The Pandemic’s Lasting Lessons for Colleges, From Academic Innovation Leaders — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo, Rebecca Koenig, and Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpts:

“Universities are in the business of knowledge, but universities do a very poor job of managing their own knowledge and strategy,” says Brian Fleming, associate vice chancellor of learning ecosystem development at Northeastern University. “You may have faculty members who study organizational development, but none of that gets applied to the university.”

University leaders should learn to think more like futurists, he argues, working to imagine scenarios that might need planning for but are beyond the usual one-year or five-year planning cycles.

The pandemic prompted more faculty to ask the question, “What do we actually want to use class time for?” says Tyler Roeger, director of the center for the enhancement of teaching and learning at Elgin Community College. And the answer many of them are landing on, he adds, is: “Actual face-to-face time can be dedicated to problem-working, and working in groups together.”

 

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.

 

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.

 
 

Digital Classroom Newsletters: Tips for Engaging Students and Their Grownups — from blog.edmentum.com by Troy Minton

Excerpt:

Newsletters can be a very effective tool for getting quick and engaging information to students and their families, whether you teach online or in the physical classroom. Class newsletters can also be a quick and visually pleasing way for parents and guardians to stay informed on class activities and keep student supporters in the loop about grade level expectations, all the while building the essential communication lines. It allows supporters to ask specific questions about events happening in their child’s classroom more so than a simple question like “how was class?” would.

There are several free tools or versions that are available to educators that provide me a quick and effective method of getting information to students in an engaging and visually pleasing format. Let’s take a look at why a digital newsletter can be handy, and a few ways you can make sure to get the most out of yours.

 

From DSC:
The resource below (from The Chronicle of Higher Education) is one of the best, most useful articles I’ve read in a long time. It’s full of innovative and/or powerful ideas. I like the part about seeking to give students “more voice, more choice, more control.”

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 


 

5 No-Cost or Low-Cost Ways to Improve Your Campus — from chronicle.com by Richard J. Light and Allison Jegla
Change doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s often sparked by a simple suggestion and a leader willing to give it a try.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

No. 1: Reward innovative teaching. Lynne Schofield, a professor of statistics at Swarthmore College, has fundamentally changed the way her students learn basic and intermediate statistics. She lectures and assigns problem sets but she also teams up with local Philadelphia organizations such as food banks and blood-donation centers to give students an opportunity to solve real-world problems using their classroom knowledge. The organizations benefit from data and analysis that they may not have had time or bandwidth to collect themselves, and the students see the practical application of what they might ordinarily have perceived as a dry subject.

No. 2: Solicit ideas from students.
They met with a dean and proposed a public event called, “10 Big Ideas, 10 Professors, 10 Minutes Each.”

When the dean agreed, the students took the lead on selecting and inviting professors to each present the “most exciting new idea” in their academic field, in less than 10 minutes.

 


 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the item below, I thought, “Hmmm…traditional institutions of higher education better look out if alternatives continue to gain momentum.” Perhaps it’s wise to double down on efforts to gather feedback from students, families, parents, businesses, and other stakeholders in the workplace regarding what they want and need — vs. what the faculty members of institution ABC want to teach.


A Third of U.S. College Students Consider Withdrawing — from news.gallup.com by Stephanie Marken

Excerpt:

Editor’s Note: The research below was conducted in partnership between the Lumina Foundation and Gallup.

About a third (32%) of currently enrolled students pursuing a bachelor’s degree report they have considered withdrawing from their program for a semester or more in the past six months. A slightly higher percentage of students pursuing their associate degree, 41%, report they have considered stopping out in the past six months. These are similar to 2020 levels when 33% of bachelor’s degree students reported they had considered stopping out and 38% of associate degree students said the same.

 

Education Needs a Reset. We Can Start by Listening to Our Teachers. — from edsurge.com by Elissa Vanaver

Excerpts:

What too few politicians and parents are talking about, though, is the dire state of the career pipeline for teachers, the ones we’ll be depending on to lead the post-pandemic learning recovery in our classrooms over the next few years—not to mention for the next generation.

Valuing teachers is the systemic path to centering students. In order to move the needle, we must go beyond what teachers need to do to address root causes that require cultural and systemic change. Here are a few things it will take:

  1. Understanding that teaching and learning are inherently relational and the power relationships have on student and teacher success.
  2. Centering the joy of learning and making classrooms a place students and teachers want to be.
  3. Creating an empowered teaching culture to advocate for children and encouraging creativity that optimizes engagement.
  4. Fostering culturally responsive methods through continuous mentoring by exceptional, experienced educators.
  5. Developing partnerships with quality teacher preparation programs for coherent and supportive career pathways.

From DSC:
When I used to work in customer service and also in technical support at Baxter Healthcare, I always thought that management should be listening closely to those employees who were on the front lines — i.e., those of us who were in regular contact with Baxter’s customers. Similarly, the teachers are on the front lines within education. We need to give them a huge say in what happens in the future of the preK-12 learning ecosystems. We also need the students’ voices to be heard big time.

Also popular last month from edsure.com, see:

 

The amazing opportunities of AI in the future of the educational metaverse [Darbinyan]

The amazing opportunities of AI in the future of the educational metaverse — from forbes.com by Rem Darbinyan

Excerpt:

Looking ahead, let’s go over several potential AI-backed applications of the metaverse that can empower the education industry in many ways.

Multilingual Learning Opportunities
Language differences may be a real challenge for students from different cultures as they may not be able to understand and keep up with the materials and assignments. Artificial intelligence, VR and AR technologies can enhance multilingual accessibility for learners no matter where they are in the world. Speech-to-text, text-to-speech and machine translation technologies enrich the learning process and create more immersive learning environments.

AI can process multiple languages simultaneously and provide real-time translations, enabling learners to engage with the materials in the language of their choice. With the ability to instantly transcribe speech across multiple languages, artificial intelligence removes any language barriers for students, enabling them to be potentially involved, learn and communicate in any language.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education Market size exceeded USD 1 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 40% between 2021 and 2027. (source)

Along the lines of innovation within our educational learning ecosystems, see:

3 Questions for Coursera’s Betty Vandenbosch & U-M’s Lauren Atkins Budde on XR — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kiim
How might extended reality shape the future of learning?

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

[Lauren Atkins Budde] “Being able to embed quality, effective extended reality experiences into online courses is exponentially a game-changer. One of the persistent constraints of online learning, especially at scale, is how do learners get hands-on practice? How do they experience specific contexts and situations? How do they learn things that are best experienced? XR provides that opportunity for actively doing different kinds of tasks, in various environments, in ways that would otherwise not be possible. It will open up  Lauren Atkins Buddeboth how we teach online and also what we teach online.”

These courses are really exciting and cover a broad range of disciplines, which is particularly important. To choose the right subjects, we did an extensive review of insights from industry partners, learners and market research on in-demand and emerging future-of-work skills and then paired that with content opportunities where immersive learning is really a value-add and creates what our learning experience designers call “embodied learning.”

Addendum on 5/1/22:
Can the Metaverse Improve Learning? New Research Finds Some Promise — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

“The findings support a deeper understanding of how creating unique educational experiences that feel real (i.e., create a high level of presence) through immersive technology can influence learning through different affective and cognitive processes including enjoyment and interest,” Mayer and his colleagues write.

 

Also from Eva Keiffenheim (on Medium.com, on Twitter), see:

What Most People Get Dangerously Wrong About Building a Second Brain
And how to fix it.

Also relevant/see:

Analysis: 6 Brain-Based Learning Strategies and Study Skills That Help Teens Learn — from the74million.org by Hank Pellissier

Excerpt:

Teens zoning out during Euclidean geometry or citing TikTok influencers in an expository paper doesn’t always mean they are bored or lazy, argues neurologist and teacher Judy Willis, co-author of Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from Neuroscience and the Classroom. “The demands on students are squishing their natural curiosity and joy of learning,” Willis says.

Brain scientists suggest that students absorb information best if they work in what’s known as the flow state. This mindset is reached when their consciousness is fully “in the zone,” entirely focused on activities they find so pleasurable that time flies and all distractions disappear. Try these brain-based learning strategies and study skills that can help teens enter this open state of more productive and enjoyable learning.

 

Why gamified learning works so well for gifted children — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

The gamification of learning can be critical for gifted children in particular, who often struggle to stay focused, engaged, and challenged in a traditional educational environment. Gamification can be so effective in gifted education because the learner forgets they are “working” and instead feels they are “playing.” It allows the gifted brain to relax into the “flow” of learning, and more effectively use their intellect for problem solving and creativity.

Also see:

Synthesis dot com


Addendum on 4/27/22:

Homeschooling our gifted children: The power of artful questions — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Examples of artful questions for learning:

  • Why do you think that might have happened?
  • What would you have done differently?
  • What did you notice about that?
  • What would you suggest we do instead?
  • That’s a good point. How can you reconcile these two things?
  • Do you have an idea for how we could make this better?

From DSC:
Perhaps we should post those types of questions up on the walls of many board rooms and conference rooms around the nation…or have it be a slide in a presentation…or…

 

 

As Teen Mental Health Worsens, Schools Learn How to Help — from pewtrusts.org by Christine Vestal

Excerpt:

If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you can get help by calling the confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.

Teen mental health already was deteriorating before the coronavirus pandemic. In the two years since, the isolation, grief and anxiety created by school closures, deaths and loss of family income have led to even steeper declines in children’s mental health, experts say.

Along the lines of major issues to tackle, see:

 

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

From DSC:
A family member struggles with spelling — big time. This causes her major amounts of anxiety in school.

Another family member had some learning disabilities and reflects back on school with some bad memories.

Another family member struggles with social graces and learns at a much different pace than her peers — the move to her education being (predominantly) done via homeschooling has helped significantly.

A friend of mine has Dyslexia. He recently said that school was hell for him.

Another person I know doesn’t understand his daughter’s learning disabilities — at all. He’s asking a fish to climb the tree and yells at his daughter when she doesn’t produce like the other kids do. Her school is for college-bound learners, and there’s always pressure to maintain the school’s “blue-ribbon” status (i.e., sorry if you don’t fit in…but please board the train anyway, as it’s about to depart).

These people and stories about their educations got me to reflect on all the people who went through the school systems in the United States (over the last few decades) that didn’t work well for them. In fact, not only did the systems not work well for them, they were the sources of a great deal of pain, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and embarrassment.  Instead of being a place of wonder or joy, school was a painful, constant struggle to get through.

For those who can keep up or even excel at the pace that the trains travel at, school isn’t that much of a problem. There are likely different levels of engagement involved here, but school is manageable and it doesn’t cause nearly the stress for someone who struggles with it.

For those with learning disabilities, I’d like to apologize to you on behalf of all the people who legislated or created rigid, one-size-fits-all school systems that didn’t understand and/or meet your needs. (Why we allow legislators — who aren’t the ones on the front lines — to control so much of what happens in our school systems is beyond me.) I’d like to apologize on behalf of all of the teachers, administrators, and staff who just accept the systems as they are.

Please help us reinvent our school systems. Help us develop the future of education. Help us develop a more personalized, customized approach. For those who are working to provide that, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

To everyone working within Pre-K through 12th grade, help us offer: More voice. More choice. More control. The status quo has to go. School should not be a constant source of pain and anxiety.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian