The College Program Attracting — and Retaining — Black Male Teachers — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

A group of black male graduates -- photo by Patrick Wright, Clemson University, Photographic Services-University Relations.

Excerpt:

When the initiative started two decades ago, people “really didn’t believe that we would be successful at being able to attract a 17- or 18-year-old Black male to become a second or third grade teacher,” says Roy Jones, a provost-distinguished professor at Clemson and the executive director of Call Me MISTER.

And yet, the program has graduated about 300 African American men from college education departments in South Carolina, more than doubling the number of Black men teaching in elementary and middle schools in the state.

 

Reimagining Education: What to Keep/What to Ditch — from techlearning.com by Matthew X. Joseph
When reimagining education, the focus needs to be on finding and keeping the best learning practices

 We have a unique opportunity to look at programmatic and philosophical shifts to promote energetic and curious learners. 

 

New Research: Flipped Classrooms Improve Student Academics and Satisfaction — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
A new analysis of more than 317 studies found flipped classrooms to be tremendously successful although a partially flipped classroom might be best of all.

Excerpt:

In a meta analysis recently published in the Review of Educational Research, Bredow and her co-authors examined 317 high-quality studies with a combined sample size of  51,437 college students in which flipped classes were compared to traditional lecture classes taught by the same instructors. They found significant advantages for flipped versus traditional lecture in terms of academics, interpersonal outcomes, and student satisfaction.

But there were also some surprises in where and when flipped classrooms worked.

From DSC:
I love the idea of the flipped classroom due to its powerful ability to turn over more choice and more control to the students. They have much more control over the pacing of the delivery of content.

 

Companies are key to solving the digital skills gap — from zdnet.com by Vala Afshar
The digital skills gap is becoming a digital skills crisis. An innovation expert discusses the root cause of what is driving the digital skills shortage and how can companies contribute to closing the gap.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Vala Afshar: When we talk about the digital skills gap, what do we really mean?

Simon Mulcahy: Fundamentally, it’s an issue of supply and demand: a mismatch between the need for a digitally savvy workforce and the availability of workers trained in those skills. Every organization — whether a bank, healthcare company or retailer — is becoming a digital organization. Core digital skills aren’t the purview of a single department but increasingly hard-wired into nearly every job on the planet.

On the flip side, there’s a massive shortage in the skills needed to operate and lead in a digital-first environment. More importantly, there’s no mechanism in place to fix it.

VA: What can be done to address this growing gap, and what role should companies play?

SM: We need to revamp the way we deliver education. Of course, we need to build a foundation early on, but there are much better ways to equip people than through exams that don’t evolve to match society’s needs or degrees that force young people into onerous debt.

Instead, we should think of ourselves as lifelong learners. In support of that, we need just-in-time training that’s integrated into our working experience and relevant to wherever we are on our career journey. We need education that’s widely available, simple to access and affordable. It has to be easy to upskill or gain the knowledge we need to divert onto a different path. We also need education to be a lot more personal, matching what an individual needs in the moment.

 

Potential unfulfilled: COVID-19, the rapid adoption of online learning, and what could be unlocked this year — from christenseninstitute.org by Thomas Arnett

Excerpt:

The foundational tenets of conventional instruction hinge on uniformity and compliance. Schools and classrooms, by and large, need students to conform to a common set of requirements in order for cohort-based learning to work. Unfortunately, nearly all students struggle to one degree or another to fit conventional instruction’s norms.

For example, conventional instruction requires students to show up to school ready to learn at times dictated by the school schedule, but for some students, life gets in the way. Conventional instruction moves all students through content at a uniform pace, but not all students master content in the time allotted. And conventional instruction often obliges students to sit and work or sit and listen for large portions of the day, yet some students struggle to sit quietly for extended periods of time. Fortunately, online learning offers the ability to replace many of these systemic rigidities with greater adaptability to students’ needs.

From DSC:
The above excerpt brings the image (below) back to my mind. The image represents our educational systems’ ways of never stopping or slowing down for anyone. They leave the station at such and such a time and then they move at a very face pace for everyone. There’s no stopping them — regardless of whether a student has mastered the content or not.

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

 

Are smaller class sizes without the pitfalls possible? Pandemic pods make the case — from crpe.org by Ashley Jochim and Travis Pillow

Excerpt:

Pandemic pods were borne by necessity as families faced urgent needs for childcare and remote learning support. But they also offer fresh solutions to an age-old education problem: how to dramatically lower class sizes without diluting teacher quality and falling into traps that have snared traditional class size reduction efforts.

By leveraging pandemic innovations in student support, school systems recovering from the COVID-19 crisis may be able to recreate the high level of individual attention students saw in successful pandemic pods.

As one pod educator told us: “This is probably the most professionally satisfied I’ve been in my entire career. . . . Being able to be one-on-one and form relationships with kids. I can tell you every single one of their strengths, I can tell you their weaknesses. . . . I’ve never been able to do that before in my life, except with my own child, and that’s super powerful.” 

From DSC:
I really appreciated this part too: “Learning pods brought new adults—including families and community-based organizations who hosted pods—into the process of supporting student learning.” It’s even more of a community-based effort…a new meaning to the use of teams.  🙂 

 

5 Learning Gains Made During the Pandemic — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Despite the challenges, there have been useful learning gains made during the pandemic

Excerpts:

  1. Increased Communication Skills
  2. Students Taking Ownership of their Own Learning
  3. Resilience and Learning Outside of School
  4. Time Management
  5. Teachers Learning to Be Guide On the Side
 

Technology Made Special Education Parents Better Advocates During the Pandemic — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

Excerpt:

Those are lessons that should stay in place long after our current era of remote learning, says research analyst Lane McKittrick, who focuses on special education and families at the Center on Reinventing Public Education. She recently co-authored a report on how charter schools effectively supported students with disabilities during the pandemic and is blogging about the topic.

McKittrick’s disappointment didn’t just come from her role as a researcher. She’s also a mom to four children, three of whom are deafblind.

The schools that most successfully served their special education groups were those that prioritized communication and learning about families’ needs, McKittrick found in her own analysis.

 

 

Nalukai Academy: Harvesting Hawai’i’s Next Generation of Leaders — from gettingsmart.com by Ashley Ranan

Excerpt:

Nalukai’s program curriculum includes 5 areas of interest:

  • Digital storytelling – branding & marketing, content creation, web design
  • Leadership – project management, collaboration, team dynamics
  • Entrepreneurship – networking, investor pitches, business plan development
  • Design thinking –  prototyping, mind-mapping, iteration
  • Technology – coding, web development, digital business tools

Also see:

The Nalukai Academy offers intensive tech, entrepreneurship, leadership, and design programs for Hawai?i high school students. This image portrays some of those students.

 

Evolving Instruction in a Rapidly Changing World — from esheninger.blogspot.com by Eric Sheninger

Excerpts:

In Chapter 3 of Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms, I lay out tried and true strategies to consider during any direct instruction component of a lesson while setting the stage for learning that empowers students to think disruptively by replacing conventional ideas with innovative solutions to authentic problems.  Below is a summary of things to consider as you plan out your instructional design:

This image lays out the tried and true strategies Eric recommends for instructional design

 

As school districts move from “reopening” to “recovery,” what will they be recovering from? — from crpe.org by Paul Hill & Michael DeArmond

Excerpts:

Coming out of the pandemic, these leaders thought it was time to try something fundamentally different. “We have to rethink school, period,” one told us. 

They thought schools needed to “recover” from traditional conceptualizations of schooling that had never provided all students with high-quality learning opportunities. As these leaders talked about rethinking public education, they put lots of ideas on the table, some of which they piloted during the pandemic:

  • Hybrid or blended instructional models that combine in-person and online learning
  • Fully remote options
  • Learning pods where students work independently or receive one-on-one support
  • Mixed-age classes based on proficiency level
  • Grade band progression as opposed to grade levels
  • Self-paced individualized instruction
  • Co-teaching
  • Weekend and intersession camps and instructional programming
  • Evening learning opportunities (e.g., time in CTE shops, art studios, etc.)
  • Enhanced summer programming
  • “Do-over years” (where students aren’t identified as having been “retained”)

Also see:

How Six School Systems are Responding to Disrupted Schooling: Will It Be Enough?

From DSC:
When I see the word acceleration mentioned here…it (at least initially) raises a red flag for me. Speeding up the trains will leave many further behind. And if that’s not what’s happening here, I’d say that another word or phrase be identified and used here…as many others will have the same initial reaction to this word. A PR problem.

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

 

 

Michigan appeals to former teachers as districts face ‘dire’ shortage — from mlive.com by Kayla Miller

Kindergarten teacher Melissa Sanborn instructs students Kindergarten teacher Melissa Sanborn instructs students…Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 at Cook Elementary School in Grand Blanc. (Jake May | MLive.com) Jake May | MLive.com

Excerpt:

Looking ahead to August, Beecher Community School District is expecting to be short about a quarter of their needed teaching staff for the 2021-22 school year.

The Flint-area district is one of many schools across Michigan fighting to keep educators in classrooms amid a statewide teacher shortage. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is now appealing to former teachers to get recertified and back to work.

David Crim, spokesperson for the Michigan Education Association, said multiple factors are keeping people from pursuing teaching and forcing young teachers to leave the profession.

“There’s no respect for teachers, no respect for the profession and poor compensation,” Crim said. “We have the perfect storm.”

From DSC:
It feels like there are major changes occurring throughout the K-12 learning ecosystems out there. It will be interesting to see what shakes out from this period of disruption.

By the way, those with little respect for teachers clearly have never taught themselves. Teaching is a very difficult profession. You try providing personalized learning to 25-30+ students at a time. Once you begin to scratch the surface, you’re retiring. We need to continue to try to share our knowledge, learnings, effective pedagogies/research, growth, tools, contacts, and more to help the next generation of teachers, students, administrators, and leaders.

Personally, I would like to see teachers have far more agency themselves. Don’t straight jacket them so much with standardized testing every ___ weeks/months. And allow more choice and control for the students (where possible). And allow the damn trains to slow down and/or vary their pace — allow them to stop if necessary for a student or a group of students. 

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

I don’t see real personalized learning occurring until more technologies get involved/integrated into the classrooms out there — things like learner preferences, cloud-based learner profiles, AI and more.

 

States and School Systems Can Act Now to Dismantle Silos Between High School, College, and Career — from crpe.org by Georgia Heyward, Sarah McCann, & Betheny Gross | May 2021

We offer four ways states can engage K–12:

  • Invest in virtual platforms that support college and career navigation.
  • Incentivize bold experimentation with hybrid learning to design new models that blend school and workplace learning or connect with postsecondary microcredentials.
  • Step in to encourage and regulate high-quality, postsecondary microcredentials that stack toward associate and bachelor degrees.
  • Combine policy with technical assistance to help districts credit out-of-school learning.
 

From DSC:
My wife recently told me about The Thrive Learning Center. Though we don’t have any of our kids there, it looks very interesting to me! They offer play, choice, agency, a learning community, a chance to pursue one’s interests, and more! I wish we had seen this several years ago. But maybe it will help someone else out there reenvision what learning could look and be like.


The Thrive Learning Center -- offering a student-centered learning community-- full of choice and agency.


 

 

Virtual IEPs should stay — from crpe.org by Katy Bateman and Lanya McKittrick

Excerpt:

When the pandemic hit last spring, schools across the country shifted out of sheer necessity to virtual meetings to discuss students’ Individual Education Plans (IEP). But the move has had some unanticipated benefits, with some educators and parents praising them for their convenience and for empowering family members to be more active participants in discussing their educational needs.

The virtual IEP meetings should stay—at least as an option—even after the pandemic abates.

Virtual IEP meetings can make scheduling and attendance easier for parents and teachers alike. One parent noted the benefits to her as a busy working mom:

“I think one thing [my family] is seeing is there’s a lot of things we could just do that didn’t require us to have to go in [the school building]. . . . I don’t mind coming in, but [virtual is] easier.”

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian