From DSC:
The items below made me reflect on the need to practice some serious design thinking to rethink/redesign the cradle-to-grave learning ecosystems out there.


Real World Learning in Action — from gettingsmart.com by Shawnee Caruthers

Key Points

  • The Real World Learning initiative was created to address a simple, but equally complex challenge: How do you prepare students for life after high school?
  • The traditional, go to classes, earn some credits, participate in some activities and earn a diploma wasn’t working, at least not equitably.

Creating a new high school experience starts with innovative thinking and advocates willing to say yes. As a result of collaborations, visiting best practice sites and numerous convenings, the Kansas City region is now a hub for pathways, wall-to-wall academies, microschools, innovation academies, student-run businesses, strong client-connected project examples and more. Educational stakeholders can now go across state lines to see future-forward thinking for students.

Also relevant/see:

Framing and Designing the HOW — from gettingsmart.com by Rebecca Midles

Key Points (emphasis DSC):

  • The referenced circle graphic is intended to guide how we talk about our work as a system, internal and externally.
  • It also is about understanding our why on a personal level.
  • Learning systems are specifically designed to get the results they have, and to change results, we have to redesign the system.

Also relevant/see:

Fewer People Are Getting Teacher Degrees. Prep Programs Sound the Alarm — from edweek.org by Madeline Wil

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

As teacher dissatisfaction rates rise and concerns about teacher shortages intensify, colleges of education are sounding the alarm: Enrollment has been steadily declining for the past decade, and the pandemic has likely made things worse.

Smaller and Restructured: How the Pandemic Is Changing the Higher Education IT Workforce — from educause.edu by Jenay Robert

Excerpt:

Several prominent themes emerged from the analysis of these responses and are supported by other recent EDUCAUSE research:

  • Though most respondents reported a reduction in force, some were able to justify adding new positions to their units in 2021, primarily to meet new institutional needs.
  • Budget cuts were the main cause of reductions in force.
  • Work factors such as flexible, remote work options and competitive salaries are playing a central role in attrition and recruitment.
  • Increased workloads and personal stressors related to the pandemic have resulted in widespread burnout among staff.
  • IT units have plans to reorganize in 2022 to become more agile and efficient and to respond to the evolving needs of their organizations.

Allan: With $175G Grants, Accelerate ED Looks to Better Link K-12, College & Work — from the74million.org by Sara Allan

Excerpt:

Today, most states require high school students to complete a set of defined courses, assessments and experiences in order to graduate on a career-ready pathway. However, the number of schools that fully embrace coherent programs of study that connect K-12, higher education and employment remains frustratingly small.

.


What if every high school student had the chance to take an additional year of courses related to their interests and earn enough credits to complete their associate degree one year after high school while gaining valuable experience and career preparation—at little to no cost?

— from Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers

From DSC:
The above quote is the type of “What if…” question/thinking that we need to redesign our cradle-to-grave/lifelong learning ecosystems.


 

27 Fun Ways to Celebrate the End of the School Year — from commonsense.org by Erin Wilkey O.

Excerpt:

This year, things are closer to “normal,” but we can still be creative in recognizing and celebrating students’ accomplishments. Use this list of ideas to help you plan some fun end-of-year activities — we’ve included a special section at the end for celebrating the class of 2022. Many of the ideas here play out in the digital world, but we’ve mixed in some offline options as well.

We hope these activities bring you and your students some much-deserved joy as we close out the 2021–2022 school year.

 

Best colouring and painting apps for kids — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Below is a collection of some of great painting and colouring apps to help your kids unleash their expressive creativity and develop fine motor skills. These apps, mostly colouring games, provide kids access to a wide variety of colouring pages featuring images covering different topics from animals and mandalas to horoscopes and flowers to colour. Using game-based activities and interactive lessons, these apps offer kids a learning friendly space where they can exercise their painting, and drawing skills, improve their hand-eye coordination, and expand their imagination and creativity.

 

The Science of Learning: Research Meets Practice — from the-learning-agency-lab.com by Alisa Cook and Ulrich Boser; with thanks to Learning Now TV for this resource
Six Research-Based Teaching Practices Are Put Into Practice

Excerpt:

For the nation’s education system, though, the bigger question is: How do we best educate our children so that they learn better, and learn how to learn, in addition to learning what to learn? Additionally, and arguably just as challenging, is: How do we translate this body of research into classroom practice effectively?

Enter the “Science of Learning: Research Meets Practice.” The goal of the project is to get the science of learning into the hands of teaching professionals as well as to parents, school leaders, and students.

 

Opportunities for Education in the Metaverse -- from downes.ca by Stephen Downes

Opportunities for Education in the Metaverse — from downes.ca by Stephen Downes

Excerpt:

This short presentation introduces major elements of the metaverse, outlines some applications for education, discusses how it may be combined with other technologies for advanced applications, and outlines some issues and concerns.

Also relevant/see:

What Should Higher Ed in the Metaverse Look like? – from linkedin.com by Joe Schaefer

Excerpt:

The Metaverse is coming whether we like it or not, and it is time for educators to think critically about how it can benefit students. As higher education continues to evolve, I believe every learning product and platform working with or within the Metaverse should, at least, have these functionalities:


Addendum on 5/23/22:


 

Teacher Moves That Cultivate Learner Agency — from edutopia.org by Paul Emerich France
Helping students become independent, questioning thinkers begins with stepping back and guiding them to take the lead in their learning.

Excerpt:

Cultivating learner agency is an endless journey. It not only entails knowing our students as human beings but also requires identifying and unlearning patterns in our teaching that unknowingly engender dependence in learners.

The term agency comes from the Latin agere, meaning “to set in motion.” It is precisely what agency should do in our classrooms: empower learners so that their minds and hearts become the engines that drive learning in our classrooms. This isn’t as simple as some might believe. Providing too much voice and choice without proper scaffolds can be counterproductive, resulting in chaos in the classroom.

Consider the following moves that cultivate learner agency—and choose one to try in your classroom.

 

Entrepreneur Education Platform GeniusU Raises $1.5M Seed Funding at $250M Valuation — from edtechreview.in ed by Stephen Soulunii

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Genius Group has recently announced that its EdTech arm, GeniusU Ltd, has raised $1.5 million in a seed round to support the development of its Genius Metaversity virtual learning plans.

With the fresh funding, GeniusU plans to extend its courses and programs to interactive learning environments in the metaverse, with students and faculty connecting and learning in global classrooms and virtual 3D environments. It also plans to integrate each student’s AI-based virtual assistant ‘Genie’ into the metaverse as 3D virtual assistants that accompany each student on their personalized journey and integrate its GEMs (Genius Education Merits) student credits into the metaverse. GEMs are earned by students as they learn and can be spent on products and services within GeniusU and counting towards their certifications.

 

Teacher Kelly VanDyke awarded ‘Educator of the Year’ by the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan — from mlive.com by Skyla Jewell-Hammie

Excerpt:

Grand Rapids elementary teacher Kelly VanDyke was recently recognized as the 2022 Educator of the Year by the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan.

VanDyke, who teaches at Central Elementary in Kenowa Hills Public Schools, was celebrated for her successful, supportive approach to teaching children with Down syndrome…

 

Why So Many Teachers Are Leaving, and Why Others Stay — from cultofpedagogy.com by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpts:

It’s no exaggeration to say that a big shift has occurred, and it happened very, very recently. If you are in a leadership position—a school administrator, a district superintendent, or even an official at the state level—and you’re concerned about this shift (which you definitely should be), I’m hoping to offer something helpful here.

We’ll start with the stories of four teachers who recently made the decision to leave their jobs and finding the common threads between them. These are the cautionary tales, the ones from which we can learn what not to do. Think of this part as “How to Lose a Teacher in One School Year or Less.”

Part two will be about teachers who stayed, and the administrative decisions that made this possible.

“The best thing the leadership in my school did was to LISTEN to the teachers. We are on the front lines and we see problems developing on a day to day basis. When admin listens to the problems WE are experiencing and seeks wisdom from US on potential solutions, that is absolutely the most significant factor on why our staff has seen less turnover than other schools.”

 

Airbnb’s design for employees to live and work anywhere — from news.airbnb.com; with thanks to Tom Barrett for this resource

Excerpt:

Airbnb is in the business of human connection above all else, and we believe that the most meaningful connections happen in person. Zoom is great for maintaining relationships, but it’s not the best way to deepen them. Additionally, some creative work and collaboration is best done when you’re in the same room. I’d like working at Airbnb to feel like you’re working at one of the most creative places on Earth, and this will only happen with some in-person collaboration time.

The right solution should combine the best of the digital world and the best of the physical world. It should have the efficiency of Zoom, while providing the meaningful human connection that only happens when people come together. We have a solution that we think combines the best of both worlds.

We’ve designed a way for you to live and work anywhere—while collaborating in a highly coordinated way, and experiencing the in-person connection that makes Airbnb special. Our design has five key features…

Now, a thought exercise on that item from Tom Barrett:

While you are there, extend the thought experiment and imagine the new policy for a school, college or university.

  1. You can work from home or the office
  2. You can move anywhere in the country you work in, and your compensation won’t change
  3. You have the flexibility to travel and work around the world
  4. We’ll meet up regularly for team gatherings, off-sites, and social events
  5. We’ll continue to work in a highly coordinated way

From DSC:
As a reflection on this thought experiment, this graphic comes to my mind again. Teachers, professors, trainers, staff, and students can be anywhere in the world:

Learning from the living class room

 

 

OPINION: It may be time to rethink the emphasis on taking calculus in high school — from hechingerreport.org by Veronica Anderson
An argument for opening other paths that could be more relevant to students

Excerpt:

Based on data from surveys and interviews, “A New Calculus for College Admissions” reveals how deep-seated preferences for calculus weigh heavily in decisions about who gets admitted to college.

Yet does it make sense for calculus to have such an influential role in college admission when so few college majors actually require the course? There are other ways for high school students to gain the quantitative reasoning skills that will prepare them for the rigors of college and the workplace.

It’s time to reconsider the dominance of calculus.

From DSC:
I wholeheartedly agree. And along these lines, I think it would be far more beneficial to students to have classes on topics such:

  • How do I do my taxes?
  • What legal things do I need to know about (i.e., wills, trusts, civil law-related items, other)?
  • How can I get and stay healthy?
 

A Turning Point for Prison Education — from chronicle.com by Taylor Swaak
With reinstatement of Pell Grants imminent, the programs weigh technology’s long-term role.

Excerpts:

Incarcerated people who participate in postsecondary-education programs are 48 percent less likely to return to prison, according to a 2018 study from the RAND Corporation.

Three colleges that The Chronicle spoke with are in varying stages of adding technology to their prison-ed programs.

Addendum on 5/11/22:

It was a proud, and somewhat routine commencement ceremony for Calvin University on Monday, May 9, though held in the confines of a state prison.

Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary joined the Michigan Department of Corrections Monday to host the graduation ceremony for Calvin Prison Initiative (CPI) students at the state’s Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia.

Addendums on 5/16/22:

 

From DSC:
For the last few years, I’ve been thinking that we need to make learning science-related information more accessible to students, teachers, professors, trainers, and employees — no matter what level they are at.

One idea on how to do this — besides putting posters up in the hallways, libraries, classrooms, conference rooms, cafeterias, etc. — is that we could put a How best to study/learn link in all of the global navigation bars and/or course navigation bars out there in organizations’ course management systems and learning management systems. Learners of all ages could have 24 x 7 x 365, easy, instant access as to how to be more productive as they study and learn about new things.

For example, they could select that link in their CMS/LMS to access information on:

  • Retrieval practice
  • Spacing
  • Interleaving
  • Metacognition
  • Elaboration
  • The Growth Mindset
  • Accessibility-related tools / assistive technologies
  • Links to further resources re: learning science and learning theories

What do you think? If we started this in K12, kept it up in higher ed and vocational programs, and took the idea into the corporate world, valuable information could be relayed and absorbed. This is the kind of information that is highly beneficial these days — as all of us need to be lifelong learners now.

 

Homework hotline gives K-12 students support for tricky assignments — from k12dive.com by Kara Arundel
College students offer free, on-demand help as younger students recover from pandemic-related setbacks or aim to get ahead.

Excerpt:

The college student-run resource saw an uptick in demand during the pandemic, and even though nearly all K-12 schools are now back to full-time, in-person learning, the calls to the hotline keep coming, said Gabriela Gamiz, founding Homework Hotline staff member and the college’s director of community engagement.

 

From DSC:
When I saw the recent article below out at mlive.com, I couldn’t help but recall the words that our daughter just said the other day — that they had yet another day of standardized testing to do that day. (She works in a public school system here in Michigan.) In fact, she said that the relaying of new content had already ended a while ago and the last two months of the year were being allocated for reviewing what had already been covered and then taking these standardized tests. I’m guessing that neither students nor the teachers and other teaching/support-related staff were all that excited about that agenda.

In such cases, I’m guessing that the love of learning goes right out the window — as does the love of teaching. All of this is to:

  • assuage the legislators in our state’s capitol — especially to see how Michigan is stacking up in the comparison game with other states
  • give bragging rights to administrators in the comparison game as they compare their school district to other districts in Michigan
  • give the realtors and communities reasons for the increased prices of their houses (in a different but related comparison game)

Am I oversimplifying this? Most likely. But it still bothers me nonetheless.

These are the 50 highest rated Michigan high schools in the new U.S. News rankings — from mlive.com by Martin Slagter

Excerpt:

Three Michigan high schools are once again rated among the top 100 best high schools in the country in the latest U.S. News & World Report best high school rankings released on Tuesday, April 26.

Rankings are based on several weighted factors, including college readiness (30%), college curriculum breadth (10%), state assessment proficiency (20%), state assessment performance (20%), underserved student performance (10%) and graduation rate (10%). The data used is from the 2019-20 school year.

While the six ranking indicators that determined each school’s rank were the same as those used in the three prior years, U.S. News adjusted its calculation of these measures to account for the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on schools in the 2019-2020 school year.

Also relevant from mlive.com, see:

 
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