” login to real-time video services (Zoom) for dialogue with teachers and members of your class. Attend faculty office hours. They want to see you!
  • Put forth your best effort.
  • Communicate with your instructors, your advisor, your residence life coordinator, and/or Academic and College Counseling.
  • If you need anything, let us know.

Under the Table and Teaching: 11 Expert Tips for Schooling Kids with ADHD from Home — from additudemag.com
Unschooling. Homeschooling. Crisis schooling. What is the difference? And what are the best learning strategies for your child with ADHD at this stressful time? Here are tips and strategies from education experts who understand the distinctions and today’s inescapable realities.

Excerpts:

11 Ways to Support Learning at Home

    1. Focus learning on your child’s natural interests.
    2. If your child gets stressed, take a break.
    3. Make learning a game.
    4. Embrace Minecraft.
    5. Add movement to promote learning.
    6. Build focus with busy hands and feet.
    7. Tap into online tutors.
    8. Ditch the worksheets. Use educational videos, phone apps, educational podcasts, or other media to introduce or expand on a subject.
    9. Take things one day at a time.
    10. Follow your child’s lead.
    11. Accept that homeschooling may not work for you.

 

unschool


 

Research Quest Live sign up
Though the museum is currently closed, the Natural History Museum of Utah is allowing kids around the globe the opportunity to transport back in time to a past where dinosaurs roamed the world. With the recently launched Research Quest Live, offering a taste of the world with virtual tours and free access to daily online science classes taught by museum educators.


Common Sense Launches Wide Open School to Help Families and Educators Transition to Students Learning from Home — from commonsensemedia.org
As Schools Continue to Close as a Result of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Some of the Most Respected Companies in Education, Media, and Tech Join Forces to Offer a Free and Open Collection of Quality Online Learning Resources to Educators and Families. 

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO, March 31, 2020—Common Sense, the leading nonprofit organization whose mission is to help kids, families, and educators thrive in a world of media and technology, has convened a group of education, media, and tech partners to launch WideOpenSchool.org, a free online resource to support families and educators who are transitioning to remote learning as a result of the coronavirus.

Wide Open School features the very best resources from publishers, nonprofits, and education companies, including the American Federation of Teachers, Amplify, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Head Start, Khan Academy, National Geographic, Noggin, PBS, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop,Time for Kids, XQ Institute, and YouTube. Find the full site at WideOpenSchool.org.

 

 

Per Techcrunch article:

The world is vulnerable to a new type of trolling as people turn to Zoom video calls to feel connected amidst quarantines. Jerks are using Zoom’s screensharing feature to blast other viewers with the most awful videos from across the internet, from violence to shocking pornography.

 

Canvas Video Resources — from instructure.com

Are you in the middle of #remotelearning, and could you use a refresher on how to do certain things w/Canvas LMS? Don’t worry, a group of community members came together & produced videos about key features to help you get moving.  

 


#edtech #onlinelearning #coronavirus #education #highered #k12 #CMS #LMS #Canvas

 

Updated: Free Resources for Schools During COVID-19 Outbreak — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

(Updated March 26; originally published March 13) In response to the number of states, districts and schools that are shuttering schools to students over the next several weeks in response to fears about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), education technology companies have stepped forward to help educators reach students in virtual ways. In many cases, the companies are making their paid services free through the rest of the school year; in other cases, they’re lifting limits to services and/or adding premium features to what’s free. The following list will be updated regularly as announcements are made.

Also see:

 

Growth-Minded Pivot to Online Teaching— from scholarlyteacher.com by Kathryn Smith and Todd Zakrajsek

Excerpt:

What is essential when one starts to teach in an unfamiliar arena is to keep an open mind, be open to change, and expect some mistakes.

Now is the perfect time to embrace a growth mindset regarding teaching online. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, states, “… growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments, everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

Having this growth mindset allows for a different definition of success, and that definition can change daily. Right now, you are likely in a position that requires you to reassess your educational practices, your teaching, and your content delivery method. You are facing challenges in learning a new skill set and an opportunity to model for your students how to grow as well.

Discussion Question:
When a pandemic arrives, few people are asked how they would like to proceed. Online learning was a global health decision. When you first started to think about moving your courses online, did your first inclination feel more growth minded or fix minded? Explain.

 

My thanks to a friend for causing me to further reflect on this article: “Can computers ever replace the classroom?” [Beard]


From DSC:
I’d like to thank Mr. Eric Osterberg — a fraternity brother and friend of mine — for sending me the following article. I wrote back to him. After thanking Eric for the article, I said:

Such an article makes me reflect on things — which is always a good thing for me to try to see my blindspots and/or to think about the good and bad of things. Technologies are becoming more powerful and integrated into our lives — for better at times and for worse at other times.

I’m wondering how the legal realm can assist and/or help create a positive future for societies throughout the globe…any thoughts?


Can computers ever replace the classroom? — from theguardian.com by Alex Beard
With 850 million children worldwide shut out of schools, tech evangelists claim now is the time for AI education. But as the technology’s power grows, so too do the dangers that come with it. 

Excerpts:

But it’s in China, where President Xi Jinping has called for the nation to lead the world in AI innovation by 2030, that the fastest progress is being made. In 2018 alone, Li told me, 60 new AI companies entered China’s private education market. Squirrel AI is part of this new generation of education start-ups. The company has already enrolled 2 million student users, opened 2,600 learning centres in 700 cities across China, and raised $150m from investors.

The supposed AI education revolution is not here yet, and it is likely that the majority of projects will collapse under the weight of their own hype.

The point, in short, is that AI doesn’t have to match the general intelligence of humans to be useful – or indeed powerful. This is both the promise of AI, and the danger it poses.

It was a reminder that Squirrel AI’s platform, like those of its competitors worldwide, doesn’t have to be better than the best human teachers – to improve people’s lives, it just needs to be good enough, at the right price, to supplement what we’ve got. The problem is that it is hard to see technology companies stopping there. For better and worse, their ambitions are bigger. “We could make a lot of geniuses,” Li told me.

 

From DSC:
Yes! Perhaps teachers will gain some ***very well-deserved respect*** from this whole thing!!!

Eric Chilton talks about how homeschooling his own children has given him a deeper understanding and respect for what teachers do daily.

 

 

Moving to remote instruction immediately: Where to get started — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser
To help schools make the transition as quickly and comprehensively as possible, THE Journal reached out to education technology experts across the country to answer the questions we believe nearly every educator is rushing to answer right now.

 

Learning ecosystems across the globe are going through massive changes! [Christian]

Learning ecosystems are going through massive changes!


From DSC:

Due to the impacts of the Coronavirus, learning ecosystems across the globe are going through massive changes!

Each of us has our own learning ecosystem, and the organizations that we work for have their own learning ecosystems as well. Numerous teachers, professors, and trainers around the world are now teaching online. Their toolboxes are expanding with the addition of several new tools and some new knowledge. I believe that will be one of the silver linings from the very tough situations/times that we find ourselves in.

Expanding our teaching toolboxes


At the WMU-Cooley Law School, our learning ecosystem is also fluid and continues to morph.
This blog posting speaks to those changes.

https://info.cooley.edu/blog/learning-ecosystem-simply-defined-sources-for-learning

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room: Due to the impacts from the Coronavirus, this is happening today across many countries. But this vision is just beginning to develop. We haven’t seen anything yet.

 
 

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.

 
 

 Coronavirus has led to a rush of online teaching. Here’s some advice for newly remote instructors — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young & Bonni Stachowiak

Excerpt:

The simplest way to go online is to shift to a video conference platform
Stachowiak says that just lecturing to a webcam instead of an in-person class isn’t the best way to teach online, but it is the easiest way to switch. Under the circumstances, it is better than nothing. “I’d rather that you do that for your students, for yourself than to cancel all the classes,” she argues.

Think shorter
If it’s hard to hold students’ attention in person, it’s even harder online, says Stachowiak: “You’ll want to think about shortening that experience. The online environment tends to have shorter, more-compact opportunities and then other things to do that are more engaging than just sitting and listening.”

 

From DSC:
For those of you who teach and/or give presentations, you might be interested in a new video that I put together regarding cognitive load. It addresses at least two main questions:

  1. What is cognitive load?
    and
  2. Why should I care about it?

 

What is cognitive load? And why should I care about it?

What is cognitive load? And why should I care about it?

Transcript here.

 

How do I put it into practice?

  • Simplify the explanations of what you’re presenting as much as possible and break down complex tasks into smaller parts
  • Don’t place a large amount of text on a slide and then talk about it at the same time — doing so requires much more processing than most people can deal with.
  • Consider creating two versions of your PowerPoint files:
    • A text-light version that can be used for presenting that content to students
    • A text-heavy version — which can be posted to your LMS for the learners to go through at their own pace — and without trying to process so much information (voice and text, for example) at one time.
  • Design-wise:
    • Don’t use decorative graphics — everything on a slide should be there for a reason
    • Don’t use too many fonts or colors — this can be distracting
    • Don’t use background music when you are trying to explain something
 

Healthy looks different on every body...and learning looks different with every mind.

From DSC:
What I mean by this is this:

While I certainly agree that research has produced excellent, proven, effective pedagogies that work with many students (the majority even), the fact is, learning is messy. When a child walks into a classroom, there isn’t even one other child with the exact same neural situation.

Nor is there even one other student with the exact same experiences, background, passions, motivations, interests, etc. I’ve experienced this with our daughter who isn’t a part of the 80% that the typical education train addresses. Look out if you are part of the 10% of either side of the bell curve! As your learning experiences are too costly to address and likely won’t be addressed in many cases.

All that said, I still agree that the teaching and learning strategies are still highly relevant across the masses. My point is that there is still a lot of diversity out there. They say that learning is messy for a reason. If you doubt that, go sit in on an IEP sometime.

 

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