24 ideas for creating a discussion-rich classroom — from ditchthattextbook.com by Matt Miller
Discussion can engage students and help them to see different perspectives. Here are strategies you can use to create a discussion-rich classroom.

10 ways to teach active listening in the classroom

Also relevant/see:

 
 

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

 

 

College & Career Guide for Students with Disabilities — from study.com by Jamie Julh, Lisa Keith, Nicole Nicholson, Taylor McGillis; with thanks to Alysson Webb for this resource

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Students with disabilities made up 19.4% of enrolled undergraduate students in the U.S. according to the most recent data release from the Department of Education (DoE). However, many of these students may be afraid to or not know how to advocate for themselves and obtain the assistance they need. Data on graduation rates for students with disabilities can be hard to come by, but based on a recent study by the DoE National Center of Education Statistics, only 54.2% had graduated with a bachelor’s degree after six years. One possible reason for this low graduation rate is that only 35% of students with disabilities chose to disclose those disabilities to the college or university they attended, and only 24% chose to utilize accommodations. This guide is intended to help students with disabilities learn about their rights, the laws that protect them, and the resources available to help them see through their goal of obtaining higher education.

Also relevant/see:

 

How Much Does College Really Cost? — from chronicle.com by Phillip Levine
The opacity of pricing hurts students — and institutions.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Many institutions have reported average statistics on their own web pages for quite some time to no avail — students do not believe average statistics. What they want to know is how much is this college going to cost me?

Real affordability is sacrificed in the name of perceived affordability at these institutions.

A college education is an investment that generates substantial returns. It does not need to be free. It just needs to be affordable — and not just for the rich, but for everyone.

Also relevant/see:

My in Tuition dot com -- a quick college cost estimator

 

From DSC:
There are many things that are not right here — especially historically speaking. But this is one WE who are currently living can work on resolving.

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The Cost of Connection — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan
The internet is a lifeline for students on far-flung tribal campuses. Too often, they’re priced out of learning.

Excerpt:

Affordable and reliable broadband access can be a lifeline for tribal colleges, usually located on or near Native American reservations, often in remote, rural areas across the Southwest and Midwest. Chartered by their respective tribal governments, the country’s 35 accredited tribal colleges operate in more than 75 campus sites across 16 states, serving more than 160,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives each year. They emphasize and help sustain the culture, languages, and traditions of their tribal communities and are often the only higher-education option available for Native students in some of the nation’s poorest rural regions.

Also relevant/see:

Tribal Colleges Will Continue Online, Despite Challenges — from chronicle.com by Taylor Swaak
Other institutions could learn from their calculus.

Excerpt:

Two years after tribal colleges shuttered alongside institutions nationwide, many remain largely, if not fully, online, catering to students who’ve historically faced barriers to attending in person. Adult learners — especially single mothers who may struggle to find child care, or those helping to support multigenerational households — make up the majority of students at more than half of the 32 federally recognized institutions in the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program. These colleges are also often located in low-income, rural areas, where hours of daily commute time (and the cost of gas) can prove untenable for students simultaneously working part- or full-time jobs.

Also relevant/see:

Why Tribal Colleges Struggle to Get Reliable Internet Service — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan and Jacquelyn Elias
For tribal colleges across the country, the pandemic magnified internet-access inequities. Often located on far-flung tribal lands, their campuses are overwhelmingly in areas with few broadband service providers, sometimes leaving them with slow speeds and spotty coverage.

“You can be driving from a nearby town, and as soon as you hit the reservation, the internet and cellphone signals drop off,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president of the American Indian College Fund and a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation. “Students would be in the middle of class and their Wi-Fi access dropped off.”

Worsening matters, many students have been limited by outdated equipment. “We had students who were trying to take classes on their flip phones,” Crazy Bull said. Such stories were cropping up throughout Indian territory.

 

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

 

 

Seeing the possibilities, I finally took a chance. I studied English, political science and finite math, and each class I passed deepened my confidence and self-love.

This growing self-love was key to my academic development. Growing up, I didn’t experience much real love, outside of my mother and a few family members. I most often encountered the kind of false love expressed through violence and monetary possessions. College changed the way I thought about myself and others. I worked hand-in-hand with men from all backgrounds to complete assignments, and even taught other students. Before I knew it, I was getting A’s on my essays and solving quadratic equations in math class.

When people question why it’s important to educate prisoners, I remind them that to see change, we must support change. We must give individuals the opportunity to see themselves as more than the harm they’ve caused, more than what was once broken within them.

Christopher Blackwell

Also relevant/see:

Calvin University's Prison Initiative

 

University Behind Bars

 

We need to use more tools — that go beyond screen sharing — where we can collaborate regardless of where we’re at. [Christian]

From DSC:
Seeing the functionality in Freehand — it makes me once again think that we need to use more tools where faculty/staff/students can collaborate with each other REGARDLESS of where they’re coming in to partake in a learning experience (i.e., remotely or physically/locally). This is also true for trainers and employees, teachers and students, as well as in virtual tutoring types of situations. We need tools that offer functionalities that go beyond screen sharing in order to collaborate, design, present, discuss, and create things.  (more…)

 

Teaching: Fresh Approaches to Faculty Development — from chronicle.com by Beckie Supiano

Excerpt:

Baranovic can’t imagine returning to the old model: He’s sticking to panels in Zoom. Among the benefits, he says: “This arrangement breaks institutional silos, allows faculty to talk more about their experiences, shares effective practices from sources faculty trust (their peers), creates a stronger sense of community, makes it easy for panelists (they receive the questions ahead of time if they want to prepare, but because they’re speaking to experience, they don’t really have to prepare), and creates a form of support that works like therapy but doesn’t feel like therapy.”

Next, Baranovic hopes to turn the panels into a podcast format for professors unable to attend in real time.

From DSC:
As someone who had been involved with Teaching & Learning Centers for years, I can tell you that it’s very disheartening to put together a training session for faculty members and have very few — if any — people show up for it. It’s a waste of time and it leaves the T&L staff and/or IT staff members feeling discouraged and unvalued.

Over the years, I developed a preference for putting things into an asynchronous digital format for faculty members and adjunct faculty members to access per their own schedules. The institutions that I was working for got a greater ROI from those sessions and they were able to visit an internal “course” or website to reference those materials on-demand.

I also like the idea of podcasting here, but that takes a lot of time and effort — and isn’t always possible when you are one person trying to assist hundreds of faculty members (from a technical support and an LMS admin standpoint).

As an Instructional Designer, I also want to comment that it’s hard to help steer a car if you can’t even get into the car. Those institutions that are using team-based approaches will be far more successful in designing and developing more polished, effective, accessible learning experiences. Very few people can do it all.

 

It’s (Past) Time to Redesign the Teaching Profession — from gettingsmart.com by Katie Kimbrell

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

I don’t care if you don’t have kids, if your kids are grown, or if you think for some reason you’re shielded from this threat: This crisis should concern everyone. Just like when any core institution is threatened to subsist, reinvention is not just an opportunity to do better, but an imperative to survive—both for an institution, but more importantly, for our collective humanity.

Please note that this piece is not making an argument for the concept of agency teaching (ie. please don’t send me your theses on why my idea is bad), but rather to demonstrate a point about the need to rethink the teaching profession and to treat educators as humans and critical stakeholders in the way we redesign it.

Asking a critical mass of past, present, and future educators these questions is where the empathy work begins—and therein the only way we will be on the right track in designing a system that works for all the humans inside of it.

Also relevant/see:

Who is Going to Teach the Kids? — from by Cameron Paterson

Key Points:

  • There have been profound changes in the work and workload of teachers.
  • During remote learning, both teachers and students discovered a new sense of autonomy.
  • Reprioritizing the focus of work for teachers is critical to the success of schools.
 
 

Want Students Who Think for Themselves? Let’s Eliminate Our Standardized School System — from edsurge.com by Zachary Morita

Excerpt:

It is a wake-up call when a student feels defeated by an educational system that focuses on standardizing students who feel like they are “the problem.” We can’t expect students to understand the purpose of education on their own. They need educators, leaders and supporters to guide them to create the education system they deserve to succeed in life. I stand by what I share with all of my students: that we must reimagine and redesign our education system so that students are NOT the problem.

Instead, we must ensure that learners are intrinsically motivated through learning activities that are challenging, purposeful, relevant and empowering.

 

Students Co-authoring Their Own Learning — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • By inviting learners to co-author learning experiences, journeys and records, we help them build the most important skills and dispositions they’ll need to succeed in a changing world.
  • Helping learners weave together learner-chosen and co-authored experiences into coherent pathways is the new learning design challenge.
 

One District’s Ongoing Hybrid Success — from by Erik Ofgang
Early in the pandemic, Kyle Berger, chief technology officer for Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District, installed cameras in every classroom for hybrid learning. Those cameras continue to be used in innovative ways.

Excerpt:

In the meantime, the cameras continue to be utilized in a variety of ways, including:

  • For students who are out of school with COVID or for other medical reasons to keep participating in class.
  • To allow a teacher to quickly record an explanation or lesson so students can access it later. “The way they’re mounted on the ceiling, the teachers started taking that to a different level because you could reach up to the webcam if you wanted to and you could turn it to point down, and now in a sense, it’s a document camera,” Berger says.
  • To help with the substitute teacher shortage. “We can bridge two classrooms together through our video solutions, and maybe just have an instructional aide in the second classroom,” Berger says.
  • To allow educators to engage in professional development by watching videos of their own lectures and lessons.

“It’s really allowed us a lot more flexibility to continue to navigate the ever-changing environment and education right now,” Berger says.

From DSC:
I’d probably use the word hyflex here instead of the word hybrid…but you get the point. I would also assert that for the following relevant article as well:

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian