An obituary for education—or not? — from brookings.edu by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Jennifer M. Zosh, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Elias Blinkoff, and Molly Scott

Excerpt:

MAKING SCHOOLS WORK
The science of learning offers a blueprint of how children in our future can and will succeed. For the last three decades, researchers made enormous progress in understanding how human brains learn. If we can teach in a way that capitalizes on these findings—if we can apply the science to the classrooms—we will have evidence-based ways of helping children grow the suite of skills that will make them successful in today’s classrooms and the workplaces of tomorrow. Our Brookings report, A New Path to Educational Reform and our book Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning to Joyful Classroom Practice, detail how this research in the science of learning can offer a scalable, evidenced based path to re-invigorating and re-imagining education for our time.

Children learn when they are active, not passive observers of what is taught. Children learn when they are engaged in the material and not distracted, when the information is meaningfully connected to their knowledge in ways that are culturally responsive. They learn best in social contexts, when there are strong teacher-student and peer relationships, when the information is iteratively presented multiple times in slightly different ways, and when the learning is joyful. Yes, it is possible to have joyful teaching that affords deeper learning. When we teach in ways that the brain learns, the learning “sticks” and generalizes to new problems and new solutions.

 

Teaching: Flipping a Class Helps — but Not for the Reason You’d Think — from the Teaching newsletter out at The Chronicle of Higher Education by Beckie Supiano

Excerpt:

The authors propose a different model of flipping that gives their paper its title, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed — Rethinking Flipped Learning: A Review of Meta-Analyses and a Subsequent Meta-Analysis.”

Their model:

  • Fail: Give students a chance to try solving problems. They won’t have all the information needed to arrive at the solution, but the attempt activates their prior learning and primes them for the coming content.
  • Flip: Deliver the content ahead of class, perhaps in a video lecture.
  • Fix: During class time, a traditional lecture can deepen understanding and correct misperceptions.
  • Feed: Formative assessment lets students check their level of understanding.

I find this paper interesting for a number of reasons. It ties into a challenge I’d like to dig into in the future: the gap that can exist between a teaching approach as described in research literature and as applied in the classroom.

From DSC:
Though I haven’t read this analysis (please accept my apology here), I would hope that it would also mention one of the key benefits of the flipped classroom approach — giving students more control over the pacing of the content. Students can stop, fast-forward, rewind, and pause the content as necessary. This is very helpful for all students, but especially for students who don’t have English as their primary language.

I like this approach because if students fail to solve the problem at first, they will likely be listening more/very carefully as to how to solve it:

Drawing on related research, we proposed a more specific model for flipping, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed” whereby students are asked to first engage in generating solutions to novel problems even if they fail to generate the correct solutions, before receiving instructions.

Plus, students will begin to recall/activate their prior knowledge on a subject in order to try to solve the problem. That retrieval practice in and of itself can be helpful.

 

Learning from Our Students: Student Perspectives on Good Teaching — from everylearnereverywhere.org; with thanks to Beth McMurtrie for this resource

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Twenty-two students trusted us with their stories and their reflections on good teaching. We honor that trust and hope that instructors who read this document gain as much insight about teaching from the students as we did. While we often write of students in the plural, each one of these students had an individual experience with learning and therefore a unique story to tell about good teaching. The key takeaways from their stories are:

  1. Students want to be recognized as individuals and appreciated in the classroom.
  2. Students want real life in the classroom.
  3. Students want to be treated with respect and trust.

We hope readers will likewise ask their own students, “What do your best instructors do?” and use that feedback to continuously improve their craft as teachers.

Out of 22 students:

active learning and a sense of belonging were the most frequently mentioned items from these 22 students

 

‘Spaces Matter’ — from insidehighered.com by Colleen Flaherty
Limited access to active learning spaces may disproportionately hurt historically excluded groups, and institutions should build more of these spaces in the name of equity, according to a new study. Where does higher ed stand on next-generation learning spaces?

An interactive lecture hall at Rutgers University at New Brunswick, surrounded by active learning spaces across the U.S.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A new study is therefore concerning—it found that limited access to active learning classrooms forced students to self-sort based on their social networks or their attitudes toward learning. The authors warn that limited access to active learning spaces may create a marginalizing force that pushes women, in particular, out of the sciences.

The solution? Invest in active learning spaces.

From DSC:
The groups I worked in over the last 15 years created several active learning spaces, but the number of rooms was definitely limited due to the expenses involved. Students liked these spaces and the feedback from faculty members was positive as well. Some students often staked their claims in these rooms so that they could study together (this was especially true for those majoring in Engineering).

 

How I Learned (Almost) Everything I Know — from byrdseed.com by Ian Bryd

You’ve Got To See It
In short, the great educational leaders in my life did one of two things:

  1. Showed me exactly what to do.
  2. Sent me to the right person so I could watch it in action.

 

 

10 Arguments for Inciting Learning — from insidehighered.com by Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis
Active learning has been clearly shown to be more effective than traditional modes, write Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis, who outline its many merits to those who continue to resist it.

Excerpts:

So what can we do to convince more instructors to actually support and use active learning? Over the past several years, we’ve been researching and interviewing faculty members around the world for our upcoming book on teaching and learning, The New College Classroom. And a number of those faculty have asked us how they can best explain the merits of active learning to colleagues and administrators—and even to students and their parents— who continue to be resistant to it. Here are 10 principles, or convincing arguments, that we’ve shared with them.

“Nothing will change until faculty incentives do.
Until we change our academic reward structures for hiring and promotion, faculty members have no reason to take valuable time out from writing monographs or refereed papers to rethink their role in the classroom. We cannot incite students to learn without inciting—and incentivizing—their instructors first so they will invest in understanding and applying active learning. We’ve already made the case for why such an educational approach is vitally important, so we now say simply to top administrators: let’s do it!

Audre Lorde

 

Aurora Institute: Federal Policy Priorities and Recommendations 2022 — from aurora-institute.org

Introduction:

It is critically important for our country to reimagine education and focus on investing in our future, not our past. The current K-12 education system has not produced equitable outcomes for all students. We must change policies and invest in innovation to transform our education systems. Student-centered policies are needed for true systems change and innovations for equity. We must challenge frames and investments that perpetuate tinkering with the existing system, rather than reimagining it. The time is ripe to redesign education to align with future needs and purposes to achieve human flourishing.

To ensure all learners are prepared for life’s uncertainties, as well as a more knowledge-driven workforce and economy, we must restructure the education system to universally recognize anytime, anywhere learning. Many states and districts have taken steps to move in new and improved directions, but more work must be done to meet students where they are and accelerate them to successful futures and prosperity. We must question the fundamental purposes of our education system, align our goals to that purpose, and expand learning to anytime and anyplace, with greater opportunities for next generation learning.

Aurora Institute’s latest Federal Policy Priorities represent an equity-oriented and future-focused set of recommendations designed to ensure that the nation’s education system moves from its current state to a system capable of preparing all learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve lifelong success.

 


From DSC:
I post this because I like the design thinking exhibited herein. I love the idea of greater collaboration between K-12, higher education, vocational training, and the workforce/workplace. We should consider eliminating — or at least building much better bridges between the — existing silos. These silos seem to be easier to put up than they are to take down.


 

 

Top Content Providers For Immersive Learning (2022) — from elearningindustry.com by Christopher Pappas

Summary: 

Immersive learning experiences allow learners to interact by simulating real-life scenarios. Are you ready to offer engaging virtual environments and experiences to your workforce? Dive right into this thoroughly curated top list featuring the best content providers for VR training and bring your teams one step closer to the Metaverse.

 

Survey Shows Teachers See Play and Choice in Learning Methods As Key to Student Engagement — from thejournal.com by Kristal Kuykendall

Excerpt:

A recent survey of teachers by Kahoot reveals that educators see playful learning and student choice in learning methods as vital to helping boost student engagement and outcomes, according to a new report from the ed tech company.

Kahoot’s May survey of over 8,000 K–16 educators nationwide found that teachers are still concerned about drops in student engagement during the pandemic, and they consider more student-centered approaches as the path forward.

 

From DSC:
This looks like an interesting set of educational resources!

This is a screenshot of the Twinkl Education Blog


From DSC:
One of our daughters — the one who is going to be teaching third graders next year — said that the above siteand resources reminded her of Teachers Pay Teachers. So I thought I’d include that here as well.

This is a screenshot of the Teachers Pay Teachers website

 

 
 

4 Online Tactics to Improve Blended Learning — from campustechnology.com by Megan Burke, CPA, Ph.D.
An accounting professor shares how best practices from online pedagogy have helped her create a blended learning environment that supports student success.

Excerpts:

Now that students are back in the classroom, I have been combining these tactics with in-person instruction to create a blended learning environment that gives my students the best of both worlds.

The right activities, on the other hand, can make a significant difference. For example:

  • Breakout rooms (for think/pair/share);
  • Polls and quizzes that are low-stakes and anonymous to encourage full engagement;
  • Using the whiteboard option; and
  • Having reviews of material at the end of class.

I also encourage faculty (and myself!) to get out and meet with employers and ask what we can do to better prepare students, so that we can get a better feel for what first-year staff really need to know — and ensure that we present that knowledge and information in the classroom.

 

A Rubric for Selecting Active Learning Technologies — from er.educause.edu by Katie Bush, Monica Cormier, and Graham Anthony
A rubric can be an invaluable aid in evaluating how well technologies support active learning.

Excerpt:

Because the use of active learning is characterized by a broad range of activities in the classroom, comparing technology and determining which option provides more benefit to an active learning classroom can be difficult. The Rubric for Active Learning Technology Evaluation can provide some differentiation when comparing technology offerings. It has been designed to reveal subtle but impactful differences between technology in the context of active learning. The rubric was designed to be a tool for comparative technology evaluation and as such should be quick to use when comparing similar technologies. It is freely available to use and adapt under a Creative Commons license.

 

 

Best Free Virtual Escape Rooms for Schools — from techlearning.com by Diana Restifo
Virtual escape rooms incorporate riddles, puzzles, math, logic, and literacy skills to create an exciting adventure in education.

Excerpt:

Virtual escape rooms are a form of gamified learning that incorporates riddles, puzzles, math, logic, and literacy skills to create an exciting adventure in education. Students demonstrate their skills and knowledge in order to unlock each level, eventually earning their liberation. Some escape rooms are one-page affairs, while others weave an intricate backstory to enthrall players. Many also offer hints when an incorrect answer is given, thereby encouraging kids to persevere until success is achieved.

There’s no charge for any of these virtual escape rooms, so feel free to free yourself, for free!

Also relevant/see:

Storybird Lesson Plan — from techlearning.com by Stephanie Smith Budhai, Ph.D.
This Storybird Lesson Plan is designed to help educators utilize a digital learning platform to support teaching and learning

Excerpt:

Storybird is an attractive and easy-to-use reading and writing online edtech tool with beautiful images to inspire students as they develop their literacy skills. Storybird goes beyond reading online books, and provides an accessible platform for learners of all ages to engage in a wide variety of reading and writing genres including descriptive, creative, and persuasive writing as well as longform stories, flash fiction, poetry, and comics.

For an overview of Storybird, check out What is Storybird for Education? Best Tips and Tricks. This sample lesson plan is geared toward fiction storytelling writing instruction for elementary students.

 

Why Improving Student Learning is So Hard — from opencontent.org by David Wiley

Excerpt:

2. Student behavior will normally change only in response to changes in faculty behavior – specifically, the assignments faculty give and the support faculty provide.

For many students, the things-they-do-to-learn are all located within the relatively small universe of things their faculty assign them to do – read chapters, complete homework assignments, etc. For a variety of reasons, and many of them perfectly good reasons, “students don’t do optional” – they only do what they’re going to be graded on.

Therefore, students will likely engage in more effective learning behaviors ONLY IF their faculty assign them more effective learning activities. Faculty can further increase the likelihood of students engaging in more effective learning activities if they support them appropriately throughout the process.

From DSC:
I can put an “Amen” to the above excerpt. For years I managed a Teaching & Learning Digital Studio. Most of the students didn’t come into the Studio for help, because most of the faculty members assigned the normal kinds of things (papers, quizzes, and such). Had there been more digitally-created means of showing what students knew, there would have been more usage of the T&L Digital Studio. 

Also, if we want to foster more creativity and innovation — as well as give our learners more choice and more control over their learning — we should occasionally get away from the traditional papers.

Another comment here is that it’s hard to change what faculty members do, when Instructional Designers can’t even get in the car to help faculty members navigate. We need more team-based efforts in designing our learning experiences.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian