From DSC:
Why aren’t we further along with lecture recording within K-12 classrooms?

That is, I as a parent — or much better yet, our kids themselves who are still in K-12 — should be able to go online and access whatever talks/lectures/presentations were given on a particular day. When our daughter is sick and misses several days, wouldn’t it be great for her to be able to go out and see what she missed? Even if we had the time and/or the energy to do so (which we don’t), my wife and I can’t present this content to her very well. We would likely explain things differently — and perhaps incorrectly — thus, potentially muddying the waters and causing more confusion for our daughter.

There should be entry level recording studios — such as the One Button Studio from Penn State University — in each K-12 school for teachers to record their presentations. At the end of each day, the teacher could put a checkbox next to what he/she was able to cover that day. (No rushing intended here — as education is enough of a run-away train often times!) That material would then be made visible/available on that day as links on an online-based calendar. Administrators should pay teachers extra money in the summer times to record these presentations.

Also, students could use these studios to practice their presentation and communication skills. The process is quick and easy:





I’d like to see an option — ideally via a brief voice-driven Q&A at the start of each session — that would ask the person where they wanted to put the recording when it was done: To a thumb drive, to a previously assigned storage area out on the cloud/Internet, or to both destinations?

Providing automatically generated close captioning would be a great feature here as well, especially for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.




New push will help children meet individualized literacy goals in preschool — from as posted by Brendan Lynch


LAWRENCE — Researchers from the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project at the University of Kansas are improving kids’ response to literacy instruction in Kansas City area preschool classrooms.

The new program, called Literacy 360°, will train psychologists, early childhood special educators and teachers to individualize literacy interventions for children who are not making progress (sometimes due to disabilities or factors such as coming from a home where English isn’t the primary language).

The designers of the four-year project, funded by $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education, liken it to “personalized medicine” for literacy instruction.

“One of the challenges that teachers have is knowing what to do when individual young children aren’t making progress in learning their literacy skills,” said Charles Greenwood, director of Literacy 360°. “We see a gap in the information a teacher needs to make those decisions. In using direct observations of the classroom context and teacher talk-child response, a record of what the child and teacher were doing in the classroom can be provided back to teachers.”

To house this information, the Literacy 360° team uses is a classroom observational measure called “CIRCLE,” an acronym for Code for Interactive Recording of Children’s Learning Environment, a tool specifically designed to capture organizational and behavioral features of preschool classroom instruction to help guide intervention decisions.




eLearning: Predictions for 2018 — from by Cait Etherington


The educational technology sector grew substantially in 2017 and all signs point to even greater growth in 2018. Over the past year, the sector was buoyed by several key factors, including a growing recognition that as big data restructures work at an unprecedented pace, there is an urgent need to rethink how education is delivered. In fact, there is now growing evidence that colleges and universities, especially if they continue to operate as they have in the past, will simply not be able to produce the workers needed to fill tomorrow’s jobs. Ed tech, with its capacity to make education more affordable, flexible, and relevant, is increasingly being embraced as the answer to the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s growing talent pipeline challenges.

  • K-12 virtual schools will become a preferred choice
  • Voice-activation will transform the Learning Management System (LMS) sector
  • Data will drive learning
  • Higher ed will increase online course and program offerings



12 tech trends that will define 2018 — from by Chris Weller


No one can predict how the future will shake out, but we can make some educated guesses.

Global design and strategy firm frog has shared with Business Insider its forecasts for the technologies that will define the upcoming year. Last year, the firm correctly predicted that buildings would harness the power of nature and that businesses would continue using artificially-intelligent bots to run efficiently.

Get ready to step into the future.

  • Artificial intelligence will inspire how products are designed
  • Other companies will join Google in the ‘Algorithm Hall of Fame’
  • Virtual and augmented reality will become communal experiences
  • Democracy will cozy up to the blockchain
  • Augmented reality will invite questions about intellectual property
  • Consumer tech will feel even friendlier
  • Tech will become inclusive for all
  • Anonymous data will make life smarter but still private
  • Ultra-tiny robots will replace medicine for certain patients
  • The way we get around will fundamentally transform
  • Businesses will use data and machine learning to cater to customers
  • Social media will take on more corporate responsibility







Alexa, how can you improve teaching and learning? — from by Kate Roddy with thanks to eduwire for their post on this
Special report:? Voice command platforms from Amazon, Google and Microsoft are creating new models for learning in K-12 and higher education — and renewed privacy concerns.


We’ve all seen the commercials: “Alexa, is it going to rain today?” “Hey, Google, turn up the volume.” Consumers across the globe are finding increased utility in voice command technology in their homes. But dimming lights and reciting weather forecasts aren’t the only ways these devices are being put to work.

Educators from higher ed powerhouses like Arizona State University to small charter schools like New Mexico’s Taos Academy are experimenting with Amazon Echo, Google Home or Microsoft Invoke and discovering new ways this technology can create a more efficient and creative learning environment.

The devices are being used to help students with and without disabilities gain a new sense for digital fluency, find library materials more quickly and even promote events on college campuses to foster greater social connection.

Like many technologies, the emerging presence of voice command devices in classrooms and at universities is also raising concerns about student privacy and unnatural dependence on digital tools. Yet, many educators interviewed for this report said the rise of voice command technology in education is inevitable — and welcome.

“One example,” he said, “is how voice dictation helped a student with dysgraphia. Putting the pencil and paper in front of him, even typing on a keyboard, created difficulties for him. So, when he’s able to speak to the device and see his words on the screen, the connection becomes that much more real to him.”

The use of voice dictation has also been beneficial for students without disabilities, Miller added. Through voice recognition technology, students at Taos Academy Charter School are able to perceive communication from a completely new medium.




The Section 508 Refresh and What It Means for Higher Education — from 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 by Mark Lieberman
A small institution in Vermont caters to students with disabilities by letting them choose the technology that suits their needs.


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 by Stefanina Baker


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:

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)


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





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 by Laura Ascione
As augmented reality’s classroom potential grows, apps are becoming more relevant and targeted


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 by Mark Metry


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 by Robson Beaudry



Companies Creating AR Smart Glasses — from






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