Instructure’s Age of Adolescence: A Conversation With CEO Dan Goldsmith — from edsurge.com by Tony Wan

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

…we sat down with Goldsmith in Long Beach, California, at InstructureCon, the company’s annual user conference, to learn more about what lays ahead for the company as it enters, in his words, the “adolescent phase.”

How big is the company now?
We’re over 1,200. A little less than half the company is focused on R&D, which is a pretty high percentage for a technology company like ours.

What’s connecting the dots between the education and corporate sides is actually the market itself. Educational institutions are recognizing that the largest growing population is the professional worker, and there’s a lot of opportunity for online programs. When institutions are extending those programs to build corporate relationships, it’s very common they use Canvas to do that. Then Bridge comes in to provide the employee development piece.

I asked [Instructure’s co-founder and former CEO] Josh Coates this five years ago, and now I’ll ask you. What three words would you use to describe Instructure today?
Mission-minded. Curious. Optimistic.
(Coates’ answers: Impactful. Open. Innovative.)

 

From DSC:
To those of you graduate students out there: Never underestimate the impact/influence that you can have!

Were it not for his volunteering as an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University, Coates might still be on vacation. In 2008, he was approached by two graduate students in his venture startup class with a fledgling idea that would become Instructure. Skeptical at first, Coates saw potential after they shared transcripts from interviews with 17 university administrators, detailing pain points and the need for a better product.

In 2014: 450 employees
In 2019: Over 1200 employees and now the #1 LMS within U.S. higher ed

 

Knowing How to Study Can Mean the Difference Between Success and Failure for First-Generation Students. Here’s How Instructors Can Help. — from chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Some of the mistakes first-gen students make are common to undergraduates: They focus on re-reading and memorizing to absorb what they’re learning, rather than summarizing material in their own words, or quizzing themselves, which are more effective techniques. But many also carry the burden of imposter syndrome – feeling like they don’t belong in college – or simply don’t know how college works. That, says Horowitz, discourages them from seeking out their professors during office hours or heading to the tutoring center for help. As a result they may spin their wheels even more furiously as they fall behind.

Horowitz, who now works at Bard High School Early College Newark as a faculty member in chemistry, reached out to me after I wrote about the importance of helping undergraduates develop the metacognitive skills necessary to become effective learners. It turns out, she’s written a book about some of those strategies, tailored to the needs of first-generation students.

Horowitz designed the book to appeal to a mass audience of STEM faculty. “The most effective person to tell students how to study for a particular course is the instructor,” she says. “They can easily put little pointers in their classroom about how students should be studying. I believe that could be revolutionary for first-generation college students.”

Horowitz suggests putting study tips into the syllabus and then reviewing them in class. 

Explain how to use problem sets effectively.

In reading-oriented classes, she recommends that, after reading each chapter, students write a single paragraph that synthesizes and summarizes the material. And on tests she often lists the amount of time students should spend on each problem.

Reach out, she says. It will pay off for both of you.

“For most of them it’s a big sense of relief that they’re having a conversation with you,” she says. “Most have been suffering in silence for a long time.”

 

Choice -> Ownership -> Empowerment -> Deeper Learning — from AJ Juliani

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Students continue to fall into the same trap year after year with traditional schooling. They rarely have a chance to choose their learning path in school, and routinely treat school like a “job” instead of the most valuable learning experience they will ever have…

By the time students get to high school, over 83% are stressed out, [and] 67% say they are bored half the time, and many learn to “play the game of school” worrying about what will happen to them if they do not get a particular grade and get into a specific college.

What we end up with are students who are never given a chance to explore their own interests in school, who end up confused about what they want to do with their future because they continue to march down a path that has been chosen for them for 12 years. Many of these students end up getting jobs in fields they think are “safe” or “practical” but don’t have a personal connection or interest to the work they are doing.

 

Choice in what content our students consume, what activities they take on in and out of school, what assessments they take, and choice in their purpose for learning.

Choice drives student ownership of their learning, which kicks engagement into high-gear, and ultimately leads to learning that is intrinsic and powerful and deep.

 

From DSC:
Our son has become a game-player. He knows just what he needs to get that A. No more, nor less. He doesn’t care about learning. And he is tired of getting information crammed down his throat. Information he doesn’t care about…at all. Since 10th grade, he has become disengaged.

Next year (for his senior year of H.S.), he is heading to studying what he wants to study — acting. Although it will be very difficult, I think he will blossom. He will become fully engaged…because he’s doing what he chooses to do.

 

 

 

 

Recommended tech tools to make retrieval practice quick and easy — from retrievalpractice.org by Pooja Agarwal

Excerpt:

Here’s a roundup of tech tools that harness retrieval practice and provide features in line with the science of learning. Each tech tool has free options, can be used during and outside of class, and includes instant feedback.

 

7 ideas to pump up your drawing curriculum — from theartofeducation.edu by Debi West

Excerpt:

Here are 7 creative ideas that have come out of AOEU’s Studio: Drawing Course.

1. Play “Drawing Jeopardy.”

Drawing Jeopardy Board

 

 

10 important Google Drive tips for teachers and educators — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

As the creator and owner of a folder, you have different sharing settings at your hand. You can share your folders with specific people via email and allow them to either view the folder or view and edit it. Drive also enables you to prevent collaborators  from changing access and adding new people by simply checking the box next to ‘prevent editors from changing access and adding new people’. Here is how to access sharing options of your folders…

 

The definition of a flipped classroom, according to the Flipped Classroom Global Initiative:

Flipped Learning is a framework that enables educators to reach every student. The Flipped approach inverts the traditional classroom model by introducing course concepts before class, allowing educators to use class time to guide each student through active, practical, innovative applications of the course principles.

Some resources regarding the flipped classroom:

 

 

Four research-based strategies every teacher should be using — from cultofpedagogy.com  by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

[Per Jennifer] Cognitive scientist Pooja Agarwal and K-12 teacher Patrice Bain have collaborated on a new book, Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning. In the book, they go into detail about what it looks like when we actually apply four research-based “Power Tools” in the classroom: retrieval practice, spaced practice, interleaving, and feedback-driven metacognition—which is one we haven’t covered at all on this podcast. Today I’m going to talk with Pooja and Patrice about these strategies, the research behind why they work, and some ways you can start using them right away in your instruction.

 

Instead of assigning homework to give students practice with course material, give mini-quizzes at the start of each class that ask 3-5 questions about the prior day’s learning. These should either receive no grades or be given a very low point value, because the goal of these is to reinforce the learning, not measure or grade student work. 

In her social studies classroom, Bain used to assign homework most nights, and found that not only was she spending up to two hours a night grading it, it also was doing nothing to help students retain information.

 

 

 

4 Essentials for Learning Space Redesign — from CampusTechnology.com by David Raths
There’s a lot more to creating active learning spaces than bringing in new furniture and moving seats around.

 

 

Belief in Learning Styles Myth May Be Detrimental — from apa.org
Many people believe learning styles predict academic and career success, study finds

Excerpts:

WASHINGTON — Many people, including educators, believe learning styles are set at birth and predict both academic and career success even though there is no scientific evidence to support this common myth, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Previous surveys in the United States and other industrialized countries across the world have shown that 80% to 95% of people believe in learning styles. It’s difficult to say how that myth became so widespread, Nancekivell said.

 

Also see:

  • Maybe They’re Born With It, or Maybe It’s Experience: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Learning Style Myth — from apa.org by Shaylene E. Nancekivell, Priti Shah, and Susan A. Gelman
    .
  • Learning Styles are NOT an Effective Guide for Learning Design — from debunker.club
    Excerpt:
    The strength of evidence against the use of learning styles is very strong. To put it simply, using learning styles to design or deploy learning is not likely to lead to improved learning effectiveness. While it may be true that learners have different learning preferences, those preference are not likely to be a good guide for learning. The bottom line is that when we design learning, there are far better heuristics to use than learning styles.
    .
  • Learning styles: Worth our time? — from Cathy Moore
    .
  • Learning Styles Debunked: There is No Evidence Supporting Auditory and Visual Learning, Psychologists Say — from psychologicalscience.org
    .
  • Learning Styles FAQ — by Daniel Willingham
    Excerpt:
    How can you not believe that that people learn differently? Isn’t it obvious?
    People do learn differently, but I think it is very important to say exactly how they learn differently, and focus our attention on those differences that really matter. If learning styles were obviously right it would be easy to observe evidence for them in experiments. Yet there is no supporting evidence. There are differences among kids that both seem obvious to us and for which evidence is easily obtained in experiments, e.g., that people differ in their interests, that students vary in how much they think of schoolwork as part of their identity (“I’m the kind of kid who works hard in school”) and that kids differ in what they already know at the start of a lesson. All three of these have sizable, easily observed effects on learning. I think that often when people believe that they observe obvious evidence for learning styles, they are mistaking it for ability.

 

From DSC:
While I’ve heard and read through the years that there isn’t support for learning styles — and I’ve come to adopt that perspective as well due to what I’ve read, such as the items listed above — I do think that each of us has our learning preferences (as the debunker club mentioned as well). That is, how we prefer to learn about a new subject:

  • Some people like to read the manual.
  • Others never pick up the manual…they prefer to use the trial and error / hands-on method.
  • Some people prefer to listen to audio books.
  • Others prefer to watch videos.
  • Others like to read about a new topic.
  • Others like to study in a very quiet place — while others prefer some background noise.
  • Some people love to learn in a 100% online-based mode…some people hate it, and that delivery method doesn’t work as well for them.

Along these lines…in my mind, offering learning in multiple media and in multiple ways maximizes the enjoyment of learning by a group of people. And now that we’re all into lifelong learning, the enjoyment of learning has notched waaay up in importance in my book. The more we enjoy learning, the more we enjoy life (and vice versa).

In fact, I’m getting closer to the point of putting enjoyment of learning over grades in terms of importance. Grades are a way to compare people/school systems/colleges/universities/etcetera…they are the currency of our current systems…and they are used to “incentivize” students. But such systems and methods often produce game players, not learners.

 

 

Recommended books from RetrievalPractice.org
Check out our recommended books and reports that describe research on the science of learning and provide practical tips for classroom teaching.

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

…plus several others

 

 
 

5 Research-Backed Studying Techniques — from edutopia.org by Edward Kang
Teachers can guide students to avoid ineffective studying habits in favor of ones that will increase their learning outcomes.

Excerpts:

Ineffective techniques include:

  • Studying for long periods of time
  • Studying a single subject for a long period of time and repeating phrases over and over to memorize them (known as massed practice)
  • Reviewing one topic repeatedly before moving onto another topic (blocked practice)
  • Reading and rereading a text
  • Highlighting or underlining important concepts in a text and then reviewing
  • Reviewing notes

The book Make It Stick identifies several research-proven studying techniques.

  1. Pre-test
  2. Spaced practice
  3. Self-quizzing
  4. Interleaving practice
  5. Paraphrasing and reflecting
 

Artsonia recognizes 15 teachers around the nation with 2019 Art Education Leadership Award — from prnewswire.com with thanks to Bob Spoerl for these resources
Student art platform Artsonia recognizes art educators who are pioneers in their community

 

Also see this page on Artsonia with more details about each recognized teacher:

 

 

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