Distributed Classroom

2nd June 2022

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Books of the Week

The Distributed Classroom, by David Joyner and Charles Isbell. Online teaching has a sometimes confusing welter of terminology. Common buzz words include synchronous, asynchronous, remote, flipped, hybrid (blended), and hyflex. (This article provides a quick overview of what these terms mean.)  Where Joyner and Isbell’s book comes in is to provide an encompassing perspective on how the many different forms of online learning can be used by universities, high schools, and other educational institutions to meet the needs of diverse populations.  Both authors have been deeply involved in the development of Georgia Tech’s outstanding Online Master of Science in Computer Science (or OMSCS) degree, which has captured 10% of the market for US computer science masters degrees and has become one of (if not the) largest masters program in the world due to its quality, accessibility, and low price. If you are interested in creating better online programs, this book is worth your time.

Who Killed Jane Stanford?: A Gilded Age Tale of Murder, Deceit, Spirits and the Birth of a University, by Richard White.  This book has all the ingredients of a thriller—a murder by strychnine of the primary founder of one of the world’s leading universities. In able hands, this book would have been a real page turner—the deceit, acrimony, corruption and malevolence by academicians that underlie the true origins of Stanford University are mindblowing.  Sadly, the bulk of the writing centers on petty details, while skimming over important big-picture issues such as the corrupt means by which Leland Stanford apparently gained his wealth.  A great book if you like petty details.

Barb speaking in person in New Jersey June 25th, 2022

Barb will be giving an intensive three-hour active opening training session for teachers at the Middle College National Consortium Summer Professional Development Institute June 25, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency – Jersey City. Don’t miss if you’re a university professor or K-12 teacher who would  like to know the latest involving practical insights from neuroscience to help instructors!  It’s all here, including the neuroscience of slow learning and how to help your “hiker” students, as well as your race cars, to excel; how to tap into habit-based centers of the brain to help student gain intuition in understanding complex patterns and solving complicated problems; how and whytaking a few moments of neural “breaks” can help with the learning process, and much, much more. Plus, Barb would love to meet you!  For more information about the fascinating insights from the full three-day conference, and to register, go here.

Supporting Students with ADHD and Autism

Here is an excellent compendium by Jennifer Gonzalez (the blog Cult of Pedagogy), about how to best support your students who have ADHD. Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman’s podcast on ADHD is even better. 

This excellent article by autistic learner Chris Bonello explains why he resents being called “a person with autism,” instead of an autistic. As he notes “It is up to us to decide how we identify. It is not up to others to decide on our behalf.” And in her enlightening TEDTalk, Adriana White describes “Autism and Neurodiversity: Different Does Not Mean Broken.”

The “Digitally Enhanced Assessment and Feedback” Conference

Check out this free event next week (Wednesday the 8th June from 14:00 – 16:30 (GMT-London time)) The theme for this event is ‘Digitally Enhanced Assessment and Feedback.  It’s a free event with some world leading experts sharing their thoughts and experiences, and in some cases, their latest research findings.  Register here!

A great opportunity for ed-tech entrepreneurs!

Barb’s friend Elle Wang is a research scientist who is also an experienced judge and advisory board member for such groups as the $1M XPRIZE Digital Learning Challenge and the $5M XPRIZE IBM Watson AI for Good Competition.  Elle has partnered with Maven to build and launch a cohort-based course to teach ed-tech entrepreneurs to develop an efficient and effective research and product testing plan. At the end of the course, all participants will be able to write a compelling project pitch, ready to be submitted to research-focused funders such as the NSF SBIR to win up to $2 million dollars with 0% equity taken. 

In the process of developing this course, Elle is collecting quick feedback via a 1-minute survey, here. If you would like to help Elle out, and/or are interested in the course, please fill out the survey. Incidentally, if you fill out the survey, you be eligible to register for the course with the early bird price and receive invitations to free workshops.

Embrace Discomfort!

We have long lived a life with the mantra of “Learn to grow comfortable with being uncomfortable.”  And wouldn’t you know it, up pops a research study revealing that this approach is a good one for many reasons. As this Greater Good Magazine article about the findings notes: “There are many ways we seek comfort in life. We can find it in a warm shower, a fuzzy cuddle with a cat, or a night on the couch with no obligations… But according to a new study, our desire for comfort could be holding us back when it comes to personal growth. If we want to improve ourselves and achieve our goals, we may want to start actively seeking out discomfort.”

Three cheers to this!  And if you happen to be reading all the way into the distant corner this Cheery Friday, in this-coming autumn, Barb will be off to speak in a high school in Spitsbergen (also called Svalbard), a set of islands far north of Iceland that form one of the northernmost habited places in the world. The great number of polar bears mean that it’s not a good idea to go outside the limits of town without a weapon.  (Polar bears may be cute, but they can also be sneaky b*stards.)

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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