Learning in the Cloud: Canada’s First University to Move Operations into One Secure Cloud Infrastructure Sets the Stage for the Future of Learning — from globenewswire.com by Athabasca University
Athabasca University (AU) lays the groundwork to build a more accessible and personalized future for post-secondary learners

Excerpt:

Edmonton, Alberta, Sept. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At a time when you can personalize everything from your online shopping experience to your dating prospects, it seems only reasonable to ask: why can’t students “swipe right” on their course load? Why can’t a degree be structured around what someone wants to learn or how they learn, instead of what’s traditionally part of the program? In other words, why isn’t it possible to choose your own adventure in a university environment?

Athabasca University (AU), Canada’s Online University, recently completed a six-month rapid cloud migration project with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to construct a secure, flexible, and global infrastructure required to make personalized learning an infinitely scalable reality. With the completion of its cloud migration project, AU became the first post-secondary institution in Canada to move its entire digital operations infrastructure into its own secure AU cloud environment powered by AWS.

 

Personalized Learning Is Special Education and the Time Is Now — from gettingsmart.com by Karla Phillips-Krivickas and Rebecca Midles

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Educators have long recognized that the education strategies that work for students with additional needs would benefit all kids. These personalized learning strategies are, in fact, best practices for all students. Yet we continue to design our schools for the ‘average’ student. And then we wonder why there is so much frustration when we try to fit the proverbial square pegs into round holes.

You may assume the line between general and special education is clear, but it is quite blurry. Special education was never intended to be a separate system. It was designed to facilitate access to general education. Unfortunately, disability labels can now act as fuzzy barriers separating those who qualify for individualized instruction and those who do not. And this is the problem: the one size fits all approach to education doesn’t account for students’ differences or preferences unless they have a disability.

From DSC:
Exactly the experience our family has had as well. The K-12 education train stops for no one and moves quickly.  To *^*^ with mastery. To *^*^ with the love of learning — or even the slightest liking of it.

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

Let us not come out of this crisis with the same systems and ways of doing things. Time for greater innovation, experimentation, and invention to take place!

 

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Be My Eyes is a FREE mobile app designed to bring sight to blind and low vision people. With the press of a button, the app establishes a live video connection between blind and low vision users and sighted volunteers. Every day, volunteers are lending their eyes to help with anything from simple tasks, like checking expiry dates, to more complicated situations, like navigation or finding a lost item. With more than a million users across 150 countries, Be My Eyes has grown to become the largest online community for the blind and low vision people, and it is now possible to request assistance in more than 180 languages. The app harnesses the power of generosity, technology and human connection to help blind and low vision individuals lead more independent lives.

 

What parents of special needs children should know about the school year — from mlive.com by Martin Slagter

Excerpts:

Embarking on a new school year can be daunting if you’re the parent of a child with special needs, even under normal circumstances.

But navigating a child’s Individualized Education Program or 504 Plan while he or she begins the year with remote learning, as many are doing this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, can add multiple layers of stress, education experts say.

This makes a parents’ understanding of their child’s learning experience more important now than ever, the experts say.

“Many students did not receive services and supports that were outlined in their IEPs (including) services related to specially designed instruction, speech and language, social work, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Now we enter the next school year with a high level of uncertainty.”

 
 

From DSC:
My dad is hard of hearing and the issue continues to get worse, though his hearing aids do help some. I’ve been looking for an app that could take what’s being spoken — in real-time — and write it out for him on a device (iPad, iPhone, other). But the WiFi network is not available at the retirement home where he’s at. So this needs to work off of a cellular connection. If you know of some solid apps in this regard, please leave a note in the comments section. Thanks!

Items mentioned in a video I saw the other day, but may have different applications:

 

 
 

Reopening schools: A Getting Smart webinar recap — from gettingsmart.com by Getting Smart Staff

Reopening schools: A Getting Smart webinar recap -- from gettingsmart.com

“We must ensure that people who are furthest from educational justice have their learning needs met. You will then meet the needs of all learners.” – Kelly Niccolls

 

The 2020 Kessler Foundation National Employment & Disability Survey: Recent College Graduates — from kesslerfoundation.org; with thanks to Nicky Miller for this resource

Per Nicky:

In a nutshell, this first-of-its-kind survey revealed factors that help people with disabilities find employment, including the importance of higher education, advisory services and networking. Also discussed in detail, are myths and barriers that people with disabilities often face. Learn about our survey, visit: www.kesslerfoundation.org/kfsurvey2020

To highlight factors in our survey, we’ve interviewed three young adults with disabilities, who share their college to work experiences. They discuss in detail the ups and downs of their academic and employment careers. Watch here: Webinar Part 2 – The ADA Generation and the Workplace: Recent College Graduates with Disabilities Speak Out

In some cases throughout the years, people with disabilities were told they shouldn’t further their education, and in other instances, they are discouraged from working. This survey dispel these ideas. People with disabilities are conquering barriers and broadening their education.   

 

COVID-19 Intensifies Need to Tackle Digital Accessibility — from campustechnology.com by By Glenda Sims
More learning content than ever before has migrated online, bringing accessibility concerns to the forefront. Here’s how higher ed institutions are making progress toward equitable access.

Excerpt:

Accessibility lawsuits in education are not new. However, with colleges and universities undertaking their own digital transformations (moving more content and services online), lawsuits targeted at equitable access to physical facilities (like bathrooms) have logically expanded to digital offerings for students relying on assistive technologies to access them. The current COVID-19 crisis is likely to exacerbate this, as more learning content than ever before has migrated online in these unprecedented times. Persons with disabilities will demand nothing less than completely equitable access, particularly when it comes to their safety. While many higher ed institutions still have much to do for their accessibility initiatives, there have been many promising developments…

 

 

Remote Therapy for Special Needs Students Finally Viewed as Viable Option — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

“If there is a silver lining to this terrible virus, it is that out of necessity school districts have become more open to remote learning,” noted CEO Geneve Milne in a blog post. “This is a really important evolution because now school districts that have struggled to recruit speech language pathologists are likely to be more comfortable offering teletherapy to their students. This will help ease the lack of trained, licenses speech-language pathologists available to districts and help districts be more prepared when external forces keep students away from their special needs educator.”

 

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in #RemoteLearning — from jakemiller.net by Jake Miller

Excerpt:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

While, certainly, some educators are doing great things to support these students, from my observations, this has taken a backseat to other elements of remote learning.  And these students NEED OUR HELP.

Unfortunately, I am not an expert in special education, accessibility features or assistive technology. I am, however, skilled at asking other people to share their expertise. ? So, in episode 40 of the Educational Duct Tape podcast and in the 4.8.20 #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat I asked educators one simple question:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

And they DELIVERED. I mean, the awesome suggestions and resources, all from a perspective of support rather than judgment, POURED in. And so, here they are.

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in Remote Learning

 

 
 


Special education and accessibility resources for remote learning — from education.microsoft.com

Excerpt:

For special educators, diversity demands they provide inclusive, accessible learning environments that inspire confidence and encourage independence differently for each student. Learn about how to create a personalized and engaging remote learning experience for all of your students through the resources provided in these pages.

These resources are intended for all educators, but will be especially helpful for educators and support staff who work in the following areas: special education, assistive technology, blind and visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language pathology, early childhood special education, behavior, counseling, school psychology, language interpretation, literacy, autism, and many other areas that assist students who need specially designed instruction.

 

Educating all learners during COVID-19: An alliance emerges to provide support for virtual special education services — from gettingsmart.com by Rachelle Dene Poth

Excerpt:

One group that is developing a supportive space for educators looking to support students with disabilities during this time is the Educating All Learners Alliance (EALA), a group dedicated to equity and aimed at providing resources that students with disabilities need. The EALA is a collaborative project between a number of education groups to curate education resources specifically for schools that serve the nearly 7.5 million special needs students in America. Lauren Morando Rhim, co-founder and executive director of founding partner the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, explains the motivation for the project: “We’re already seeing schools finding creative and innovative ways to ensure teachers and students with disabilities can engage in teaching and learning remotely—our goal is to help educators share those strategies broadly with their peers.”

 

 

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