Connectivity gap persists for at least 300K California students — from educationdive.com by Shawna De La Rosa

Dive Brief:

  • California school districts are required to provide both devices and high-speed internet connection to any student learning from home, but between 300,000 and 1 million remain disconnected, EdSource reports. A backlog of computer orders and weak broadband infrastructure in remote areas are contributing factors.
  • At a state assembly education committee hearing Wednesday, California education leaders, teachers and lawmakers discussed how to close the digital divide. Though most households have enough broadband to handle some video calls, many family networks don’t have the strength for multiple students to be connected at once.
  • Nationwide, approximately one-third of households with annual incomes under $30,000 and with children under 18 don’t have high-speed internet connection at home, impacting roughly 9.7 million students, according to a Pew Research Center report. A quarter of teens within that socio-economic bracket lack access to a computer at home.

 

 

[Re: online-based learning] The Ford Model T from 1910 didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! [Christian]

From DSC:
Per Wikipedia, this is a 1910 Model T that was photographed in Salt Lake City:

The Ford Model T didn't start out looking like a Maserati from 2021!

 

This is what online/virtual learning looks like further down the road. Our journey has just begun.

From DSC:
The Ford Model T didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! Inventions take time to develop…to be improved…for new and further innovations and experiments to take place.

Thinking of this in terms of online-based learning, please don’t think we’ve reached the end of the road for online-based learning. 

The truth is, we’ve barely begun our journey.

 


Two last thoughts here


1 ) It took *teams* of people to get us to the point of producing a Maserati like this. It will take *teams* of people to produce the Maserati of online-based learning.

2) In terms of online-based learning, it’s hard to say how close to the Maserati that we have come because I/we don’t know how far things will go. But this I do know: We have come a looooonnnnnggggg ways from the late 1990s! If that’s what happened in the last 20 years — with many denying the value of online-based learning — what might the next 5, 10, or 20 years look like when further interest, needs, investments, etc. are added? Then add to all of that the momentum from emerging technologies like 5G, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, bots, algorithms, and more!


From DSC:
To drive the point home, here’s an addendum on late 9/29/20:

Mercedes-Benz Shares Video of Avatar Electric Car Prototype

 

From DSC:
I’ve heard many people mention that what we did throughout K-16 in the spring of 2020 was remote teaching — an emergency response to the Coronavirus. And I would agree with that assessment and verbiage — that was/is very true. It wasn’t online-based learning as many of us have come to know it over the last 20+ years. It didn’t offer a lot of the things that organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and Quality Matters have been trying to promote and get us to achieve for years.

But then I hear the expectation that everything has been vastly improved over the summer and suddenly, almost overnight, all teachers, professors, trainers, adjunct faculty members, etc. have become highly proficient in matters involving online-based teaching and learning. In other words, the expectations say that:

  • Students should expect a top-notch experience now that summer is over.
  • Suddenly, Rome was built in a day!

But it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

It takes time and practice to become proficient in how to teach online. That’s the truth. It also takes a great deal of time and investments in hardware, software, tools, training/education/professional development, networking and telecommunications infrastructure, and more. It takes numerous skillsets to do it well. (By the way, that’s why I like to think in terms of team-based content creation and delivery.)

Also, often times, it takes MORE time to teach online than it does to teach in a face-to-face classroom. That is certainly the case for the first time that you will be teaching online. You need to know that going into it. You have to put your course together PLUS learn how to deliver it effectively in an online-based format. You need to learn a variety of tools and related ecosystems. Not a simple, overnight kind of task, I can assure you.

So students, don’t expect your faculty members to become professional online-based teachers overnight Again, it takes time and practice…just like anything we set out to do.

And for you student teachers and Education Departments/Programs out there, keep at it. Don’t dismiss this time as a brief period/phenomenon that will simply go away and we’ll get back to “normal.” Make the necessary adjustments to your curriculum, toolsets, “teacher placements,” and more. Let’s get prepared for the future, come what may.

For higher ed, if you want to continue to use adjunct faculty members to handle a significant amount of the teaching load out there, you will need to better address the training and the $$/reimbursements that you provide to them.

And for all of the teachers, trainers, faculty members — and now even parents and/or guardians — out there, cut yourself some slack, give yourself some grace, and keep trying. One step at a time. Don’t get discouraged.

Also relevant/see:

Build and accelerate beyond the pandemic: Consciously deliver a great online experience for lifelong learners — from evoLLLution.com by Philip Regier

Excerpt:

Today’s learners have high expectations as expert consumers in all aspects of their lives. Higher education needs to create an infrastructure that meets the needs of this tech-savvy demographic. Institutions need to recognize that the online environment is here to stay and is in need of a rebuild in order to deliver the best student experience possible, even post-pandemic. In this interview, Phil Regier discusses the today’s learners’ expectations, scaling a high-quality online environment, and how to build the right infrastructure to support learners in this new and digitized normal.

 

Back-to-School Help for Students Without Internet — from by James K. Willcox
For millions of families, broadband access is a challenge. These resources can help bridge that digital divide.

Excerpt:

“If it wasn’t glaringly clear before, the pandemic has confirmed the vital importance of a broadband internet connection—one that is reliable, affordable, and in some cases, simply available,” says Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel in Consumers Reports’ Washington, D.C., office. “Unfortunately, far too many Americans lack access or are unable to afford broadband.”

A new state-by-state report on America’s K-12 students by Common Sense and Boston Consulting finds that almost 16 million students and 10 percent of teachers lack adequate internet or computing devices at home. Minority households are among the most affected. Though 18 percent of white homes lack broadband, the figure rises to 26 percent for Latinx homes and 30 percent for Black homes. The percentage is even higher among Native American households.

From DSC:
Though this solid article lists some very helpful resources, we have to do much better than this as a nation! It’s not right. 

My thanks to James McQueen for this resource.

 

Pandemic turns smartphones from luxury to must-have as India’s schools go online — from news.trust.org by Roli Srivastava
Smartphones help classes continue as schools remain closed, but the poorest families are struggling to keep up

Excerpts:

India is the world’s second-biggest smartphone market after China, and nearly half of the country’s almost one billion mobile users already have a phone with internet access.

With no clear sign of schools reopening soon, internet access has become a must for children to follow classes, prompting more low-income families to scrape together the money to buy a cheap or second-hand smartphone for the first time.

Customised lessons for first to 12th grade students will be aired on television and radio in a “one class-one channel” initiative planned by the federal human resource department.

 

Here’s how colleges should help close the digital divide in the COVID-Era — from edsurge.com by Dr. Mordecai I. Brownlee

Excerpt:

One key problem prevalent in many low-socioeconomic communities around the nation—like San Antonio, which now has the highest poverty rate of the country’s 25 largest metro areas—is the digital divide. Digital divide is a term used to describe the gap present in society between those who have access to the internet and technology and those who don’t.

It speaks directly to a primary challenge facing our education system in this COVID-era: Some students and families have the means to succeed in a remote learning environment, and others do not.

 

Microsoft Teams Rolls Out Virtual Rooms to Fight ‘Meeting Fatigue’ — from cheddar.com by Taylor Craig

Microsoft introduced Together Mode -- July 2020

 

A common background in meetings helps reduce extraneous cognitive load

 

A common background in meetings helps reduce extraneous cognitive load

 

From DSC:
Again, the longer the Coronavirus hangs around and we are learning and meeting like this, the more innovations like these will occur.

 


Addendums on 7/14/20:

Microsoft’s Together mode can help address executives’ concerns over remote work productivity — from businessinsider.com by Hirsh Chitkara

Excerpt:

Together mode offers an alternative to “grid view,” in which video call participants are displayed on-screen — instead, through AI segmentation, participants are placed in a single virtual environment such as an auditorium or coffee bar, creating the illusion that they are in the same space.

The future of work—the good, the challenging & the unknown — from microsofot.com by Jared Spataro

Excerpt:

Together mode is a new option in the Teams meeting experience that uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background. The view makes it feel like you’re sitting in the same room, which reduces background distractions, makes it easier to pick up on non-verbal cues, and makes back and forth conversation feel more natural.

 

Alphabet’s Loon starts beaming internet from balloons in Kenya — from cnbc.com by Ryan Browne

Key points
  • Loon said its balloon-powered internet service will initially cover 50,000 square kilometers in western and central parts of Kenya.
  • It aims to take a fleet of 35 balloons to the skies above eastern Africa “in the coming weeks.”
  • The news represents a significant milestone after years of publicity about the Alphabet-owned venture.
 

Learning experience designs of the future!!! [Christian]

From DSC:
The article below got me to thinking about designing learning experiences and what our learning experiences might be like in the future — especially after we start pouring much more of our innovative thinking, creativity, funding, entrepreneurship, and new R&D into technology-supported/enabled learning experiences.


LMS vs. LXP: How and why they are different — from blog.commlabindia.com by Payal Dixit
LXPs are a rising trend in the L&D market. But will they replace LMSs soon? What do they offer more than an LMS? Learn more about LMS vs. LXP in this blog.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Building on the foundation of the LMS, the LXP curates and aggregates content, creates learning paths, and provides personalized learning resources.

Here are some of the key capabilities of LXPs. They:

  • Offer content in a Netflix-like interface, with suggestions and AI recommendations
  • Can host any form of content – blogs, videos, eLearning courses, and audio podcasts to name a few
  • Offer automated learning paths that lead to logical outcomes
  • Support true uncensored social learning opportunities

So, this is about the LXP and what it offers; let’s now delve into the characteristics that differentiate it from the good old LMS.


From DSC:
Entities throughout the learning spectrum are going through many changes right now (i.e., people and organizations throughout K-12, higher education, vocational schools, and corporate training/L&D). If the first round of the Coronavirus continues to impact us, and then a second round comes later this year/early next year, I can easily see massive investments and interest in learning-related innovations. It will be in too many peoples’ and organizations’ interests not to.

I highlighted the bulleted points above because they are some of the components/features of the Learning from the Living [Class] Room vision that I’ve been working on.

Below are some technologies, visuals, and ideas to supplement my reflections. They might stir the imagination of someone out there who, like me, desires to make a contribution — and who wants to make learning more accessible, personalized, fun, and engaging. Hopefully, future generations will be able to have more choice, more control over their learning — throughout their lifetimes — as they pursue their passions.

Learning from the living class room

In the future, we may be using MR to walk around data and to better visualize data


AR and VR -- the future of healthcare

 

 

4 in 10 U.S. teens say they haven’t done online learning since schools closed — from kqed.org by Anya Kamenetz

Excerpt:

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

 

From DSC:
If you are able to — whether as a business or as an individual — please consider finding ways to help level the playing field in our nation by providing computers and broadband connectivity. Our society doesn’t need yet another gap, especially when you have this type of thing going on.

Online-based learning — along with blended learning — is likely a solid component of our learning ecosystems from here on out — but it’s not a level playing field out there right now.

 

 

Cisco takes a lesson from the coronavirus pandemic with new solutions for remote work and learning — from cnbc.com by Jordan Novet

Key points:

  • Cisco has helped some of its customers set up remote work and education technologies. Now it wants to bring those capabilities to more organizations.
  • While Cisco remains number one in the conferencing software as a service market, Zoom is becoming a bigger force.

Also see:

 

 

From DSC:
When reading the article below…Wayne Gretzky’s quote comes to mind here:

The legal industry needs to skate to where the puck is going to be.

ANALYSIS: The New Normal—Law Firms May Never Be the Same — from news.bloomberglaw.comby Sara Lord

Excerpt:

In our recent 2020 Legal Operations Survey, Bloomberg Law asked organizations including law firms, corporations, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions, a number of questions relating to their use of data and metrics. Included in our survey were questions relating to whether law firms measure the value of legal operations and legal technology. Responses indicated that two-thirds of law firms measure legal operations value and nearly one-quarter of law firms using legal technologies measure the value of that legal technology.

Firms think clients expect increased use of legal tech for efficiency

 

From DSC:
Some of the areas likely to see such tools integrated into their arenas, operations, and ecosystems:

 

EDUCAUSE COVID-19 QuickPoll Results: The Technology Workforce — from er.educause.edu by Susan Grajek

Excerpts:

Most of the survey respondents are working remotely and getting their work done. Although the work itself hasn’t changed much, workloads have increased, especially for IT leaders and people supporting teaching and learning. Most people have the technologies they need to work and to handle sensitive data, but many are struggling to maintain their physical, social, and emotional health. On the other hand, the newfound widespread ability to work productively from home is a silver lining, and respondents hope it can continue after the severe isolation of the pandemic eases.

Higher education institutions have had to change their cultures abruptly. Many respondents observed faster decision-making, greater focus, more collaboration, and more willingness to experiment and innovate.

The toothpaste is out of the tube: remote work works and should continue.

Greater compassion and support for work-life balance increases workforce engagement.

Values to keep: focus, communication, collaboration, and transparency.

The pandemic is accelerating digital transformation.

From DSC:
My health and work/family balance has been impacted, big time. A double whammy for me was that our local YMCA’s all closed down while the workloads increased even more. But as someone said, our ancestors had to deal with a lot worse than this with WWI and WWII, other wars/societal impacts, etc.

I, too, hope to be able to work more from home even after our workplaces are no longer off-limits. I get a lot done, my energy is better (not having to commute 2+ hours a day), my productivity to my employer has increased due to not having to commute –> the time I was in the car is time they get productivity-wise.

 

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