Why we need some humility about online learning – and about face-to-face teaching — from tonybates.ca by Tony Bates

Excerpt:

Those of us who have been fighting to get online learning accepted over the last 20-25 years have argued strongly the merits of online learning. We have argued that not only can it increase access, especially for older, working and lifelong learners, but it can also teach as well, and under certain circumstances, even better than face-to-face teaching. Covid-19 in particular showed the value of online learning, allowing students to continue their learning, even during a pandemic.

The limits of online learning
However, Covid-19 also taught us that online learning has its limits. When there was no access to face-to-face learning, we found that online learning was not able to help certain students. We also found that there are important aspects of face-to-face or campus based learning that cannot easily be replaced by online learning. Let’s look at some of these limitations.

We need to not only accept that both online learning and face-to-face teaching have equal value, but also to strive to understand what each does best. This will vary by subject matter, by types of students, and by instructors’ training and experience. We all have a lot to learn.

Also from Tony, see:

The future of online learning with Dr. Tony Bates

 

The Damaging Myth of the Natural Teacher — from chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie

Excerpt:

The mistaken ideas about teaching that Sathy had early in her career are widespread — and not only among new instructors. Good teaching is often seen as a natural talent when really it’s a skill, one that can be learned and refined.

Thinking back to those early days, though, Sathy sees how that first stumble could have led her in a different direction. If it weren’t for a “big lightbulb moment” that enabled her to quickly understand her mistakes, a fierce determination to become a better teacher, and an openness to seeing her role not as the expert who commands a room, but as a partner in students’ learning, she could have been yet another hapless instructor wondering how to get through the semester without too many punishing evaluations.

“I’m glad I had the courage to keep getting back into the ring,” she says.

 

The Great Education Unbundling and How Learning Will be Rebundled — from gettingsmart.com by Nate McClennen, Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • The pandemic accelerated the great unbundling of learning – at least for those with access, agency, and advocates.
  • While unbundling will expand, how learning is rebundled will emerge as the next innovation — accessible, personalized, accountable and massive.

Excerpts:

By removing the barrier of full credit/school offered, schools become more robust in terms of richness of offerings as well as more personalized to meet the needs of students and communities.

The majority of unbundled experiences still fall back on the course level as the smallest granular level of choice. Following the lead of industry, unbundling in schools should mean a reduction in grain size so that skills are the level of unbundling rather than courses.

 

Here’s an example of what an engaging and exciting online course might [look like]. 

You start with a short video that introduces the subject. It focuses on the course’s main ideas, and how they relate to one another, getting your learners interested in the topic and making them eager to learn more.

 

Education and Justice Departments Warn of Covid’s ‘Profound Toll’ on Student Mental Health — from chronicle.com by Sarah Brown

Excerpt:

As the pandemic drags on past 19 months in the United States, the Education Department and the Justice Department on Wednesday implored colleges and schools to be especially attentive to students who are showing signs of self-harm or suicide.

If institutions don’t adequately support students with mental-health diagnoses, as required by federal law, the departments warned that they could draw an investigation.

Suzanne B. Goldberg, a former senior administrator at Columbia University who’s now the Education Department’s acting assistant secretary for civil rights, wrote in a letter to educators that the Covid-19 era had “taken a profound toll” on students’ mental health.

 

 

3 Tips for Making Passion-Based Learning Work Successfully — from thejournal.com by Dennis Pierce

Excerpt:

Passion-based learning, a form of self-directed learning in which students pursue projects of interest to them, is becoming more popular in schools — and for good reason: Educators who have set aside time for passion-based learning have discovered that students become highly engaged and motivated when learning about topics that intrigue them, while taking their learning much deeper than they would in a traditional lesson.

Passion-based learning initiatives include Genius Hour and 20time, both inspired by Google’s program that lets employees spend 20% of their time on projects of their choosing to spark innovation.

Giving all students the option to explore their interests can be challenging on a large scale. To overcome this hurdle and make the process easier for teachers, Sonora Elementary uses a new peer-to-peer learning platform called Tract, which is a collection of video content organized into self-directed learning paths.

tract.app allows students to be creative and practice their storytelling and multimedia skills

From DSC:
I love the type of tool/app like Tract — as students can work on a variety of skills:

  • multimedia development
  • music
  • acting
  • writing/composing
  • digital storytelling
  • …and more

Such projects/tools can unleash a great deal of creativity, engagement, and positive energy. Learning becomes more relevant, enjoyable, and interesting when we can provide more choice and control to our students.

 

Common Anxieties in Beginning HyFlex: Learning to Teach a HyFlex Class — from hyflexlearning.org by Brian Beatty

Excerpt:

Not surprisingly, one of the biggest anxieties – FEARS – for many faculty considering or implementing a HyFlex approach for the first time is learning how to do so, and to do so effectively the very first time. No one likes to feel like they aren’t equipped to do the work they are required (or challenged) to do; perhaps especially teachers who are normally in full control of their classrooms and the activities that take place in them. When you are planning to teach HyFlex, it may seem like you are planning for CHAOS, or at least planning to lose control over the class environment(s), the teaching process, and ultimately student learning. Let’s address those concerns one at a time, but briefly.

If we assume you are an effective classroom teacher, then a common design path that I usually recommend is to start with your plans for an effective classroom experience and work to translate those to the other modes, accessing expert guidance as needed (such as, instructional designers, online course design books, your colleagues). What are the learning outcomes (or instructional objectives) for the classroom? How will those translate into the online mode(s) you are planning? What about the instructional content and associated activities for the classroom? How do those translate? What about plans for assessment? Start with what you know, and are confident with, and then layer in approaches for the other modes. 

 

Think-Pair-Share: The Basics! — from lillyconferences.com by The Scholarly Teacher Team
Think-Pair-Share is a collaborative learning strategy that promotes critical thinking and peer learning. This is an excellent place to start if you want to add active learning to your lecture-based course without taking much class time.

From DSC:
The ability of many videoconferencing systems to automatically create breakout groups/sessions for you can be very helpful here. 

 

Talking About Forgetting with Students — from theeffortfuleducator.com by Blake Harvard

Excerpt:

Over the course of 24 hours, students are going to forget a lot of what we cover in class. So, when they show up to class and I provide a review, I shouldn’t expect them to necessarily do too well. The students’ mindset should not be ‘I should be getting all of this correct’, but ‘let me see what I remember and what I don’t so I better know what to review later’. But that’s not the mentality we approach most assessment opportunities with…they’re seen more as a ‘gotcha’ for students or, at least, students believe they’re supposed to remember all of this because it’s on the review.

We need to work to change this mindset. Let the students in on the ‘secret’ of memory and forgetting. Tell them forgetting is normal and expected. And the reason we’re doing these formative assessments is to simply indicate what you do remember and what you’ve forgotten so future studying can be more efficient and effective.

Also see:

 

A guide to overexcitabilities and gifted children — podcast from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

Polish psychologist/psychiatrist Kazimierz Dabrowski developed the theory of overexcitabilities. Gifted children are highly likely to be more intense than their typical peers. This increased awareness, sensitivity, and intensity can present challenges that make them difficult children to parent.

The Five Overexcitabilities
Dabrowski identified five different areas of overexcitabilities when he developed his Theory of Positive Disintegration. Not all gifted kids exhibit overexcitabilities, but they are more prevalent among the gifted population than any other.

 

Sites and apps to enjoy with your kids — from wondertools.substack.com by Jeremy Caplan

Check out Jeremy’s list of sites and apps to review with your kids re:

  • Making music delightful
  • Bringing joy to science, math, and coding
  • Other fantastic resources for kids and families
 

Resources from “The Science of Learning” — from deansforimpact.org

Excerpt:

The Science of Learning summarizes existing cognitive-science research on how students learn, and connects it to practical implications for teaching. The report is a resource for teacher-educators, new teachers, and anyone in the education profession who is interested in how learning takes place.

Deans for Impact believes all teacher-candidates should know the cognitive-science principles explored in The Science of Learning. And all educators, including new teachers, should be able to connect those principles to their practical implications for the classroom.

One of those resources is:

Also see:Learning by Scientific Design -- a report from Deans for Impact

The use of regular quizzes is extremely effective in committing something to long-term memory


There are six major takeaways from our first administration of our Learning by Scientific Design assessment:

  1. In general, future teachers are unfamiliar with basic principles of learning science – and they struggle to connect these principles to practice.
  2. Encouragingly, future teachers recognize the critical role that background knowledge plays in learning.
  3. Future teachers struggle to identify effective forms of practice – and they appear to conflate student engagement with learning.
  4. For the most part, teacher-candidates hold beliefs about teaching and learning that align to principles of learning science –- but there are clear areas for improvement.
  5. Teacher-candidate understanding of learning science does not vary based on key categories we might expect.
  6. Teacher-educators in the LbSD Network do better at identifying learning-science principles in practice than just the principles in the abstract.

 

Five Tips for Launching an Online Writing Group — from scholarlyteacher.com by Kristina Rouech,  Betsy VanDeuesen, Holly Hoffman, & Jennifer Majorana — who are all from Central Michigan University

Excerpt:

Making time for writing can be difficult at any stage of your career. Pushing writing aside for grading, lesson planning, meeting with students, and committee work is too easy. However, writing is a necessary part of our careers and has the added benefit of helping us stay current with our practice and knowledge in our field. Lee and Boud (2003) stress that groups should focus on developing peer relationships and writing identity, increasing productivity, and sharing practical writing. Online writing groups can help us accomplish this. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, working online has become a necessity, but it can take time to figure out what works best for you and your writing colleagues. We recommend five tips to help you establish an online writing group that is productive and enjoyable for all participants.

 

From DSC:
For IDs, trainers, teachers, faculty members, & teams who are working on creating and delivering online-based learning……the following article is a good one for us to check out and reflect upon:

Most Online Courses Are a Waste of Your Time — Here’s How You Know — from medium.com by Eva Keiffenheim
A quick guide that helps you find the worthy ones.

Excerpts:

Not all learning investments are created equal. People who’ve excelled at their craft are often not the best teachers. Likewise, creators who write the best sales copy don’t offer the most value.

Here’s precisely how you can spot bad online courses so that you won’t waste your time and money.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian