New Federal Data: Too Few Applicants in K-12 Schools — from usnews.com by Lauren Camera
More than half of public schools were understaffed at the start of the school year, and 69% reported the primary challenge was that too few teacher candidates were applying for open positions.

Excerpt:

Personnel shortages that challenged K-12 leaders at the outset of the new academic year and continue to disrupt the U.S. public school system are driven by a shortage in the pipeline of new educators and school staff, federal data confirms.

More than half of all public schools in the country reported that they were understaffed at the start of the 2022-23 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the Education Department, and 69% reported that too few teacher candidates applying for open positions was the primary challenge.

Also relevant/see:

Too Few Candidates Applying for Teaching Jobs the Primary Hiring Challenge for More than Two-Thirds of Public Schools Entering the 2022-23 School Year — from prnewswire.com

Excerpt:

“The majority of public schools are starting the new school year feeling understaffed, particularly in areas like special education, transportation, and mental health,” said NCES Commissioner Peggy G. Carr. “And while many schools say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more challenging to fill positions, 20 percent of schools say that they were already understaffed before the pandemic began. These data points are critical for understanding challenges our public schools are facing, allowing policymakers to provide timely assistance to help our students and educators in areas where it is needed.”

As of August, public schools across the country reported that special education and mathematics teaching positions were among the most difficult teaching positions to fill for the 2022–23 school year. Seventy-eight and 75 percent of schools offering these positions reported it was either “very” or “somewhat difficult,” respectively, to hire fully certified teachers in these areas.

 

The New Learning Economy: It’s Time To Build in Education — from a16z.com by Anne Lee Skates and Connie Chan

Excerpt:

As we enter the third school year of the Covid era, a disturbing new normal is settling over the country. Students continue to be chronically absent; nearly 50,000 Los Angeles public school students failed to show up on the first day of school. Nine-year-olds’ math and reading levels have dropped to 20-year lows, and the dip in reading scores is the steepest decline in more than 30 years. Teacher vacancies are reaching crisis levels. Schools are even resorting to bringing back retirees and loosening basic teaching requirements to fill gaps.

Why is this so important? Education is a $1.8 trillion-dollar industry in the U.S. More importantly, our education system shapes who our future leaders and builders will be—more than 1 in 5 people in the U.S. are current K–12 and college students.

 

Traditional University Teacher Ed Programs Face Enrollment Declines, Staff Cuts — from the74million.org by Marianna McMurdock
As higher ed enrollment lags, colleges try to make teacher preparation more enticing, sustainable to ward off local shortages

“We have had basically at least an orange flag that’s been waving for the past 10 — and in urban and rural areas, well over 20 years — to say we’re not doing enough to recruit teachers,” said Kendra Hearn, associate dean for educator preparation programs at the University of Michigan. “…Everything has just been exacerbated by COVID.”

Experts believe a combination of economic and social factors are contributing to the decline: High stress working conditions, restrictions and political influence on what can be taught and low wages. 

 

 

7 Digital Learning Theories and Models You Should Know — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang, Shelly Terrell
Knowing these digital learning theories and models can boost your instruction

Excerpt:

While pursuing teaching degrees, educators are introduced to various learning theorists and their insights about how people learn best. Some familiar names include Piaget, Bandura, Vygotsky, and Gardner.

 Although understanding these learning theories is still important, aspiring educators also need to become familiar with theories, models, and approaches that provide insight on how technology, social media, and the internet impact learning. Digital learning theories and approaches, such as RAT, SAMR, TPACK, Digital Blooms, Connectivism, Design Thinking and Peeragogy help teachers develop curricula that gets students to use technology to research, curate, annotate, create, innovate, problem-solve, collaborate, campaign, reform and think critically. These are skills outlined in Shelly Terrell’s Hacking Digital Learning Strategies with EdTech Missions.

 

Spacing Retrieval is More Important than Extra Retrieval — from learningscientists.org by Cindy Nebel

Excerpt:

Educators: Quiz your students. Absolutely you should incorporate retrieval practice. Just space it out over time instead of providing blocked weekly quizzes just over that week’s content. But congratulations! You don’t have to do the extra work of writing and grading more quiz questions to get this benefit!

Students: Quiz yourselves and when you do, make sure you’re reviewing old material. Build in frequent study sessions, but you don’t have to double the time you’re spending studying to get great benefits, as long as you’re doing what you should be doing throughout (spaced retrieval).


Speaking of memory, also see:


 

The future of learning: Preparing your L&D organization for the new landscape of work — from chieflearningofficer.com by Vikas Joshi

Excerpt:

Two major shifts characterize today’s work: The skills economy and the hybrid work approach. Alone, they are both powerful. But together, they are completely disrupting work and learning in significant ways.

It’s an exciting time for learning and development organizations. They are stepping up to meet the changing learning needs of employees and businesses. This article outlines the new landscape of work, lists its implications for learning leaders and providers, describes solution frameworks and makes the case for preparing your L&D organization for the future of learning with digital technology.

If the challenges my client L&D organizations describe are any indication, there is a distinct pattern of struggle to keep up with the growing demands from businesses and employees. The challenges occupy a wide spectrum — rapidly shifting need patterns, content obsolescence, remote solitary learners, content overload and the lack of certainty of effective outcomes — and despite the large and ever-growing libraries of learning content, robust video-conferencing technologies and learning management systems. So, where is the problem?

The first drastic change: The skills economy is here. As technology races ahead, skill gaps have appeared, widened and morphed. There was a time when L&D organizations could get by without using technology. Not anymore. New skills are needed across all kinds of work.

 

New Directory of Innovative School Models Aims to Encourage Experimentation — from edsurge.com by Daniel Mollenkamp

Excerpt:

A new online library called the “Innovative Models Exchange,” unveiled Monday, hopes to give educators an easy place to quickly consider some possibilities. The exchange—developed by the nonprofit Transcend Education with funding from the Gates Foundation—allows schools to search through a database of “innovative” models that Transcend says are ready to be adopted by schools.

The nonprofit hopes that the database will shake up the education system.

 

What 4 Atypical Shocks Are Coming in Education? — from techlearning.com by Susan Gentz
Preparing for a potential wild ride in education over the next few years

Excerpt:

What are the 4 Atypical Shocks on the Horizon?
None of these atypical shocks should come to a surprise to anyone who understands how the market works. The team at Edunomics Lab did an excellent job succinctly predicting what these shocks will be (the extent of each shock will be unknown for some time):

* Federal funding will end: Fiscal Cliff (September 2024)
* Enrollment is declining
* Inflation and labor
* Economic slowdown (recession)

Also relevant/see:

Attendance rates drop 4% in Michigan schools compared to pre-pandemic numbers — from mlive.com

Excerpt:

As Michigan schools continue to rectify the effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on students, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently announced that attendance rates have also taken a hit when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

School attendance for Michigan’s approximately 1.4 million K-12 students dropped to under 89% in the 2021-22 school year, down from 93% in the 2019-20 school year when the pandemic began.

‘Wake-up Calls’: New Parent Survey Shows 9% Enrollment Drop in District Schools — from the74million.org by Linda Jacobson
Experts urge treating the results with caution, but several of the nation’s largest districts are already reporting huge losses

Excerpt:

“These are wakeup calls,” said Jenn Bell-Ellwanger, CEO of the Data Quality Campaign. “Is there something bigger happening here that we need to understand?”

The results, she said, should prompt district leaders to “interrogate” their own enrollment data, especially at key transition points like kindergarten and middle school. If families aren’t coming back, she said, officials should ask why.

 

Microschools: What Are They, What Do They Cost and Who’s Interested? — from edchoice.org by Ed Tarnowski

Excerpt:

Microschools are gaining steam.

Microschools, sometimes referred to as learning pods, is the reimagining of the one-room schoolhouse, where class sizes are usually fewer than 15 students of varying ages, and the schedule and curriculum is tailored to fit the needs of each class. This model of schooling can operate in either public, private or charter schools or separately on its own. Many describe microschools as a “mid-point” between traditional schooling and homeschooling. Most microschools are independently parent-led, but some are affiliated with a formal microschool network offering paid, in-person instructors. Lessons are taught in a range of approachable environments, such as homes, libraries and other community centers.

 

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.

 

Why Some Teachers Don’t Want to Go ‘Back to Normal’ — from edsurge.com by Daniel Lempres

Excerpts:

“My school did not drive me out of education. My students did not drive me out of education,” Aion says. Instead, he says he left because the lack of support and the deep systemic flaws in education had finally become too much. Aion says he was tired of pretending things were back to their pre-pandemic “normal,” and tired of pretending that “normal” had been working for students in the first place.

For educators like Aion and Bowyer, the expectation that public education would “return to normal” is one of the factors that pushed them out of the profession.

Her students were excited for her, and enthusiastically asked about what she would do instead of teaching them math. “I started crying in the middle of class,” Bowyer says. “And I said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t actually want to leave, I want to be here and I want to do this. But I don’t think I can anymore.’”

 

‘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).

 

Future of Learning Council on Statewide Grassroots Strategies & Pathways — from gettingsmart.com

Description of podcast:

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast Shawnee Caruthers is joined by Dr. Dave Richards, the Executive Learning Strategist for Michigan Virtual and a key part of Future of Learning Council, a partner that we’ve loved working alongside over the last year.

We are also joined by two superintendents who are a part of this project – Dr. Christopher Timmis, Superintendent of Dexter Community Schools and Dr. John VanWagoner of Traverse City Area Public Schools.

 

What’s next for online education? — from educationalist.substack.com by Alexandra Mihai

Excerpt:

An ecosystem not a dichotomy
As you’re hopefully already getting from my thoughts so far, I personally see our options for quality education in the future more like an ecosystem and not a series of mutually exclusive paths. It’s time to discard- or at least question-the “online vs. in person” dichotomy, almost always unfavourable to online education. It’s time to think in a more nuanced way about this. And, yes, you’ve guessed, more nuanced is always more difficult. Seeing the shades of grey requires a critical lens that we don’t need to see black and white.

The extent to which online education will be used in the future does not depend only on people (micro level), it depends on institutions (meso level) and policies (macro level).

The learning ecosystem, in my view:

  • includes various modalities used in a complementary way and as a continuum;
  • serves a multitude of audiences, at different stages of learning, with different aims and degrees of engagement;
  • requires comprehensive and interconnected support structures at institutional level, for students and faculty.
 

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.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian