The Section 508 Refresh and What It Means for Higher Education — from er.educause.edu by Martin LaGrow

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Higher education should now be on notice: Anyone with an Internet connection can now file a complaint or civil lawsuit, not just students with disabilities. And though Section 508 was previously unclear as to the expectations for accessibility, the updated requirements add specific web standards to adhere to — specifically, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Although WCAG 2.0 has been around since the early 2000s, it was developed by web content providers as a self-regulating tool to create uniformity for web standards around the globe. It was understood to be best practices but was not enforced by any regulating agency. The Section 508 refresh due in January 2018 changes this, as WCAG 2.0 level AA has been adopted as the standard of expected accessibility. Thus, all organizations subject to Section 508, including colleges and universities, that create and publish digital content — web pages, documents, images, videos, audio — must ensure that they know and understand these standards.

Reacting to the Section 508 Refresh
In a few months, the revised Section 508 standards become enforceable law. As stated, this should not be considered a threat or burden but rather an opportunity for institutions to check their present level of commitment and adherence to accessibility. In order to prepare for the update in standards, a number of proactive steps can easily be taken:

  • Contract a third-party expert partner to review institutional accessibility policies and practices and craft a long-term plan to ensure compliance.
  • Review all public-facing websites and electronic documents to ensure compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.
  • Develop and publish a policy to state the level of commitment and adherence to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
  • Create an accessibility training plan for all individuals responsible for creating and publishing electronic content.
  • Ensure all ICT contracts, ROIs, and purchases include provisions for accessibility.
  • Inform students of their rights related to accessibility, as well as where to address concerns internally. Then support the students with timely resolutions.

As always, remember that the pursuit of accessibility demonstrates a spirit of inclusiveness that benefits everyone. Embracing the challenge to meet the needs of all students is a noble pursuit, but it’s not just an adoption of policy. It’s a creation of awareness, an awareness that fosters a healthy shift in culture. When this is the approach, the motivation to support all students drives every conversation, and the fear of legal repercussions becomes secondary. This should be the goal of every institution of learning.

 

 


Als0 see:


How to Make Accessibility Part of the Landscape — from insidehighered.com by Mark Lieberman
A small institution in Vermont caters to students with disabilities by letting them choose the technology that suits their needs.

Excerpt:

Accessibility remains one of the key issues for digital learning professionals looking to catch up to the needs of the modern student. At last month’s Online Learning Consortium Accelerate conference, seemingly everyone in attendance hoped to come away with new insights into this thorny concern.

Landmark College in Vermont might offer some guidance. The private institution with approximately 450 students exclusively serves students with diagnosed learning disabilities, attention disorders or autism. Like all institutions, it’s still grappling with how best to serve students in the digital age, whether in the classroom or at a distance. Here’s a glimpse at the institution’s philosophy, courtesy of Manju Banerjee, Landmark’s vice president for educational research and innovation since 2011.

 

 

Where does personalized learning end and special education begin? — from edsurge.com by Stefanina Baker

Excerpt:

It’s the start of a new school year and the air is full of promise. I’ve set up my room, made my copies and attended all of my meetings. As students flood into the school, I’m charged with positive energy and hope.

But as I peruse my class list and the academic data that accompanies it, anxiety sets in. I’ve committed to personalizing learning, but how can I do that for every student in my inclusion classroom when the range of abilities among them is so vast?

This is my third year teaching at William Penn High School in the Colonial School District in New Castle, Delaware. Dually certified in special education and English Language Arts, I teach an ELA inclusion class to 11th and 12th graders, which means I serve students with and without Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) in the same setting. Additionally, I manage a caseload of 18 students with IEPs, and enter goals and progress for over 60 other students.

A core element of my job has always been to consider how I can tailor instruction to meet the needs of each student—that’s the crux of special education. IEPs are legal documents designed to include specific goals, objectives and strategies for how to modify instruction to meet each student’s needs. Personalized learning doesn’t seem that far off—but meeting the needs of every student in an inclusion class when some have IEPs and some do not can get hairy.

It also raises some questions around where special education practices and personalized learning intersect.

 

Does personalized learning mean every student gets an IEP? Does it mean that students who had an IEP no longer need one because now every learner is receiving tailored instruction? Can I use the same measuring tools to gauge growth for all students? Should it be different than how I was teaching before?

 

I’d like to see special education take a front seat in conversations about personalized learning.

 

 

 

 

What a future, powerful, global learning platform will look & act like [Christian]


Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A vision for a global, powerful, next generation learning platform

By Daniel Christian

NOTE: Having recently lost my Senior Instructional Designer position due to a staff reduction program, I am looking to help build such a platform as this. So if you are working on such a platform or know of someone who is, please let me know: danielchristian55@gmail.com.

I want to help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively — while providing more choice, more control to lifelong learners. This will become critically important as artificial intelligence, robotics, algorithms, and automation continue to impact the workplace.


 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and “streams of content” that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)

Further details:
While basic courses will be accessible via mobile devices, the optimal learning experience will leverage two or more displays/devices. So while smaller smartphones, laptops, and/or desktop workstations will be used to communicate synchronously or asynchronously with other learners, the larger displays will deliver an excellent learning environment for times when there is:

  • A Subject Matter Expert (SME) giving a talk or making a presentation on any given topic
  • A need to display multiple things going on at once, such as:
  • The SME(s)
  • An application or multiple applications that the SME(s) are using
  • Content/resources that learners are submitting in real-time (think Bluescape, T1V, Prysm, other)
  • The ability to annotate on top of the application(s) and point to things w/in the app(s)
  • Media being used to support the presentation such as pictures, graphics, graphs, videos, simulations, animations, audio, links to other resources, GPS coordinates for an app such as Google Earth, other
  • Other attendees (think Google Hangouts, Skype, Polycom, or other videoconferencing tools)
  • An (optional) representation of the Personal Assistant (such as today’s Alexa, Siri, M, Google Assistant, etc.) that’s being employed via the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This new learning platform will also feature:

  • Voice-based commands to drive the system (via Natural Language Processing (NLP))
  • Language translation (using techs similar to what’s being used in Translate One2One, an earpiece powered by IBM Watson)
  • Speech-to-text capabilities for use w/ chatbots, messaging, inserting discussion board postings
  • Text-to-speech capabilities as an assistive technology and also for everyone to be able to be mobile while listening to what’s been typed
  • Chatbots
    • For learning how to use the system
    • For asking questions of – and addressing any issues with – the organization owning the system (credentials, payments, obtaining technical support, etc.)
    • For asking questions within a course
  • As many profiles as needed per household
  • (Optional) Machine-to-machine-based communications to automatically launch the correct profile when the system is initiated (from one’s smartphone, laptop, workstation, and/or tablet to a receiver for the system)
  • (Optional) Voice recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Facial recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Upon system launch, to immediately return to where the learner previously left off
  • The capability of the webcam to recognize objects and bring up relevant resources for that object
  • A built in RSS feed aggregator – or a similar technology – to enable learners to tap into the relevant “streams of content” that are constantly flowing by them
  • Social media dashboards/portals – providing quick access to multiple sources of content and whereby learners can contribute their own “streams of content”

In the future, new forms of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) will be integrated into this new learning environment – providing entirely new means of collaborating with one another.

Likely players:

  • Amazon – personal assistance via Alexa
  • Apple – personal assistance via Siri
  • Google – personal assistance via Google Assistant; language translation
  • Facebook — personal assistance via M
  • Microsoft – personal assistance via Cortana; language translation
  • IBM Watson – cognitive computing; language translation
  • Polycom – videoconferencing
  • Blackboard – videoconferencing, application sharing, chat, interactive whiteboard
  • T1V, Prsym, and/or Bluescape – submitting content to a digital canvas/workspace
  • Samsung, Sharp, LCD, and others – for large displays with integrated microphones, speakers, webcams, etc.
  • Feedly – RSS aggregator
  • _________ – for providing backchannels
  • _________ – for tools to create videocasts and interactive videos
  • _________ – for blogs, wikis, podcasts, journals
  • _________ – for quizzes/assessments
  • _________ – for discussion boards/forums
  • _________ – for creating AR, MR, and/or VR-based content

 

 

 

Key issues in teaching and learning 2017 — from Educause Learning Initiative (ELI)

Excerpt:

Since 2011, ELI has surveyed the higher education teaching and learning community to identify its key issues. The community is wide in scope: we solicit input from all those participating in the support of the teaching and learning mission, including professionals from the IT organization, the center for teaching and learning, the library, and the dean’s and provost’s offices.

 

 

 

Part 2: Virtual Reality Headsets: Which One Is For You? — from 900lbs.com

 

steven_vr

 

Excerpt:

It’s 2017, a new year, and another tremendous growth opportunity for VR and AR. With advancements in eye-tracking technology,  inside-out camera-based positional tracking, the implementation of add-on wireless capabilities for tethered headsets, and a push for lower price points, just like the preceding year, 2017 will continue to be a time of growth and technological innovation for virtual and augmented reality headsets.

As mentioned before, VR/AR headsets are still in the introduction stage of the product cycle while steadily creeping into its second iteration as investment in  R&D is being poured into the industry. Here at 900lbs, we’re researching all we can to stay on frontier of the emerging market, making sure we’re using the greatest, if not latest, hardware and software for our projects.

We compiled a list of the coolest, mind-blowing headsets last year (Part 1), but much has changed and will change. Here’s an updated list of the coolest (still mind-blowing) headsets available or soon-to-be-available on the market now. Note: we included some of the headsets we covered in our original post.

 

 

12 augmented reality apps students can use today — from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
As augmented reality’s classroom potential grows, apps are becoming more relevant and targeted

Excerpt:

Augmented reality–a technology that uses a trigger image to superimpose digital content over a user’s view of the real world–is growing in popularity and accessibility, and it holds a wealth of potential for education.

“If you can captivate those kids when you introduce the lesson, you know they’re going to pay attention throughout the lesson,” Peterson said. “This is a great way to grab kids and get them involved.”

 

 

How VR is Helping the Broken Prison System — from vudream.com by Mark Metry

Excerpt:

Virtual Rehab focuses on 4 areas:

  1. Formal Education
    Virtual Rehab will develop an interactive formal education tool, where inmates can strengthen their knowledge of English, Business, Mathematics, Sciences, Technology, and other courses, as deemed appropriate
  2. Vocational Job Training
    Leveraging Virtual Rehab’s interactive tool, inmates will be able to acquire new vocational job training skills including car mechanic, plumbing, welding, carpentry, and others, as deemed appropriate
  3. Psychological Rehabilitation
    Virtual Rehab’s interactive tool will assist in treating inmates psychological challenges including mental & emotional disorders, co-existing disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, and others, as deemed appropriate
  4. Correctional Services Rehabilitation
    The real-life scenarios and interactivity of Virtual Rehab’s tool will allow inmates to undergo correctional services rehabilitation across sex offending, family violence, alcoholism, and others, as deemed appropriate.

 

 

 

 

Outline of a VR History App — from medium.com by Robson Beaudry

 

 

Companies Creating AR Smart Glasses — from thearea.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can be sitting ‘courtside’ at NBA games with virtual reality — from mercurynews.com by Bill Oram

Excerpt:

“The result is a really strong sense of presence,” said David Cole, who helped found NextVR as a 3D company in 2009. “A vivid sense.”

 

 

“In some ways, we could still be at a point in time where a lot of people don’t yet know that they want this in VR,” said David Cramer, NextVR’s chief operating officer. “The thing that we’ve seen is that when people do see it, it just blows away their expectations.”

 

 

From DSC:
Hmm…the above piece from The Mercury News on #VR speaks of presence.  A vivid sense of presence.

If they can do this with an NBA game, why cant’ we do this with remote learners & bring them into face-to-face classrooms? How might VR be used in online learning and distance education? Could be an interesting new revenue stream for colleges and universities…and help serve more people who want to learn but might not be able to move to certain locations and/or not be able to attend face-to-face classrooms. Applications could exist within the corporate training/L&D world as well.

 

Also related/see:

 

 

Supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Tools, Technology and Key Resources to Cultivate Academic Success — from accreditedschoolsonline.org

Excerpts:

Students with hearing disabilities face unique challenges inside the classroom. Many common learning modes that people take for granted — lectures, discussion groups and even one-on-one conversations — can be a struggle for those who have any level of hearing difficulty. However, that doesn’t mean a college degree is out of reach. Today’s wide range of tools, devices and systems can help students who are deaf or hard of hearing thrive in an educational setting. This guide focuses on those resources, tech tools and expert tips that students of all ages can use achieve academic success.

 

SmartphoneApps-HardOfHearing-July2016

 

 

 

understood.org


 
 

Understood-April2016

 

From DSC:
I’d like to thank Jenny Zeeff for the reminder on this resource. Though I’ve posted this item before, Jenny reminded me of this set of resources that might be very useful to someone else out there as well.

 

 

 

Per Mark Cappel, Senior Editor at MoneyGeek.com (emphasis DSC):

MoneyGeek.com has spent the last few months expanding our site to produce comprehensive financial planning resources for people with disabilities for all stages of life. Our guides are helpful for families and students with disabilities searching for financial aid and scholarship options, parents and persons with disabilities planning financially for home modifications, and more.

See:

 

students-disabilities-feb2016

 

Augmented reality: A great story triggers the mind — from arjenvanberkum.nl by Arjen van Berkum

Excerpts:

Augmented reality brings learning to life. Augmented reality enriches a live view of a real-life environment – the so called reality – with computer-generated input, that can consist out of sound, graphics, text, video, and GPS information. In other words, AR provides us with an enhanced view of the real world.

As Gaia Dempsey, Managing Director of DAQRI International, explains, “80% of the information that the brain takes is visual. So by providing information in a visual medium that also has the spatial nature of augmented reality, you’re giving the brain a very intuitive way of accessing knowledge.”

 

 

 

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