An Educator’s Guide to Virtual Learning: 4 Actions to Support Students With Disabilities and Their Families — from ncld.org / National Center for Learning Disabilities

Excerpt:

Begin implementing best practices in online special education. Most of the best practices in online instruction are the same as for in-person, in-school instruction. This includes using multiple ways to present content, assess progress, provide feedback, and engage students (the hallmark of Universal Design for Learning). Students will still need explicit instruction, and providing what amounts to virtual 1:1 or small group instruction to so many students will take creativity, planning, and flexibility. Here are some helpful resources:

 

A Parent’s Guide to Virtual Learning: 4 Actions to Improve Your Child’s Experience With Online Learning — from ncld.org / National Center for Learning Disabilities

Excerpt:

Here are some resources that will help you be an effective partner with school personnel and an informed advocate for your child during this challenging time:

 

 

Why education is a ‘wicked problem’ for learning engineers to solve — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

So, back to the wicked problem: How do we make education that’s both quality education and at the same time accessible and affordable?

“Now, we are building a new technology that we call Agent Smith. It’s another AI technology— and we’re very excited about it—that builds [a] Jill Watson for you. And Agent Smith can build a Jill Watson for you in less than 10 percent of the hours.”

So one question for online education is, can we build a new set of tools—and I think that’s where AI is going to go, that learning engineering is going to go—where AI is not helping individual humans as much as AI is helping human-human interaction.

Huge ethical issues and something that learning engineering has not yet started focusing on in a serious manner. We are still in a phase of, “Look ma, no hands, I can ride a bike without hands.”

Technology should not be left to technologists.

Learning from the living class room

 

Concept3D introduces wheelchair wayfinding feature to support campus accessibility — from concept3d.echoscomm.com with thanks to Delaney Lanker for this resource
System makes wheelchair friendly campus routes easy to find and follow

Excerpt:

Concept3D, a leader in creating immersive online experiences with 3D modeling, interactive maps and virtual tour software, today announced the launch of a new wheelchair wayfinding feature that adds a new level of accessibility to the company’s interactive map and tour platform.

With the new wheelchair accessible route functionality, Concept3D clients are able to offer a separate set of wayfinding routes specifically designed to identify the most efficient and easiest routes.

Concept3D’s wayfinding system uses a weighted algorithm to determine the most efficient route between start and end points, and the new system was enhanced to factor in routing variables like stairs, curb cuts, steep inclines, and other areas that may impact accessibility.

Also see:

Wayfinding :: Wheelchair Accessible Routes — from concept3d.com

https://www.concept3d.com/blog/higher-ed/wayfinding-wheelchair-accessible-routes

 

6 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2020 — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly with:

  • Bridget Burns, Executive Director, University Innovation Alliance
  • James Frazee, Chief Academic Technology Officer and Associate VP, Instructional Technology Services, San Diego State University
  • Ernie Perez
    Director, Educational Technology, Digital Learning & Innovation, Boston University

This year’s top issues in education technology reflect the bigger picture of a student’s pathway from individual courses all the way to graduation and career.

Topics include:

1) Workforce Readiness
2) Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots
3) Extended Reality (XR)
4) Video and Accessibility
5) Predictive Analytics and Advising
6) Industry Partnerships

 

A two-part series from Educause regarding inclusive design/accessibility — with thanks to Ray Schroeder for his posting on this out on LinkedIn.

An excerpt from Part II:

The previous two definitions have tried to articulate the idea that students carry intersecting invisible circumstances with them into the classroom. Whether or not students disclose their circumstances—or whether faculty members invite students to disclose them—does not determine their existence. From this perspective, inclusion means designing and teaching for variability. Faculty can practice inclusive pedagogy by following universal design principles and offering multiple options for representation, engagement, and expression:

Options are essential to learning, because no single way of presenting information, no single way of responding to information, and no single way of engaging students will work across the diversity of students that populate our classrooms. Alternatives reduce barriers to learning for students with disabilities while enhancing learning opportunities for everyone.4

In a Nutshell …
Inclusive pedagogy can be an act of intention—something that is initiated before and during the course design process—rather than being an act of revision or omission.

 

Key strategic technologies for higher education in 2020

Higher Education’s 2020 Trend Watch & Top 10 Strategic Technologies — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

Most Influential Trends
Six trends are influential at 61% or more of colleges and universities (listed below from highest to lowest level of influence):

  1. Growing complexity of security threats
  2. Student success focus/imperatives
  3. Data-informed decision-making
  4. Privacy
  5. Enterprise risk management
  6. Institution-wide data management and integrations

 

 

 

Accessibility at a Crossroads: Balancing Legal Requirements, Frivolous Lawsuits, and Legitimate Needs — from er.educause.edu by Martin LaGrow

Excerpt:

Changes in legal requirements for IT accessibility have prompted some to pursue self-serving legal actions. To increase access to users of all abilities, colleges and universities should articulate their commitment to accessibility and focus on changing institutional culture.

 

2019 study of undergraduate students & information technology — from library.educause.edu

Excerpts:

Drawing on survey data from more than 40,000 students across 118 US institutions, this report highlights a number of important findings related to students’ technology preferences, supports, and experiences, with the goal of aiding technology and higher education professionals in improving student learning experiences and success.

But they want to be more than in-class spectators:

  • “I want my professors to stop reading PowerPoint slides word-for-word off of a screen, and to start using the technology at hand to create a different kind of lecture that will engage their students in the learning process.”
  • “I’d love for there to be more interactive polling and questions during class. Even though I don’t like the idea of being in lecture every day, that would keep me more engaged if the instructors were more dynamic with their tech use.”
  • “Integrate [technology] more into lectures. It’s very difficult to sit and watch you talk. Technology can be so beneficial to learning if used in the right ways to enhance and complement lectures. Use collaborative quizzes (Kahoot, etc.), let us research in class, etc.”
  • “Provide more online learning tools such as interactive lectures where people on laptops or tablets can also engage with the material being presented.”

 

Figure 2. Student learning environment preferences for specific course-related activities and assignments

Recommendations

  • Leverage analytics to gain a greater understanding of the student demographics that influence learning environment preferences.
  • Continue to promote online success tools and provide training to students on their use through orientations and advisement sessions.
  • Expand efforts to improve Wi-Fi reliability in campus housing and outdoor spaces.
  • Allow students to use the devices that are most important to their academic success in the classroom.
  • Establish a campus community to address accessibility issues and give “accessibility evangelists” a seat at the table.

 

From DSC:
Well students…you might find that you have a major surprise ahead of you — as a significant amount of your future learning/training will take place completely online. Go ask some folks who have graduated about their onboarding experiences. Then go ask people who have been in the workplace for over a decade. You’ll see what I mean.

 

Announcing AI Business School for Education for leaders, BDMs and students — from educationblog.microsoft.com by Anthony Salcito

Excerpt:

Microsoft’s AI Business School now offers a learning path for education. Designed for education leaders, decision-makers and even students, the Microsoft AI Business School for Education helps learners understand how AI can enhance the learning environment for all students—from innovations in the way we teach and assess, to supporting accessibility and inclusion for all students, to institutional effectiveness and efficiency with the use of AI tools. The course is designed to empower learners to gain specific, practical knowledge to define and implement an AI strategy. Industry experts share insights on how to foster an AI-ready culture and teach them how to use AI responsibly and with confidence. The learning path is available on Microsoft Learn, a free platform to support learners of all ages and experience levels via interactive, online, self-paced learning.

 

Accessibility and Usability Resource site from Quality Matters

 

Meet AURS — Your go-to resource for addressing accessibility challenges — from wcetfrontiers.org and Quality Matters

Excerpt:

Accessibility is not only one of the main areas of focus for WCET, but a consistent issue and opportunity for higher education institutions. In order to support faculty, instructional designers, and others who work in the area, Quality Matters, a WCET member, created a new resource site for educators to get information on how to address key accessibility and usability concerns. Today’s post introduces the new website, AURS, and reviews the development process for the site and the resources.

 

Artificial Intelligence in Future and Present — from datafloq.com
A look at what AI might do and what it can actually do in various industries…

  • Artificial Intelligence and Medicine
  • Artificial Intelligence and Finance
  • Artificial Intelligence and Manufacturing
  • Artificial Intelligence and Media & Entertainment
  • Artificial Intelligence and Education

 
 

Legal Battle Over Captioning Continues — from insidehighered.com by Lindsay McKenzie
A legal dispute over video captions continues after court rejects requests by MIT and Harvard University to dismiss lawsuits accusing them of discriminating against deaf people.

Excerpt:

Two high-profile civil rights lawsuits filed by the National Association of the Deaf against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are set to continue after requests to dismiss the cases were recently denied for the second time.

The two universities were accused by the NAD in 2015 of failing to make their massive open online courses, guest lectures and other video content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Some of the videos, many of which were hosted on the universities’ YouTube channels, did have captions — but the NAD complained that these captions were sometimes so bad that the content was still inaccessible.

Spokespeople for both Harvard and MIT declined to comment on the ongoing litigation but stressed that their institutions were committed to improving web accessibility.

 

 

Cambridge library installation gives readers control of their sensory space — from cambridge.wickedlocal.com by Hannah Schoenbaum

Excerpts:

A luminous igloo-shaped structure in the front room of the Cambridge Public Library beckoned curious library visitors during the snowy first weekend of March, inviting them to explore a space engineered for everyone, yet uniquely their own.

Called “Alterspace” and developed by Harvard’s metaLAB and Library Innovation Lab, this experiment in adaptive architecture granted the individual control over the sensory elements in his or her space. A user enters the LED-illuminated dome to find headphones, chairs and an iPad on a library cart, which displays six modes: Relax, Read, Meditate, Focus, Create and W3!Rd.

From the cool blues and greens of Relax mode to a rainbow overload of excitement in the W3!Rd mode, Alterspace is engineered to transform its lights, sounds and colors into the ideal environment for a particular action.

 

 

From DSC:
This brings me back to the question/reflection…in the future, will students using VR headsets be able to study by a brook? An ocean? In a very quiet library (i.e., the headset would come with solid noise cancellation capabilities build into it)?  This type of room/capability would really be helpful for our daughter…who is easily distracted and doesn’t like noise.

 

 

 

Higher Education’s 2019 Trend Watch & Top 10 Strategic Technologies — from EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR)

Most Influential Trends

  • Growing complexity of security threats
  • Student success focus/imperatives
  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Increasing complexity of technology, architecture, and data
  • Contributions of IT to institutional operational excellence
  • Each of these trends is influential at 63% or more of colleges and universities. And, they are enduring—these are the same trends that exerted the most influence on IT strategy in 2018.

 

 

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