A $500 Million International Project Will Create the Most Detailed Map of the Brain Ever — from singularityhub.com by Edd Gent

Excerpt:

That’s why the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Initiative has just announced $500 million in funding over five years for an effort to characterize and map neuronal and other types of cells across the entire human brain. The project will be spearheaded by the Allen Institute in Seattle, but involves collaborations across 17 other institutions in the US, Europe, and Japan.

“These awards will enable researchers to explore the multifaceted characteristics of the more than 200 billion neurons and non-neuronal cells in the human brain at unprecedented detail and scale,” John Ngai, director of the NIH BRAIN Initiative, said in a statement.

From DSC:
The LORD does awesome work. I wonder how many of these scientists and researchers will become believers while doing this project.

Proverbs 27:1

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

 

Excerpt from this article from GSV Ventures

  1. Multimodal — CoRise’s suite of learning modalities — synchronous instruction, asynchronous instruction, peer-to-peer learning, TA-supported learning, project-based learning — combined together deliver a unique and rich learning experience.

From DSC:
This nicely outlines another reason why I call this blog Learning Ecosystems — as there are many forms for learning and things are constantly changing/morphing.


Also from GSV Ventures:


 

Also relevant/see the following post I created roughly a month ago:

In the USA, the perspectives of the ABA re: online-based learning — and their take on the pace of change — are downright worrisome.

In that posting I said:

For an industry in the 21st century whose main accreditation/governance body for law schools still won’t let more online learning occur without waivers…how can our nation expect future lawyers and law firms to be effective in an increasingly tech-enabled world?

The pace of the ABA is like that of a tortoise, while the pace of change is exponential

 
 

We must end ‘productivity paranoia’ on working from home says Microsoft — from inavateonthenet.net

Excerpt:

As part of a survey on hybrid working patterns of more than 20,000 people in 11 countries, Microsoft has called for an end to ‘productivity paranoia’ with 85% of business leaders still saying they find it difficult to have confidence in staff productivity when remote working.

“Closing the feedback loop is key to retaining talent. Employees who feel their companies use employee feedback to drive change are more satisfied (90% vs. 69%) and engaged (89% vs. 73%) compared to those who believe their companies don’t drive change. And the employees who don’t think their companies drive change based on feedback? They’re more than twice as likely to consider leaving in the next year (16% vs. 7%) compared to those who do. And it’s not a one-way street. To build trust and participation in feedback systems, leaders should regularly share what they’re hearing, how they’re responding, and why.”

From DSC:
It seems to me that trust and motivation are highly involved here. Trust in one’s employees to do their jobs. And employees who aren’t producing and have low motivation levels should consider changing jobs/industries to find something that’s much more intrinsically motivating to them. Find a cause/organization that’s worth working for.

 

VIRTUAL CAREER EXPLORATION SERIES — from kentisd.org (emphasis DSC)

Kent ISD’s Career Chats are designed to provide 7-12 grade students a virtual opportunity to meet real professionals employed in real jobs.  This series of 30-40 minute sessions will highlight professions in a variety of career pathways, giving students the opportunity to learn more about a career of interest, or to explore new options.  Professionals will share their own career path, along with valuable industry insights that support student career exploration.  Students will have an opportunity to ask their own questions through the platform’s chat function.

 

From DSC:
The other day, I saw an article that said that there’s no such thing as 21st-century skills. I wasn’t able to access the whole article, so I can’t comment fully on it. But I disagree that no specific skills are needed for the 21st century.

When we’re moving at very fast speeds and technological changes — and their ripple effects — seem like they are on an exponential trajectory, I think that there’s one skill that stands out as being very important in the 21st century. And that is the ability to scan the landscapes to be able to read “early signals” — to practice some futurism is very helpful these days. It keeps one — and one’s organization — from being broadsided.

This is also the case as the ripple effects continue to move out from the occurrence of Covid19. 


Addendum on 9/28/22:

Megatrends | September 25, 2022 — by Michael Moe, Tim Juang, Owen Ritz, & Kit Royce

“The trend is your friend.” – Martin Zweig

“Follow the trend lines, not the headlines.” – Bill Clinton

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

“I don’t set the trends. I just find out what they are and exploit them.” – Dick Clark

Megatrends are powerful technological, economic, and social forces that develop from a groundswell (early adoption), move into the mainstream (mass market), and disrupt the status quo (mature market), driving change, productivity, and ultimately growth opportunities for companies, industries, and entire economies.


Addendums on 9/30/22:

 

And on the teacher side of the house:

From DSC:
But looking at this list of skills for teachers, I can’t help but wonder if we’re asking too much of teachers and faculty members. Would our students benefit from the use of team-based content creation, delivery, and teaching?

 

Course Awareness in HyFlex: Managing unequal participation numbers — from hyflexlearning.org by Candice Freeman

Excerpt:

How do you teach a HyFlex course when the number of students in various participation modes is very unequal? How do you teach one student in a mode – often in the classroom? Conversely, you could ask how do you teach 50 asynchronous students with very few in the synchronous mode(s)? Answers will vary greatly depending from teacher to teacher. This article suggests a strategy called Course Awareness, a mindfulness technique designed to help teachers envision each learner as being in the instructor’s presence and engaged in the instruction regardless of participation (or attendance) mode choice.

Teaching HyFlex in an active learning classroom

From DSC:
I had understood the hyflex teaching model as addressing both online-based (i.e., virtual/not on-site) and on-site/physically-present students at the same time — and that each student could choose the manner in which they wanted to attend that day’s class. For example, on one day, a student could take the course in room 123 of Anderson Hall. The next time the class meets, that same student could attend from their dorm room.

But this article introduces — at least to me — the idea that we have a third method of participating in the hyflex model — asynchronously (i.e., not at the same time). So rather than making their way to Anderson Hall or attending from their dorm, that same student does not attend at the same time as other students (either virtually or physically). That student will likely check in with a variety of tools to catch up with — and contribute to — the discussions. As the article mentions:

Strategically, you need to employ web-based resources designed to gather real-time information over a specified period of time, capturing all students and not just students engaging live. For example, Mentimeter, PollEverywhere, and Sli.do allow the instructor to pose engaging, interactive questions without limiting engagement time to the instance the question is initially posed. These tools are designed to support both synchronous and asynchronous participation. 

So it will be interesting to see how our learning ecosystems morph in this area. Will there be other new affordances, pedagogies, and tools that take into consideration that the faculty members are addressing synchronous and asynchronous students as well as online and physically present students? Hmmm…more experimentation is needed here, as well as more:

  • Research
  • Instructional design
  • Design thinking
  • Feedback from students and faculty members

Will this type of model work best in the higher education learning ecosystem but not the K-12 learning ecosystem? Will it thrive with employees within the corporate realm? Hmmm…again, time will tell.


And to add another layer to the teaching and learning onion, now let’s talk about multimodal learning. This article, How to support multimodal learningby Monica Burns, mentions that:

Multimodal learning is a teaching concept where using different senses simultaneously helps students interact with content at a deeper level. In the same way we learn through multiple types of media in our own journey as lifelong learners, students can benefit from this type of learning experience.

The only comment I have here is that if you think that throwing a warm body into a K12 classroom fixes the problem of teachers leaving the field, you haven’t a clue how complex this teaching and learning onion is. Good luck to all of those people who are being thrown into the deep end — and essentially being told to sink or swim.

 

Teachers Are Ready for Systemic Change. Are Schools? — from edweek.org by Madeline Will
Schools need effective, transformative change. Leaders must be ready to take it on

Excerpt:

So many people in education—from teachers to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona—have called this moment, as schools emerge from the darkest shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, our chance for a “reset in education.”

It’s a sentiment that repeatedly comes up in my interviews with teachers. They wonder if the pandemic’s disruption of schools was a once-in-a-generation chance to transform the education system, which is riddled with inequities and pedagogical practices that date back decades.

Some educators also wonder if we’re on the verge of squandering such a chance. That may be; in the rush to get students back on track, we’re at risk for overlooking many of the lessons learned from the last couple years.

“The teachers know what works,” Kelly said. “We need more people to not only listen to teachers, but we also need them to implement the things that teachers say.”

From DSC:
If the K12 learning ecosystems out there don’t change, students, families — and teachers — may let their feet do the walking. We’re seeing a similar situation within higher education, with mostly students’ feet who are starting to do the walking (to alternatives). Some employers’ feet are getting itchy to walk as well.

If you were going to weigh the power that each area holds, what would you put on the weight employers have to effect change these days? Institutions of higher education? Students and their families? Hmmm…change needs to be in the air. The status quo hasn’t been working well within K-12 or within higher education.

Also relevant within K-12, see:

Exit Interview: Why This Veteran Teacher is Leaving the Profession — from edsurge.com by Jennifer Yoo-Brannon

Excerpt:

It’s a frank and sometimes emotional conversation between Jennifer Yoo-Brannon, an instructional coach at El Monte Union High School District in California, and Diana Bell, a veteran teacher of more than 18 years who recently decided to leave the profession. They talk about what led to that departure and how teaching could change to better support educators.

Many Eyes Are on the Teachers Who Leave. What About the Ones Who Stay? — from edsurge.com by Patrick Harris II

Excerpt:

My own experience sits among countless narratives from other teachers, including teachers of the year, revealing the difficulty and the emotion behind the decision to leave a school—and for some, the choice to part ways with a system that never had their best interest at heart.

A lesser told story is the plight of the teachers who stay behind. The emotional narratives about their experiences, their feelings and the pressures they carry.

 

From DSC:
I signed up to receive some items from Outlier.org. Here’s one of the emails that I recently received. It seems to me that this type of thing is going to be hard to compete against:

  • Professionally-done content
  • Created by teams of specialists, including game designers
  • Hand-picked professors/SME’s — from all over the world
  • Evidence-based learning tools

Outlier dot org could be tough to compete against -- professional-executed content creation and delivery

 

To Improve Outcomes for Students, We Must Improve Support for Faculty — from campustechnology.com by Dr. David Wiley
The doctoral programs that prepare faculty for their positions often fail to train them on effective teaching practices. We owe it to our students to provide faculty with the professional development they need to help learners realize their full potential.

Excerpts:

Why do we allow so much student potential to go unrealized? Why are well-researched, highly effective teaching practices not used more widely?

The doctoral programs that are supposed to prepare them to become faculty in physics, philosophy, and other disciplines don’t require them to take a single course in effective teaching practices. 

The entire faculty preparation enterprise seems to be caught in a loop, unintentionally but consistently passing on an unawareness that some teaching practices are significantly more effective than others. How do we break this cycle and help students realize their full potential as learners?

From DSC:
First of all, I greatly appreciate the work of Dr. David Wiley. His career has been dedicated to teaching and learning, open educational resources, and more. I also appreciate and agree with what David is saying here — i.e., that professors need to be taught how to teach as well as what we know about how people learn at this point in time. 

For years now, I’ve been (unpleasantly) amazed that we hire and pay our professors primarily for their research capabilities — vs. their teaching competence. At the same time, we continually increase the cost of tuition, books, and other fees. Students have the right to let their feet do the walking. As the alternatives to traditional institutions of higher education increase, I’m quite sure that we’ll see that happen more and more.

While I think that training faculty members about effective teaching practices is highly beneficial, I also think that TEAM-BASED content creation and delivery will deliver the best learning experiences that we can provide. I say this because multiple disciplines and specialists are involved, such as:

  • Subject Matter Experts (i.e., faculty members)
  • Instructional Designers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Web Designers
  • Learning Scientists; Cognitive Learning Researchers
  • Audio/Video Specialists  and Learning Space Designers/Architects
  • CMS/LMS Administrators
  • Programmers
  • Multimedia Artists who are skilled in working with digital audio and digital video
  • Accessibility Specialists
  • Librarians
  • Illustrators and Animators
  • and more

The point here is that one person can’t do it all — especially now that the expectation is that courses should be offered in a hybrid format or in an online-based format. For a solid example of the power of team-based content creation/delivery, see this posting.

One last thought/question here though. Once a professor is teaching, are they open to working with and learning from the Instructional Designers, Learning Scientists, and/or others from the Teaching & Learning Centers that do exist on their campus? Or do they, like many faculty members, think that such people are irrelevant because they aren’t faculty members themselves? Oftentimes, faculty members look to each other and don’t really care what support is offered (unless they need help with some of the technology.)


Also relevant/see:


 

From DSC:
Now you’re talking! A team-based effort to deliver an Associate’s Degree for 1/3 of the price! Plus a job-ready certificate from Google, IBM, or Salesforce. Nice. 

Check these items out!


We started Outlier because we believe that students deserve better. So we worked from the ground up to create the best online college courses in the world, just for curious-minded learners like you.

The brightest instructors, available on-demand. Interactive materials backed by cognitive science. Flexible timing. And that’s just the beginning.

Outlier.org

MasterClass’s Co-Founder Takes on the Community-College Degree — from wsj.com by Lindsay Ellis
A new, online-only education model promises associate degrees via prerecorded lectures from experts at Yale, NASA and other prestigious institutions

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

One of the founders of the celebrity-fueled, e-learning platform MasterClass is applying the same approach to the humble community-college degree—one based on virtual, highly produced lectures from experts at prestigious institutions around the country.

The two-year degrees—offered in applied computing, liberal studies or business administration—will be issued by Golden Gate University, a nonprofit institution in San Francisco. Golden Gate faculty and staff, not the lecturers, will be the ones to hold office hours, moderate virtual discussions and grade homework, said Outlier, which is announcing the program Wednesday and plans to start courses in the spring.

Golden Gate University and Outlier.org Reinvent Affordable College with Degrees+ — from prnewswire.com

Excerpt:

For less than one-third the price of the national average college tuition, students will earn an associate degree plus a job-ready certificate from Google, IBM, or Salesforce

NEW YORK, Sept. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Golden Gate University is launching Degrees+, powered by Outlier.org, with three associate degrees that reimagine the two-year degree for a rising generation of students that demand high quality education without the crushing cost. For annual tuition of $4,470 all-inclusive, students will earn a two-year degree that uniquely brings together the best of a college education with a career-relevant industry certificate.

Beginning today, students can apply to be part of the first class, which starts in Spring 2023.

“Imagine if everyone had the option to go to college with top instructors from HarvardYale, Google, and NASA via the highest-quality online classes. By upgrading the two-year degree, we can massively reduce student debt and set students up for success, whether that’s transferring into a four-year degree or going straight into their careers.”

Aaron Rasmussen, CEO and founder of Outlier.org
and co-founder of MasterClass

Outlier.org & Universities Call for Greater Credit Transfer Transparency — from articles.outliner.org

Excerpt:

“Outlier.org is working with leading institutions across the country to build a new kind of on-ramp to higher education,” said Aaron Rasmussen, CEO and Founder of Outlier.org. “By partnering with schools to build bridges from our courses into their degree programs, we can help students reduce the cost of their education and graduate faster.”


From DSC:
All of this reminds me of a vision I put out on my Calvin-based website at the time (To His Glory! was the name of the website.) The vision was originally called “The Forthcoming Walmart of Education” — which I renamed to “EduMart Education.”

By the way…because I’m not crazy about Walmart, I’m not crazy about that name. In today’s terms, it might be better called the new “Amazon.com of Higher Education” or something along those lines. But you get the idea. Lower prices due to new business models.

.


 

8 big questions as colleges start fall 2022 — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
Will higher ed’s financial picture clear? Can campuses innovate? Is a new generation of presidents ready to rise to the moment?

Excerpt:

Can colleges innovate?
Observers wonder whether the higher education sector is ready to make the changes necessary to meet the moment, like becoming more flexible, serving a wider range of students and containing costs. Higher ed leaders have been discussing certain priorities for years amid projections of diversifying student bodies, financial crunches and public policy changes.

From DSC:
I excerpted an item re: innovation because I think institutions of traditional higher education will have to make some significant changes to turn (the negative tide of) the public’s perception of the value of a college degree. No more playing around at the edges — significant value/ROI must be delivered and proved.

A quick way to accomplish this would be to lift up the place of adjunct faculty members at one’s institution:

  • Give them more say, voice, and control — especially in the area of which topics/courses should be offered in the curricula out there
  • Give them more input into faculty governance types of issues 
  • Pay them much more appropriately while granting them healthcare and retirement kinds of benefits

I say this because adjunct faculty members are often out there in the real world, actually doing the kinds of things in their daily jobs that they’re teaching about. They’re able to regularly pulse-check their industries and they can better see what’s needed in the marketplace. They could help traditional institutions of higher education be much more responsive.

But because higher education has been treating its adjunct faculty members so poorly (at least in recent years), I’m not as hopeful in this regard as I’d like to be.

Another option would be to have faculty members spend much more time in the workplace — to experience which topics, content, and skills are required. But that’s tough to do when their job plates are often already so full that they’re overflowing.

Bottom line: It’s time for change. It’s time to become much more responsive — course-offering-wise.

 

What if smart TVs’ new killer app was a next-generation learning-related platform? [Christian]

TV makers are looking beyond streaming to stay relevant — from protocol.com by Janko Roettgers and Nick Statt

A smart TV's main menu listing what's available -- application wise

Excerpts:

The search for TV’s next killer app
TV makers have some reason to celebrate these days: Streaming has officially surpassed cable and broadcast as the most popular form of TV consumption; smart TVs are increasingly replacing external streaming devices; and the makers of these TVs have largely figured out how to turn those one-time purchases into recurring revenue streams, thanks to ad-supported services.

What TV makers need is a new killer app. Consumer electronics companies have for some time toyed with the idea of using TV for all kinds of additional purposes, including gaming, smart home functionality and fitness. Ad-supported video took priority over those use cases over the past few years, but now, TV brands need new ways to differentiate their devices.

Turning the TV into the most useful screen in the house holds a lot of promise for the industry. To truly embrace this trend, TV makers might have to take some bold bets and be willing to push the envelope on what’s possible in the living room.

 


From DSC:
What if smart TVs’ new killer app was a next-generation learning-related platform? Could smart TVs deliver more blended/hybrid learning? Hyflex-based learning?
.

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

.

Or what if smart TVs had to do with delivering telehealth-based apps? Or telelegal/virtual courts-based apps?


 

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian