The Research University: Institutions Ought to Adapt Work Arrangements for World 2.0

Apprenticeship is a system in which workers train on-the-job – earning wages and doing productive work – while also taking courses. When someone completes an apprenticeship, they’ll have valuable work experience and a recognized industry credential that allows them to continue in the field and advance their career over time.

Dr. Esther Wojcicki in a conversation with the largest school district in Palo Alto remarked that it can be very difficult to get experienced computer scientists/software engineers as public-school teachers for several reasons. Semi-supervised moonshot schools can solve this wicked problem. More than just disrupting engineering education, Moonshots believes that the opportunity for quality education should be open to all people regardless of their background, schooling, or demographics. Woj put together a design and discovery team to investigate the future of work.

1. Salaries: The PAUSD and most other districts cannot offer salaries to meet the market demand for the skills they require. This is because union contracts require that salaries be based on a combination of years of experience and course/professional development credits. “Merit pay” and differential pay for different skills is generally not possible. [I might note that research has consistently shown that seniority and extra credits are not correlated to quality of instruction at least after the first few years.]

2. “Certification” barriers to entry: Public-school teachers must have teaching certificates. This can take several years of effort and expense to obtain. Private schools generally are able to hire people who do not have certificates. This puts them at an advantage for obtaining people who have serious industry experience in fields like robotics, artificial intelligence, and software engineering. So we get people who have had a few courses and no real experience.

There are probably many excellent software engineers in Silicon Valley who would llke to teach but are discouraged by the lack of merit pay and the need for certification. I have met a number who found jobs at private schools that were able to appreciate their experience.

I have always been a strong supporter of labor unions but they have some downsides to be certain. Protectionist policies are among them.

Research University
Putting Kids First
Our education system was built from the very beginning on adult needs and adult priorities. Whether it was Jefferson’s goal: “By this means twenty of the best geniuses will be raked from the rubbish annually, and be instructed at the public expense;” or Woodrow Wilson’s goal, “ We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity… to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks…They must make a selection, and you must make a selection…;” or Ellwood Cubberly’s goal: [schools need to be] “factories in which the raw materials (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products to meet the various demands of life. The specifications for manufacturing come from the demands of twentieth century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down;” or even the Eisenhower administration’s goal — an education modeled after the post-Stalin Soviet Union.
Research University

Future of School

But what might school look like if we were helping kids to build their future society, a better society, a better world? If that was our goal would we do anything that we do now? Would we build boxes around kids, around curricula, around age groups, around time? Would we design a secondary school without observing and asking current five-year-olds? Would we make it difficult to go outside? Would we make sitting still a virtue? Would we accept the idea that we would prefer to “harden” learning spaces for children rather than take away weapons designed for only one task — murder?

What Do You Want Your Children to Be?
The Teacher’s Role in World 2.0

Duke finds a neuroscience basis that learners “choose” a specific type of tutor/teacher to learn from and skillful blended learning as described in moonshots is the only way to activate the dopamine pathway for learning to occur in a traditional learning environment. If learners don’t meet a suitable teacher earlier, they grow up to sing songs that are much simpler than those they might learn from a tutor.


Choosing a Teacher

The question that the world is faced with today on whether virtual and robotic teaching agents like Jibo could replace teachers in the future is beginning to be uncovered by Duke University. Moonshot fellows conducted research on both Virtual Reality as well as interacted the social robot Jibo for an entire semester to investigate if students would choose Jibo or their moonshot teacher under a variety of circumstances.

Duke Research

In the Journal Nature, Duke revealed that the teachers role was also that of mentor and proximity to the learner without taking centerstage activated connections between the social area of the student’s brain and the part responsible for making meaning of what the teacher was saying.

When Duke researchers prevented the PAG brain region from communicating with the song cortex during the sensitive period, the juvenile bird grew up to sing very simple songs, as if it had never heard any tutor at all. But blocking this pathway just after a learners; daily session with a tutor did not affect its ability to copy the older finch’s song. When the research team activated the dopamine-releasing PAG region while playing adult male zebra finch songs through a speaker, juvenile birds copied the song, even though there wasn’t a real bird there.

All students must be given the opportunity to learn MEDIA

In this digital era, where students now have access to technology. Teachers must now take on the role of master coach. Young people are naturally curious and when given the space that fosters trust, respect, independence and collaboration, their intellectual vitality is amplified. Teachers must provide mentorship and leverage access to technology to personalize the student experience. Rather than being a sage on stage, teachers should adapt to being a guide on the side. This is what Moonshots in Education is about. Rather than focusing on just STEAM we should add Media to that and make it STEAMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and MEDIA).

Media fosters Creative Freedom

With the advent of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality media, it is important to look at elements of game design that inspire students to engage in gaming. Media is at the heart of human centered design today and if we are to design learning experiences that prepare youth for the future, we must include media in the curriculum.

Currently, teachers are not in charge of their classes and there is a need to involve policy makers such as school boards to integrate the 20% moonshot time for passion projects. This has worked for Google and most innovative corporations. Launching blended learning in the classroom requires students to design solutions. and Most students now having access to Google Chromebooks in their classroom as well as smart phones and instead of just being consumers of information, they also become creators of content.

Project Based learning inspires passion in students

With an evolving marketplace and innovation space, Dr. Esther Wojcicki suggests that the digital era and 4th industrial revolution requires more than a degree. Instead, academic and corporations should create toolkits that measure skills necessary to meet current and future needs of the workforce. She calls those tools TRICK. Currently, moonshots has a consortium that is working on creating an Ai enabled Mastery Transcript to replace the industrial era Carnegie Units grading process. Employers agree.

Embracing Computer Science
The home to Silicon Valley, California is having a Computer Science Education moment. Thanks to the efforts of all the computer science advocates, momentum is clearly growing. And now that California has recommendations for scaling computer science and has Computer Science Standards that provide guidance, I’m betting that California’s next state education policy leaders will be eager to support districts and charter schools to ensure  California’s K-12 students begin to have access to quality computer science opportunities.
Computer science is the study of how technology and computing systems are created, with opportunities over the grade spans for students to collaborate to create their own applications and develop complex data files. California’s new standards cover six core computer science concepts (such as algorithms and programming) and seven core practices (such as creating computational artifacts and recognizing computational problems). They also encourage student critical thinking and discussion about the broader ethical and social implications and questions related to the growing capabilities of technology in society.

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  • Omar Ashour
    9:07 PM, 8 January 2019

    Integrated engineering curricula are intended to help students build stronger links across different courses in an engineering program, thereby improving student ability to transfer knowledge between courses. Motivations for offering integrated engineering curricula include improving the ability of first year students to make connections between mathematics and science courses and future courses in engineering, as well as improving student retention in the first and second years. Virtual Reality (VR) is a powerful, immersive interactive computer-generated experience that is fast gaining popularity. The goal of this project is to leverage VR technology to connect concepts taught in different courses across the Industrial Engineering curriculum. Expected outcomes include improving knowledge transfer and retention in Industrial Engineering, furthering the national goal of training more scientists and engineers.Significant curriculum integration will be achieved by using holistic VR-based learning modules to facilitate the transfer of knowledge. Modules will be designed to help students understand the inter-relationships between core engineering concepts within the curriculum and the relationships between what they learn in the classroom and real-life applications. The impact of VR-based integrative learning experiences on engineering student learning, motivation, and engineering identity will be examined. The curricular materials that are developed will be freely available and will be disseminated to the engineering education community through workshops and publications. Based on emerging educational research results, the use of VR systems may be particularly effective for women and could contribute to diversifying the engineering field by reducing the gender gap in engineering fields.

  • Jad Meouchy
    4:38 AM, 1 June 2019

    The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is the ability for both companies and municipalities to more quickly and easily find insights inside their large geospatial datasets. Existing 2D-based tools have struggled to keep up with the demands of modern datasets. Within the targeted industries, the result of this project will accelerate the deployment of next-generation 5G networks, help improve situational awareness during capacity and emergency planning, and allow for the real-time monitoring of large-scale infrastructures like utility grids. Additionally, local, state, and federal governments will gain a greater understanding of their data with minimal additional training or staffing costs, leading to more effective and impactful policy decisions.

    This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project addresses three critical challenges faced when working with geospatial data: volume, variety, and accessibility. Geospatial information is often bulky and created faster than it can be processed. Further, GIS data comes in many different formats that aren’t inherently compatible and is siloed so much that collaboration is difficult. The objective of this research is to enhance a non-technical person’s ability to search for, find, and communicate insights. Specifically, this project fuses immersive display technologies with advanced visualization techniques to form a new type of data experience. Using virtual reality, a user will be able to load large, complex geospatial datasets and explore them naturally. The anticipated technical result will be a proof-of-concept application that allows someone to literally step inside their data, discover hidden meanings, and invite others to share the same experience and takeaways.

  • Shahin Vassigh
    2:54 PM, 1 November 2019

    The broader impact/potential benefits of this Convergence Accelerator Phase I project will address a crucial national problem by preparing the nation’s workers and businesses in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries for an increasingly automated future workplace. This convergent research and development project involves researchers in architecture, construction, engineering, computer science, STEM education and economic development, as well as industry collaborators from the robotics, architecture, engineering, construction and software industries. Its Phase 1 deliverables will benefit businesses, workers and professionals in the AEC industry cluster, as well as regional and national economic development policy. Phase 1 provides the platform for critical solutions: maximizing employment opportunity, minimizing job displacement, and improving national economic competitiveness in the AEC industries. Improving AEC industry performance also promises solutions leading to a more energy efficient and sustainable built environment.

    This Convergence Accelerator Phase I project will contribute to research and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and immersive virtual environments in education as well as examining economic impacts of automation technology adoption in the AEC industries. The rapid adoption of AI and automation promises new employment and business opportunities, but will also create job displacement and business disruption. The Project’s Phase 1 research objectives are to develop 1) a prototype interactive virtual reality robotics training and educational software package, and 2) a new model to measure the economic impact of automation adoption. Phase 1 will provide a platform for an immersive virtual software to teach new skills, improve process workflows, and increase efficiency in the AEC industries. Integrating advanced technologies including Reinforcement Learning, Computer Vision, Augmented and Virtual Reality, the project will advance methods of remote and on-site training for a large segment of employees in the AEC industries. By applying STEM learning strategies, the project will contribute to understanding how people learn in technology rich environments and bridge the gap between technology advancement and application to practice. The Project’s economic analysis will utilize a “bottom-up” approach to estimating the employment impacts resulting from the adoption of AI and robotics.

  • Anand Gramopadhye
    2:24 AM, 24 January 2020

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all levels of education have shifted to greater reliance on electronic technologies or e-learning. This shift creates new needs for e-learning materials as well as for knowledge about which strategies support student learning in diverse settings. This project will build on the success of prior NSF funding for the Center for Aviation and Automotive Technological Education using Virtual E-Schools (CA2VES). This funding supported early initiatives to create and deliver accessible e-learning resources to support aviation and automotive technological education. Through its EducateWorkforce platform, which emphasizes engaging and effective online teaching and learning, CA2VES is uniquely positioned to support technological instructors who are making a transition to online learning. In addition to helping meet the aviation and automotive technician education needs of today, the project will also focus on educational needs relevant for future manufacturing technologies. The project is directly relevant to NSF?s funding priority areas (e.g., Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier) and the National Academy of Engineering?s Grand Challenges (e.g., Enhancing Virtual Reality; Advancing Personalized Learning).

    Informed by industry, governmental agencies, and academia, the project will: 1) support aviation and automotive technological fields with a scalable, cost-effective, and flexible e-learning model; 2) grow and broaden the aviation and automotive network of scholars; 3) use e-learning to assist technical and community colleges in support of diverse communities; and 4) conduct evidence-based research and pursue longitudinal studies on the efficacy of e-learning and virtual reality/augmented reality for diverse settings. This e-learning delivery model will integrate classroom and hands-on laboratory experiences for a diverse aviation and automotive technician education audience. The project outcomes will provide practical guidelines and resources for school administrators and system designers for developing and deploying e-learning curricula for diverse audiences. Additionally, the project is intended to serve as a national resource for curated e-learning materials for aviation and automotive technology and provide an online resource for awareness of career pathways. A key component of the project is its integration of Universal Design for Learning principles into curriculum development. As a result, the materials developed by the project will serve all learners, including veterans, women, economically marginalized students, first-generation students, and students with learning differences. The project intends to generate new knowledge about e-learning through evidence-based controlled and longitudinal studies on the efficacy of e-learning approaches to broaden the aviation and automotive talent pipeline and its application to diverse populations. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation’s economy.

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