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.


 

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.”

 

Five steps to getting higher ROI on your learning content — from chieflearningofficer.com by Anindita Gupta

Excerpt:

Both scenarios point toward the fact that organizations are investing a disproportionate amount of time and money on their star content while the supporting content assets are left languishing.  In the long run, this skewed handling makes it extremely difficult for L&D teams to manage and maintain not just their content but also their budget. They could do better, be leaner, get more out of their investments, and experience smarter if they did just one thing differently.
.

Live learning modules are only the tip of the iceberg of what is involved in creating them

 

Also relevant/see:

Addendum 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.

 

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.

 


 

 

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:

 

Weighing the best strategies for reading intervention — from hechingerreport.org by Caralee Adams
Some schools are overhauling reading instruction and trying a variety of approaches to address the pandemic’s impact on learning

Excerpt:

But, some experts say, schools should also invest in deeper changes that tackle the root of the problem: Many teachers aren’t well versed in the science of reading and the best ways to teach to the widening range of abilities they are seeing in students.

Teachers need training on the science of reading research, guidance on leveraging data and ongoing support to help them target instruction.

 

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

 

 

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…)

 

Teacher Job Satisfaction Hits an All-Time Low — from edweek.org by Madeline Will
Exclusive new data paints a picture of a profession in crisis

Excerpts:

Teachers’ job satisfaction levels appear to have hit an all-time low this year as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage schools.

That’s according to the Merrimack College Teacher Survey, a nationally representative poll of more than 1,300 teachers conducted by the EdWeek Research Center and commissioned by the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College.

In interviews, teachers say they still love teaching—but they’re fed up with everything else. They feel burdened by a constantly growing workload, especially with more students having greater academic and social-emotional needs than ever before. They don’t feel like they’re paid appropriately for all the work they do. And they don’t feel respected as professionals.

Also see:


From DSC:
But it’s not just in K12 where our learning ecosystems are malnourished:


  • Ep.77: Turnover, Burnout and Demoralization in Higher Ed — a podcast from insidehighered.com and hosted by Inside Higher Ed Editor Doug Lederman
    Excerpt: 
    Faculty and staff members are leaving colleges and universities in droves. Other employers are experiencing these trends, too, but are some issues unique to higher education? Employers of all kinds are struggling to hold on to their employees in the wake of the pandemic and amid a white-hot job market. Data recently released by the University of North Carolina system, for instance, shows that faculty and staff turnover in the first half of this academic year was about 40 percent higher than the average of the last four years. Are colleges and universities just dealing with the same issues other industries are facing? Or are there unique problems in higher ed that campus leaders need to acknowledge?

Also relevant/see:

Between this academic year and last, faculty members aw a 5-percent drop in inflation-adjusted average salary.

 

 

From DSC:
Hmmm…many colleges and universities keep a close eye on their peers and often respond with similar strategies that their peers are pursuing. But who is an organization’s peer? The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s posting below — “How a College Decides Who Its Peers Are” — stated that “there is clearly no shared definition of what constitutes a peer institution.” 

Plus, I found this item especially interesting:

Harvard University selected only three peer institutions: Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. But 22 institutions, including Bowdoin, named Harvard as a peer. Bowdoin, a small, liberal-arts college with about 1,800 undergraduate students and no graduate programs, chose 98 “peers,” including the entire Ivy League and many large universities, some of which enroll more than 10,000 students. Bowdoin itself was picked by 35 institutions as a peer. All of them were small, liberal-arts colleges or universities that primarily serve undergraduates.

I have often thought that colleges and universities should care far less about what their peers are doing. Rather, they should move forward with their own solid visions, bold actions, and well-thought-through strategies — as there can be a great deal of danger and risk in the status quo.

Too many alternatives have been appearing — and will likely continue to appear — on the lifelong learning landscapes. Most likely, these new organizations will offer in-demand credentials/skills as well as the capabilities of helping people constantly reinvent themselves — with far less expensive price tags associated with these types of offerings.


How a College Decides Who Its Peers Are — from chronicle.com by Susan Poser
Questions of institutional identity are at the core of the process.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The mismatch between whom an institution chose as peers, and the colleges that reciprocated, pervades the data set. It raises the question of how institutions designate peers, which is a mystery. In some cases it is likely to be decided by someone in the Office of Institutional Research or the provost’s office in response to the Ipeds survey, while in others perhaps some process leads to a consensus among administrators. Regardless, there is clearly no shared definition of what constitutes a peer institution.

Also relevant/see:


 

The Digital versus Brick-and-Mortar Balancing Game — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

The blended campus required after two years of upheaval calls for out-of-the box thinking about what to keep and what to discard from both digital and physical work and learning spaces. Technology leaders face critical decisions regarding workplace culture, physical classroom design, and traditional campus spaces.

Making the move from fully in-person instruction to a learning environment that also accommodates remote students (and remote faculty) requires rethinking and redesigning physical learning spaces to provide an equitable experience for all learners. Technology leaders will need to overcome sizable obstacles to create inclusive classrooms that enable faculty and students to reap the many benefits of hybrid [hyflex] learning.

Also see some of the other most urgent issues in higher education here:

The EDUCAUSE showcase series spotlights the most urgent issues in higher education.

 

Bridging the digital divide in online learning — from tonybates.ca by Tony Bates

Excerpt:

The problem
At the start of the pandemic, in Oakland, California, 40 miles north of Silicon Valley, only 12 percent of low-income students, and 25 percent of all students, in Oakland’s public schools had devices at home and a strong internet connection.

The outcome
Two years into the pandemic, Oakland has been able to connect 98 percent of the students in the district. As of February, the city had provided nearly 36,000 laptops and more than 11,500 hot spots to low-income public school students.

Also from Tony, see:

Getting into the online learning industry

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post called ‘So you want to be an educational technologist…’ in which gave some advice on how to get into and develop a career as an educational technologist. In that article, I noted that I didn’t have much experience to guide people going into the corporate training area, and this article by Matthew Lynch does exactly that. This article complements nicely what I wrote earlier.

 

Momentum builds behind a way to lower the cost of college: A degree in three years — from hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus
Skepticism about the cost and duration of a higher education drives a need for speed

Excerpt:

A rare brand-new nonprofit university, NewU has a comparatively low $16,500-a-year price that’s locked in for a student’s entire education and majors with interchangeable requirements so students don’t fall behind if they switch.

But the feature that appears to be really winning over applicants is that NewU will offer bachelor’s degrees in three years instead of the customary four.

“We didn’t think the three-year bachelor’s degree was going to be the biggest draw,” said Stratsi Kulinski, president of the startup college. “But it has been, hands-down. Consumers are definitely ready for something different.”

 

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.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian