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:

 

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.

 

From DSC:
Below are some resources for teaching at home. And some of this (much of this?) is not typical homeschooling, just as much of what’s being done out there isn’t necessarily typical online-based learning. And some out there may not like such lists, and would prefer a detailed report on just one tool. But this last week was incredibly busy — and time is not a luxury I have right now. And these resources might provide someone out there with just the right tool or pedagogy that they’ve been looking for.

Also, I might suggest:

  • Creating a Google alert (google.com/alerts) on HSLDA, on homeschooling, on homeschoolers, and/or on related searches.
  • Create a Keyword Alert on an RSS aggregator such as Feedly
  • Follow relevant hashtags on Twitter such as #homeschooling

Some analog ideas:

  • Reading a book together
  • Watching a play, drama, or another type of program together
  • Taking a walk out in nature together
  • Gather together as a family and/or lingering over breakfast or dinner
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Taking pictures

And now is a great time to see what your child or children WANT TO LEARN ABOUT! Turn over the control to them for a while — and watch what happens when intrinsic motivation takes hold! 


Not a teacher but find yourself homeschooling? These educational apps are free — from parade.com by Stephanie Osmanski

  • This posting covers 25 Free Learning Apps

We are all homeschoolers now (podcast) — from cato.org featuring Kerry McDonald and Caleb Brown
Thanks to COVID-19, many parents find themselves with kids at home all day. What’s the best way to keep them engaged in their educations? Kerry McDonald, author of Unschooled, comments.

Getting Smart’s Getting Through

Free, Online Learning Resources When Coronavirus Closes Schools — from cato.org by Kerry McDonald

Homeschooling Mother and Author: 6 Ideas For Parents While Schools Are Closed — from fee.org by Kerry McDonald
Amid the Covid-19 lockdown, there are steps parents can take to make time at home with their children more rewarding and tolerable.

Apps for Special Needs Students—As School Buildings Shutter — from edutopia.org by Janey Clare
The coronavirus creates a unique challenge for special needs students—educators share recommendations for apps to support learning at home.

How to Support Home Learning in Elementary Grades — from edutopia.org by John Thomas
A first and second grade teacher shares his home learning plan for his students and how he is engaging their families.

6 Lessons Learned About Remote Learning During the Coronavirus Outbreak — from blogs.edweek.org by Mark Lieberman

 

Future Today Institute's 2020 tech trends report

Key takeaways of this report:

  • Welcome to the Synthetic Decade.
  • You’ll soon have augmented hearing and sight.
  • A.I.-as-a-Service and Data-as-a-Service will reshape business.
  • China has created a new world order.
  • Home and office automation is nearing the mainstream.
  • Everyone alive today is being scored.
  • We’ve traded FOMO for abject fear.
  • It’s the end of forgetting.
  • Our new trust economy is being formed.

 

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.

 

Six quick— but very important— points about Coronavirus and poverty in the US –– from commondreams.org by Bill Quigley; with thanks to a colleague at WMU-Cooley Law School for her message on this.
The most vulnerable among us simply do not have the same options as the most privileged.

Excerpts:

In the United States, tens of millions of people are at a much greater risk of getting sick from the coronavirus than others.  The most vulnerable among us do not have the option to comply with suggestions to stay home from work or work remotely. Most low wage workers do not have any paid sick days and cannot do their work from home.  The over two million people in jails and prisons each night do not have these options nor do the half a million homeless people.

One.  Thirty-four million workers do not have a single day of paid sick leave. Even though most of the developed world gives its workers paid sick leave there is no federal law requiring it for workers.

Two.  Low wage workers and people without a paid sick day have to continue to work to survive.

Three.  About 30 million people in the US do not have health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Four.  Staying home is not an option for the homeless.

Five.  Nearly 2.2 million people are in jails and prisons every day, the highest rate in the world.

Six.  Solutions?  [The article lists several.]

 
 

10 ways to make your LinkedIn stand out to recruiters — from fortune.com by Sarah Fielding

Excerpt:

According to the 2018 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Study, 77 percent of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn to find candidates, making it the most popular social media used for this purpose. So, if that job description is out of date or your photo is the one you took way back in your college dorms, you should definitely be serious about updating your profile. To ensure it stands out to recruiters, we spoke to career experts about the changes you can make…

From DSC:
I’m posting this especially for students…though it would likely be good for all of us to consider these tips. 

 

How higher education can adapt to the future of work — from weforum.org by Farnam Jahanian, President, Carnegie Mellon University; with thanks to Evan Kirstel for sharing this here

Excerpts:

Embrace the T-shaped approach to knowledge
The broad set of skills needed by tomorrow’s workforce also affects our approach to educational structure. At Carnegie Mellon University—like many other institutions—we have been making disciplinary boundaries much more porous and have launched programmes at the edges and intersections of traditional fields, such as behavioral economics, computational biology, and the nexus of design, arts, and technology. We believe this approach prepares our students for a future where thinking and working across boundaries will be vital. The value of combining both breadth and depth in higher education has also led to many universities embracing “T-shaped” teaching and learning philosophies, in which vertical (deep disciplinary) expertise is combined with horizontal (cross-cutting) knowledge.

Invest in personalised, technology-enhanced learning
The demand for more highly skilled workers continues to grow. Recent analysis of U.S. data by The Wall Street Journal found that more than 40% of manufacturing workers now have a college degree. By 2022, manufacturers are projected to employ more college graduates than workers with a high-school education or less. Technology-enhanced learning can help us keep up with demand and offer pathways for the existing workforce to gain new skills. AI-based learning tools developed in the past decade have incredible potential to personalise education, enhance college readiness and access, and improve educational outcomes. And perhaps most importantly, technology-enhanced learning has the compelling potential to narrow socioeconomic and racial achievement gaps among students.

The rapid pace of today’s advances requires a more comprehensive workforce and education strategy across a spectrum of measures, including policy, access, programmes and outreach. The private sector, government, educators and policy-makers must work together to deliver multiple pathways to opportunity for young people looking for their first foothold in the job market, as well as to re-skill and up-skill workers striving to maintain their place in the workforce. 

 

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.

 

Toward Inclusive Learning Spaces: Physiological, Cognitive, and Cultural Inclusion and the Learning Space Rating System — from er.educause.edu by Richard Holeton
Inclusive learning space design should be based on a tripartite framework addressing the diverse physiological, cognitive, and cultural needs of learners.

Excerpt:

Students with learning disabilities may have specific limitations in auditory perception and processing, visual perception and processing, information processing speed, abstract reasoning, long-term or short-term memory, spoken and written language ability, mathematical calculation, or executive functioning (e.g., planning and time management). Those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may suffer from impaired social interaction, diminished communication abilities, and sensory processing problems that may lead to agoraphobia or difficulty moving through spaces. Applying universal design and UDL principles, designers can and should go beyond the legal requirements to design truly inclusive spaces. Learning space design features that can help those with ASD include providing ordered and comprehensible spatial structures, a mix of large and small spaces, and some user control of environmental conditions, such as the amount of stimulation from light and bold colors.

The three main principles of UDL—to provide learners with multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, and multiple means of engagement—address cognitive diversity primarily through pedagogical design. Instructors applying UDL may provide course materials in multiple media, offer students different options for demonstrating their understanding and mastery, and build various ways for students to engage with instructors and one another.

Size and Space for Approach and Use: Accommodate diverse physical attributes by providing furnishings and equipment that fit various body sizes and shapes and by allowing appropriate space to permit the use of assistive devices and to accommodate reach and manipulation regardless of body size, posture, mobility, or hand and grip size.

 

Play is disappearing from kindergarten. It’s hurting kids. — from edsurge.com by  Joe Martin

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In an increasing number of schools, teachers of very young students are pressured to pack every moment of the day with structured, academically rigorous tasks. One recent whitepaper linked the practice to preparing kids for the long road of schooling ahead, in which progress is measured through standardized testing starting in third grade.

Friedrich Froebel, a pedagogue of modern education, coined the term “kindergarten” in 1840 after recognizing the importance of play in the development of young children. Inspired by the idea of a garden, he designed a classroom where the teacher presented children with objects, which they were allowed to play with in any way they could imagine. When they lost interest in one object, they would be presented with a new one to spark curiosity and creativity. Children were encouraged to grow and flourish in this free form, play-based environment.

From DSC:
Given that we are all into a lifelong learning situation now, I vote for more importance being placed on whether someone enjoyed their learning experience. That said, I know there is struggle in learning…and learning in the struggle. But we focus so much on grades and standardized testing. This robs the joy from the teaching and learning environment — for the teachers as well as for the kids.

Also see:

 

Notes from Stewart Hase’s keynote (Feb 2020) — with thanks to Dr. Lisa Marie Blaschke in Germany for her Tweet on this

  • The commodification of education – turns out sausages
    or
  • Are we creating more Greta Thunbergs?

Creating learning experiences where people are not sausages. Policymakers don’t get it. Practitioners do.

~11:00 mark –> Learner agency; have control over what they can learn about (inserted graphic from DSC below)

Heutagogy (self-determined learning)

  • …the learner is a partner (agent) in designing and realizing their own learning (Hase & Kenyon, 2000)

PAH continuum – Pedagogy –> Andragogy –>  Heutagogy

Hobby – learned to do it but didn’t go to school for it. How did you go about learning it?

  • Listened to radio, watched YouTube videos, watched other people, trial and error, repeated activity, conversations/reflections/group learning, read books, break things down into smaller parts, seek out a mentor, exploring, testing hypothesis, fail, get stuck and find a way through

Kids know how to do heutagogy – very natural; self-determined learning.

~21:45 To what extent do we incorporate heutagogy into our classrooms?

  • Context and experience – the neurons you bring to the learning table
  • Competence and capability
  • Negotiated learning; let the learner contextualize stuff for you
  • Experiential learning
  • Flexible assessment
  • Chunking the learning
  • Chunk the assessment
  • Flipped classroom
  • Project-based learning

The learning leader: New skills

  • Happy with ambiguity – have to give up control and power
  • Have to trust people
  • Relationship oriented
  • Process not content oriented
  • Coach and guide
  • Scientist
  • Facilitator
 

Guides to help kids learn coding — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Below is a collection of some of the best books to help your kids learn coding. Kids will get to learn the basics of computer coding through a wide variety of interactive visuals, engaging games and project-based  activities. They will also get to experiment with different softwares and programming languages such as Python, Java, Scratch and many more. Links to the books are under the visual.

From DSC:
I don’t subscribe to the idea/expectation that every student should become a programmer and have extensive exposure to it. Why? Because:

  1. It’s been my experience that programming requires a different kind of passion, a different way of thinking and processing information, a different way of problem-solving, a different disposition/makeup that many people (including myself) don’t have. This is one of the reasons why coders are often in such demand and are often paid so much — because the vast majority of people don’t want to do it (at least as programming exists today).
  2. I’d like to see our students enjoy their learning. In fact, I’d like to see more emphasis on students enjoying their learning, and far less on grades. Given the new reality of lifelong learning, folks’ quality of life would increase if that were the case. To expect everyone to be able to code applications of some significance is an entirely different matter.

All that said, I do think it’s helpful for students to at least have some exposure to how to program — a basic understanding of coding and what are some of the things that are involved in that space. To have an appreciation of the process, some basic syntax, what’s possible, etc. would be helpful. 

Introduction to programming classes should explain why programming is relevant, list some of the various languages out there, list some different kinds of applications that we use today, and provide some basic elements of programming. Perhaps students could create some very basic, fun things. This could wet some students’ whistles big-time, while helping other students come to the conclusion of, “Well, I tried it, but I don’t want to do this for a living.”

 

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