From DSC:
First of all, an excerpt from an email from RetrievalPractice.org:

Last week, we talked about an activity we call Flash Forward. Simply ask your students these questions:

“Now that you’ve taken this class, what is one thing you want to remember 10 years from now (and why)?”

“How will you remember that one thing? What will you do to make sure you don’t forget?”

Second of all, the topic of remembering something 10 years from now (from some current learning) made me think about obtaining a long-term return on investment (ROI) from that learning.

In the online-based course that I’ve been teaching for a while now, I’m all about helping the students in my classes obtain long-term benefits from taking the class. Grades aren’t the key. The learning is the key!

The class is entitled, “Foundations of Information Technology” and I want them to be using the tools, technologies, services, and concepts (that we learned about) loooooong after they graduate from college! We work on things like RSS feeds, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, building their network, building their personal brand, HTML/web design, Microsoft Excel, the Internet of Things and much more. I want them to be practicing those things, leveraging those tools, pulse-checking their surroundings, networking with others, serving others with their gifts, and building on the foundations that they put into place waaaay back in 201__.

 

 

 

Teachers across America are obsessed with Google products — here’s how Apple and Microsoft plan to win them back — from businessinsider.com by Rachel Premack

Excerpt:

  • Google has taken over technology in the classroom from education stalwarts Microsoft and Apple.
  • That’s a valuable market to dominate. Ed tech is expected to hit $43 billion in value by 2019, just under half of which is based in K-12.
  • Chromebooks are cheaper than hardware from Microsoft and Apple, and Google’s classroom management software is a teacher favorite because of how easy it is to use.
  • Here’s what the two plan to do to take back some market share from Google.

 

 

 

 

Teachers urged to instill assignments with ‘choice and relevancy’ — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

new report from the Education Trust looks at the role of two “powerful levers” — choice and relevancy — in motivating and engaging students. This national nonprofit works on issues that disproportionately affect students from low-income families and students of color. In its new paper the organization offered guidance to help educators bring relevancy to their assignments and give students “authentic choices.”

 

As they concluded, “When teachers consistently offer assignments that include choice in content, product or process, students will find the learning ownership needed to stay engaged and achieve at high levels.”

 

 

From DSC:
At this stage in life, my wife and I have one of our kids in high school…our son, who is now in his junior year. He is a very intelligent young man who wants to go into acting/drama/the theater. But he is a game player. He knows how the game is played and he plays it (most of the time). He can’t wait until the next phase of life because he views so much of his current education as being forced down his throat. Many of the topics that his courses deal with are things that he doesn’t care anything about. He would much rather study topics that HE wants to learn about.

He shared two recent examples with me:

  1. In his acting class, his acting teacher gave some of his own personal background and how he came to be where he is today; every eye and ear were open my son said…it was completely quiet in the room
  2. In his econ class, the teacher shared about the value of time on investing and gave some examples involving the growth of some investments over time; again, every eye and ear was open according to my son.

These were items of extreme relevance to those classes/audiences. And the students were paying attention, big time.

Also, when given more choice, students are apt to be much more engaged in their learning — even, perhaps, developing more of an actual enjoyment of learning.

Funny (but not really) how many times we hear of adults who later on went on to love learning…but they hated school.

 

 

 

 
 

GM to lay off 15 percent of salaried workers, halt production at five plants in U.S. and Canada — from washingtonpost.com by Taylor Telford

Excerpts:

Amid global restructuring, General Motors announced Monday it would reduce its North American production and salaried and executive workforce

These changes are part of GM’s efforts to focus its resources on self-driving and electric vehicles, as well as more efficient trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the company said in a statement.

The company also said it will cut 15 percent of its salaried workforce, laying off 25 percent of its executives to “streamline decision-making.” GM also said it will close two plants outside North America by the end of 2019. Those locations have yet to be announced.

 

From DSC to students:
Take note of this. If you’re heading for the corporate world (and other arenas as well these days), be ready for constant change. Always keep learning in order to stay marketable. In addition, hopefully you’ll be pulse checking the relevant landscapes along the way to minimize getting broadsided. Look for signs of what’s coming down the pike and develop some potential scenarios — and your plans/responses to those scenarios.

 

 

Combining retrieval, spacing, and feedback boosts STEM learning — from retrievalpractice.org

Punchline:
Scientists demonstrated that when college students used a quizzing program that combined retrieval practice, spacing, and feedback, exam performance increased by nearly a letter grade.

—-

Abstract
The most effective educational interventions often face significant barriers to widespread implementation because they are highly specific, resource intense, and/or comprehensive. We argue for an alternative approach to improving education: leveraging technology and cognitive science to develop interventions that generalize, scale, and can be easily implemented within any curriculum. In a classroom experiment, we investigated whether three simple, but powerful principles from cognitive science could be combined to improve learning. Although implementation of these principles only required a few small changes to standard practice in a college engineering course, it significantly increased student performance on exams. Our findings highlight the potential for developing inexpensive, yet effective educational interventions that can be implemented worldwide.

In summary, the combination of spaced retrieval practice and required feedback viewing had a powerful effect on student learning of complex engineering material. Of course, the principles from cognitive science could have been applied without the use of technology. However, our belief is that advances in technology and ideas from machine learning have the potential to exponentially increase the effectiveness and impact of these principles. Automation is an important benefit, but technology also can provide a personalized learning experience for a rapidly growing, diverse body of students who have different knowledge and academic backgrounds. Through the use of data mining, algorithms, and experimentation, technology can help us understand how best to implement these principles for individual learners while also producing new discoveries about how people learn. Finally, technology facilitates access. Even if an intervention has a small effect size, it can still have a substantial impact if broadly implemented. For example, aspirin has a small effect on preventing heart attacks and strokes when taken regularly, but its impact is large because it is cheap and widely available. The synergy of cognitive science, machine learning, and technology has the potential to produce inexpensive, but powerful learning tools that generalize, scale, and can be easily implemented worldwide.

Keywords: Education. Technology. Retrieval practice. Spacing. Feedback. Transfer of learning.

 

 

Awesome study hacks: 5 ways to remember more of what you read — from academiccoachingwithpat.com by Pat LaDouceur; with thanks to Julia Reed for her Tweet on this

Excerpts:

  1. Annotate as you read
  2. Skim
  3. Rewrite key ideas in your own words
  4. Write a critique
  5. List your questions

 

Reorganizing information helps you learn it more effectively, which is why Rewriting makes the list as one of the top 5 reading study hacks. It forces you to stay active and involved with the text (from DSC: the word “engaged” comes to mind here), to consider arguments and synthesize information, and thus remember more of what you read.

 

 

From DSC:
The picture below was posted in the item below from edutopia. What a powerful picture! And not just for art or drama teachers!

Does it not once again illustrate that we are different? The lenses that we view the world through are different. Our learners are different. Each of us comes to a learning experience with different backgrounds, emotions, knowledge…and different real-life experiences.

As the article mentions, we need to create safe and supportive learning environments, where the love of (or at least the enjoyment of) learning can thrive.

 

Getting creative with social and emotional learning (SEL) — from by Maurice Elias, Sara LaHayne
How to incorporate creative expression and movement in the classroom while building social and emotional learning skills.

Excerpt:

Being creative is an inherently vulnerable process. In order to authentically build SEL competencies through creative expression, teachers need to strive to create a safe space, provide time, and open doors for validation.

  • Creating a safe and supportive classroom environment
  • Providing time
  • Opening the doors for validation

 

 
 

Introducing several new ideas to provide personalized, customized learning experiences for all kinds of learners! [Christian]

From DSC:
I have often reflected on differentiation or what some call personalized learning and/or customized learning. How does a busy teacher, instructor, professor, or trainer achieve this, realistically?

It’s very difficult and time-consuming to do for sure. But it also requires a team of specialists to achieve such a holy grail of learning — as one person can’t know it all. That is, one educator doesn’t have the necessary time, skills, or knowledge to address so many different learning needs and levels!

  • Think of different cognitive capabilities — from students that have special learning needs and challenges to gifted students
  • Or learners that have different physical capabilities or restrictions
  • Or learners that have different backgrounds and/or levels of prior knowledge
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Educators  and trainers have so many things on their plates that it’s very difficult to come up with _X_ lesson plans/agendas/personalized approaches, etc.  On the other side of the table, how do students from a vast array of backgrounds and cognitive skill levels get the main points of a chapter or piece of text? How can they self-select the level of difficulty and/or start at a “basics” level and work one’s way up to harder/more detailed levels if they can cognitively handle that level of detail/complexity? Conversely, how do I as a learner get the boiled down version of a piece of text?

Well… just as with the flipped classroom approach, I’d like to suggest that we flip things a bit and enlist teams of specialists at the publishers to fulfill this need. Move things to the content creation end — not so much at the delivery end of things. Publishers’ teams could play a significant, hugely helpful role in providing customized learning to learners.

Some of the ways that this could happen:

Use an HTML like language when writing a textbook, such as:

<MainPoint> The text for the main point here. </MainPoint>

<SubPoint1>The text for the subpoint 1 here.</SubPoint1>

<DetailsSubPoint1>More detailed information for subpoint 1 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SubPoint2>The text for the subpoint 2 here.</SubPoint2>

<DetailsSubPoint2>More detailed information for subpoint 2 here.</DetailsSubPoint2>

<SubPoint3>The text for the subpoint 3 here.</SubPoint3>

<DetailsSubPoint3>More detailed information for subpoint 3 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SummaryOfMainPoints>A list of the main points that a learner should walk away with.</SummaryOfMainPoints>

<BasicsOfMainPoints>Here is a listing of the main points, but put in alternative words and more basic ways of expressing those main points. </BasicsOfMainPoints>

<Conclusion> The text for the concluding comments here.</Conclusion>

 

<BasicsOfMainPoints> could be called <AlternativeExplanations>
Bottom line: This tag would be to put things forth using very straightforward terms.

Another tag would be to address how this topic/chapter is relevant:
<RealWorldApplication>This short paragraph should illustrate real world examples

of this particular topic. Why does this topic matter? How is it relevant?</RealWorldApplication>

 

On the students’ end, they could use an app that works with such tags to allow a learner to quickly see/review the different layers. That is:

  • Show me just the main points
  • Then add on the sub points
  • Then fill in the details
    OR
  • Just give me the basics via an alternative ways of expressing these things. I won’t remember all the details. Put things using easy-to-understand wording/ideas.

 

It’s like the layers of a Microsoft HoloLens app of the human anatomy:

 

Or it’s like different layers of a chapter of a “textbook” — so a learner could quickly collapse/expand the text as needed:

 

This approach could be helpful at all kinds of learning levels. For example, it could be very helpful for law school students to obtain outlines for cases or for chapters of information. Similarly, it could be helpful for dental or medical school students to get the main points as well as detailed information.

Also, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) grows, the system could check a learner’s cloud-based learner profile to see their reading level or prior knowledge, any IEP’s on file, their learning preferences (audio, video, animations, etc.), etc. to further provide a personalized/customized learning experience. 

To recap:

  • “Textbooks” continue to be created by teams of specialists, but add specialists with knowledge of students with special needs as well as for gifted students. For example, a team could have experts within the field of Special Education to help create one of the overlays/or filters/lenses — i.e., to reword things. If the text was talking about how to hit a backhand or a forehand, the alternative text layer could be summed up to say that tennis is a sport…and that a sport is something people play. On the other end of the spectrum, the text could dive deeply into the various grips a person could use to hit a forehand or backhand.
  • This puts the power of offering differentiation at the point of content creation/development (differentiation could also be provided for at the delivery end, but again, time and expertise are likely not going to be there)
  • Publishers create “overlays” or various layers that can be turned on or off by the learners
  • Can see whole chapters or can see main ideas, topic sentences, and/or details. Like HTML tags for web pages.
  • Can instantly collapse chapters to main ideas/outlines.

 

 

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