The Learning Counsel presents journals, papers and briefs on critical topics in Digital Education.
Most will require registration in order to access them, but they are all free.
An Essential Audio Ingredient in Today’s Accessible Learning Environments
Today’s learning environments have changed markedly from just a couple years ago, prior to the pandemic. Tech devices are comprehensively in both the student and teacher hands, but are they missing a key peripheral device that allows them to sync with the changed learning modalities?
Headsets and headphones might seem to be an optional and indistinct peripheral for learners, yet they are proving to be an increasingly non-optional and functionally differentiated item, the absence of which could be causing operational inaccessibility among learners.
The Gaps Remaining for District Digital Transition
Most administrators know there are still gaps remaining in their school or district’s digital transition. Recent studies including the 2021 Digital Transition Surveys for Administrators and Teachers and State of Technology in Education 2021/22 Report shed light on what schools and districts should be aware of to ensure their digital transition is effective and supportive for all stakeholders.
K12 human resources are crucial to utilizing the cloud successfully. Roles and responsibilities have all changed dramatically since the start of the pandemic, and a new trend to move to core competencies lends itself to a migration
to cloud services.
This brief focuses on key considerations for administrators as part of their modernization efforts. Focusing on the “human element,” operational effectiveness, and data-driven decision-making can lay the foundation for more efficient and secure learning environments for all students.
5 Steps to Fixing the Hidden Traffic of Records Management Overwhelming Schools
How come digital processes seem easier but are often harder to manage?
A major shift to digital teaching and learning in schools has developed an additional digital traffic load for teachers and faculty, hidden from normal view. The result is overwhelming increases in the traffic load of digital paperwork. Digital processes are “harder” for several reasons but could be much easier were the right technologies in use.
Hidden traffic burdening teachers and administration distracts from teaching and learning and is therefore of critical concern to all curriculum leaders, not just the technology department.
From Chaos to Learning Recovery: Going from Manual-Digital All the Way to Efficiency
Seeing the Levels of Chaos Helps Anchor Bringing Order
Schools and districts that recently lost 4 percent of students to alternatives continued to lose students in 2021 at an accelerated pace (now between 5 and 15 percent). This is in addition to the 27 percent who left for alternatives like charters, private schools or homeschooling prior to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, school leaders are trying to bring back orderly learning, but nationally they are seeing between 15 and 25 percent of students not planning to fully “return to normal” on campus and want online options and/or dramatic flexibility. They’re finding the disorder wrought from the pandemic goes much deeper than they knew and now comes with a twist.
“Normal” now has a plethora of technology embedded that adds layers of complexity, including sub-layers in the schools who use Google Classroom and other Learning Management Systems.
Your district is a brand, and your network security helps power its reputation. With the accelerated move to hybrid learning environments over the past year, school districts across the nation are now dealing with new issues they’ve never faced before. From keeping students engaged over great distances, to bridging the digital divide, to facing ever-increasing cyber threats, leaders in IT are increasingly turning to innovations in technology to maintain and enhance the quality of education they are delivering to students.
Student Engagement Because of Your School Model & Brand
The Learning Counsel recently identified the main models now typical in K12 education. Your brand will mostly likely be one of these: 1) Digital Traditional with Alternate Schedules, 2) Blended/Flipped Traditional, 3) Hybrid Simultaneous Traditional or 4) Hybrid Logistics Contemporary (Traditional with Blocked Hours as Hybrid Logistics, which means a portion of the daily schedule is “Uberized” for remedial or extra-curricular learning. Determining which of these four models best fits will provide a baseline of how your brand is providing digital access and engagement. Helpful status checks are included with each one.
Little looks the way it did in K-12 education prior to March 2020. There was normal, then there was the ‘new’ normal. The reality is, virtually every school, district and state has been forced to redefine what learning looks like, both in terms of delivering through technologies to reach remote students and now through a hybrid learning environment. The lack of substantiative digital literacy also included the inability to perform simple functions such as compose emails, log into online platforms, collaborate in online documents and even save work to a cloud drive or thumb drive. As we gear up for the new models of normalcy, here’s what you need to know.
The Learning Counsel takes a look at simultaneous teaching, also known as “dual audience teaching.” This style of teaching, delivering instruction to a classroom while at the same time delivering instruction online, was made popular as schools began closing because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Using real-time video-conferencing tools, it appears that simultaneous teaching is here to stay. But it is not without its own set of challenges. This paper explores some of the solutions to those challenges, as well as the new technologies involved.
Identity Infused Education: Recovering Your Lost or Digitally Disoriented Students
Identity Infused Education (IIE) is a new concept aimed at driving learning achievement. Instead of only a grade-and-class model that groups students around teachers distributing resources, IIE goes further with a “self-sovereign identity model.” This allows adjacent systems of resources to be leveraged for much more personalization. Greater identity attributed to the individual helps ensure the right applications and the right resources, which is a significant part of providing real learning equity. It’s also a strategic move for schools and districts who want to be competitive, regain missing or disoriented students, and deliver on the promise of real personalized learning.
One Giant Leap: Network Modernization for Small Schools
2020 has forced schools and districts to make rapid investments in technology with tens of thousands of new computing devices rolled out to students. Unfortunately, not all these schools and districts were able to accompany these investments with necessary upgrades to their networks. The big news is that the industry building network equipment has paid attention to make modernization more approachable and less expensive. Implementing modernization is important because another giant leap is apparent to Learning Counsel researchers and is approaching quickly – a shift in administrative structure that goes well beyond devices and networks augmenting teaching and learning an entire restructuring of the delivery model that demands robust networks.
For districts that are prepared with robust networks, the learning opportunities are almost without limit. For those who can’t keep up with the latest and greatest, be prepared for heavy losses. Parents are perfectly happy to remove their children and place them in an environment where these learning opportunities are available. In our on-demand world, parents are savvy shoppers and have no allegiance except to the happiness and well-being of their children. Opportunities of choice abound in education for families in every socioeconomic category. But it’s not all bad news. Your district can fight back against losses, and your students will be the clear-cut winners.
The Overlooked Teacher Connectivity Challenge: Using Non-Dedicated Communications Devices
When schools closed, teachers were immediately pressed into a role that required greatly expanded digital communications. In most instances, it involved the use of their personal mobile phones in addition to their computing devices. Though part of the digital transformation, this was a change that happened rapidly and without the time needed to think through the many challenges that were to occur. Remote learning has become a way of life for both teacher and learner, and administrators are earnestly trying to keep all voice, text and social media accessible, professional, and transparent.
Staying the Course of Learning: Broken Devices Can Derail Your Remote Learning Program
When remote learning became the primary (and sometimes only) way to educate our students, it suddenly became necessary for every student to have a device that always functions. Few school districts were completely prepared to make the transition to 100 percent remote learning. Most have experienced unexpected challenges along the way. However, one challenge is basic to the continuity of learning: To learn remotely, every student requires a device that functions properly at all times. When learners’ devices stop functioning properly, learning stops. Period. You need immediate, cost effective solutions for deployment, protection, service and device replacement. Here’s what you need to know.
Engagement is Essential for Special Needs Learners
During this time of remote and hybrid instruction, schools are finding difficulties as they attempt to engage students with demonstrated learning differences. What is needed is an interactive digital learning tool that is easily accessible from all devices, fun, and encourages active participation. Identifying and utilizing the right tools to engage special needs learners in remote and hybrid learning is solving one of the greatest challenges facing educators in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Download this whitepaper to learn about some of the programs which capitalize on easy-to-use UI/UX design principals and are helping educators truly engage this unique population.
Few issues have impacted American schools as quickly as vaping; it may in fact be the greatest preventable health crisis ever. And the real cost has yet to be measured. Aside from the headline-grabbing deaths over the past year and the recent news that vaping may leave students more susceptible to severe illness from COVID 19 and other viral infections, the ongoing expense of treating a generation of nicotine-addled patients may take a lifetime to assess. But the costs run even deeper.
There is the drain on faculty resources, the drain on teacher resources, the cost of student suspensions and its impact on achievement and graduation rates, the subsequent decline in school ratings and the inevitable decline in property values and tax revenues. Lawsuits, which are happening across America, often require a cash outlay of a million dollars or more. And hiring additional counselors and nurses can be a seven-figure cost on top of other expenses. Many superintendents privately confess they are at their wit’s end. But help is here.
Computer labs have come back in a huge way. If you’d like one for your school, here’s a step by step guide.
Once thought to be easily replaceable with an iPad or Chromebook, the computer lab has come back in a big way – not as a replacement for personal computing devices, but as a real, practical conduit to career readiness. Today’s computer labs are purposeful. Relevant. They give students real world experience on professional-grade equipment, allowing them to sample careers, gain employable skills and receive industry certifications. And as computing power has escalated, prices have decreased. Today, high schools, middle schools and even elementary schools are creating career labs of the future for less than the cost of classroom furniture. If you’d like one for your schools, it’s very easy to do. And, it’s proving to be to be a primary catalyst for student enrollment, offering parents a powerful incentive to choose your schools.
To learn what you need to do to create your own Lab of the Future, download this Learning Counsel Journal Poster.
The term Workflow in the age of digital transformation typically involves the transportation of information associated with certain processes triggered by rules to accomplish a goal. That’s a somewhat simple definition for what can be a very complicated scenario for school districts as well as higher education. In today’s world, the overburdening of technology in schools presents both a problem and an opportunity. The problems are evident within virtually every school organization, such as multi-platform fatigue, lack of systems interoperability, organic deployments lacking adequate change management or professional development.
The opportunity exists within most school organizations as well – to realize the fantastic promise of technology to create the conditions for improved business and personnel operations as well as individual learning paths and true student-directed personalized learning.
The Learning Counsel has identified workflow as the missing link in education performance for academics and business operations – the elusive “last mile” to help manage these intricacies and provide efficiencies for teachers, staff and students, saving time and resources in certain areas, for instance with administrative processes, to open up the needed space for true personalization in learning, aiding teacher retention and reducing transportation costs.
Life-Hacking at School for Professional-Grade Skills
Smartphones and Chromebooks have changed the face of learning. But with all their functionality, smartphones and Chromebooks with their 12-inch screens are primarily devices for consumption, not professional productivity. All the while, industry is experiencing a critical shortage of skilled workers. In fact, experts predict that over the next 10 years, over 2 million skilled labor positions will go unfilled.
In order to meet the needs of industry and prepare our students with marketable work skills, schools need to think old-school. Professional skills require professional equipment.
The idea of computer labs, replete with the latest software, is making a big comeback. Savvy schools are taking the concept of computer labs into the mid-21st century, creating professional learning stations that prepare students with real-world, employable skills that can accelerate career paths and change the narrative from an uncertain future into one of immediate employment upon graduation. These CTE-enabled Labs of the Future are becoming extremely popular with students, and because of all the money available for CTE, are readily fundable.
Want to get one for your school? Here’s what you need to know.
Today, Student Retention Demands a Richer Learning Experience
Here’s how you can compete:
Enrollment loss hits everyone hard. There are few easy answers and a lot of questions that need to be answered. Why is enrollment in such steep decline? Will this trend accelerate? If left unabated, how much enrollment loss is possible? And perhaps the most important question of all: What is needed to bring our students back?
First and foremost, students are leaving traditional public schools seeking a richer learning experience. And family concerns about student safety are fueling the exodus away from the traditional school experience to a richer, more consumer-like learning experience. These concerns can now be realistically answered by almost any school or district in America. The richer experience learners crave, as well as a safer learning environment is easily available within the traditional school setting.
School and district leaders are fortifying their networks to deliver ever-increasing student opportunities. Almost everything that is available to students at home, in private schools or in charter organizations is also available for students attending traditional public schools.
With an understanding of the opportunities available and the types of rich learning experiences students are selecting through alternative schooling, savvy administrators can match and even surpass those experiences, eliminating the reasons parents are moving their children to alternative schooling.
For more information, download our free Journal Poster:
Learning Counsel is a research institute and news media hub with 310,000+ readers that provides context for schools in digital transition from a deep understanding of tech user experience, systems, and organization. Our mission-based organization was the first to develop a thesis of education’s future based on technology’s evolution -- and start helping schools advance systematically. Our EduJedi Leadership Society is a membership organization created for community amongst educators with change management professional development. Our Learning Groups on important tech topics and digital curriculum standards convene inside our social media site, Knowstory.