#iLRN2018 Immersive Learning Research Network Conference in Montana

iLRN

We develop & support a community of educators, scholars, and practitioners dedicated toward research in & on digitally-enhanced immersive learning environments.

Global Network
You will have to check our twitter feed for individual presentations This was not a vendor driven conference but a thought driven conference with participants from all over the world with several very extensive tracks. It was small enough that you got to meet people and to have great conversations with them,
There was a pre-conference event to Flathead Lake, and to Glacier National Park.
Those of us who love ESRI were delighted to learn about the support and interest in the Flathead Lake. Do you know about the threat of Zebra Mussels.?
We learned first hand in an environmental discussion about invasive species
This is one of the tracks and a paper

Flathead Lake is a large natural lake in northwest Montana, and is the largest natural freshwater lake by surface area that is west of the source of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States. en.wikipedia.org

  • Location: Lake / Flathead counties, Montana, US
  • Area: 510.23 km²
  • Length: 43935.09 m
  • Width: 24944.832
  • Outflow:Flathead River
  • Inflow:Flathead River

We learned that the Montana Geographic Alliance had spent time at Flathead Lake.

Here is our hostess.

 

We reviewed the biological history of Flathead Lake.

A current concern is the Zebra Mussel. It is an invasive species in the US.

What problems can they cause?

Zebra mussels can:

  •   clog irrigation intakes and other pipes,
  •   attach to boat motors and boat hulls, reducing performance and efficiency,
  • attach to rocks, swim rafts and ladders where swimmers can cut their feet on the mussel shells,
  •  attach to and smother native mussels, and
  •  eat tiny food particles that they filter out of the water, which can reduce available food for larval fish and other animals, and cause more aquatic vegetation to grow as a result of increased water clarity. A lively discussion was of interest to all.

Then we went to Glacier National Park. We had lunch by the Lake and we chose one of

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If you go there.

Visitors to Glacier National Park will be treated to all kinds of amazing scenery, from jagged peaks to mirror lakes to wide blue skies. This scenery can be enjoyed on a drive, from a boat, during a hike, or while sitting on the porch at one of the park’s historic lodges. Because Glacier National Park preserves a convergence of different ecosystems, varying in moisture and elevation, the views are diverse and ever changing.

Glacier National Park is part of Waterton – Glacier International Peace Park, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995. The World Heritage Site designation recognizes places that are considered natural or cultural treasures of the entire planet.

There are so many things to see and do in Glacier National Park, you’ll want to visit more than once. Your first visit will assuredly leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Here are some of the most popular things to do in Glacier National Park.

  • 01 of 08
    Road in Many Glacier Valley

     

    •••

    The Going-to-the-Sun Road runs east-west through Glacier National Park, crossing the Continental Divide at 6,646-foot Logan Pass. Along the way, it passes through some truly amazing scenery, from glacier-carved lakes and valleys to rocky peaks and snow-topped mountains. There are scenic turnouts, hikes, waterfalls, and views galore. The Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is 50 miles long, runs from the western park entrance at West Glacier to the eastern entrance at St. Mary.

    We had dinner at a place near the lake, close to Missoula and we prepared for the first day of the actual conference. This was a pre-conference trip.

    We put the Geo in the conference with https://www.esri.com/en-us/about/about-esri

     

     

 

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America’s Schools are Profoundly Unequal! A Whole lot of Education Information

 

15421006_10154621210371327_254228138370067503_nHave you seen?

The report on Unequal Schools from the Civil Rights Commission

“The federal government must take bold action to address inequitable funding in our nation’s public schools.”

So begins a list of recommendations released Thursday by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent, bipartisan agency created by Congress in 1957 to investigate civil rights complaints. Thursday’s report comes after a lengthy investigation into how America’s schools are funded and why so many that serve poor and minority students aren’t getting the resources they say they need.

The 150-page report, titled “Public Education Funding Inequity: In An Era Of Increasing Concentration Of Poverty and Resegregation,” reads like a footnoted walking tour through the many ways America’s education system fails vulnerable students — beginning with neighborhood schools that remain deeply segregated and continuing into classrooms where too many students lack access to skilled teachers, rigorous courses and equitable school funding.

“This report excavates the enduring truism that American public schooling is, and has been, profoundly unequal in the opportunity delivered to students, the dollars spent to educate students, and the determinations of which students are educated together,” writes the commission’s chair, Catherine Lhamon.

History lesson

The first two-thirds of the commission’s report is essentially a history lesson on the decades-old fight over equitable school funding, so we’ll start there, too. The fight arguably began in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education and the Supreme Court’s decision that “separate but equal” schools for black and white students were anything but equal.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson waded into the debate, arguing that the federal government should send money to school districts that serve low-income families. Congress agreed, creating Title I. In the 2014-15 school year, states received more than $14 billion in Title I money.

To this day, though, states are all over the map when it comes to how equitably they spend their own money in schools. The problem was baked into the system from the beginning, with local property taxes being an important driver of both school funding and of inequities in school funding.

“This is America,” writes Karen Narasaki, a member of the commission. “Every child deserves a quality education that does not depend on their ZIP code.”

To make that happen — many states now use state tax revenue to try to even out those local imbalances, some more effectively than others.

We are a  ‘Nation of Opportunity, and the present time points us toward the future.

There are groups that hope to change the way we learn by mentoring, by sharing, by participatory involvement at national, regional and local levels. School boards are often the passport to change. The National Science Foundation funds innovation and research.

Communities within groups like ISTE and CoSN help to drive change.They publish guides like

No Fear Coding

Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum

he people most affected by the inequality may not be a member or these groups trying to help them.

CoSN the Consortium for School Networking has action for members and reports such as this as well. AccessibilityToolkit.  

CoSn also publishes the Horizon Report on an annual basis.

NMC Horizon Report 

2017 Higher Education Edition

The NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Higher Education Edition is a collaborative effort between the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). This 14th edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology are placed directly in the context of their likely impact on the core missions of universities and colleges. The three key sections of this report constitute a reference and straightforward technology-planning guide for educators, higher education leaders, administrators, policymakers, and technologists. It is our hope that this research will help to inform the choices that institutions are making about technology to improve, support, or extend teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education across the globe. All of the topics were selected by an expert panel that represented a range of backgrounds and perspectives. View the work that produced the report on the official project wiki.
CIRCL  takes us into the future using Cyberlearning.

New to Cyberlearning? Get started here.

New technologies change what and how people learn. Informed by learning science, cyberlearning is the use of new technology to create effective new learning experiences that were never possible or practical before. The cyberlearning movement advances learning of important content by:

  • Applying scientific insights about how people learn
  • Leveraging emerging technologies
  • Designing transformative learning activities
  • Engaging teachers and other practitioners
  • Measuring deeper learning outcomes
  • Emphasizing continuous improvement

 

I am a pioneer in technology and use these sites to keep up. What do you and your communities use?

                                              What about ACCESS?

While the nation continues to make progress in broadband deployment, many Americans still lack access to advanced, high-quality voice, data, graphics and video offerings, especially in rural areas and on Tribal lands, according to the 2016 Broadband Progress Report adopted by the Federal Communications Commission.

Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the FCC to report annually on whether advanced telecommunications capability “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion,” and to take “immediate action” if it is not.  Congress defined advanced telecommunications capability as “high-quality” capability that allow users to “originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video” services.

In the Report, the Commission determines that advanced telecommunications requires access to both fixed and mobile broadband services because more Americans use mobile services and devices to access the Internet for activities like navigation, communicating with family and friends and on social media, and receiving timely news updates away from home.  The Commission also retains the existing speed benchmark of 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload (25 Mbps/3 Mbps) for fixed services, but finds that the current record is insufficient to set an appropriate speed benchmark for mobile service.

While the Commission finds that it is reasonable to apply the same speed benchmarks to all fixed services, including fixed terrestrial and fixed satellite broadband service, the Commission continues to observe different technical capabilities and adoption patterns between fixed terrestrial and fixed satellite service.  Because no fixed satellite broadband service meets the 25 Mbps/3Mbps speed threshold as of the reporting period, the Report does not address the question of whether fixed satellite broadband services meeting this speed threshold would be considered to provide advanced telecommunications capability.

Significant progress in broadband deployment has been made, due in part to the Commission’s action to support broadband such as through its Universal Service programs. However, the Commission finds that these advances are not enough to ensure that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way.

Key findings include the following:

  • 10 percent of all Americans (34 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps service.
  • 39 percent of rural Americans (23 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps.
    • By contrast, only 4 percent of urban Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband.
    • The availability of fixed terrestrial services in rural America continues to lag behind urban America at all speeds:  20 percent lack access even to service at 4 Mbps/1 Mbps, down only 1 percent from 2011, and 31 percent lack access to 10 Mbps/1 Mbps, down only 4 percent from 2011.
  • 41 percent of Americans living on Tribal lands (1.6 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband
    • 68 percent living in rural areas of Tribal lands (1.3 million people) lack access.
  • 66 percent of Americans living in U.S. territories (2.6 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband.
    • 98 percent of those living in rural territorial areas (1.1 million people) lack access.
  • Americans living in rural and urban areas adopt broadband at similar rates where 25 Mbps/ 3 Mbps service is available, 28 percent in rural areas and 30 percent in urban areas.
  • While an increasing number of schools have high-speed connections, approximately 41 percent of schools, representing 47 percent of the nation’s students, lack the connectivity to meet the Commission’s short-term goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff.

This Report concludes that more work needs to be done by the private and public sectors to expand robust broadband to all Americans in a timely way.  The FCC will continue working to accelerate broadband deployment and to remove barriers to infrastructure investment, in part by direct subsidies, and in part by identifying and helping to reduce potential obstacles to deployment, competition, and adop

What about the use of the Internet in Rural Areas?

President Donald J. Trump signed on Monday two orders aimed at improving internet speeds in some of the country’s hardest-to-connect areas, a move he described as “the first step to expand access to broadband internet in rural America.”

The first executive order aims to make it easier for internet service providers to locate broadband infrastructure on federal land and buildings in rural parts of the country. The order notes that one of the consequences of slow, expensive internet service is that it hinders schools’ ability to “enrich student learning with digital tools.”

I found these items after a long search. Many of these articles are lost to parents, communities and interested advocates. The news is full of other things. Maybe these groups have to advocate for education as the press does not usually share important information, like the Horizon Report, and ISTE Standards.

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Parents and communities often have their own definition of what works in education and they may not be up to date on the reality of change within education. This report from the Civil Rights Commission probably is not seen by those without access to computers and technology.

An illustration picture shows projection of binary code on man holding aptop computer in Warsaw

An illustration picture shows a projection of binary code on a man holding a laptop computer, in an office in Warsaw June 24, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

What do you know about Schools and the use of technology?What you know might be gated by the school or community in which you live and learn.

This is a briefing that should be shared by schools, parents, communities and school boards. Education-Inequity.pdf.

internet-of-things

There are a lot of people who do not have a problem with screen time. They have little access to technology. A new group is looking to find a way to use CRA funding to help the communities most impacted by lack of connectivity.

There are a lot of people who have a screen or two, but who do not use the technology effectively.

Sometimes there are programs funded within a community by groups trying to erase the digital divide.  HUD has a program that is supposed to help make the change. Connect Home.  What might be a group within your community that is trying to solve the problem?

Connect Home is a public-private collaboration to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children who live in HUD-assisted housing.

Connect Home creates a platform for community leaders, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private industry to join together and produce locally-tailored solutions for narrowing the digital divide. Through these stakeholders’ specific commitments to provide free or low-cost broadband access, devices, and digital literacy training, Connect Home extends affordable access to low-income families, ensuring that high-speed Internet follows our children from their classrooms back to their homes.

                                     How Connected is Your Community?

Here is a map to check your connectivity.

How are You Connected? ACCESS MAP

TECHNOLOGY HELPS US TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD

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STEM? There are free resources at Concord.org.

Groundbreaking and deeply digital learning
In recent months the use of technology has helped us to see disasters and to use big data to visualize.

This is an ESRI Story map of the recent weather event in the US.

Does your educational community take advantage of free resources, mentoring to schools and teachers in the ESRI Space?

What Can We Learn about the World using GIS?

There are free online mapping resources for schools.

Hurricane-Irma-1054595

Kids in a Network Learning Science, Geography, GIS, Computational Thinking and all of that Jazz ..it worked!!

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Many people embrace what is called STEM at this time. There was SMET before there was STEM.

There was a time when science was pushed aside and people who dared to advocate it were not in the right political space. We suffered but continued the practice of good teaching.

We had our champions, and one of them was Dr. Robert Tinker of Concord.org who got great funding for a number of revolutionary programs and projects and many of them were for K -12.

His projects were much needed to change teaching and learning .

More alphabet soup.

You may ask what is TERC?

For more than fifty years, TERC  introduced millions of students throughout the United States to the exciting and rewarding worlds of math and science learning. Led by a group of experienced, forward-thinking math and science professionals, TERC is an independent, research-based organization dedicated to engaging and inspiring all students through stimulating curricula and programs designed to develop the knowledge and skills they need to ask questions, solve problems, and expand their opportunities.

 

What is really important is that there was extensive broadening engagement and the vision that TERC and Robert Tinker had was an immersive imagining of a future in which learners from diverse communities engaged in creative, rigorous, and reflective inquiry as an integral part of their lives—a future where teachers and students alike are members of vibrant communities where questioning, problem solving, and experimentation are commonplace.

This ideational scaffolding worked.

One of the projects was the NGS Kids Network , standards-based, online science curriculum that allowed students from around the world to investigate topics and share their findings.

Students explored real-world subjects by doing exactly what scientists do: conducting experiments, analyzing data, and sharing results with peers.

You will remember the climate march and the scientists march. With Bob Tinker we marched with our fingers and minds exploring real world science and the ideas are still being used and referenced.

There are pieces of this work that are still relevant. There was an extensive set of resources for teachers at each topic.

You can explore the Unit TRASH here.

You can explore the topic “What’s in Our Water?” here.

Here is the background for water. 

You can explore SOLAR ENERGY here. It has been updated.

HISTORY

A National Geographic Summer Institute was where Concord.org was introduced to me. I believe I met Dr. Tinker however, at the NSTA conference. or at the George Lucas Educational Foundation in a round table discussion.  There we learned about probes. The way we worked was revolutionary in science , and we true pioneers got some push back. We had Dr. Tinker as a resource and the information was free. The promise of the Internet for all has never happened , but if you could get on the Information Highway, well, Concord was there for you.

 

 

niiac

If you ever taught a National Geographic Kidsnetwork Program and did it well ,you know that it changed the face of teaching and learning. Here is a research report that explains the way in which it worked.

The National Geographic Kids Network

REFERENCE: TERC. (1990). The National Geographic Kids Network: Year 4 Final Annual Report. Cambridge, MA: Author.

In conjunction with the National Geographic Society, TERC created The National Geographic Kids Network as a resource for improving elementary science and geography instruction in classrooms around the world. Since its inception in 1986, more than a quarter of a million students in over 7,500 classrooms had then used the network to collaborate on science and geography projects ranging from the study of solar energy to acid rain.( old data)

The primary goal of the National Geographic Kids Network was to promote science and discovery in elementary classrooms by combining hands-on science, geography, and computer technologies with telecommunications activities.

GIS 1The topics were the beginning of real science study for many students.


The National Geographic Kids Network includes seven 8-week curriculum units focusing on “increasing the time spent on inquiry-oriented, hands-on science instruction, strengthening science process and data analysis skills, raising public awareness of the value and feasibility of appropriate science instruction, and publishing and widely disseminating curricular materials that further these goals.” While students research, collect, analyze, and share data with their peers they also problem solve and collaborate with students at other schools. In addition, the network also features a scientist who works with students electronically to evaluate their data, make comments, and offer suggestions. The seven 8-week units include:

  • Hello!  This was a special introductory unit that let us learn how to use project based learning and collaborate with other classes.
  • Solar Energy
  • Acid Rain
  • What Are We Eating?
  • What’s in Our Water?
  • Too Much Trash?
  • Weather in Action

The beginning unit was very special.

Students and teachers and community collaborated and shared , giving information, history, geography and data about where they lived. They got mail. This was a personalized way  , it was a pre-social media of talking with and learning with students in other parts of the world.

How excited my students were to link with a school in Moscow, Russia, or to figure out what animals were pets in some places of the world that we considered pests.

 

.Bonniecopy

For those of us who used the units , the task of classroom management was quite different from that faced by teachers employing the traditional instructional methods of lecture, discussion, and seat work. Geography was a huge factor in the work. Sometimes there was application of the arts, and yes, there was purposeful reading and writing. The face of the working classroom was changed. Extensive resources were shared with teachers.

Students were involved in an inquiry process and reported back to a scientist who helped them analyze their data . There were geographical teams of students sharing information , and collecting data and sometimes telling their stories. I was a teacher of the Gifted, but I was able to use technology to transition into being a classroom teacher for all. Parents and community members were excited about meaningful  uses of technology.

With NGS Kidsnetwork, students spend the majority of their time working on their own or in small groups collecting and doing research.

Teachers often spend their time participating in projects as peers , with community interface of experts, parents helping with the data.

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Reaching the Hidden Audiences and Missing in Technology ( What can we do for Broader Engagement?)

There are so many “hidden audiences” . There are great “hidden mentors “who try to create the possibilities that were put forth when technology was beginning in the US for our citizens.There are some outreach groups that furnish low cost technologies, but communities do not always know how to embrace and take advantage of these opportunities.

There are organizations and institutions trying to fill the gap, to share information and to provide mentoring. Visual examples of minorities such as Mila Fuller in ISTE also show that when the resources and initiatives are given to professionals, they thrive and can provide leadership.ISTE

Some very positive examples of people sharing ideas are in Ed Tech,and there are many teacher/technology leaders.

Sadly , there is a digital divide in teachers with the most need,being able to be involved with some of the groups, so the groups  have done extensive online outreach to try to bridge the gap. ESRI has major online initiatives and free software for teachers and schools.

We have not met the goals of the “Super Information Highway” .

Many have not even achieved access and now the FCC has changed its mind about assisting with the Lifelong Initiative. I have been working in support of community technology. Dr. Kevin Clark’s work and the early work of the George Lucas Education Society are there to connect with and to give examples.

Some work from their center.

“Following the belief that diversity breeds innovation in scientific endeavors, there is a national push for more diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce in order to maintain national economic competitiveness. Currently, STEM-related employment is only 28% non-White; however, greater efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities should increase this figure. Amidst the attention given to supporting “leaky pipelines,” less emphasis has been placed on mitigating challenges associated with bringing diverse cultures together. This article presents a framework for supporting underrepresented minorities in building STEM-relevant skills and enhancing their ability to collaborate with peers different from themselves.”

People no longer use the term as those who are online may have forgotten that there are tribal, rural, distant,poor and urban populations who are not enjoying the uses of technology.

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internet-of-things

I am grateful for the leadership of those people who can show that we who are minorities can excel and give examples of achievement that we are ” A Nation of Opportunity”.

Long ago , when technology first entered the educational stage many of us who were making decisions about the way that technology would be used shared some ideas.

We were a diverse group of people, both Republican and Democratic, and we had these goals.

  1. By providing people of all ages with opportunities for lifelong learning and workplace skills development, the “Information Superhighway”should enhance each individual’s ability to create and share knowledge and to participate in electronic commerce.

We had hoped as we stated :

By the year 2000, all communities and people should have convenient access to information and learning resources available through the Information Superhighway, in their schools, colleges, universities, libraries and other community-oriented institutions.

  • 14883499_10154516710621327_6228387540186774205_oIt is way past the year 2000. If you look around in your community, who is online and who is not? Who is meaningfully on line ? Who is coding, who is keyboarding while we in technology have moved on to new ways of working and new technologies.

New technologies change what and how people learn. Informed by learning science, cyber-learning is the use of new technology to create effective new learning experiences that were never possible or practical before. The cyberlearning movement advances learning of important content by:

Applying scientific insights about how people learn
Leveraging emerging technologies
Designing transformative learning activities
Engaging teachers and other practitioners
Measuring deeper learning outcomes
Emphasizing continuous improvement

The Center for Cyberlearning enables ongoing learning through cooperation, broadening engagement and examples of practices .

Many are still waiting for the initial learning and scaffolding and it seems that the people with the most needs are being left behind. There is a way that teachers can embrace the new learning, though that may not give them the technology,the practice and the skills they need.

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3. Education, training and lifelong learning resources , important parts of the Information Superhighway, should be of world-class quality and the diversity of these resources should be broad enough to meet the full spectrum of society’s interests.

4. Individuals and their communities should be empowered to help shape the evolution of the Information Superhighway and help to decide how information resources best meet their learning needs.

IMG_0078The empowerment of the groups that are being left behind are addressed by leadership initiatives, such as that lead by Dr. Paul Resta and Dr. Robert McLaughlin. http://www.digitalequity.us/index.html

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Their Goals:
Help high poverty communities mobilize for sustained systemic digital equity action.
Help states to mobilize sustained digital equity initiatives.
Infuse digital equity issues and strategies into educator preparation.
Provide research and evaluation to identify best practices in digital equity that lead to educational and economic impacts.
Provide technical assistance to digital equity resource providers.
Advise digital equity investors on why and how to design efforts that are systemic so they have genuine impacts on educational and economic opportunity.

There are also pointed initiatives in STEM that seem to be unknown in many rural, distant, urban, tribal and needy communities. The reason that many cannot take advantage of opportunities is that the computers they need are also needed to complete testing in the schools.

After school does not have that problem, but they also sometimes do not have the time with participants to create meaningful uses of technology. I was so excited to see that Rafranz Davis was able to explore this technology with her students. I am learning hard lessons in after school.

Funding is? well a problem.

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The children that I work with in the shadow of the capital can tell me that they play games on the computer but, can’t name the games. Many of the older students superficially use the Internet.. They use their phones, but not necessarily for the purposes that we may want. We don’t get a change to talk meaningfully about Cyber-bullying  and online safety.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

Why Do We Have Minority History Months?

Black History Month,Asian American Month,Native American Month.Hispanic American..etc. I think that is because the real history is rarely taught. Sometimes it is taught without talking about the problems that people had in this country. Native Americans who survived the two new worlds coming together, suffered a lot that has never been taught. We don’t teach history and geography well. Many students never grasp the idea of the global exchange that is the world today.

Try this method. We have lots of ways to explore our histories today. We have technologies and books and real and virtual field trips.

USE THE DATE?

I had a teacher who used dates. She would say 1492? What was happening in the world?

We had to learn to create something that would tell her this information.  Some students would have the dates before and after.You could not just memorize the data in a book or a chapter. It was a very interesting way to learn about what was going on in the world. ( Dr. Dannie Starre Townes- Virginia State University.

We had to learn what the leading influences were in the time frame that she gave us and then we had to present it to others.

Triangle_Trade

I had a principal who had a book, the “Book of Where”, and she encouraged us to let students explore the travel of their families through the years.
The Book of Where: Or How to Be Naturally Geographic: Neill Bell
Published by Scholastic Inc, 1994
ISBN 10: 0590480154 / ISBN 13: 9780590480154

We made family maps and did International Day and learned about many cultures. Also the National Geographic had taught me to let kids draw a free hand map of the USA.

The family map was personal. It could be national or international. Cultural elements were inserted. Recipes were collected and shared.We shared family stories and history.

We explored geography and the US.

Now there are new ways to explore our history, our roots, our family stories.

Who are the people in your family ?

Where did the family originate?

Have you and your family always lived in the USA?

Where in the USA has your family lived, visited, what are the places that people have gone to school, and or work and or family vacations?

Is there another country that your family originated from? More than one?

Geography is a template for learning about the world.

Museums do tell the stories , the Smithsonian does workshops for interested people and there are exhibits. The Smithsonian had the exhibit years ago, Seeds of Change that used plants to tell the story of two worlds merging. Two old worlds merging and changing culture, or not from each other. The map above is a very simplified diagram. We have tools and technology now to tell the story better. There are new ways to explore museums. There are new ways to explore cultures. Google Cultural Institute

The Google Cultural Institute is a way to learn about cultures. You can explore using technology as in this virtual tour of Egypt.. (This is a view of the great Pyramids of Giza.)

There is this project that lets you learn from artifacts in a museum. It is the Smithsonian project X3D.

“The SIx3D viewer offers students the ability to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured objects with a level of control that has never been possible until now. We hope this revolutionary level of access to the Smithsonian collections will spark your students’ curiosity and that the exploration of these objects will enable them to build lifelong observation and critical thinking skills.”

“With few exceptions, SIx3D also offers access to these data sets. Hailed by many as the third industrial revolution, 3D technology is molding a new K-12 STEM model. Students can use the same tools as professionals to become creators themselves. Whether students are printing invaluable museum objects or inventions of their own design, we hope the chance to bring objects to life will give students the opportunity to create imaginative and innovative work.”

To help you introduce 3D and its possibilities to your students, Smithsonian educators are working on new resources for K-12 classrooms.

Rather than glimpsing art & photography in the confines of rectangular frames, step into them in virtual reality with the Google Cardboard for supported smart phones. Here is the link to start those explorations.

Traditional Museum Resources? So many museums online.

This is one that lets us frame the thinking about the two old worlds that came together.

Seeds of Change: Five Plants That Transformed Mankind was a 1985 book by Henry Hobhouse which explains how the history of the world since Columbus linked America to Europe and has been changed by five plants.[1] It describes how mankind’s discovery, usage and trade of sugar, tea, cotton, the potato, and quinine have influenced history to make the modern world. The museum used that book as a beginning way to tell us the story ,it was fascinating!!

The focus  seeds are: sugar, corn, the potato, disease, and the horse, selected says Viola “because of the human dimension to their story.” From the exhibition has also came another book called “Seeds of Change,” edited by Viola and and Carolyn Margolis, assistant director of the museum’s quincentenary programs. ( You may notice that tobacco , which was a seed of change was not addressed.

‘IMAGINE a world without pizza, Swiss chocolates, or French fries! Even harder, imagine Italy without the tomato or the {cowboy} without his horse,” says Herman J. Viola, the father of the massive new show “Seeds of Change” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

The ideas merged and produced an expanded concept for the exhibition “Seeds of Change” that would focus on five seeds chosen from a list of nearly l00. As Viola says, this exhibition focuses on “an exchange of peoples, animals, plants, and diseases between Europe, Africa, and the Americas” over 500 years that began when the New and Old Worlds met.Mr. Viola, curator of the 400-object show, notes that before Columbus encountered the Americas none of those fixtures of modern life had been discovered.

Article excerpt

‘IMAGINE a world without pizza, Swiss chocolates, or French fries! Even harder, imagine Italy without the tomato or the {cowboy} without his horse,” says Herman J. Viola, the father of the massive new show “Seeds of Change” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Mr. Viola, curator of the 400-object show, notes that before Columbus encountered the Americas none of those fixtures of modern life had been discovered.

Learning history can be fun!!

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What is History?

“History is for human self-knowledge. Knowing yourself means knowing, first, what it is to be a person; secondly, knowing what it is to be the kind of person you are; and thirdly, knowing what it is to be the person you are and nobody else is. Knowing yourself means knowing what you can do; and since nobody knows what they can do until they try, the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.” R. G. Collingwood

Knowing other people’s stories helps us to understand sometimes their ways of seeing the world and their elements of culture. Simply we can cite, food , shelter, clothing, systems of education, and customs or traditions. But it can get much more complicated than that. See here . Elements of Culture.  We made T-Shirts to define regions in the US. Other countries may also have regional differences, linked by the language, land and available food sources.

What is Geography and what does that have to do with History?

How Do We Learn it? Why Study Geography?

Sometimes, even effective, fun award-winning web and mobile study apps aren’t enough to sustain motivation to study Geography, if you don’t see its relevance to your life. It is not just about beautiful visuals and interesting places, The truth is that geography is a highly relevant and important type of knowledge for anyone to have.

Here are some top reasons why you should study more geography.

  1. Global Awareness /Where is that place?
    Let’s be honest: we all care about what other people think of us. That’s why our first important reason for studying geography is that it makes you look smart. Knowing basic geography can help you avoid embarrassing moments, impress a people, increase your knowledge of the world that we live in. In addition you see and hear about lots of places that are dots on the map. What do you really , really know about the places and the people who live there?

2. Put the News in Context
How are you supposed to understand the news if you don’t know geography? Knowing geography helps put current events in context. Recently there has been a lot of news about immigrants. Who are they , why do they come, where do they come from and what do we need to know about them or immigration in an historical sense. I was amazed to be in a city in Europe from which many Italians came and to see their letters of credit on a rope that was put up into the ceiling each night. This was when Italians were coming to America in droves from Naples.

For example, knowing that Hong Kong is a city in southern China can begin to help a person understand why it is politically different from the rest of China: it’s geographically isolated.

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3. Chart the Course of History
Geography not only puts current events in perspective, it help us understand history. A person can’t understand World War II without understanding the roles of the continental Russian Winter or the English Channel. Geography shapes the course of world history. Want to better understand history? Study geography.

The various months help us to know the history in the United States of the groups who were brought here, who were already here, and those who immigrated here. I learned oter people’s history too. Here is a reason that people immigrate.

4. Build Navigation Skills
The most basic skill in navigation is understanding the “lay of the land.” Studying geography helps develop spatial thinking. Those skills could come in handy if you get lost driving around town or in the wilderness!Whoa.. did I forget the GIS? ESRI skills? You can build a story of the places you are studying on a map.GIS 1

5. Travel Smart Whether doing Virtual or Real Travel.
Without a basic sense of geography, it’s impossible to get the most out of travel experiences. If you’re heading to Spain, do you want to see misty mountains, rocky coastlines, or searing-hot cities? These questions will decide whether you head to Torla, Basque Country, or Sevilla. Study up before your next vacation or VR Experience..You don’t want to do eye candy where you just look at pretty pictures without the content.

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6. Understand Your Home
Geography allows you to understand the place where you live in the context of the world as it is. Why did people settle in your town? What is the cultural heritage of your town ? Your region?The people who live there? I just found out that the city that I grew up in was the home of slavery. Alexandria , Virginia. People were sold from that city to the south. I never knew that!.It was not taught to me. I went to a Catholic School at first, run by Irish Priesrs and nuns from the Oblate Sisters of Providence. I knew the history of Ireland, and of New Orleans from where the nuns came.

People settle in specific places because of the landscape. For example, cities are almost always built on a river or other reliable water supply. What is the history of the place you live? How has the geography affected the area? These are the questions to ask to gain a deep understanding of your home.

7. Get a Grasp on Globalization
Globalization has been one of the biggest forces in world history for decades. The saying “it’s a small world” reflects this change: the world is as big as it always was, but it’s just more interconnected than ever. Understanding the changes that have swept the world as a result of this interconnection is impossible without appreciating the geography on which it is taking place.

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8. Make Sense of Different Cultures
Human culture is fundamentally place-based: the land determines or influences the cuisine, clothing, architecture, even social relationships. Every aspect of a culture is affected by its geography.

Geography helps you understand and appreciate the incredible diversity of cultures around the world. Like with news, geography puts culture in context. To understand a people, you have to know something about their land.

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9. Prepare for the Future
Geographic skills guide important decisions every day. From architecture to politics to business, the physical landscape frames the debates happening today that will be in the history books tomorrow.

Most people don’t get to learn geography. It may be shared in the context of a place name on the news, or as  a part of personal history, if there is interest.

Do your personal exploration and share it with others.

We Should Be A Nation of Digital Opportunity for All

ISTE has a wonderful template of the digital age learner. It works for those students lucky enough to be in the right environment, the right school, and with a teacher who is looking toward the future with academic support of new technology.

standards-poster-500full Here is the template. It is gorgeous. Get it for your school, for your community and for those who are interested in helping to create digital age learners.
The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. The standards are designed for use by educators across the curriculum, with every age student, with a goal of cultivating these skills throughout a student’s academic career. Both students and teachers will be responsible for achieving foundational technology skills to fully apply the standards. The reward, however, will be educators who skillfully mentor and inspire students to amplify learning with technology and challenge them to be agents of their own learning.

This is an amazing document that should be shared and given to school boards, community activist, informal education teachers, and parents. I have a powerpoint that explains all of these. How do we make the change to help “all students ” to have these skills and qualities?

Many schools and communities are  in denial about their state of technology . I live in Washington DC, and I heard the CTO of the city say that all of our students are being well served. This was at an IoT conference with global citizens. I didn’t know what to do or say. I assume that what she said , is what she was told by the school system in DC.

We the people, we the public, we the teachers need to be confrontational about the lack of those who are digitally denied.

We the teachers ,need to be educated toward the transformative policies that ISTE has shared. There are too many people who misunderstand. They think that all students are being well served.

On December 13, Free Press published Digital Denied: The Impact of Systemic Racial Discrimination on Home-Internet Adoption. The report, written by Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner, examines the racial divide in home-internet adoption and exposes how structural racial discrimination contributes to it. Below is an edited summary of the report written by Dana Floberg — Free Press’ C. Edwin Baker fellow — and reprinted with permission.

Internet access is a necessity for engaging in our communities, searching for employment and seeking out educational opportunities — but too many people are still stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. And that divide disproportionately impacts people of color.

Indeed, the racial divide in home-internet adoption — including both wired and wireless service — leaves people of color behind the digital curve. People of color comprise 32 million of the 69 million people in the United States who lack any form of home-internet access. Free Press research exposes this undeniable gap and explains how structural racial discrimination contributes to it.

Systemic discrimination creates serious income inequality in this country. Whites have far higher average incomes than Blacks or Latinos. Low-income families are less able and willing to buy internet subscriptions. And many families who are willing to pay for service find they can’t due to racially biased barriers like credit scoring. Given how stark racial and ethnic income discrepancies are, it’s no surprise that people of color lag behind in internet adoption.

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Income differences explain some of the racial divide, but not all of it.

U.S. Census data on income and internet adoption paint a clear picture:

  • 49 percent of households with incomes below $20,000 have wired or wireless internet, but nearly 90 percent of households with incomes above $100,000 do.
  • 81 percent of Whites have home-internet access, compared to 70 percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of Blacks.

Free Press’ report demonstrates that the racial-adoption gap persists even after we account for differences in income and a host of other demographic factors. For example, there is a divide between people who are in the same income brackets but in different racial or ethnic groups. The gap is widest for people earning less than $20,000: Fifty-eight percent of Whites in this group have some form of home internet, compared to just 51 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of Blacks.web_header_3

There is research that tells us how to reach and teach the students. It is here.

There are students who are of tribal, rural, distant and urban areas who are affected. They are all kinds and all colors. Years ago, when the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council formed policy ( Kickstart) we acknowledged these areas of difficulty and sought to solve the problems. Politics has gotten in the way sometimes.

There are other sources , such as that of the George Lucas Educational Foundation that give examples of what helps and what hinders. Here is a special set of blogs on the topic.

Research and templates inform. We the public need to hold the school systems and communities to the standards so that all children benefit from the uses and skills enabling them to be digital citizens . But parents may not know or understand the uses of technology well.

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Common Sense Education
Common Sense Education provides digital literacy and citizenship programs to school communities to empower students to harness technology for learning and life.They just published a report “The Digital Lives of Minority Youth”. But this report, The Common Sense Census Plugged in Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016 matches nicely with the ISTE report.
Plan of Action?
Print out the template and take it to the next PTA meeting. Share copies of it with parents and have a speaker to access it online. Have a discussion about it and plan action for your school and community.
See if your school has an ISTE member. ISTE has a conference where these types of action and study of the topic is a part of how they serve their members. Hopefully, the school will sponsor a teacher to attend and be a part of ISTE and other technology minded groups. There are also state groups and regional groups that help in outreach.
Is there a low-cost provider who serves your community? If so get some community people working to help them with outreach. Make sure that the provider meets the needs of the community. There are many ways to do this.
 Query the school board and if possible involve people in a presentation about this topic. Use resources that fit your community.

Field Trips, Flights of Fancy, VR and Reality for the Holidays

There are many new ways to take field trips and many new ways to enrich the learning that takes place in the classroom or at home. There is a world of opportunity at your finger tips.No matter which holidays you celebrate there are resources on line.iuri

hol. In a round table discussion with people who are in charge of learning places, museums and outreach at the Center for Cyberlearning  Conference a remarkable thing happened . We broke down the silos and talked face to face about how to involve students in learning in places that are not school. Transportation and time are issues. Teachers do not often know the offerings of the local museums nor interact with the people who staff workshops and outreach.

New technologies change what and how people learn. Informed by learning science, cyberlearning is the use of new technology to create effective new learning experiences that were never possible or practical before. The cyberlearning movement advances learning of important content by:

  • Applying scientific insights about how people learn
  • Leveraging emerging technologies
  • Designing transformative learning activities
  • Engaging teachers and other practitioners
  • Measuring deeper learning outcomes
  • Emphasizing continuous improvement

Sadly, lots of people are still mired in the difficulty of getting access, and the tools to use technology. We can’t allow people to stand still in technology as it advances on. We must broaden engagement by involving as many people as possible in the sciences of deeper learning and the technologies of the future. Museums, AI, VR and other tools help us to do this. Watch “What is CyberLearning?” to get an idea of what they are doing at the Center for Cyberlearning. And you can go to their website to learn more or to get engaged in Cyberlearning.

For another perspective on Cyberlearning go here.

We need to be Futuring..

I am writing about the future while many go into the past to teach students what we learned 20 years or more ago. That is why I have picked this topic on field trips to show the differences that technology can make and why we must equalize the opportunities for all.

At an ISTE conference we were introduced to Google Cardboard.

You can use Google Cardboard to take a virtual field trip. Say, to New York during the Holiday Season. MASHABLE shares this possibility with us .

“New York’s annual tradition of rolling out incredibly elaborate holiday-themed store window displays in December is as much a part of the city’s seasonal tourism as the Thanksgiving Day parade or celebrate Winter Holidays. “ Christmas in New York?

3D Panoramic Views

The experience is called Window Wonderland, with most of the displays offering an audio narrative from the window’s creative director. Along with narration, the windows offer 360-degree panoramic images as well as high-resolution galleries that essentially allow you to “walk” past the windows in much the same way as you might if you were actually in New York.

You won’t get to buy a NY hotdog, or a pretzel, or roasted Chestnuts, or feel the cold wind on your face.

SANTA?

For 12 years now, an entire generation of excited kids have spent Christmas Eve with their eyes glued to the computer watching Santa Claus circle the globe. Over the past few holiday seasons, Google has pulled out all the stops for an interactive holiday experience that runs from the start of the month until Christmas Eve. Google Santa Tracker is fun.It is a much better experience than the quick hit on the news that most people miss.

The Field Trip? Discovery shares regularly scheduled field trips here.

That is one kind of a field trip. Drones have also let us explore real places. Drones also change the Christmas experience in some places.nintchdbpict000282857405

Drones? Here is information if you need it. click here

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Virtual Christmas GIPHY’s? They are here. A lot of people share a lot of ideas that are virtual.  http://blog.giphy.com/post/70205764276/holiday-gift-guide-giphys-picks-for-the-best

One of my unexpected Christmas gifts was that a child I taught made , actually drew her own card and printed it out to take home. Her mother shared it with her employer , a national hotel chain, and it was used as the card that the hotel mailed that year. Sometimes taking the time to introduce a child or adult to progtams that let them express their creativity brings wonderful rewards.

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What is CyberLearning?

I live in Washington , DC near the mall, and am steps away from many learning opportunities. So are many students but when I briefly taught in Washington in my own neighborhood there were children who had never , ever been to a museum or a zoo or a learning place. All school systems have rules and management for actual field trips.When they match it is wonderful. Who goes to museums and why? Sometimes the cost, and the time of transport are a problem. But there are many new ways to access museums.p011nryz

Here is a favorite of mine. It has actually been around for a while.

The Smithsonian  http://3d.si.edu

They welcome educators with this message

Welcome educators to SIx3D! We are excited about the possibilities of using 3D objects—and the data sets that make them possible—for K-12 learning and believe that they offer an excellent opportunity to excite and engage students in a valuable, interdisciplinary education experience.

The SIx3D viewer offers students the ability to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured objects with a level of control that has never been possible until now. We hope this revolutionary level of access to the Smithsonian collections will spark your students’ curiosity and that the exploration of these objects will enable them to build lifelong observation and critical thinking skills.

With few exceptions, SIx3D also offers access to these data sets. Hailed by many as the third industrial revolution, 3D technology is molding a new K-12 STEM model. Students can use the same tools as professionals to become creators themselves. Whether students are printing invaluable museum objects or inventions of their own design, we hope the chance to bring objects to life will give students the opportunity to create imaginative and innovative work.

To help you introduce 3D and its possibilities to your students, Smithsonian educators are working on new resources for K-12 classrooms. Click here to be kept up to date about new 3D related education resources. To access the page for educators and the places to sign in use this http://3d.si.edu/article/educators http://3d.si.edu/article/educators

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You can connect to learning places, and museums in many different ways. There is also the Google Cultural Institute. It offers daily news, and a guide to cultural things around the world.

The Kennedy Center does programs for families, and for some families the most important thing is to know the possibilities. Nutcracker? Do you know the background of it/ and the music. It is here.

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In Arlington , Virginia  I was able to manage field trips, walks and use the Metro to extend my student’s learning in the real world. I had a principal who felt that museums were for all children and she created possibilities for teachers to take workshops, for parents to go on school busses on Saturdays. We did a community grant to do this. Parents and teachers volunteered to participate. It was a great success. Arlington has an outdoor lab facility. Teachers are and were trained to use it for class trips. You can be a community activist for the real field trips while arranging online resources as well.

When teaching in overseas schools, it depended on the location of the school and transportation. So virtual field trips work too, if they are managed correctly in that the content has meaning.

Ok, I cheat. I live near the Smithsonian Mall and love the real museum interaction. But the online is great.  One last goody.. the Chemistry advent calendar for last year. It is awesome.