Virtual IEPs should stay — from crpe.org by Katy Bateman and Lanya McKittrick

Excerpt:

When the pandemic hit last spring, schools across the country shifted out of sheer necessity to virtual meetings to discuss students’ Individual Education Plans (IEP). But the move has had some unanticipated benefits, with some educators and parents praising them for their convenience and for empowering family members to be more active participants in discussing their educational needs.

The virtual IEP meetings should stay—at least as an option—even after the pandemic abates.

Virtual IEP meetings can make scheduling and attendance easier for parents and teachers alike. One parent noted the benefits to her as a busy working mom:

“I think one thing [my family] is seeing is there’s a lot of things we could just do that didn’t require us to have to go in [the school building]. . . . I don’t mind coming in, but [virtual is] easier.”

 

Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from inclusionhub.com by Meredith Kreisa
Learning disabilities must be taken into account during the digital design process to ensure digital inclusion and accessibility for the community. This comprehensive guide outlines common learning disabilities, associated difficulties, accessibility barriers and best practices, and more.

“Learning shouldn’t be something only those without disabilities get to do,” explains Seren Davies, a full stack software engineer and accessibility advocate who is dyslexic. “It should be for everyone. By thinking about digital accessibility, we are making sure that everyone who wants to learn can.”

“Learning disability” is a broad term used to describe several specific diagnoses. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorder, and oral/written language disorder and specific reading comprehension deficit are among the most prevalent.

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.

 

Student Builds Volumetric 3D TV To Complete Bachelor’s Program — from vrscout.com by Bobby Carlton

In the end, they ended up building a volumetric 3D closed-circuit TV system capable of producing live holographic imager; I’d say that’s pretty noteworthy.

From DSC:
If we can imagine it…

A picture of the Jedi Council from Star Wars

Addendum on 3/12/21:

The future of telepresence article out at Inavate EMEA -- March 2021

 

MI Governor Gretchen Whitmer's email from

This programming is being broadcast on special on-air channels established by each of the participating public television stations in Michigan. It is also available as a livestream and stored for on-demand viewing on a variety of digital platforms, ensuring accessibility to all students, teachers and families in the state.

Michigan Learning Channel -- which stations carry it

An example schedule from About MLC:

Michigan Learning Channel Program Schedule for January 2021

 


From DSC:
It’s great to see this inclusive, FREE, convenient piece of the K-12 learning ecosystem! I’m all about this. Perhaps such a developing platform could integrate further interactivity and social/network-based learning into it:

Let's use television -- and later on smart TVs -- to provide a free medium to all K-12 students -- and build on top of that platform as time goes by.


Also see:

The MIchigan Learning Channel on Twitter

 

Microsoft Education offers a free tutoring service to help students with their math problems — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

In today’s post I want to bring to your attention this interesting math resource from Microsoft Education called Tutoring Experts. As its name indicates, Tutoring Experts allows students to seek help with their math problems from tutors that are available 24/7.

Also see:

Get instant math help from expert tutors.

From DSC:
One wonders if there aren’t some opportunities here for more online-based tutoring services. Perhaps graduates from schools of education will move more towards this type of thing…

Perhaps the online-based materials in the future will have a question mark “?” icon that instantly connects to that service’s teachers, professors, trainers, pastors, and/or other SMEs. Or perhaps this type of thing is already there…I’m not sure.

 

A new category of devices from Cisco -- the Webex Desk Hub

From DSC:
In yesterday’s webexone presentations, Cisco mentioned a new device category, calling it the Webex Desk Hub. It gets at the idea of walking into a facility and grabbing any desk, and making that desk you own — at least for that day and time. Cisco is banking on the idea that sometimes people will be working remotely, and sometimes they will be “going into the office.” But the facilities will likely be fewer and smaller — so one might not have their own office.

In that case, you can plug in your smart device, and things are set up the way they would be if you did have that space as a permanent office.

Applying this concept to the smart classrooms of the future, what might that concept look like for classrooms? A faculty member or a teacher could walk into any room that supports such a setup, put in their personal smart device, and the room conditions are instantly implemented:

  • The LMS comes on
  • The correct class — based on which day it is and then on the particular time of day it is — is launched
  • The lights are dimmed to 50%
  • The electric window treatments darken the room
  • The projector comes on and/or the displays turn on
  • Etc.
 

From DSC:
Our oldest daughter showed me a “Bitmoji Classroom” that her mentor teacher — Emily Clay — uses as her virtual classroom. Below are some snapshots of the Google Slides that Emily developed based on the work of:

  • Kayla Young (@bitmoji.kayla)
  • MaryBeth Thomas 
  • Ms. Smith 
  • Karen Koch
  • The First Grade Creative — by C. Verddugo

My hats off to all of these folks whose work laid the foundations for this creative, fun, engaging, easy-to-follow virtual classroom for a special education preschool classroom — complete with ties to videoconferencing functionalities from Zoom. Emily’s students could click on items all over the place — they could explore, pursue their interests/curiosities/passions. So the snapshots below don’t offer the great interactivity that the real deal does.

Nice work Emily & Company! I like how you provided more choice, more control to your students — while keeping them engaged! 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

From DSC:
I also like the idea of presenting this type of slide (immediately below, and students’ names have been blurred for privacy’s sake) prior to entering a videoconferencing session where you are going to break out the students into groups. Perhaps that didn’t happen in Emily’s class…I’m not sure, but in other settings, it would make sense to share one’s screen right before sending the students to those breakout rooms and show them that type of slide (to let them know who will be in their particular breakout group).

The students in the different breakout sessions could then collaboratively work on Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides and you could watch their progress in real-time!

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

Also see:

 

The Dice Q3 Tech Job Report | Tech Hiring and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

The Dice Q3 Tech Job Report Tech Hiring and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

The Dice Q3 Tech Job Report: Tech Hiring and COVID-19: What You Need to Know — from techhub.dice.com
The report, issued quarterly by Dice, provides exclusive statistics and analysis on the tech hiring landscape, including top cities and states, top employers and the most sought-after skills and occupations.

From DSC:
One can quickly see how valuable this information would be as a data feed into an AI-based, next-generation learning platform.

The platform would connect the marketable skills with the courses, websites, blogs, RSS feeds/streams of content, etc. that would help a learner quickly and affordably build such in-demand skills. Given the shortening half-lives of many kinds of information, such a service is needed desperately…especially now with the impact of the Coronavirus.

Also relevant: See how ISTE built its upcoming virtual event!

 
 

[Re: online-based learning] The Ford Model T from 1910 didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! [Christian]

From DSC:
Per Wikipedia, this is a 1910 Model T that was photographed in Salt Lake City:

The Ford Model T didn't start out looking like a Maserati from 2021!

 

This is what online/virtual learning looks like further down the road. Our journey has just begun.

From DSC:
The Ford Model T didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! Inventions take time to develop…to be improved…for new and further innovations and experiments to take place.

Thinking of this in terms of online-based learning, please don’t think we’ve reached the end of the road for online-based learning. 

The truth is, we’ve barely begun our journey.

 


Two last thoughts here


1 ) It took *teams* of people to get us to the point of producing a Maserati like this. It will take *teams* of people to produce the Maserati of online-based learning.

2) In terms of online-based learning, it’s hard to say how close to the Maserati that we have come because I/we don’t know how far things will go. But this I do know: We have come a looooonnnnnggggg ways from the late 1990s! If that’s what happened in the last 20 years — with many denying the value of online-based learning — what might the next 5, 10, or 20 years look like when further interest, needs, investments, etc. are added? Then add to all of that the momentum from emerging technologies like 5G, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, bots, algorithms, and more!


From DSC:
To drive the point home, here’s an addendum on late 9/29/20:

Mercedes-Benz Shares Video of Avatar Electric Car Prototype

 

From DSC: What if each learner/ person/ student could have a lifelong, cloud-based “tribute” site? [Christian]


From DSC: What if each learner/person/student could have a lifelong, cloud-based “tribute” site?

What if you could hire a career coach to sift through the tributes to find common themes?


From DSC:
I recently asked friends and family to help me celebrate a significant birthday for my wife by creating a tribute for her — using a service called Tribute.co. It was a fun, meaningful, relational experience — it opened the doors to some great communications.

Check out tribute.co -- what if each learner could have a lifelong, cloud-based tribute?

Here’s a video that describes what a Tribute is (from the company of that same name).

So I put out potential suggestions for what I hoped that we could relay to my wife, and people contributed their videos. Then a person at Tribute edited the videos to come up with a highlight reel. They also presented to my wife all of the videos, not just the highlight reel.

That got me to wonder, “What if each learner had a cloud-based, lifelong tribute site that parents, guardians, grandparents, teachers, coaches, musical directors, pastors, friends, and others could leave encouraging and instructive messages on? Or when they note something that might be of use later on in terms of career selection, they could “jot it down.” For example:

  • [First-grade teacher] “I noticed Anne that when we did the art projects, you were enthralled with any sort of creative endeavor or project. We almost lost you in another world!”
  • [Family member] “Tony, I’ve noticed ____. Here’s something to consider for your future pathways. Would you be interested in exploring _____ — such as if we signed you up for some lessons in that area?”
  • [Eight grade teacher] “Eloise, I saw that your engagement level skyrocket when we studied ____, especially when you did the project on ___.”
  • [Basketball coach] “Chan, I appreciated your hard work in practice today. Keep up the good work and you will be a super player! You are fast, strong, and seem to have a competitive spirit about you. Consider making a workout chart and charting out the workouts that you do each day. Monitor your progress over time. As of today, here are some apps to do just that: ___.
  • [Pastor] “So glad Amanda that you were able to join us on our youth group visit to ___. I appreciated your end-of-the-day reflections on the experiences of the day. I also appreciated your hard work helping others.”
  • [Friend] “It was great horsing around on Garageband with you today Zach. I look forward to diving into iMovie next with you. Let’s create a movie for each other. You seem to have a very creative side to you.”
  • [High school CS Teacher] “Keep up the good work programming Jeremy! I hope that you will consider going into some type of job that uses critical thinking, mathematics, problem-solving — perhaps it will be programming, perhaps it will be engineering, or something else.”
  • [College professor/advisor] “You mentioned that you hate college to me the last two times we met. You don’t seem happy studying ___. Have you considered ____?”
  • [Tennis coach] Remember to bend those knees…get low. Keep your eyes on the seams of the ball.”

The idea behind such a service would be to offer encouragement, feedback, (if carefully put) constructive criticism, a message that “I’m on your team”…and/or…”Here’s what I see in you.”


Additional functionality/options


  • Contributors:
    • Like Twitter imposes a limit on characters, there could be options to impose a time limit on the length of a video, ability to add more than one video, and/or set a limit on how many videos someone can upload
    • If submitting a written piece, the option would be there to limit the number of characters and/or the word count.
  • From learners themselves (to their own tribute)
    • No time limit, no word count or character limit
    • Would act like a multimedia-based diary/journal of learning
    • Option to select whether might be worth re-listening to for career selection purposes.
 

With an eye towards the future…what questions should we be asking about learning experience design (#LXD)? [Christian]

From DSC:
Some of the following questions came to my mind recently:

  • In this age of the Coronavirus, how can we think differently about learning experience design (#LXD)?
  • How can *teams* of people come together to reimagine what learning could look like in the future? Who might be some new players at the table? More students? Artists? Actors? More animators? More technicians and people from A/V? Specialists in XR? Corporate trainers coming together with Instructional Designers from higher ed and from K-12? #learningecosystems #future
  • How can we better tighten up the alignment between K-12, higher ed / vocational programs, and the corporate world?
  • How can we make self-directed learning more prevalent (which would release an enormous amount of energy & creativity)? #heutagogy

Maybe those aren’t even the right questions…

If not, what do you think? What questions should we be asking about learning these days?

#LXD #learningecosystems #future #lifelonglearning #onlinelearning #highereducation #K12 #corporatelearning #heutagogy

 

The main thing we need to remember is that this space no longer serves as an accessory to face-to-face teaching. It is now our main contact point with learners, so it needs to play different roles: communication channel, learning path, interaction platform and community space. Teachers therefore need a certain degree of freedom to design this space in the best way that suits their teaching style and philosophy as well as their course content and learning objectives.

What became obvious in the past months is that when it comes to teaching and learning
 fully online, the learning experience design aspect, including look, feel and logic of the platform from the users’ perspective- be it teachers or students-, are at least as important as the content.

(source)

 

Learning ecosystems across the country — especially those involving K-12 — are morphing once again.

Have you heard about the explosive interest and potential growth involving “learning pods” — also called “pandemic pods”!?! It’s amazing to see how quickly things are changing in this fluid situation. This is another great example of how the macro-learning ecosystem for K-12 is changing — as well as the changes happening at more of a micro-level. (To see how true this is, put a Google Alert or two out there for “learning pods,” “pod learning,” and/or “pandemic pods.”)

For some information about these changes, see some of the example articles below:


From DSC:

Though very interesting to see what occurs here, I, too, am concerned about the inequalities and the potential for expanding the learning gaps across the country (between the folks who have the resources and those folks who do not). For example, consider that the cost ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 dollars per studentper month — in the San Francisco Bay Area. (See COVID-19 learning pods: Here’s how they work and what Bay Area schools say about them by Luz Pena.) Or see

On the other side of things…maybe this will be a new area of opportunity for the student teachers and education programs out there.
 

Zoom Launches Zoom for Home

Zoom Launches Zoom For Home — from which-50.com

Excerpts:

Zoom Video Communications has announced Zoom for Home, which it describes as a new category of software experiences and hardware devices to support remote work use cases. The focus is on improving employee experiences to connect remotely and be productive.

Features for the all-in-one 27-inch device include: three built-in wide-angle cameras for high-resolution video; an 8-microphone array for crystal-clear audio in meetings and phone calls; and, an ultra-responsive touch display for interactive screen sharing, whiteboarding, annotating, and ideation.

Also see:

From DSC:
Again, we see some further innovation in this space. The longer the Coronavirus impacts things, the further ahead the online-learning space will be catapulted. This type of device consolidates several devices into one, while making it intuitive and likely easy to annotate items on it.

Zoom Launches Zoom For Home
 

 

 

“Existing meeting interfaces had been designed with a singular goal, to simply enable virtual conversations. How could we build a meeting interface from the ground-up that intentionally facilitates engaging, productive, and inclusive conversations?”

 

What will tools like Macro.io bring to the online-based learning table?!

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian