Four Engaging Structures That Work in Hybrid A/B Learning Classrooms via CCIRA Professional Development Blog

By A.J. Juliani This summer as many schools went from going back to school in-person, to virtual, to some mix in-between a lot of teachers were faced with a new reality: Teaching kids in your classroom at school and at home…at the same time. This Hybrid A/B Model of schooling (also goes by many other […]

Four Engaging Structures That Work in Hybrid A/B Learning Classrooms:

This Hybrid A/B Model of schooling (also goes by many other names) has a camera on in the classroom for students to watch at home, while students rotate days A/B of being in-person or at-home.

Technology plays a big role in making this happen, and it needs to all work in the classroom and at home for each student in order to pull it off.

Let’s just say that all the technology does work, in that case, the question I’ve been working with teachers on over the summer in PD and training has been: How do I structure the learning experience so kids at home and in-class are both learning?

Below I share four different models that I have seen work and that teachers are using around the country (and world) in Hybrid A/B learning.

This is a long post so feel free to jump around as needed. I share videos, templates, and resources on these structures in my Online Learning Master Course, but this 3000-word article should give you enough information to get started!

1. The STEPS Model (I do, We do, You do with a twist)

This is (by far) the most traditional model of teaching that can work in an A/B Hybrid environment. I usually start my training with this model to show how you can make the jump to teaching hybrid without changing too much as a teacher. Remember, we are all at different stages of the continuum, and in many content-heavy subjects, this model works well to get the students into a consistent flow of what the class will look like (whether they are in-school or watching at-home).

Here’s how it works, adapted from The Reading Teacher’s Top Ten Tools:

S: Set-Up (Practice Review)

You can do this with small groups or large groups, but for the sake of our interpretation, let’s just say you have half the class in front of you in the classroom and the other half at home. You start by setting up the class for the lesson and doing some review of the previous day’s lesson.

An important part of retrieval practice is having the students pull out their responses from yesterday’s lesson instead of providing a review for them. This is also a good time to have students doing some practice or review problems or questions while you take attendance and complete the other beginning of class procedures.

When done well, students will expect to come into class either in-person or virtually with an idea of what the first 5-10 minutes will look like every day. This also helps teachers see whether or not students are grasping the knowledge/skills/topics that were covered in the previous lesson.

T: Teach – Explicit Model and Guide of New Concepts or Skills

The next stage is direct or explicit instruction of a new concept, skill, or continuation from the previous lesson. This is the “I do” part of the lesson where the teacher explains and shares examples of what to look for, how to do something, and why it matters in the overall context of the subject.

There is little interaction in the “T” part of the lesson with students in class and at home focused on understanding what the teacher is explaining and listening/watching. However, using a tool like Peardeck or Nearpod can allow students to respond to prompts and questions easily throughout the lesson.

Note: This does not have to be the teacher talking the entire time. Bring in videos, manipulatives, pictures, models, and anything else to help guide the student’s attention and interaction with the content. It also does not need to be a long, drawn-out, part of the lesson.

E: Engage – Practice with Feedback

Here is where teacher-led practice comes into the lesson. The “We do” part of the lesson engages students in practicing the skill being taught in the lesson. A few ways you can do this in hybrid situations:

  1. Have students in class partner-up with a student at home. Students in class on their device and students at home on their device. This is a perfect use of a breakout room (in Zoom) and as a teacher, you don’t have to worry about monitoring the breakout rooms as they are happening in front of you.
  2. Students could be doing the practice individually or with groups using online collaborative tools such as Google Docs, Slides, Jamboard, Padlet, etc.
  3. Have students go through this process in-class and at-home with various students sharing on the in-class or virtual whiteboard.

P: Practice Activity – Extended Practice of New Skill

The “You do” portion of the lesson has students practicing the new skill or engaging in the content by themselves. Here is a perfect time to have the cameras off at-home and have students engage away from the device.

Or you can have them continue to use technology and share what they are doing/learning in your learning management system (Google Classroom, Seesaw, Canvas, Schoology etc).

My favorite part of this practice piece of the lesson is the ability for the teacher to work with an individual student or small group who may need some additional help or who could use a challenge.

S: Show You Know – Share Your Questions

At the end of the lesson, you can bring all the students back together on the live-stream (or have them do this individually depending on your circumstances) and end the classroom in a similar fashion to how you started it. Have students showing what they know and understand by answering questions, asking questions, and checking their own (and each other’s work).

The goal here is for the teacher and students to have a formative understanding of their needs and where to go next (what to tweak etc) in the following lesson.

Notice that in the STEPS Model the students are NOT staring at a live-stream the entire time. In fact, the only time they are needed to be on the live-stream asynchronously is during the “I do” teaching/modeling mini-lesson part of the class. You have options for each of the other parts of the lesson on how to structure the learning experience.

2. The Station-Rotation Model

The Station-Rotation Model is one of the most commonly used blended/hybrid learning structures, used successfully by teachers all around the world pre-pandemic. You may have done this yourself with various forms of media and centers in your classroom.

Now, with half the students at home and half the students in your classroom, the station rotation model still works but has to be adjusted accordingly.

The basics are simple to understand: Each lesson has various learning stations that the students work through during the class period.

The easiest way to begin is to have two stations.

Station #1: Instruction with the teacher.

Station #2: Online activity or assignment.

The teacher begins the class by explaining each station, then gets half the class (either the in-person group or at-home group) to start Station #2. The teacher then takes the rest of the class to Station #1 for half the class period, before switching and taking the other half of the class through Station #1.

While that is the easiest way to begin, going into three stations may be the best option for station-rotation lessons long-term.

Catlin Tucker shared a perfect image to explain the three station-rotation model in our Hybrid A/B environments:

The class period is broken up into three distinct sections. For Hybrid A/B learning I would have all of the students at home be in one group (Group 1) while breaking up the students in-class into two separate groups (Group 2 and Group 3). However, if your situation is such that you have at home hybrid students and full-time virtual students that group may have to be split in two.

The Teacher-led Station is what you will be leading (three separate times) throughout the class period.

The Online Station is personalized practice, research, and exploration, or multimedia lessons that students can access on their own using digital tools and spaces.

The Offline Station can be used for some off-screen activities, getting students engaged in reading or other activities that they do not have to be ‘Logged on’ to complete.

The key to the station-rotation model is to set clear time expectations at the beginning of the class and to keep them throughout the period. It also takes some serious planning. Don’t be alarmed if the first time (or 2, 3 etc) students and you take some getting used to this model!

3. The Flipped Model (with needs-based grouping)

As I walk through these steps to “flip” your instruction and set up a working model of differentiation in your Hybrid A/B class, keep in mind a few things.

First, realize that this can work in any subject area. In order for it to work successfully, a teacher must come up with clear objectives on what students need to know, and how they will demonstrate that knowledge. You’ll also have to be able to teach the main concept through video, and students will need a way to access that video at home (or at the beginning of the class period).

Second, don’t spend too much time thinking about the resources you use to make the video. Often teachers get stuck in the technical side of things instead of just making it and getting better with production over time. This happened to me for a long time before realizing that it didn’t have to be fancy.

Third, make sure you use this strategy to find out what your students know and what they are missing, then get them to a place where they can demonstrate that understanding. When you pre-assess students, the goal is not to see “who did the homework” but instead how your instruction can meet students where they are at in their current level of understanding.

Getting Started Flipping Your Instruction

Here are 10 steps (some longer than others) to get this model working with your class:

  1. Teachers identify a particular concept or skill to focus their instruction (often dictated by your curriculum).
  2. Teachers create a short video screencast (using Screen-cast-o-matic.com) walking students through the concept, explaining the reasoning and steps, providing examples of the skill in action.
  3. Teachers edit and upload the video to Youtube or Vimeo.
  4. Students watch the video the night/day before class and take notes or answer some quick comprehension questions.
  5. When students arrive at class the following day, the teacher hands out (or gives digitally) a short 5 question pre-assessment based on the video and instruction from the night before.
  6. Students answer the questions to the best of their abilities and then score a partner’s (or self-score their own assessment).
    1. Students end up in three groups based on the pre-assessment score.
      1. Score a 0-1 and you are in Tier A.
      2. Score a 2-3 and you are in Tier B.
      3. Score a 4-5 and you are in Tier C.
  7. The goal for all students is to end up in Tier C by the end of class.
  8. The first third of class:
    1. Tier A sits down and re-watches the video from the night before with a teacher-created handout with new questions.
    2. The teacher gets Tier B into groups (or partners) to work on refining some of the skills and concepts together. They can use the video as a guide and call on the teacher to help during their group work.
    3. Tier C is given a higher-level application challenge.
  9. The second third of class:
    1. Teacher heads over to Tier A after the video is complete to answer any questions they might have on the concept and give the entire group some questions to answer. Then they answer questions individually. They move onto Tier B.
    2. Tier B takes another short formative assessment (individually) to show their understanding after the group work on the concept. Those that score a 4-5 move onto Tier C.
    3. Tier C continues to work on the challenge or completes it and begins to help new students coming into their group.
  10. Last third of class:
    1. Tier B students work in partners or groups and take the next formative assessment when they are ready. Teacher floats between Tier B and Tier C helping and challenging as seen fit.
    2. Tier C students finish the challenge and work to create a challenge for the following class (or next year’s class).
    3. Tier B students are helped by classmates and teacher to move to Tier C before the end of the class.

Let’s recap:

First, you start with some type of work at home or at the beginning of class. Then you assess quickly on base knowledge of that concept. The pre-assessment separates your class into three tiers of understanding. The goal is to move students through tiers and provide different levels of support. With all students landing at the final tier for a challenging activity by the end of class.

The trick to making this successful is to embed choices into the activities during class. Allow students to pick partners and groups. Give students multiple types of questions to answer and activities to complete. Give the second-tier options on how they are assessed before moving to the final tier. Provide the final tier with options and choice to challenge their understanding and move past the application to a higher level of thinking.

I would personally start with a concept or skill that some students typically master quicker than others. In this case, you’ll have experienced the frustration of having students at all different levels of understanding, and know that there has to be a better way to go about instructing the entire class.

Start small with a short video, and quick activities at each of the levels. This way, when you move into bigger units of study, students will be familiar with the process and expectations. It’s amazing to watch the negative “snowball” effect of students falling behind stop immediately. In this model, there is no “falling too far behind” because students are all expected to reach a certain level of mastery by the end of the class.

4. The Choice Board Model

This is a self-paced option for the Hybrid A/B learning environment. The Choice Board allows for various levels of learning to take place and gives students choices in how they access information as well as demonstrate their understanding.

Here is a quick example of what a Choice Board might look like via Kasey Bell:

Novel Unit Tic-Tac-Toe

Here are the steps you can go through to create a Choice Board in your content area:

  1. Identify a unit/concept or skill and what you want students to know/do/make in order to demonstrate their understanding/proficiency.
  2. Create or choose an assessment/performance task that allows students to demonstrate mastery.
  3. List various instructional methods, resources, and strategies to prepare students for the assessment/performance task.
  4. Choose four-six instructional methods to turn into choice-board activities. Each activity should be a similar length in time and cover common material. Here is where you can add different types of technology or hands-on experiences to the learning process.
  5. Create a workflow for the students to follow. Have notes and formative checks as part of the choice-board design process. Allow for reflection during each activity when planning how long students will complete the activity.
  6. Introduce the different choices to students and describe what the goals of the activity are (as well as the assessment this is leading up to).
  7. Let students pick activities based on their interests/needs.
  8. As the teacher, a few of the activities/options might need more guidance than others. Make sure you aren’t just “managing” this activity, but instead truly acting as a guide and expert learner when the opportunity is available.
  9. Once the choice-board activities are complete, put students into small groups to “jigsaw” their reflection. Bring students from different activities together to reflect on their learning experience and share (this can be written, audio, or video reflections – think Flipgrid).
  10. Listen to reflections and check the formative pieces for each activity to see if students are prepared for the assessment. If not, feel free to go through one more activity together as a class or talk about any topics/concepts they did not understand during the activity.
  11. Give the assessment/performance task.
  12. BONUS OPTION: Make your assessment into a choice-board with multiple performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate an understanding of the content and skills.

As you can see, the process takes more time on the front end from the teacher, but you’ll know that students are prepared for a performance task by going through this activity.

When I began using technology in the classroom, these activities also turned into online experiences that could be done at any time. My ultimate goal as a teacher was to see my students succeeding and demonstrating their understanding of concepts and skills at a high level. The simple act of “giving students choice” changed how my students viewed our assessments, and how they prepared for assessments.

I share all kinds of Choice Board examples in this blog post!

What’s Next?

Planning, managing, and teaching in a Hybrid A/B environment can be difficult, but hopefully, these structures can give some options when thinking about how to get students engaged in the learning process. I would love if you shared in the comments some structures you are using in Hybrid learning!

Thanks for all you are doing for kids!

A.J. Juliani is the author, Empower and Launch (along with five other books). In addition to writing, he is the Head of Learning and Growth at NextLesson, and a Facilitator for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (PLN). Reach out on Twitter @ajjuliani.

Earth just had its second-warmest December-February on record

Originally posted on The Extinction Chronicles: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/03/13/climate-change-earth-had-second-warmest-winter-record/5043841002/ Doyle Rice USA TODAY AD 0:13 SKIP Only the El-Niño-fueled winter of 2015-16 was warmer. Some of the most extreme warmth was in Russia, which smashed its record for warmest winter. Thanks to human-caused global warming, “this period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization.…

via What winter? Earth just had its second-warmest December-February on record — Exposing the Big Game

Protecting the Environment and Preserving Trees by Scaling back on Liberal Arts University Programs

For the first time in 185 years, there will be no fall semester at Green Mountain College in western Vermont. The school fell victim to trends in higher education that could soon impact hundreds of other schools. One expert predicts that 25% of colleges will fail in the next 20 years. In an effort to protect the environment colleges will be cutting back on Liberal Arts University Programs and all other curriculums that are not work based skiils, AKA: programs that dont lead to work, will be reducing their volume.

Brook Silva-Braga reports. Watch “CBS This Morning” HERE: http://bit.ly/1T88yAR Download the CBS News app on  “CBS This Morning” co-hosts Gayle King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil deliver two hours of original reporting, The broadcast has earned a prestigious Peabody Award, a Polk Award, four News & Documentary Emmys, three Daytime Emmys and the 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast. The broadcast was also honored with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award as part of CBS News division-wide coverage of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  —————————————————————————————————————————>>   Related:

Himalayan glaciers are losing 1.5 feet of Ice per Year: Study via Social News XYZ

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Himalayan glaciers across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000, a new comprehensive international study said on Wednesday. The analysis, spanning 40 years of satellite observations, indicates that melting of the Himalayan glaciers caused by rising temperatures has accelerated dramatically since the start of the 21st century — almost double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000. The study is the latest and perhaps most convincing indication that climate change is eating the Himalayas’ glaciers, potentially threatening water supplies for hundreds of millions of people downstream across much of Asia. “This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting over this time interval, and why,” said lead author Joshua Maurer, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. While not specifically calculated in the study, the glaciers may have lost as much as a quarter of their enormous mass over the last four decades, said Maurer. The study appears this week in the journal Science Advances. Currently harboring some 600 billion tonnes of ice, the Himalayas are sometimes called the earth’s “Third Pole”. Many other recent studies have suggested that the glaciers are wasting, including one this year projecting that up to two-thirds of the current ice cover could be gone by 2100. But up to now, observations have been somewhat fragmented, zeroing in on shorter time periods, or only individual glaciers or certain regions. These studies have produced sometimes contradictory results, both regarding the degree of ice loss and the causes. The new study synthesises data from across the region, stretching from early satellite observations to the present. The synthesis indicates that the melting is consistent in time and space, and that rising temperatures are to blame. Temperatures vary from place to place, but from 2000 to 2016 they have averaged one degree Centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than those from 1975 to 2000. Maurer and his colleagues analysed repeat satellite images of some 650 glaciers spanning 2,000 kms from west to east. Many of the 20th-century observations came from recently declassified photographic images taken by US spy satellites. The researchers created an automated system to turn these into 3D models that could show the changing elevations of glaciers over time. They then compared these images with post-2000 optical data from more sophisticated satellites, which more directly convey elevation changes. They found that from 1975 to 2000, glaciers across the region lost an average of about 0.25 metres (10 inches) of ice each year in the face of slight warming. Following a more pronounced warming trend starting in the 1990s, starting in 2000 the loss accelerated to about half a meter (20 inches) annually. Recent yearly losses have averaged about 8 billion tonnes of water, or the equivalent 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools, said Maurer. Most individual glaciers are not wasting uniformly over their entire surfaces, he noted; melting has been concentrated mainly at lower elevations, where some ice surfaces are losing as much as five metres (16 feet) a year. Some researchers have argued that factors other than temperature are affecting the glaciers. These include changes in precipitation, which seems to be declining in some areas (which would tend to reduce the ice), but increasing in others (which would tend to build it). Another factor: Asian nations are burning ever-greater loads of fossil fuels and biomass, sending soot into the sky. Much of it eventually lands on snowy glacier surfaces, where it absorbs solar energy and hastens melting. Maurer agrees that both soot and precipitation are factors, but due to the region’s huge size and extreme topography, the effects are highly variable from place to place. Overall, he says, temperature is the overarching force. To confirm this, he and his colleagues compiled temperature data during the study period from ground stations and then calculated the amount of melting that observed temperature increases would be expected to produce. They then compared those figures with what actually happened. They matched. “It looks just like what we would expect if warming were the dominant driver of ice loss,” he said.

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Himalayan glaciers across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000, a new comprehensive international study said on Wednesday. The analysis, spanning 40 years of satellite observations, indicates that melting of the Himalayan glaciers […]

via Himalayan glaciers getting smaller every year: Study — Social News XYZ

The Negative Effects of a gradually changing environment become normalized, so that corrective measures are never adopted

Scientists found that frogs DO jump out of the water as it gets hot. They are smarter than we are.

If you put one in boiling water it will hop out, but if you gradually increase the temperature of the water it will let itself be boiled. It’s meant to warn us about slowly developing dangers in addition to obvious ones.

As metaphors go, a boiling frog works. Step into the realm of reality and the metaphor breaks down. Dr. Victor Hutchison, at the University of Oklahoma, dispelled the myth when he studied frogs’ reaction to temperature changes in water. He followed the procedure outlined for a proper frog-boiling; put a frog in cold water, and gradually warmed the water up. (He stopped well before the boiling point.) The frogs most definitely did jump out when the water got too warm for them. So that aspect of the metaphor breaks down.

What about the other aspect? If we want to get really gruesome, we can discuss what happens when you throw a frog into boiling water. No one has done this as an experiment, but scientists are pretty sure they know what will happen if someone did. Getting dropped into boiling water would be serious trouble for a human, and we have nice thick skin and quite large legs. The surface of the body parts that were exposed to the water would be damaged or destroyed, but we’d have enough muscle mass to get out of the water, provided the edge of the container was close and we didn’t go into shock. A frog is not nearly as big as we are. The boiling water would destroy its muscles to the point where it could not hop out and would die in the water.

So the real story should be the exact reverse of the “fact” that’s so often quoted. Put a frog in some cold water and heat it up slowly, and the frog will hop out. Drop a frog in boiling water and it will be boiled alive. Is it me, or does that sound even scarier?

[Via Conservation MagazineSnopesSnopes]

https://tinyurl.com/y3wgyqc7 AS THE CLIMATE CHANGES, ARE WE ALL BOILING FROGS? New research finds that we normalize rising temperatures remarkably quickly. https://psmag.com/environment/as-the-climate-changes-are-we-all-boiling-frogs,TOM JACOBS, FEB 26, 2019 How about this weird […]

via We “normalize”rising temperatures remarkably quickly — Antinuclear

The Future of Water

Where will water come from?

Earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their landmark report on Global Warming of 1.5°C which warned the world has just 12 years to limit global warming in order to avoid extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. So now feels like as good a time as ever to talk about the future.

What’s IS the world going to look like in 2050? or in 2100? And what role will water resources play in it all?

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Here in Australia it’s already clear that growing city populations and the drying climate have impacted the water storage levels. And in Perth, meeting our water supply demand by storing rainwater in dams is a distant memory. Clean drinking water in Perth is now sourced almost entirely from groundwater (~ 46%) and desalination (~45%) with less than 7% attributed to rainfall. Worryingly, almost half of people in WA don’t know where their drinking water comes from! If recent events in Cape Town teach us anything it’s that public awareness of clean water supplies is a crucial element of resource sustainability.

As water-related problems get more complicated we need to get smarter – the water industry needs digital disruption; machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) are combining to disrupt the way water businesses operate

As time goes by water is likely to play a larger role in political tension as well; both on a national and international scale. Researchers from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) analysed past “hydro-political interactions” (instances of conflict and cooperation over water resources) in international river basins to identify where conflict is likely to emerge around the world.

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So in the spirit of National Water Week, we here at Urbaqua encourage you to take a moment to think about the role that water currently plays in your life, how important clean water resources are to the way we live, and what you can do at an individual level to help relieve the enormous pressures that we’re collectively facing on sustainable clean water.

 

It’s National Water Week and the theme is ‘Water for Me, Water for All‘. Earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their landmark report on Global Warming of 1.5°C which warned the world has just 12 years to limit global warming in order to avoid extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. […]

via The Future of Water — The Essential Current

Contaminated Property Investors

http://www.winefieldinc.com/brownfield.html

Applying Human-Centered Circular Principles to Tax shifts and currencies to better design our societies.

Building equitable circular societies:

“The best way to design a circular world is to consider that waste should not have existed in the first place.”

This article is published in The Beam #6 — 

We have a dream: Our world appears more chaotic than ever, yet from chaos come the best innovations. Three such innovative concepts were born out of our crisis: the Circular Economy, the Blockchain and the Ex’Tax Project.

The Circular Economy is a regenerative system in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible; with maximum value continuously recirculated. Products and materials are offered as a service so that they can be recovered and regenerated at the end of each service life, i.e. no more cradle to grave, just cradle to cradle.

The Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is inherently immune to modification of the data.

The Ex’Tax Project is the proposal by Eckart Wintzen to bring tax on resources up and tax on labour down, creating a proper incentive to use abundant materials instead of scarce ones. Lower taxes on labour would make it more affordable to benefit from the abundance of the capacities of people, boosting labour force, craftsmanship and creativity.

Now, let us imagine that these three innovations, put to good use, could set up the foundations of a new era for any societies across the planet. One could be designing them in such a way to generate well-being on earth, for all of us. Not possible? Let’s see.

Redesigning our economic model

The best way to design a circular world is to consider that waste should not have existed in the first place. This is now recognised as a fact: waste is the result of a poorly designed economic model based on the ownership of a product, as well as its legal responsibility, both transitioning from manufacturers to end-consumers, thereafter ending in landfills. Our ‘throw-out’ economic model ensures that the more we buy products — often for single use — the more often we need to buy them to satiate our dependency. At the end of this chain, we end up with gigantesque amounts of waste that we try harder to repurpose. Today, we have to design waste out of our systems at the front end of the design stage, making durable products, preferably offered as services. They would be used for our needs and then, once fulfilled, would be designed to pass on to the next user, after repair, maintenance or refurbishment.

Here waste is considered the root cause of our environmental challenges. But does that suffice to address our systemic challenges?

“The best way to design a circular world is to consider that waste should not have existed in the first place.”

From Circular Economy to circular societies

Rethinking relations between the economic and the environmental is a great approach to hopefully fixing the way we live by sharing access to resources. The Circular Economy is often considered as being our next economic model given that it provides a response to businesses’ economic resilience. But how about adding a social dimension as well as a holistic value-based method to the current model, ensuring we stay within boundaries while aiming for the genuine well-being of all? Why not, whilst wearing these “circular lenses”, also rethink the origins of our societal negative externalities? If waste is the root cause of our environmental patterns, poverty is the one to consider for our social systems. If we can design waste out, why not apply circular thinking to design poverty out too? This way the model´becomes fully inclusive, ensuring all will benefit.

Neither waste nor poverty are produced in nature. Both are inventions of our economic systems. They need to be eradicated at the same time so as to shift the paradigm once and for all. This advanced approach of eradicating both waste and poverty out of our system is what we call ‘Circular Economy 2.0’. And this could be made possible with the help of new technologies and tax regimes.

Blockchain or the Internet Of Value

Touted as being the “biggest innovation of the past 250 years” (Tapscott, 2016) the blockchain’s inherent architecture means we have the capacity to be even more effective with how we transact and exchange values. Up until now, price has determined our values in the market place, often at the cost of society and planetary boundaries. Imagine a system where the value of the transaction is determined by the level of impact a good or a service has on the planet and its people. Imagine being able to transact intangible values, such as love, wellbeing, harmony. Imagine being able to digitise the impact of our transactions, recording transparently and immutably, those transactions which align with the key principles of a Circular Economy and those that don’t.

Now imagine what an incentive such a mechanism might have on influencing consumer and producer choices. With Blockchain technology: supply chains, products, services, communities can all be cryptographically stored on an immutable ledger; all capable of being coded to demonstrate the extent of their — positive or negative — impact on natural and social capital.

In effect, the Blockchain will allow us to redefine how we currently see value. Our ‘current see’ or currency has historically been very limited. With Blockchain, (our emerging ‘current see’) we can transact meaningful, regenerative values alongside financial values. Thanks to Blockchain, the Internet of Value (IOV) has arrived. We can start engaging with consumer choices that value the earth and its people as if they mattered more than centralised profit shares. Blockchain has the capacity to eradicate the linear extractive and destructive aspects to stocks and shares. It will allow us to truly take stock and share our collective bounty and creativity.

A truly decentralised and distributed economy

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, finite resources have become increasingly controlled by centralised corporate structures. To date, around 1,318 transnational corporations currently control the majority of the planet’s informational, material, energy, financial, food and water stocks and flows (Glattfelder, 2011). There are obvious benefits to centralised systems but as the core concepts of a Circular Economy identify, centralised control (when viewed from a living systems perspective) leads to imbalance, brittleness and low resilience thresholds. The 2008 global financial crisis is testament to the consequences of depending on too brittle a centralised financial system. Global inequality is also such a consequence of centralised control systems with eight individuals alive today owning a combined wealth equal to the collective wealth (or poverty) of four billion fellow human beings.

With Blockchain, decentralised local economic systems can thrive, where the decision making process is designed through community consensus, with specific protocols determining how value is created, measured, transacted, and evenly distributed. This approach is far more analogous to a living system, where decentralised coordination of local resources ensues, resulting in zero waste and zero poverty. Blockchain is fundamentally the same as a complex adaptive system, upon which decentralised apps (DApps) can be built to ensure more regenerative distributive, diverse, socially inclusive economic activity can take place. A system where the flow of resources can be designed to key environmentally safe principles but also socially just circular principles, all listed here:

  • Safe Principle #1 “Preserve and enhance Natural Capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing renewable resource flows”;
  • Safe Principle #2 “Optimize resource yields by circulating products, components and material at the highest utility at all times in both technical and biological cycles”;
  • Safe Principle #3 “Foster system effectiveness by revealing and designing out negative externalities”;
  • Just Principle #4 “Equity makes business sense as services could be design to address the needs of all”;
  • Just Principle #5 “Developing people’s ability promoting any means of exchange is a priority as one should be accessing more with less in a service-based economy”;
  • Just Principle #6 “Using labour is innovative as in a systemic regenerative model all abundantly available renewable energies should be considered”;

All of these principles can be architecturally configured within decentralised autonomous organisations (DAO’s), where consensually agreed upon protocols determine how value is measured, tracked and exchanged. Blockchain technology (BCT) is ripe for circular economic interaction. BCT offers a shift from centralised vertical scaling to distributed lateral scaling. BCT ‘smart contracts’ enable decentralised and secure resource sharing, anywhere between peers who are hyper connected via the same smart contract platform. With the application of BCT, organisations and communities can design and build smart contract platforms which will rapidly upscale equitable circular economic activities through digitally integrated value chains — built for resilience — used within the multiple realms of not for profit community initiatives, private businesses and even local governance (for instance, human-centred Circular city structures).

There are many examples of blockchain based initiatives emerging exponentially. The most powerful promise of BCT however, is the opportunity for humanity to redefine how it values itself within an economic context. To date it has been our utilitarian capacity, our level of productivity that primarily deems us as economically valuable. With Blockchain and the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), we have an opportunity to reimagine and redefine what makes us unique. Perhaps we can be here to demonstrate our infinite creativity on a finite planet and recognise that we are able to be valued not for what we can extract from each other (our utilitarian capacity), but for what we can learn from each other (our creativity, diversity and uniqueness).

A tax system put to good use

A tax shift from labour to pollution redirects the creative force of entrepreneurs from focusing on reducing headcount to smart resource use. In this approach tax is not a penalty on innovation; innovation can run freely, as long as it’s safe and, hopefully, just. This approach makes it more likely for people to find new roles if and when their chores are taken over by machines, and within the context of our environmental boundaries.

The greatest opportunities exist when technology supports, complements and amplifies the talents of people, as explained above. If we want humans to flourish in balance with our natural systems, it is time we update our tax systems to match 21st century challenges.

Optimizing the Circular Value

Only humans can perceive value. Introducing the notion of circular value creation could ensure our priorities would remain on addressing people’s needs thanks to material circularity. With this ultimate goal in mind, well-balanced societies could rely on a human-centred Circular Economy — with a Humansphere(5) at its core -, be powered by a safe and just tax program and fueled by a carefully designed Blockchain strategy (among other diversified means of exchanges).

Designing waste and poverty out of our systems is a vision we can work towards with collective passion, audacity and hard work. We may be successful, we may not, but at least we are trying harder. The vision is set. Tools are available for its implementation. This is now a matter of leadership and collective willingness to succeed.

Building genuinely designed equitable circular societies is no longer a dream. It could be our reality.

(1) Environmentally Safe Circular Principles are the three core principles of the Circular Economy, as proposed by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation;

(2) Socially Just Circular Principles are three added circular principles proposed by the concept called the ‘Circular Economy 2.0’, adding the two missing dimensions to the Circular Economy: the social dimension, and an approach to the optimization of value, Circular Value, ensuring our circular design truly leads to a genuine paradigm shift;

(3) New humans roles could be reinvented based on two new business models: humans-as-a-service and humans-as-a-resource, but not limited to.

(4) Optimization of Circular Value (#OCV) is an approach of a new concept of value creation based on our ability to regenerate natural, economic and social cycles.

(5) As proposed in the concept of ‘Circular Economy 2.0’ (eradicating both waste and poverty out of our systems), a Circular Humansphere is inserted in the circular economy ‘butterfly diagram’ to enhance the decision-making process when designing a project or a service. It is based on our three stocks of available resources (Natural Capital, Human Capital, Remanufactured Capital) as well as our abundant or endless flows of energies available (renewable energies available from the Natural Capital as well as from the Human Capital).

Authors: Alexandre Lemille and Tom Harper

References:
– Glatfelder, J. (2011) The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the global economy. Superconnected companies are red, very connected companies are yellow. The size of the dot represents revenue source: 
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed-the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world/
– Tapscott, D. (2016) How The Blockchain is changing money and business: 
https://www.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_how_the_blockchain_is_changing_money_and_business

How long does it take for plastic to decompose? — One Change Now

Different materials naturally take different amounts of time to decompose and the decomposition process does vary. Some materials we can use to our on benefit such as composting as featured in my blog, 5 ways to live greener. Other materials take years to decompose and have a hugely negative impact on our environment if they make it […]

via How long does it take for plastic to decompose? — One Change Now

10 Reasons You Should Smile More Often…

Mother Teresa once said “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” We have been smiling all our lives. And to some degree, we already possess the inherent knowledge that smiling not only feels good but it actually does good too.

Yet many of us shy from smiling as often as we ought to. I’m not the one to judge; we all have our own problems to deal with in life. But way too often, we actually punish ourselves by choosing not to smile when we really should be smiling our brains off!

So, the next time you get the opportunity to smile, just smile, and enjoy all that positivity it spawns. If you’re not convinced, well here below are reasons you should be.

1. Smiling makes you look attractive.

Your smile says a great deal about you. It really is true. Not convinced? Try this. Try to think of some of the people you’re attracted to. Done? How many of those were actually smiling? Well, you don’t have to tell me because I already know the answer.

We are naturally hardwired to be attracted to people who smile. Something about seeing someone smile builds up all this positive energy in our minds. And every time we see them, we associate them with all that positive energy.

So, the next time you’re around a bunch of friends or strangers (it really doesn’t matter) and you want to attract attention, just smile.

2. Smiling makes you happier.

Now this is as true as it is strange. Smiling actually makes you, the person smiling, happier regardless of the situation. Normally we are hardwired to smile only during pleasant situations.

The brain in turn releases endorphins which lowers stress and improves your overall mood, hence making the situation pleasant. But it being a voluntary action, we can actually trick the brain into believing that an otherwise dull situation is actually pleasant by simply smiling.

So the next time you’re bored, or god forbid sad, try this — kick back, take a few deep breaths and smile. Just smile, and watch your brain work its magic!

3. Smiling improves your immune system.

It has been reported that when you’re smiling, the body releases more white blood cells than it usually does. And the prime purpose of white blood cells are to protect the body against both infectious diseases and foreign invaders.

So, smiling more often actually makes your body more immune to diseases and hence makes you healthier. In fact, that is the prime reason why so many famous celebrities are invited to children’s hospitals. If they can get the children to smile, that will, to some degree, boost their overall health.

So with this in mind, don’t just go smiling on your own from now on. Make others smile too!

4. Smiling makes you a better leader.

Smiling encourages trust. We can all agree to that. A person who is constantly smiling appears more trustful than someone who is not. And what more do we look for in a great leader than trust?

Take a look at all the popular leaders of the world. I don’t say the great leaders, because not all of them may be popular. But the popular ones, who are also the more successful, smile more often than others.

This is true for leadership in all levels. Fear and intimidation may work like a charm for a while, but they never last long. The leaders who truly make a mark in history are the ones that smile.

5. Smiling helps you make a better impression.

Have you ever been in a room with strangers and struggled to socialize to the extent you wish you could? Wouldn’t you in turn want to be that person who can get along with everyone in the room in a jiffy?

Well, if you look at the people who can actually do this, you will find that the key to their success is, you guessed it, smiling. Yes, they’re smiling more than you are. But guess what? Their personality is no match for yours. Put on more smiles, and you’ll be sweeping all the charm towards your direction in no time!

6. Smiling makes you more productive.

We talked about the value of smiling as a mood booster earlier, but it doesn’t end there. The effect of one good smile follows you to your workplace and in fact, helps improve your overall performance there.

And this is actually backed by research. A 2010 research led by Andrew Oswald, a Professor of Economics at Warwick Business School, proved that employees who smile more often are significantly more productive and creative in the workplace.

So whether you’re an employee or an employer, smile more often and make others around you smile more often too. It will be great for everyone involved.

7. Smiling makes you more approachable.

Imagine yourself in a room with two people you’ve never met before. You need to ask them a favor. And it’s not just any favor. It would actually be of mutual benefit. Both persons are on their phones. One is smiling, the other is not.

After a while, they put their phones down, and you’re ready to approach them. Which of the two would you go to, or at least go to first? Once again, I know the answer.

There is something about smiling that attracts trust. It makes the person wearing the smile appear warm and kind. The very qualities that make one approachable.

8. Smiling makes you more confident.

Not only does smiling make you look more confident, it actually makes you confident in the long term. If you’re someone who smiles often, you tend to attract more attention, trust and respect than others around you.

This in turn makes you look for the attention, trust and respect in every situation which is the hallmark of confidence — believing that you deserve something.

And how do you do that? The only way you’ve ever known. Smiling more! Which in turn makes you even more confident. It is almost like a chain reaction. A never ending cycle that only makes you more confident and happier with every iteration.

9. Smiles are contagious.

Well, they are, aren’t they?  How many times have you seen someone smile and get no reaction from the other party? Very few, right? People smile, even if to be polite. And we’ve talked about the seer effect of just smiling, even in pretense.

When you’re smiling, you’re actually asking the other party to join in on the fun with you. And 99 percent of the time, they do join you. Smiles are one of the most contagious things in the world, behind probably only to laughter, which is in a way just a louder smile. So smile more, and spread the joy!

10. Smiles are free.

We have discussed a lot of benefits of smiling. But we are yet to discuss the most important reason you should smile more often –- because they’re free! When was the last time you blew away something so beneficial yet absolutely free? Smile, just smile.

You’ll be happier and you’ll make everyone around you happier. Dale Carnegie wrote this on his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”: “A smile costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.” Old Carnegie sure was onto something!

seagirll

Mother Teresa once said “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” We have been smiling all our lives. And to some degree, we already possess the inherent knowledge that smiling not only feels good but it actually does good too.

Yet many of us shy from smiling as often as we ought to. I’m not the one to judge; we all have our own problems to deal with in life. But way too often, we actually punish ourselves by choosing not to smile when we really should be smiling our brains off!

So, the next time you get the opportunity to smile, just smile, and enjoy all that positivity it spawns. If you’re not convinced, well here below are reasons you should be.

1. Smiling makes you look attractive.

Your smile says a great deal about you. It really is true. Not convinced? Try…

View original post 1,104 more words

Univ. of Utah study finds increased temperatures reduce toxin tolerance of some animals

Add this to the growing list of environmental complications due to global warming.

PatriceKurnathWoodrat5788_300dpi.jpg

U Study Finds That Increased Temperatures Reduce Toxin Tolerance of Some Animals

on January 20, 2016 at 6:00 am

Research conducted by U Ph.D. student Patrice Kurnath finds that at warmer temperatures the toxin tolerance of certain mammals is reduced — adding yet another problem to the growing list of environmental complications due to global warming.

Plants often generate toxins as a natural defense. Desert woodrats, the plant-eating species used by Kurnath and chair of the U’s biology department Denise Dearing in the study, generate certain enzymes to counteract the effects of these toxins that are ingested when consuming the plants.

“We’re answering the big question of how warmer temperatures might be affecting animals that eat plants and how they deal with the toxins produced by those plants,” Kurnath said.

The diet of desert woodrats, which are common in Utah and western North America, consists mainly of creosote bush, which produces so many toxins in its resin that laboratory rats often die eating the same amount as the desert woodrats.

The idea behind the experiments hypothesized that as woodrat toxin tolerance levels decreased with temperature increases, that they would reduce food intake and lose weight. Woodrats were removed from the experiment if they lost more than 10 percent of their body weight.

“[Kurnath] really pushed the envelope with this work and expanded knowledge from a different study,” Dearing said. “Not only did she work with different species and a different toxin, she did processes and experiments we have never done before.”

Desert woodrats were able to eat more food at cooler temperatures in both experiments at the end of the research, while almost all of the woodrats in higher temperature climates were removed due to weight loss.

“The most recent study found that warmer temperatures resulted in reduced tolerance in rats,” Kurnath said.

This research adds another dimension to the problems associated with global warming for these species as they deal with an increasingly more toxic diet.

“Not only are surface temperatures increasing, severe weather storms, this is another obstacle that these woodrats and other species are going to have to face,” Kurnath said.

Kurnath plans to extend the study by “digging deeper” into the liver functions and genetic structure of these mammals consuming a highly toxic diet and by “stepping back” and examining their behavior in lab settings. Dearing is working on studying this same trend in marsupials and expects to see results by next year.

Dearing said, “We hope that it will inspire research in other species of mammals.”

b.hart@dailyutahchronicle.com

@BeauHart13

Source: Univ. of Utah study finds increased temperatures reduce toxin tolerance of some animals

Should you Drop out of School?

Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful” by Michael Ellsberg

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“The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful” by Michael Ellsberg

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Related: 70’s interview with Margaret Thatcher:  

Chile’s Thunderstorm

CHILE’S THUNDERSTORM IS THE MESMERIZING RESULT OF VOLCANIC CHAOS

The video below, filmed by Chilean cinematographer Christian Muñoz-Donoso reveals the super-charged volcanic ash cloud appeared during an eruption at Volcán Calbuco, one of Chile’s most dangerous volcanos, earlier this year.

According to BBC Earth, dirty thunderstorms, also known as volcanic lightning, are rare phenomena that occur during large eruptions when lightning is sparked within clouds of volcanic ash.

Although very little is known about volcanic lightning, scientists believe the electric charges are generated when ash, rock fragments and ice particles collide within the volcanic plume, according to National Geographic.

“In a normal thunderstorm, ice crystals collide and generate electric charges,” volcano filmmaker Marc Szeglat,  who was not involved in filming the below clip, told BBC Earth earlier this year. “In an eruption cloud, ash particles collide instead of ice crystals.”

When Muñoz-Donoso filmed Calbuco’s volcanic lightning in April, it was the first time the volcano had erupted in 42 years, forcing thousands to evacuate and leaving the surrounding areas covered in thick ash. Fortunately, no deaths or injuries were reported.

Watch Chile’s hypnotizing and powerful “dirty thunderstorm” in full video below.

Super-charged volcanic ash cloud sparked with lightning in Pat…Be amazed by a super-charged volcanic ash cloud sparked by lightning.#PATAGONIA  Courtesy of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed courtesy of: emiliocogliani.wordpress.com

Great Pacific Garbage Patch(es)

Something extremely horrifying has come to my attention recently. I do not know how I had not know this before, but there is a giant swirling pile of trash in the Pacific. Two, to be exact, east and west.

Size and Scope

The state of our oceans is no secret. They are in obvious peril from so many factors like dredging, overfishing, coral bleaching, acidification, you name it and it is probably affect our oceans and coasts.  Farther down below you will see a snippet of the edge of a garbage patch. Scientists believe the patch itself is 2x the size of Texas.  The contents of the patch is mainly pelagic plastics, such as water bottles, plastic bags, styrofoam and bottle caps with another 700,000+ tons of fishing net thrown in.  It is not entirely correct to call this garbage patch, well, a garbage patch. Using this term implies an island of trash floating in the ocean but really its like a giant plastic soup just spinning around in the pacific. All of these plastics and other pieces of trash not only cover a huge surface area, also reach down 10 meters below the surface as well. The fact so much of the debris is below the surface, it is impossible for scientists to calculate the area of the patch. The patch itself is located in the Pacific, where the North Pacific Gyre, keeps the trash swirling around in the middle of the ocean until eventually some sinks to the ocean floor and more trash is added to replace the sunken trash. Due to such a large amount of trash eventually sinking ~70%, scientists predict there is a huge garbage heap at the bottom of the Pacific as well.

Environmental Effects

So what kind of chaos is all of this debris creating? A lot.  The patch wreaks havoc on the ocean environment, already such a delicate system. The debris can be mistaken for jellyfish by sea turtles, and fish eggs by Albatrosses due to much of the plastics being tiny broken up pieces. The Albatrosses end up feeding the plastics to their chicks, which results in starvation and ruptured organs. There is also a problem of “ghost fishing” in the Patch. This is where nets are still continuing to “fish” even after they have been discarded. Sea turtles and marine mammals get tangled in these nets and often drown.

The debris even disturbs the food web. Broken down pieces of plastics, microplastics, prevents sunlight from reaching algae and plankton below. Algae and plankton are the base of the ocean food chain. Without their existence life in the oceans would eventually cease to exist because the health and amount of algae and planktons affect each and every level.

As if it wasn’t already bad enough, the plastics swimming around out there leach out and absorb harmful chemicals through photodegradation. They leach out BPA’s which create environment and health problems and absorb pollutants like PCB’s. These chemicals are then eaten and consumed by marine life, and then later humans. This fact alone makes it in our best interest to try and clean the mess. But cleaning the Patch is as monstrous a task as the Patch is large.

Cleaning

No country wishes to take credit for the Patch. Who would? It is a horrible thing and nobody wishes to claim it. The fact it is so far from any one countries shore prevents countries from taking responsibility to clean it, like siblings and a spilled carton of milk saying whoever is closer is the one who needs to clean it. Cleaning it would be a monumental task in terms of manpower and finances leaving one big dent in the wallet book.

The area is constantly shifting and moving. It is never in the same spot, making locating and cleaning even more difficult. To top it off, cleaning up the debris is not as simple as just skimming the surface as I myself had thought before doing the research. Many of the debris are small, as are many marine organisms. Scooping up garbage would scoop them up too which would be doubly harmful for the ocean.

What to do?

The best that we can do is reduce our use of plastics, and clean any litter we see until a plan of action can be determined to tackle the Patch. I believe if the worlds nations work together, each donating time, money, and resources, the Patch can be removed. It may not take a short time, it may take several years, but it would be progress nonetheless. It is absurd for countries to not contribute to clean this problem. After all, cleaning the Patch would benefit everyone not just one country. We all need and depend on the oceans for food, commerce, and pure ecological benefits such as the oceans huge part in the carbon cycle. We all should contribute to the idea of a once again clean and healthy ocean.

the ocean idea

Something extremely horrifying has come to my attention recently. I do not know how I had not know this before, but there is a giant swirling pile of trash in the Pacific. Two, to be exact, east and west.

Size and Scope

The state of our oceans is no secret. They are in obvious peril from so many factors like dredging, overfishing, coral bleaching, acidification, you name it and it is probably affect our oceans and coasts.  Farther down below you will see a snippet of the edge of a garbage patch. Scientists believe the patch itself is 2x the size of Texas.  The contents of the patch is mainly pelagic plastics, such as water bottles, plastic bags, styrofoam and bottle caps with another 700,000+ tons of fishing net thrown in.  It is not entirely correct to call this garbage patch, well, a garbage patch. Using this term implies an…

View original post 677 more words

Sinkholes: Can we forecast a catastrophic collapse?

vyagers

A helicopter casts a shadow over the chasm in Guatemala (Getty Images)

Sometimes the ground suddenly opens, swallowing cars, homes and people. We may have ways to see these sinkholes coming – so why would some people resist the idea? Daniel Cossins reports.

View original post 1 more word