Augmented reality has been with us for years. There have been apps, games, and university research programs but it hasn’t been a mainstream reality until recently. Anyone who tries it can understand its applications in education. Google Glass is the most immersive way to experience it right now, but it seems like we might finally be getting closer to mainstream utilization. “Every year seems to bring us new technologies that once fit more neatly into science fiction stories than reality. Augmented reality sounds pretty futuristic, but with the help of mobile technology, it’s made its way into everyday life for some of the population.” From Getting Smart.
Infants and young children have a lack of experience that can make them more flexible when face with the unexpected, a research study from Berkeley found. “Are adults superior problem solvers to children? Most people would say yes. From buttoning a jacket to operating a projector to multiplying complex numbers, our abilities exceed those of children.”
The discussion was between Mark Zuckerberg, focused on coding and scalability, and Michael Bloomberg countering with suggestions for retraining for more practical skills. Since Bloomberg was speaking at an energy conference, he says “you’re not going to teach a coal miner to code.” The author of the article, Tony DiBenedetto, has an opinion that falls in between, as do I. Yes, people can learn new things. It doesn’t matter what they did before, though having something knew that is somehow tethered to previous knowledge helps. But connections can be made, and people can learn entirely new skills. Everyone is different, not defined by their job. People need to learn how to learn, and make the connections that work for them.
Great article about personalized learning for the workforce. “How do we provide a safety net to help American workers transition from the old economy driven by physical labor to the new economy driven by intellectual property? And how do we help our troops coming home do the same?”
Helping students be successful online is much different than it is in traditional environments. Often assumptions are made about technical aptitude of learners who take classes online, but in many cases the technology is a barrier. Academic and study skills differ as well. Debbie Morrison’s article defines ways to support learners online. “Three Categories of Resources: The resources featured here address skill gaps in three areas: 1) technical, 2) academic and 3) study skills. The academic section includes resources for subject areas of writing composition, grammar and math. The technical section links to sites that provide instruction for learners in basic web skills including e-mail and file uploads, how-to navigate and search on the web, and it also features a list of resources for student support specific to learning management (LMS) platforms. The section on study skills provides a list of resources geared to learners studying online; skill development for time management, study planning and prioritizing.”
Nobody disappears in an online classroom. If a learner doesn’t reply, or doesn’t post, it is easier to notice than the face to face student who sits in back of the classroom. Keeping them engaged in a meaningful, rather than dutiful, way is the bigger challenge. This article from Faculty Focus details the process of an instructor looking for high quality engagement. “The re-design process involved adapting the interactivity inherent in the face-to-face course to the online course. First, this particular faculty member infused a lot of his personality into his teaching. In order to replicate this in the online course, we had a multi-media specialist record his lectures in an empty classroom with the faculty member presenting his material just as he does in his traditional course, for example, using a white board to illustrate examples and problem exercises.”
We want to teach everyone to code, and we want young people to be ready for jobs of the future. But Joseph Coughlin raises the question, shouldn’t we also be thinking about the jobs we have now that need to be filled? There are plenty. Our workforce is aging and retiring. Specialized skills for their jobs are still needed. His article on The Big Think raises good questions.
“It is not that people of different backgrounds cannot empathize with the needs of others, we just have to ensure that those needs are on their agenda. Despite what is done or not done in Silicon Valley, that energized region of California isn’t the only source of technological progress in the United States or the world. And, it turns out, other tech industries have an age-related problem in their workforces as well. It just happens to be the opposite problem. In many tech-heavy sectors, workers in their fifties and sixties are retiring and taking their hard-to-replace skills with them.”
Informal learning has traditionally been associated with adults and the workplace. It is the kind of learning that happens through experience – outside of classroom walls. Experiential learning is a fundamental of andragogy (Malcolm Knowles,) but the lines between pedagogy and andragogy are becoming blurred. Informal learning is equally powerful for all ages. This article from TeachThought addresses a concept easily adapted to higher ed or workplace learning environments.
“Experiential learning and constructivism, among other ways of thinking of how students learn, hold that learning is not only available outside of the confines of the iconic teacher-student relationship, but perhaps most powerful there as well. There is nothing (that isn’t removable) within the walls of a typical school that make deep thinking and enduring inquiry impossible, so certainly it’s possible that extraordinary learning can happen there. But often, in spite of Herculean effort by teachers and administrators, it does not.”