Tech-Enhanced Learning and Mobile Natives

I consult with Eastern International College on topics around online learning. They use the LMS Canvas from Instructure for online courses and only started using it more widely about 3 years ago. It's a for-profit college that offers degrees and certifications in health and medical fields. That is a population of faculty and students who have always been reluctant to go online. These are very hands-on, in-a-lab classes primarily. But the move proved to be somewhat lifesaving when the Covid pandemic hit schools in the 2020 semester.

Instructure sent me some resources to think about for the fall semester and one was strategies for "Tech-Enhanced Learning." I will date myself by saying I recall when we were attaching the term "web-enhanced" to courses and strategies. I also remember very clearly when the term "digital natives" was used to describe the students we were meeting in our classrooms.

Thomas Husson had blogged some time ago about mobile natives from a marketing perspective. He notes that the first iPhone was released in 2007 and, on average, a kid gets their first cell phone around 11 years old. That means the first entire generation that mobile has impacted will enter the workforce about 2025 - but they are already in schools grades kindergarten through higher education. 

kids on phones in class
     Photo: Rodnae Productions

Technology-enhanced (or sometimes "infused")  learning is essential to best learning practices and also to keeping learning relevant. It surely will play a role - as it has already and not always in a positive way - in the survival of higher education institutions. Instructional technology is important to student engagement. The correct approach is not to digitize what is already being used. That's closer to what we called "web-enhanced" when we were starting to put materials online. 

How do you use technology to transform pedagogy to be more engaging, innovative, and inclusive?  here are their suggested strategies.

Though the pandemic forced coursework online out of necessity, digital learning should now be the default. All courses should be designed so that they could be taught online, even if the intent is to teach them in a classroom. When course content is and communication is available online students can access it anywhere and at any time.

As noted above, courses should also be optimized courses for mobile access since mobile phones are the primary tool used by many students and student income levels are no longer the deciding factor for that use. How many of your students have a desktop computer or even a laptop?

Engagement includes interactive experiences between faculty and students, and also connecting students with one another. This is also something that goes across face-to-face, hybrid and fully remote courses.

It is important that this shift goes beyond your classes. A "digital campus" means things beyond coursework. Virtual tutoring, office hours, counseling, tech support, and library access is especially critical for off-campus students to have that on-campus connection. And even residential students will often prefer digital over face-to-face. Mental health resources for psychological well-being are a leading factor for student success and schools can leverage technology to expand access to mental health resources including virtual counseling, staff mental health training, and student mental health apps.

HyFlex learning environments got a lot more attention during the pandemic. This approach is student-centered and offers equitable access to content. Students should be able to move between modalities based on their learning needs and the location - pandemic or not.

For a long time, educators have been told what to expect from Millennials. We have moved on to Generation Z which is usually defined as those 4 to 24 years old - which covers pre-school to graduate school. They are a group that has always had access to the Internet - as did many Millennials - but Gen Z also has mobile devices as their primary way of communicating and getting information in and out of classes.

I added this post to my category "Education 2.0" which for me meant where education was moving. I have seen articles about "Education 3.0" but I stick with version 2 because I haven't seen the really big seismic shift in education yet.

Some futurists say that by the end of this decade workers who still go to a workplace outside their home will walk in, plug their device into the network ( Is say "plug" but it will probably be wireless), connect to a bigger screen(s) and start working. Shifting to mobile is not in its early stage. There are 7 billion mobile subscriptions now. That's not everyone and not every student, but a report from Forrester Research said that mobile phone penetration is at 91 percent of Generation Y homes. (80 percent for all households across North America.) 79 present 13-20-year-olds say in surveys that they can't live without their smartphones compared to 70 percent of 21-39-year-olds.

 

SOURCES
instructure.com/higher-education/back-to-school/faculty

blogs.forrester.com/thomas_husson/14-12-02-mobile_and_mobile_natives...

linkedin.com/pulse/mobile-natives-eric-isham/

ypulse.com/article/2022/03/29/3-stats-on-how-gen-z-is-being-raised-on-smartphones/

marketingdive.com/ex/mobilemarketer/cms/news/research/1576.html

 

Digital Wallets

skills

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

 

Digital wallets are tools to collect workers’ learner and employment records. They are not a new thing and have gone through different names and conceptualizations. In 2018, I was working with "badges" but it wasn't new then. I had worked with the Mozilla Foundation that was developing an Open Badges Infrastructure in 2012 (around the time that MOOCs exploded on the learning scene).

Open Badges is still around and on their site, they claim to be "the world's leading format for digital badges. Open Badges is not a specific product or platform, but a type of digital badge that is verifiable, portable, and packed with information about skills and achievements. Open Badges can be issued, earned, and managed by using a certified Open Badges platform. Want to build new technologies to issue, display, or host Open Badges? The Open Badges standard is a free and open specification available for adoption."

The idea of digital wallets has been talked about again now around the trend of skills-based hiring. If you have read that companies are more likely to hire based on skills rather than degrees, then some way - such as a wallet - that lets individuals collect and share verifiable records of their schooling, work, training programs, military service, and other experience is necessary. This is a work in progress, though you might expect that if this idea has been around for at least ten years that it might have gotten further.

There is a push for common technical standards among wallet developers to allow importing data from a variety of sources and sharing that via employers’ applicant-tracking systems.

When I was exploring badges a decade ago, I was also looking at Competency-Based Education (CBE) and mastery as related to higher education degrees. A simplified explanation of the difference from the view of an employer: MASTERY is measuring what they know. COMPETENCY is what they can do. Formal education has always been more focused on mastery rather than competency. Employers have those priorities reversed.

MORE
https://info.jff.org/digital-wallets

Posts related to badges

Schools Using AI

global network
                                             Image:Gerd Altmann

I wrote earlier here about teaching AI in classrooms and a former colleague who read it emailed and said that I need to also consider not just how students are learning about AI but also how schools use AI.

In that earlier article, I said that many people are unaware of AI used already in their everyday lives. It's not that the AI is deliberately hidden from view (though in some cases it actually is deliberately hidden, such as with chatbots). If you use apps on a smartphone, you are using AI. If you use Google search or Gmail, you are using AI. If your car has navigation or safety features that keep you on the road, you are using AI.

In education, AI is making it possible to provide more personalized learning experiences for students. By automating tasks that take teachers more time, AI facilitates these tasks so that time can be spent with students providing one-to-one feedback. The AI can evaluate progress, analyze and make recommendations for further study. Digital tools with AI integrations can create a personalized learning path based on each student’s responses and based on their needs. There are platforms that have AI which helps to automate tasks and so can provide adaptive learning and more personalized experiences for students. Students would also have access to intelligent tutoring systems through AI.

Schools using AI administrative;y and pedagogically are more likely to see the value in having students learn in the classroom about how AI works and how it operates in their lives in and out of classrooms.

Machine Learning MOOC Updated

Python book
Photo by Christina Morillo

Andrew Ng's Machine Learning course on Coursera has been revamped and updated and it is getting good student ratings.

There are fewer online courses that I consider to be true MOOCs now. Massive is small. Open is more closed. But the "OC" portion remains for many. The three courses that make up the Machine Learning Specialization offered by DeepLearning.AI and Stanford on the Coursera platform still fit the MOOC definition more closely.

You can earn a certificate at the end, and enjoy the full experiences including quizzes and assignments if you enroll and pay a monthly subscription but the courses are free (Open) to audit and view the course materials. The Massive in this course is massive with over 20,000 students enrolled.

Andrew Ng is the co-founder of Coursera and was the founding lead of Google’s Brain Project, and served as Chief Scientist at Baidu. He then did two artificial intelligence startups - Deeplearning.ai (a training company founded in 2017) and Landing.ai (for transforming enterprises with AI). He remains an adjunct professor at Stanford University. His course on Machine Learning was one of the very first courses from Coursera when it first launched in 2012. I audited the course that year though I knew the content was way above my abilitiees but I was curious as to the structure of the course from a design perspective.

At that time, Machine Learning was a new concept and was close to applied statistics. Ng goes way back because his Stanford lectures were on YouTube in 2008 and got 200,000 views. Then, he converted them to an online format in Fall 2011 and they were offered for free. He had 104,000 students and 13,000 of them gained certificates.

On the tech side, this updated version:
uses Python rather than Octave
expanded list of topics including modern deep learning algorithms, decision trees, and tools such as TensorFlow
new ungraded code notebooks with sample code and interactive graphs to help you visualize what an algorithm is doing
programming exercises
practical advice section on applying machine learning based on best practices from the last decade

 

The Return of the One-Room Schoolhouse

schoolhouse
Traditional one-room schoolhouse Peoria, Kansas.

It's not exactly a "one-room schoolhouse" in the sense of the 19th-century place that had that label, but a new trend to "microschools" has some of that in its lineage.

The trend grew out of pandemic remote learning and school closures but also is an offshoot of K-12 homeschooling. This form of education is micro in that it serves a small student population of generally 15 students or less. There isn't a definition of a microschool that fits all the ones that might fall into the classification but they probably are all offering personalized, student-centered learning and multiple age groups in the same classroom.

There were pandemic "learning pods" created by families so that kids could learn in small groups and those might have included a trained teacher. A microschool is more official and probably registered as a school and perhaps even as a for-profit business.

So, is this just a "private school"? At 15 or less students, this is not really a business model. Then again, there are a few networks of microschoolsthat have emerged. Acton Academy has more than 250 affiliate schools in 31 states and 25 countries, with an average annual tuition of about $10,000.

There are microschools for every grade level from kindergarten through high school and even a few microcolleges. But this is a new thing, so there is still a lot to be worked out. For example, there is no one national accreditation body, so rules and regulations vary widely. A few states (West Virginia and Wisconsin) are trying to define microschools via new legislation. There are legal, financial, and pedagogical things to consider.

This isn't the same thing as starting a home school. An actual microschool will need to be registered as a business and most often as a private school. Check into your state regulations, and you'll see the complexities of licensing, attendance and things such as insurance requirements.

more at usnews.com/education/k12/articles/what-is-a-microschool

 

Educating in the Metaverse

Excerpt from https://www.gettingsmart.com/2022/04/18/metaverse-and-education-what-do-we-need-to-know/

Although the metaverse seems like a new concept, it actually has been around for nearly three decades. In 1992, Neal Stephenson, an American science fiction author introduced the concept of the metaverse in his novel, Snow Crash.

In October, Mark Zuckerberg announced the change from Facebook to Meta and released a short video about how the metaverse would work and what his plans were for it. I showed this to my students, which sparked great conversations and many questions.

As educators, how can we keep up with so much information? Where can we learn about the technologies involved in the metaverse? I recommend setting a Google alert through your Gmail. Set the topic to be “metaverse” or other topics of interest, and each day you will receive an email with articles, videos and breaking news stories gathered from all over the Internet...

 

webinarInterested in having a conversation about the metaverse? Register for the upcoming Getting Smart Town Hall on May 12, 2022 What on Earth is a Metaverse?: The Next Frontier of Engaging and Learning.
We’ll explore some of the following questions:
- Is the metaverse technically on “earth”?
- How far away is this from being a reality?
- What does this mean for teaching and learning?
- What about equity and accessibility?
- What about the power of place?