From DSC:
The report below contains some great examples of a few of the elements in a learning ecosystem! Though there are many other elements in a learning ecosystem, tools and technologies are certainly two key components of one.

Some of the topics in this report at:

  • Knowledge bases and knowledge management technology
  • Microlearning
  • Learning record store
  • Learning Experience Platform (LXP)
  • Augmented reality / Virtual reality (AR/VR)
  • Adaptive learning / Intelligent tutor
  • Technology stack

2022 Trends in Learning Technology — from learningguild.com by Steve Foreman

Excerpt:

In this research report, Steve Foreman analyzes recent survey findings to examine eight learning technologies and explore how they impact the L&D space, organizations, customer satisfaction, and more.

This image contains some information regarding the learning record store

 

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.

 

Per Johann Neem, the innovations that promise to save higher ed are a farce.

The University in Ruins — from chronicle.com by Johann N. Neem
The “innovations” that promise to save higher ed are a farce.

From DSC:
First of all,
I appreciated Johann Neem mentioning and/or discussing several books in one posting:

  • Ronald G. Musto’s The Attack on Higher Education (2021)
  • Arthur Levine’s and Scott J. Van Pelt’s The Great Upheaval (2021)
  • Bill Readings’ The University in Ruins (1996)
  • Ronald J. Daniels’ What Universities Owe Democracy (2021)

And as a disclosure here, I have not read those books. 

Below are excerpts with some of my comments:

It’s already happening. Today, we walk among the ruins of an institution that once had a larger purpose. It’s not clear what role universities should play in society, and to what or to whom they are accountable, other than their corporate interests.

To some, that’s not a problem, at least according to Arthur Levine and Scott J. Van Pelt in The Great Upheaval (2021). They see higher education undergoing the same transformation that reshaped the music, film, and newspaper industries. Rather than place-based education overseen by tenured professors, they anticipate “the rise of anytime, anyplace, consumer-driven content and source agnostic, unbundled, personalized education paid for by subscription.”

Between Musto’s existential fears of disruption and Levine and Van Pelt’s embrace of it lies a third path. It takes the form of a wager — outlined by Ronald J. Daniels in What Universities Owe Democracy (2021) — that universities can and should continue to matter because of their importance in civic democratic life.

The article covers how the learning ecosystems within higher education have morphed from their religious roots to being an apparatus of the nation-state to then becoming a relatively independent bureaucratic system to other things and to where we are today.

Along the journey discussing these things, one of the things that caught my eye was this statement:

Hopkins, in this sense, lived up to its founding president Daniel Coit Gilman’s 19th-century aspiration that universities be places that acquire, conserve, refine, and distribute knowledge.

From DSC:
While I completely agree with that aspiration, I think more institutions of higher education could follow what John Hopkins University did with their efforts concerning the Covid-19 situation, as Neem mentioned. Generally speaking, institutions of higher education are not distributing knowledge to the levels that Gilman envisioned years ago.

In fact, these days those working within K12 are doing a whole lot better at sharing information with society than those who work within higher education are. For example, when I search Twitter for K12 educators who share content on Twitter, they are out there all over the place — and many with tens of thousands of followers. They share information with parents, families, fellow educators, students, school boards, and others. Yet this is not the case for those working in higher education. Faculty members normally:

  • aren’t out on Twitter
  • don’t blog
  • don’t have a podcast
  • don’t write for society at large. Instead, their expertise is often locked up — existing behind paywalls in academic journals. In other words, they talk to each other.

Later on…

As Daniels intuits, without a larger purpose to hold them fast, there is nothing to prevent universities from being buffeted by winds until they have lost direction. That is what Readings foresaw: Globalization liberates universities from national fetters, but at the risk of ruin.

From DSC:
While globalization may have something to do with universities becoming unanchored from their original purposes, globalization isn’t at the top of my mind when I reflect upon what’s been happening with colleges and universities these last few decades.

To see but one area of massive change, let’s take a brief look at college sports. There are now multimillion-dollar stadium projects, enormous coaches’ salaries, and numerous situations where tax-paying citizens can’t even watch sporting events without tons of advertisements being thrown into their faces every few seconds. Personally speaking, on numerous occasions, I couldn’t even access the games at all — as I wasn’t paying for the subscriptions to the appropriate providers.

Also, as another example of becoming anchored — and going back to the 1980’s — I attended Northwestern University for my undergraduate degree in Economics. While I have several wonderful lifelong friends from that experience for whom I’m deeply grateful, even back then NU had already moved far away from its motto which is based on Philippians 4:8.

Instead, please allow me to tell you what that learning community taught me and strongly encouraged me to think about:

  • You are only successful if you have the corner office, drive the higher numbered BMW’s, and have many people reporting to you.
  • If you make a lot of money.
  • You are supposed to compete against others vs. being in relationships with others. As but one example here, our test scores were published — by our Social Security numbers — outside our professors’ offices for all to see how we measured up to our classmates.

In fact, I’m not even sure that I would use the word “community” at all when I reflect upon my years at Northwestern. Instead, a WIIFM approach was encouraged (i.e., What’s In It For Me? where you are supposed to look out for #1). It took me years to unlearn some of those “lessons” and “learnings.”

But I realize that that’s not the case with all learning communities.

As Neem alluded to, I love the idea that an institution of higher education can — and often does — impact students’ hearts as well as minds. That was the focus at Calvin College (now Calvin University). Our oldest daughter went there and she was profoundly and positively influenced by her experiences there. In that context, students were encouraged to be in relationships with one another. There was plenty of hugging, praying for one another, etc. going on in that setting. There truly was community there.

***

Neem doesn’t think much of Levine’s and Van Pelt’s perspectives. He claims there’s nothing new in their book. He seems to discard the arguments being made about the cost of higher ed and, like many others, clings to the intellectual roots/purpose of higher ed.

While I’m not against intellect or pursuing knowledge — in fact, I’m all for it — I just have a problem when the price of doing so continues to become out of reach for soooooo many people.

Personally, I’ve tried to lower the cost of obtaining a degree within higher education for many years…but I was/we were only successful in doing so for a few years (and that was during a pilot of online-based learning). Yohan Na and I created the graphic below in 2008 for example — as I was trying to raise awareness of the dangers of the status quo:
.

.

So from a cost/access perspective, Levine’s and Van Pelt’s perspectives here sound pretty good to me. It appears to be much more affordable and realistic for the masses. Otherwise, the image/reality of the ivory tower is maintained…allowing “intellectuals” to continue to live and operate within their own sphere/hive/tribe.

Also, we need an AI-backed system of presenting which skills are needed and then how to get them. The ways things are set up today, institutions of traditional higher education have not been able to deal with the current pace of change out there.

As a final comment here…
The changing directions/purposes of institutions of higher education present a good example of why I entitled this blog Learning Ecosystems — as the systems that we use to learn and grow in are constantly morphing:

  • People come and go
  • Tools and vendors come and go
  • Purposes, focuses, and/or mission statements change
  • Our sources of information (i.e., our streams of content) come and go
  • Etc.
 

45 Next Generation Learning Tools That Kids Will Love — from ireviews.com with thanks to Alex Ward for this resource

Excerpts:

There’s a wide range of tools designed to support curriculum and help teachers and students achieve their goals. These are our top picks for school students of every age, due to their impressive functionality and simple integration into the classroom.

 


From DSC:
Below is a sample screenshot from the Elementary school resources section. They also have resources for middle schoolers and high schoolers.


45 Next Generation Learning Tools That Kids Will Love

 

Now we just need a “Likewise TV” for learning-related resources! [Christian]

Likewise TV Brings Curation to Streaming — from lifewire.com by Cesar Aroldo-Cadenas
And it’s available on iOS, Android, and some smart TVs

All your streaming services in one place. One search. One watchlist. Socially powered recommendations.

Entertainment startup Likewise has launched a new recommendations hub that pulls from all the different streaming platforms to give you personalized picks.

Likewise TV is a streaming hub powered by machine learning, people from the Likewise community, and other streaming services. The service aims to do away with mindlessly scrolling through a menu, looking for something to watch, or jumping from one app to another by providing a single location for recommendations.

Note that Likewise TV is purely an aggregator.


Also see:

Likewise TV -- All your streaming services in one place. One search. One watchlist. Socially powered recommendations.

 


From DSC:
Now we need this type of AI-based recommendation engine, aggregator, and service for learning-related resources!

I realize that we have a long ways to go here — as a friend/former colleague of mine just reminded me that these recommendation engines often miss the mark. I’m just hoping that a recommendation engine like this could ingest our cloud-based learner profiles and our current goals and then present some promising learning-related possibilities for us. Especially if the following graphic is or will be the case in the future:


Learning from the living class room


Also relevant/see:

From DSC:
Some interesting/noteworthy features:

  • “The 32- inch display has Wi-Fi capabilities to supports multiple streaming services, can stream smartphone content, and comes with a removable SlimFit Cam.”
  • The M8 has Wi-Fi connectivity for its native streaming apps so you won’t have to connect to a computer to watch something on Netflix. And its Far Field Voice mic can be used w/ the Always On feature to control devices like Amazon Alexa with your voice, even if the monitor is off.
  • “You can also connect devices to the monitor via the SmartThings Hub, which can be tracked with the official SmartThings app.”

I wonder how what we call the TV (or television) will continue to morph in the future.


Addendum on 3/31/22 from DSC:
Perhaps people will co-create their learning playlists…as is now possible with Spotify’s “Blend” feature:

Today’s Blend update allows you to share your personal Spotify playlists with your entire group chat—up to 10 users. You can manually invite these friends and family members to join you from in the app, then Spotify will create a playlist for you all to listen to using a mixture of everyone’s music preferences. Spotify will also create a special share card that everyone in the group can use to save and share the created playlist in the future.


 

Reflections on “Do We Really Want Academic Permanent Records to Live Forever on Blockchain?” [Bohnke]

From DSC:
Christin Bohnke raises a great and timely question out at edsurge.com in her article entitled:
Do We Really Want Academic Permanent Records to Live Forever on Blockchain?

Christin does a wonderful job of addressing the possibilities — but also the challenges — of using blockchain for educational/learning-related applications. She makes a great point that the time to look at this carefully is now:

Yet as much as unchangeable education records offer new chances, they also create new challenges. Setting personal and academic information in stone may actually counter the mission of education to help people evolve over time. The time to assess the benefits and drawbacks of blockchain technology is right now, before adoption in schools and universities is widespread.

As Christin mentions, blockchain technology can be used to store more than formal certification data. It could also store such informal certification data such as “research experience, individual projects and skills, mentoring or online learning.”

The keeping of extensive records via blockchain certainly raises numerous questions. Below are a few that come to my mind:

  • Will this type of record-keeping help or hurt in terms of career development and moving to a different job?
  • Will — or should — CMS/LMS vendors enable this type of feature/service in their products?
  • Should credentials from the following sources be considered relevant?
    • Microlearning-based streams of content
    • Data from open courseware/courses
    • Learning that we do via our Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and social networks
    • Learning that we get from alternatives such as bootcamps, coding schools, etc.
  • Will the keeping of records impact the enjoyment of learning — or vice versa? Or will it depend upon the person?
  • Will there be more choice, more control — or less so?
  • To what (granular) level of competency-based education should we go? Or from project-based learning?
  • Could instructional designers access learners’ profiles to provide more personalized learning experiences?
  • …and I’m certain there are more questions than these.

All that said…

To me, the answers to these questions — and likely other questions as well — lie in:

  1. Giving a person a chance to learn, practice, and then demonstrate the required skills (regardless of the data the potential employer has access to)
    .
  2. Giving each user the right to own their own data — and to release it as they see fit. Each person should have the capability of managing their own information/data without having to have the skills of a software engineer or a database administrator. When something is written to a blockchain, there would be a field for who owns — and can administer — the data.

In the case of finding a good fit/job, a person could use a standardized interface to generate a URL that is sent out to a potential employer. That URL would be good for X days. The URL gives the potential employer the right to access whatever data has been made available to them. It could be full access, in which case the employer is able to run their own queries/searches on the data. Or the learner could restrict the potential employer’s reach to a more limited subset of data.

Visually, speaking:


Each learner can say who can access what data from their learner's profile


I still have a lot more thinking to do about this, but that’s where I’m at as of today. Have a good one all!


 

The Conversation: Twitter Trends 2022 -- from marketing.twitter.com

The Conversation: Twitter Trends 2022 — from marketing.twitter.com

Excerpt:

Billions of Tweets reveal tomorrow’s big movements. 

The biggest movements start quietly. An idea becomes conversation becomes a seismic cultural shift. And if you want in on what’s next, listen to what people on Twitter are saying right now. 

To help you out, we analyzed1 billions of Tweets over a two-year period to find three must-know trends about to go big. From The Great Restoration to Fan-Built Worlds to Finance Goes Social, the talk on Twitter reveals the underlying shifts in power shaping where the world is going. 

 

Best Cameras for Vlogging in 2022 — from futurism.com

Excerpt:

Whether you’re looking for a camera to start your journey to internet stardom, or would just like to improve your video quality, this list of the best cameras for vlogging will not only capture you as you ham it up, but produce some seriously crisp content that you won’t have to patch up in editing.

Sony - ZV-1 20.1-Megapixel Digital Camera for Content Creators and Vloggers - Black

Also see:

The Best Vlogging Cameras and Gear — updated in May 2021 — from nytimes.com (Wirecutter) by Geoffrey Morrison and Phil RyanU

 

Why the World’s First Virtual Reality High School Changes Everything — from steve-grubbs.medium.com by Steve Grubs

Excerpts:

The recipe required key ingredients to happen. In addition to an accredited school to manage students, admissions and the for-credit learning, it also needed a platform. That’s where EngageVR comes in. There are other platforms that will ultimately host schools, perhaps AltSpace, Horizon or others, but the first is on Engage.

The bottom line is this: creators, coders, educators, entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, parents and students all played a role in finally bringing the first global virtual reality high school to life. It won’t be the last school to open in the metaverse, but to all those involved in this inaugural launch — the Neil Armstrongs of your age — a special tip of the hat today for having the vision and the willingness to launch a better and more equitable era of education.

Also see:

This is a snapshot from the Geo Guesser VR game

 

How I use Minecraft to help kids with autism — from ted.com by Stuart Duncan; with thanks to Dr. Kate Christian for this resource

Description:

The internet can be an ugly place, but you won’t find bullies or trolls on Stuart Duncan’s Minecraft server, AutCraft. Designed for children with autism and their families, AutCraft creates a safe online environment for play and self-expression for kids who sometimes behave a bit differently than their peers (and who might be singled out elsewhere). Learn more about one of the best places on the internet with this heartwarming talk.

 

Below are two excerpted snapshots from Stuart’s presentation:

Stuart Duncan speaking at TEDX York U

These are the words autistic students used to describe their experience with Stuart's Minecraft server

 

14 Predictions for Higher Education in 2022 [Schaffhauser]

14 Predictions for Higher Education in 2022

14 Predictions for Higher Education in 2022 — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

Ask people working in higher education what they expect will happen in the new year, and the outlook is filled with visions that build on what we’ve been experiencing on college and university campuses for the last two years: a major focus on learning formats; continued exploitation of new technology; and the use of new digital models that move users “beyond Zoom.” Here we present the collective predictions of 14 IT leaders, instructional folks and a student about what they anticipate seeing in 2022. As one put it, “Let’s go, 2022! We have work to do!”

From DSC:
I’d like to thank Dian Schaffhauser, Rhea Kelly, and Mary Grush for letting me contribute some thoughts to the various conversations that Campus Technology Magazine hosts and/or initiates. I inserted some reflections into the above article and I hope that you’ll take a moment to read my and others’ thoughts out there.

 

5 Ways Teachers Can Help Students in Their Online Learning Journey — from edtechreview.in

Excerpt:

With the growing prominence of online education and its integration into the daily lives of students, teachers can play an active role in helping students in their online learning journey. Here’s how:

 
 

From DSC:
Perhaps folks might want to experiment with the teaching strategy as mentioned below from Dr. Barbi Honeycutt’s Lecture Breakers Weekly e-newsletter.


From The Scholarly Teacher blog — who just added a new section on the blog which includes teaching tip infographics.

This week, they shared variations of Think, Pair, Share. In this teaching strategy, you give the students a problem or question. Then, you ask them to think about the question, pair up with a partner to discuss it, and then share it with the rest of the class (hence the name “think, pair, share”).

In this adaption, you do the same process, but instead of asking them to share with the class, you ask them to post a tweet using a class hashtag. Then you can read the tweets aloud, integrate them into your lecture, and/or facilitate a class discussion. This teaching strategy works well for blended, in-person, and online course formats, so it’s very adaptable to any topic or lesson.

 

Twitter for Teachers’ Professional Development: A Guide to Advanced Search Tips — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Twitter is one of the most popular microblogging platform among educators. More and more teachers are drawing on its communicative and social networking powers to connect, share, and grow professionally. As such, Twitter embeds tons of educational resources buried deep into its Tweetosphere. In today’s post, I am sharing with a host of practical search tips that will enable you to easily locate resources and grow your PLN. More specifically, you will learn how to search for Tweets that contain specific words, phrase, hashtags, or mentions; how to search Tweets sent from or sent in reply to a given user; how to access Tweets that embed links in them, how to search for Tweets shared during a particular period of time, and many more.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian