Online Teaching with Zoom

6th August 2020

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

Online Teaching with Zoom: A Guide for Teaching and Learning with Videoconference Platforms, by Aaron Johnson. We had previously read and liked Aaron’s first book on online teaching, Excellent Online Teaching. Aaron’s new book provides a solid overview of how to use Zoom for teachinghis insights are also more broadly applicable to any sort of online teaching.  And the price is rightboth books are free on Kindle Unlimited!

Another Top MOOC: Design Thinking for the Greater Good

Lead Mentor of our companion MOOC Mindshift, Scott Mathews, brings us another fine MOOC review, this time of “Design Thinking for the Greater Good,” by the University of Virginia via Coursera.

Scott notes: “Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector, from the renowned Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (Go ‘Hoos!) gives us a human-centered, as opposed to an organization-centered, approach to creative problem solving. This approach is especially useful for structuring thinking about problems that are complex or amorphous.

The four iterative processes  of design thinking are 1) ‘What is?’ 2) ‘What if’ 3) ‘What wows’ and 4) ‘What works.’ The first phase is typically the longest, defining the problem by involving people who actually do the work and not just managers/department heads. The second phase is brainstorming…everything is  on the table, no matter how unlikely it may seem at first glance. The third phase is determining what solution(s) stand out. The fourth phase determines what may work, with iterative testing and prototyping.”  

Scott concludes: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a template like this to help guide departmental budget meetings? :)” He’s now enrolled in a companion course by the same professor, “Design Thinking for Innovation.”

Headline: “Teachers Are Wary of Returning to Class, and Online Instruction Too”

The title of The New York Times article, as well as the article itself, summarizes the attitudes of teachers’ unions in relation to teaching either in person or online. This no doubt is what is fueling joking prankster headlines like “Teachers Refusing To Go Back In The Fall Launch ‘Every Child Left Behind’ Movement.” This article in The Atlantic, “I’m a Nurse in New York. Teachers Should Do Their Jobs, Just Like I Did,” makes a perceptive case for why schools are essential to the functioning of our societywhich should mean that teachers are essential workers. 

And lastly, this article in The Federalist observes: “If there was ever an argument for school choice, this is it. When enrollment dollars are on the line, delaying school or doing extended closures would be unthinkable. But when public school districts have a monopoly, then they can easily justify this move.

“Whether or not they offer a genuinely good education or even stay open, most students have to attend these schools because they have nowhere else to go. By contrast, private businesses cannot hold their customers captive this way. If they close, they lose customers and go bankrupt — which is exactly what happened to many companies during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“More importantly, school choice rewards passionate, hardworking teachers with better compensation and actual students to teach. Right now, there isn’t much incentive to be brave and go to work, nor is there extra compensation for those who provide high-quality instruction. No school is competing for students or the best teachers; rather, they are competing for government funds and more relaxed standards, which only incentivize questionable excuses and weak performances.”

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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