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.

 

Psalm 121:1-8

Psalm 121:1-8 — from biblegateway.com

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

 

If equity is a priority, UDL is a must — from cultofpedagogy.com by Katie Novak

Once you identify the firm goal, ask yourself, “Based on the variability in my class, what barriers may prevent learners from working toward that goal and how can I eliminate those barriers through design?”

Excerpt:

When we design the same learning pathways for all learners, we might tell ourselves we are being fair, but in fact, single pathways are exclusionary.  Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of the critically acclaimed book, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, challenges us to focus on impact over intentions. It may not be our intent to exclude our learners, but the reality is that many students do not have opportunities to learn at high levels or to access curriculum and instruction that is accessible, engaging, culturally sustaining, and linguistically appropriate.

Luckily, there is a framework that rejects these one-size-fits-all solutions and empowers educators to proactively design learning experiences so all students can increase their brainpower and accelerate and own their learning. The framework is Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

UDL is a framework for designing learning experiences so students have options for how they learn, what materials they use, and how they demonstrate their learning. 

From DSC:
I put together this graphic as I’m working on a Module (for Canvas) to address the topic of accessibility:

An image of a barrier being torn down -- revealing a human mind behind it. This signifies the need to tear down any existing barriers that might hinder someone's learning experience.
By Daniel Christian March 2021
 

Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene — from theatlantic.com by Caitlin Flanagan and was published online on March 11, 2021; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource.
Elite schools breed entitlement, entrench inequality—and then pretend to be engines of social change.

Picture of a golden chair. Links to an article entitled, Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene -- from theatlantic.com and was published online on March 11, 2021.

Excerpts:

These schools surround kids who have every possible advantage with a literal embarrassment of riches—and then their graduates hoover up spots in the best colleges. Less than 2 percent of the nation’s students attend so-called independent schools. But 24 percent of Yale’s class of 2024 attended an independent school. At Princeton, that figure is 25 percent. At Brown and Dartmouth, it is higher still: 29 percent.

The numbers are even more astonishing when you consider that they’re not distributed evenly across the country’s more than 1,600 independent schools but are concentrated in the most exclusive ones—and these are our focus here. In the past five years, Dalton has sent about a third of its graduates to the Ivy League. Ditto the Spence School. Harvard-Westlake, in Los Angeles, sent 45 kids to Harvard alone. Noble and Greenough School, in Massachusetts, did even better: 50 kids went on to Harvard.

However unintentionally, these schools pass on the values of our ruling class—chiefly, that a certain cutthroat approach to life is rewarded. 

But what makes these schools truly ludicrous is their recent insistence that they are engines of equity and even “inclusivity.” A $50,000-a-year school can’t be anything but a very expensive consumer product for the rich. If these schools really care about equity, all they need to do is get a chain and a padlock and close up shop.

“In practice, however, meritocracy now excludes everyone outside of a narrow elite.” This is a system that screws the poor, hollows out the middle class, and turns rich kids into exhausted, anxious, and maximally stressed-out adolescents who believe their future depends on getting into one of a very small group of colleges that routinely reject upwards of 90 percent of their applicants.

This is why wealthy parents think it’s life-and-death to get their kids into the right prep school—because they know that the winners keep winning.

From DSC:
Reading this article that was mainly about private secondary schools, I still can’t help but say that I feel this way about my alma mater — Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (even though it’s a university). They have lost their footing over the years. They’ve become unanchored from their motto — Philippians 4:8 — and they’ve long ago left the original faith-based intent of its founders when it was founded in 1851. 

As a Christian, I’m not happy at all with their direction. I notice that they pay lip service to equity and will sprinkle in an article or two here and there (in their alumni magazine for example) about how they are helping inner-city Chicago youth or some such topic.

But when the retail price that NU charges for ***one*** year of undergraduate work will cost you $79,342 (and thus $317,368+ for a degree), you’ve got to be kidding me!

The retail price of ONE YEAR at Northwestern University will cost you $79,342. Who is this accessible for other than the very wealthy these days!?!

 

And based upon my experience when I went there many years ago, courses were taught by:

  • Professors who had never been taught how to teach before
  • Professors who were not rewarded for their teaching, but rather they were awarded based upon their research
  • …and/or by graduate students who hadn’t been taught how to teach either

It must be all about the brand I guess. But I don’t think it’s worth it anymore — not at this kind of pricing!

Words are easy to say — but much harder to back up.


Addendums on 3/23/21:


Old Boys’ Clubs and Upward Mobility Among the Educational Elite — from nber.org by Valerie Michelman, Joseph Price & Seth D. Zimmerman; with thanks to Megan Zahneis at the Chronicle for this resource


Addendum on 4/11/21:


Calling all rich parents — from chronicle.com — which points to “We, the Privileged Parents That Matter, Applaud the Netflix College-Admissions Scandal Doc” — from chronicle.com by Eric Hoover

 

Below are two excerpts from the Lecture Breakers Weekly — by Dr. Barbi Honeycutt — re: teaching asynchronous online courses + podcast choice boards

Several great podcasts are mentioned in this graphic -- including The Learning Scientists Podcast, Lecture Breakers Podcast, Think UDL podcast and 3 others.

Above choice board created by Greg Jung

In this example, the teachers in a professional development workshop could choose which of the podcasts they wanted to listen to and discuss. I love this strategy combined with the use of podcasts! It could easily be adapted to any course as a creative way to increase student engagement and motivation.

 

Episode 75: How to Create More Engaging Asynchronous Online Courses with Dr. Monica Burns

Episode 75: How to Create More Engaging Asynchronous Online Courses with Dr. Monica Burns — by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

 

LexisNexis Extends Its Context Language Analytics to Cover Attorneys’ Briefs and Motions — from legaltechmonitor.com Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt:

Last year, LexisNexis introduced Context, a refinement of an analytics tool originally developed by Ravel Law that analyzes the language of a judge’s opinions to determine the cases and arguments the judge finds most persuasive in deciding specific types of issues. As I reported then, that original launch also included Context for expert witnesses, and, since then, LexisNexis has expanded Context to also cover courts and companies.

Today, LexisNexis is further expanding Context with the introduction of Attorney Analytics, the fifth module in the platform, for researching opposing attorneys in litigation matters.

Also see:

 

From DSC:
For me the Socratic method is still a question mark, in terms of effectiveness. (I suppose it depends on who is yielding the tool and how it’s being utilized/implemented.)

But you have one student — often standing up and/or in the spotlight — who is being drilled on something. That student could be calm and collected, and their cognitive processing could actually get a boost from the adrenaline.

But there are other students who dread being called upon in such a public — sometimes competitive — setting. Their cognitive processing could shut down or become greatly diminished.

Also, the professor is working with one student at a time — hopefully the other students are trying to address each subsequent question, but some students may tune out once they know it’s not their turn in the spotlight.

So I was wondering…could the Socratic method be used with each student at the same time? Could a polling-like tool be used in real-time to guide the discussion?

For example, a professor could start out with a pre-created poll and ask the question of all students. Then they could glance through the responses and even scan for some keywords (using their voice to drive the system and/or using a Ctrl+F / Command+F type of thing).

Then in real-time / on-the-fly, could the professor use their voice to create another poll/question — again for each student to answer — based on one of the responses? Again, each student must answer the follow up question(s).

Are there any vendors out there working on something like this? Or have you tested the effectiveness of something like this?

Vendors: Can you help us create a voice-driven interface to offer the Socratic method to everyone to see if and how it would work? (Like a Mentimeter type of product on steroids…er, rather, using an AI-driven backend.)

Teachers, trainers, pastors, presenters could also benefit from something like this — as it could engage numerous people at once.

#Participation #Engagement #Assessment #Reasoning #CriticalThinking #CommunicationSkills #ThinkingOnOnesFeet #OnlineLearning #Face-to-Face #BlendedLearning #HybridLearning

Could such a method be used in language-related classes as well? In online-based tutoring?

 

The transformative power of virtual courts

The transformative power of virtual courts — from raconteur.net by Ben Edwards

Excerpt:

At the Odeon cinema in Edinburgh’s Fort Kinnaird retail park, the movie posters have been taken down and the popcorn machines covered up as jurors take their seats in one of the four auditoriums to attend a virtual court hearing.

These remote jury centres have allowed the Scottish High Court to restart criminal trials by beaming live court action directly onto the cinema screen, allowing jurors to watch and hear evidence while maintaining social distancing, something that wouldn’t have been possible inside the main court building. With a further 11 screens available in Glasgow, the court is now back up to full capacity.

“The real beauty in this approach is it provides a way of scaling up; we have a model that works and can be applied anywhere,” says Tim Barraclough, executive director of the Judicial Office for Scotland.

Also see:

Reynen Court Now Lets You Take Legal Tech Products For A Test Drive — from legaltechmonitor.com by Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt:

Reynen Court, the platform that describes itself as the app store for legal technology, has introduced a new feature, appropriately called One-Click Test Drive, that makes it easy for law firms and legal departments to test products without having to buy them or negotiate trial licenses.

Using Test Drive, a user can quickly deploy a pilot of a pre-configured application in a secure environment. The application comes fully loaded with dummy data and transaction or case materials. It can be easily launched without requiring IT support.

Legal Tech Traditionally Favored Law Firms. That May Be Changing — from law.com by Frank Ready
Ironclad’s “State of Digital Contracting, Winter 2020: AI and the Elusive Promise of Smart Contracting” virtual event delved into how changes in service delivery models could help to drive a new wave of legal tech directed toward in-house attorneys and nonlawyers.

Excerpts from Working Remote: Advantages Gained from Legal Technology Adoption — from law.com
In this episode of the Perspectives podcast, sponsored by AbacusNext and hosted on Law.com, we’ll hear highlights from the September 9th presentation titled, Working Remote: Advantages Gained Through Legal Technology Adoption.

The Top 25 Artificial Lawyer Articles of 2020 — from artificiallawyer.com by Richard Tromans

What Is Quantum Computing and How Is It Disrupting Law Firms? — from lawtechnologytoday.org by Shannon Flynn

 

The pandemic pushed universities online. The change was long overdue. — from hbr-org.cdn.ampproject.org by Sean Gallagher and Jason Palmer; with thanks to Mike Mathews for his posting on LinkedIn re: this item

Excerpt:

A number of elite institutions — such as Princeton University, Williams College, Spelman College, and American University — have substantially discounted tuition for their fully online experience in an historically unprecedented fashion, highlighting pricing pressures and opening up Pandora’s box. This comes after a decade of growth in postsecondary alternatives, including “massively open online courses” (MOOCs), industry-driven certification programs, and coding bootcamps.

This moment is likely to be remembered as a critical turning point between the “time before,” when analog on-campus degree-focused learning was the default, to the “time after,” when digital, online, career-focused learning became the fulcrum of competition between institutions.

 

Renters, homeowners face new phase of coronavirus crisis with evictions, foreclosures looming — from finance.yahoo.com by Alexis Keenan

Excerpt:

A potential housing crisis is on the way for millions of Americans whose mortgage and rent deferrals are about to sunset.

Evictions loom as the end of state and local moratoriums will no longer protect homeowners and tenants unable to make payments because of COVID-19 lockdowns. A minority of U.S. states have already expired orders against evictions, and a host of others across the country are set to expire over the next two months.

Once they do, residents are facing a possible flood of non-payment legal actions. The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project (CEDP) predicted recently that by the end of September, more than 20 million U.S. renters —many of them Black and Latino located in big cities — will be at risk for eviction.

 

Learning experience designs of the future!!! [Christian]

From DSC:
The article below got me to thinking about designing learning experiences and what our learning experiences might be like in the future — especially after we start pouring much more of our innovative thinking, creativity, funding, entrepreneurship, and new R&D into technology-supported/enabled learning experiences.


LMS vs. LXP: How and why they are different — from blog.commlabindia.com by Payal Dixit
LXPs are a rising trend in the L&D market. But will they replace LMSs soon? What do they offer more than an LMS? Learn more about LMS vs. LXP in this blog.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Building on the foundation of the LMS, the LXP curates and aggregates content, creates learning paths, and provides personalized learning resources.

Here are some of the key capabilities of LXPs. They:

  • Offer content in a Netflix-like interface, with suggestions and AI recommendations
  • Can host any form of content – blogs, videos, eLearning courses, and audio podcasts to name a few
  • Offer automated learning paths that lead to logical outcomes
  • Support true uncensored social learning opportunities

So, this is about the LXP and what it offers; let’s now delve into the characteristics that differentiate it from the good old LMS.


From DSC:
Entities throughout the learning spectrum are going through many changes right now (i.e., people and organizations throughout K-12, higher education, vocational schools, and corporate training/L&D). If the first round of the Coronavirus continues to impact us, and then a second round comes later this year/early next year, I can easily see massive investments and interest in learning-related innovations. It will be in too many peoples’ and organizations’ interests not to.

I highlighted the bulleted points above because they are some of the components/features of the Learning from the Living [Class] Room vision that I’ve been working on.

Below are some technologies, visuals, and ideas to supplement my reflections. They might stir the imagination of someone out there who, like me, desires to make a contribution — and who wants to make learning more accessible, personalized, fun, and engaging. Hopefully, future generations will be able to have more choice, more control over their learning — throughout their lifetimes — as they pursue their passions.

Learning from the living class room

In the future, we may be using MR to walk around data and to better visualize data


AR and VR -- the future of healthcare

 

 

Acts of meaning: How AI-based interviewing will transform career preparation in higher education — from er.educause.edu by Alan Jones, Suzan Harkness and Nathan Mondragon

Excerpt:

Machines parrot and correlate information. They do not comprehend or synthesize information the way humans do. Factors such as accents in pronunciation, word ambiguity (especially if a word has multiple meanings), deeply coded biases, limited association data sets, narrow and limited network layers used in job screening, and static translations will continue to provide valid ground for caution in placing too much weight or attributing too much confidence in AI in its present form. Nonetheless, AI has crept into job candidate screening, the medical field, business analytics, higher education, and social media. What is currently essential is establishing an understanding of how best to harness and shape the use of AI to ensure it is equitable, valid, and reliable and to understand the shifting paradigm that professional career counselors play on campus as AI becomes more ubiquitous.

There appear to be three points worth considering: the AI interview in general, the predominance of word choice, and expressiveness as read by facial coding.

From DSC:
Until there is a lot more diversity within the fields of computer science and data science, I’m not as hopeful that biases can be rooted out. My niece, who worked for Microsoft for many years, finally left the company. She was tired of fighting the culture there. The large tech companies will need to do a lot better if AI is going to make FAIR and JUST inroads.

Plus, consider how many biases there are!

 

Cisco takes a lesson from the coronavirus pandemic with new solutions for remote work and learning — from cnbc.com by Jordan Novet

Key points:

  • Cisco has helped some of its customers set up remote work and education technologies. Now it wants to bring those capabilities to more organizations.
  • While Cisco remains number one in the conferencing software as a service market, Zoom is becoming a bigger force.

Also see:

 

A group of Nashville studio singers perform an epic cell phone choir — from wsmv.com by Derry London; with thanks to a wonderful cousin for this resource

 

 

Also see:

Neal Plantinga on His “God Go Before You” Blessing — from worship.calvin.edu by Joan Huyser-Honig & Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.; with thanks to John Witvliet for his post on LinkedIn for this resource

Excerpt:

God go before you to lead you, God go behind you to protect you, God go beneath you to support you, God go beside you to befriend you. Do not be afraid. May the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be upon you. Do not be afraid.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Amen.

From DSC:
The song at the bottom of the page is a beautiful song. Check it out as well.

 

 

How wary lawyers are embracing new tech — from lawgazette.co.uk by Sophia Purkis & Nadia Osborne

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

There has been an eruption of innovation in legal technology – and the role of the lawyer is evolving in consequence. From law firms and corporate practices, to the operation of the court system and management of documentation, technology is changing what we do, how we do it and where we can do it from.

PwC’s annual law firm survey 2019 found that eight of the top 10 firms identified technology as the key change in growth in the next two to three years. In November 2019, the Law Society published a paper, Lawtech: a comparative analysis of legal technology in the UK and in other jurisdictions, recognising the need for domestic lawyers to stay informed and up to date to remain competitive.

Lawyers are instinctively risk-adverse but the successful ones recognise the inevitability of change and opportunities. The introduction of technology requires investment of finance, time and resource. However, the steady march of technology and client and staff demands mean we must embrace the use of legal technology. It is vital to enable legal professionals to collaborate flawlessly with colleagues and clients, and to keep up with other professions and businesses. We must, however, not forget to be mindful of each other and not lose the ability and opportunity to communicate with each other personally. Machines think in binary terms and sometimes things are not that simple.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian