A bot that watched 70,000 hours of Minecraft could unlock AI’s next big thing — from technologyreview.com by Will Douglas Heaven
Online videos are a vast and untapped source of training data—and OpenAI says it has a new way to use it.

Excerpt:

OpenAI has built the best Minecraft-playing bot yet by making it watch 70,000 hours of video of people playing the popular computer game. It showcases a powerful new technique that could be used to train machines to carry out a wide range of tasks by binging on sites like YouTube, a vast and untapped source of training data.

The Minecraft AI learned to perform complicated sequences of keyboard and mouse clicks to complete tasks in the game, such as chopping down trees and crafting tools. It’s the first bot that can craft so-called diamond tools, a task that typically takes good human players 20 minutes of high-speed clicking—or around 24,000 actions.

The result is a breakthrough for a technique known as imitation learning, in which neural networks are trained to perform tasks by watching humans do them.

The team’s approach, called Video Pre-Training (VPT), gets around the bottleneck in imitation learning by training another neural network to label videos automatically.

Speak lands investment from OpenAI to expand its language learning platform — from techcrunch.com by Kyle Wiggers

Excerpts:

“Most language learning software can help with the beginning part of learning basic vocabulary and grammar, but gaining any degree of fluency requires speaking out loud in an interactive environment,” Zwick told TechCrunch in an email interview. “To date, the only way people can get that sort of practice is through human tutors, which can also be expensive, difficult and intimidating.”

Speak’s solution is a collection of interactive speaking experiences that allow learners to practice conversing in English. Through the platform, users can hold open-ended conversations with an “AI tutor” on a range of topics while receiving feedback on their pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

It’s one of the top education apps in Korea on the iOS App Store, with over 15 million lessons started annually, 100,000 active subscribers and “double-digit million” annual recurring revenue.

 

 

Is AI Generated Art Really Coming for Your Job? — from edugeekjournal.com by Matt Crosslin

Excerpt:

So, is this a cool development that will become a fun tool for many of us to play around with in the future? Sure. Will people use this in their work? Possibly. Will it disrupt artists across the board? Unlikely. There might be a few places where really generic artwork is the norm and the people that were paid very little to crank them out will be paid very little to input prompts. Look, PhotoShop and asset libraries made creating company logos very, very easy a long time ago. But people still don’t want to take the 30 minutes it takes to put one together, because thinking through all the options is not their thing. You still have to think through those options to enter an AI prompt. And people just want to leave that part to the artists. The same thing was true about the printing press. Hundreds of years of innovation has taught us that the hard part of the creation of art is the human coming up with the ideas, not the tools that create the art.

A quick comment from DSC:
Possibly, at least in some cases. But I’ve seen enough home-grown, poorly-designed graphics and logos to make me wonder if that will be the case.

 

How to Teach With Deep Fake Technology — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Despite the scary headlines, deep fake technology can be a powerful teaching tool

Excerpt:

The very concept of teaching with deep fake technology may be unsettling to some. After all, deep fake technology, which utilizes AI and machine learning and can alter videos and animate photographs in a manner that appears realistic, has frequently been covered in a negative light. The technology can be used to violate privacy and create fake videos of real people.

However, while these potential abuses of the technology are real and concerning that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to the technology’s potential when using it responsibly, says Jaime Donally, a well-known immersive learning expert.

From DSC:
I’m still not sure about this one…but I’ll try to be open to the possibilities here.

 

Educators Are Taking Action in AI Education to Make Future-Ready Communities — from edsurge.com by Annie Ning

Excerpt:

AI Explorations and Their Practical Use in School Environments is an ISTE initiative funded by General Motors. The program provides professional learning opportunities for educators, with the goal of preparing all students for careers with AI.

Recently, we spoke with three more participants of the AI Explorations program to learn about its ongoing impact in K-12 classrooms. Here, they share how the program is helping their districts implement AI curriculum with an eye toward equity in the classroom.

 

Stealth Legal AI Startup Harvey Raises $5M in Round Led By OpenAI — from lawnext.com by Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A hitherto stealth legal AI startup emerged from the shadows today with news via TechCrunch that it has raised $5 million in funding led by the startup fund of OpenAI, the company that developed advanced neural network AI systems such as GPT-3 and DALL-E 2.

The startup, called Harvey, will build on the GPT-3 technology to enable lawyers to create legal documents or perform legal research by providing simple instructions using natural language.

The company was founded by Winston Weinberg, formerly an associate at law firm O’Melveny & Myers, and Gabriel Pereyra, formerly a research scientist at DeepMind and most recently a machine learning engineer at Meta AI.

 

Our mission is to empower people with disabilities to live their best life! We do this by showcasing adaptive products.

The product categories out at allaccesslife.org

 


Addendum on 11/14/22:

clusiv.io — as mentioned at The Accelerator at WGU Labs Invests in Platform for the Blind or Visually Impaired

Clusiv is an online learning platform for the blind and visually impaired that teaches occupational training, technology skills, and educational courses to empower employment. We help remove barriers to successful employment by teaching the skills you need to be equipped for the modern workforce.


 

How AI will change Education: Part I | Transcend Newsletter #59 — from transcend.substack.com by Alberto Arenaza; with thanks to GSV’s Big 10 for this resource

Excerpt:

You’ve likely been reading for the last few minutes my arguments for why AI is going to change education. You may agree with some points, disagree with others…

Only, those were not my words.

An AI has written every single word in this essay up until here.

The only thing I wrote myself was the first sentence: Artificial Intelligence is going to revolutionize education. The images too, everything was generated by AI.

 

 

Assistive Technology for Kids with Multiple Disabilities — from equalentry.com

Help Kids Learn dot com -- online learning for special education -- uses assistive technologies

 

Lego Owner to Acquire Education-Technology Firm Brainpop — from nytimes.com by Trefor Moss
Kirkbi, the family-run company behind the world’s largest toy maker, plans to establish an education business

Excerpt:

Lego owner Kirkbi A/S is buying U.S. video-learning firm Brainpop for $875 million, according to the companies, as the family behind the world’s largest toy maker expands into the education business.

The Danish company said the purchase of Brainpop, which produces short animations used in schools to help children learn everything from math to music, was part of a plan to build a new business pillar. The deal—through which Kirkbi is acquiring Brainpop’s owner FWD Media Inc.—is expected to close Tuesday, the companies said.

“We are definitely on the path to establishing the Lego idea of learning through play in the formal education space,” said Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, executive chairman of the Lego Brand Group, the Kirkbi entity that oversees the toy brand.

 

What might the ramifications be for text-to-everything? [Christian]

From DSC:

  • We can now type in text to get graphics and artwork.
  • We can now type in text to get videos.
  • There are several tools to give us transcripts of what was said during a presentation.
  • We can search videos for spoken words and/or for words listed within slides within a presentation.

Allie Miller’s posting on LinkedIn (see below) pointed these things out as well — along with several other things.



This raises some ideas/questions for me:

  • What might the ramifications be in our learning ecosystems for these types of functionalities? What affordances are forthcoming? For example, a teacher, professor, or trainer could quickly produce several types of media from the same presentation.
  • What’s said in a videoconference or a webinar can already be captured, translated, and transcribed.
  • Or what’s said in a virtual courtroom, or in a telehealth-based appointment. Or perhaps, what we currently think of as a smart/connected TV will give us these functionalities as well.
  • How might this type of thing impact storytelling?
  • Will this help someone who prefers to soak in information via the spoken word, or via a podcast, or via a video?
  • What does this mean for Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and/or Virtual Reality (VR) types of devices?
  • Will this kind of thing be standard in the next version of the Internet (Web3)?
  • Will this help people with special needs — and way beyond accessibility-related needs?
  • Will data be next (instead of typing in text)?

Hmmm….interesting times ahead.

 

2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience — from library.educause.edu by Jenay Robert

2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience

Excerpt:

In this report, we describe the findings of the survey in four key areas:

Key Findings

  • Educational technology impacts student wellness.
  • Physical campus spaces continue to play an important role in students’ access to education.
  • The online versus face-to-face dichotomy is being disrupted.
  • Device access is not a simple issue when examined through an equity lens.
  • Assistive technology can help all students.
  • Students are whole people with complex learning needs and goals.
 

Why text-to-speech tools might have a place in your classroom with Dr. Kirsten Kohlmeyer – Easy TeTech Podcast 183 — from classtechtips.com by Monica Burns

Excerpt:

In this episode, Assistive Technology Director, Dr. Kirsten Kohlmeyer, joins to discuss the power of accessibility and text-to-speech tools in classroom environments. You’ll also hear plenty of digital resources to check out for text-to-speech options, audiobooks, and more!

Assistive tools can provide:

  • Text-to-speech
  • Definitions/vocabularies
  • Ability to level the Lexile level of a reading
  • Capability to declutter a website
  • More chances to read to learn something new
  • and more

Speaking of tools, also see:

 

8 Ways to Use QR Codes in Higher Education Classrooms — from er.educause.edu by Tolulope (Tolu) Noah

Excerpt:

QR codes open up a world of possibility in the higher education setting. They provide a quick and easy way for students to access instructional materials, and they complement the design of more interactive and engaging learning experiences.

From DSC:
QR codes can bridge the physical world with the digital world — which is something about to take an exponential leap as more AR and MR-based hardware and software solutions hit the marketplace in the near future.

 

Here Are Some Dos And Don’ts Of Disability Language — from forbes.com by Andrew Pulrang

Excerpt:

Is there a way for anyone to navigate disability language clearly, safely, and respectfully?

Obviously, it’s impossible to satisfy everyone. But that doesn’t mean there are no useful guidelines. Here are a few tips to sort through the competing schools of thought on disability language, and ride the various waves of popularity and revision that disability language goes through.

1. Recognize obviously insulting terms and stop using or tolerating them.
2. Aim to be factual, descriptive, and simple, not condescending, sentimental, or awkward.
3. Respect disabled people’s actual language preferences.

Disability Language Style Guide — from National Center on Disaplity and Journalism (ncdj.org)

Disability and Health Overview  — from cdc.gov

Research Center | ALICE in focus studies:
Financial Hardship Among People With Disabilities

Excerpt:

According to the outdated Federal Poverty Level, 18% of people with disabilities in the U.S. lived in poverty in 2019. Yet United For ALICE data shows that another 34% were also struggling, in households that earned above the FPL but less than what it costs to afford the basics. These households are ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

Disability & Socioeconomic Status — from the American Psychological Association (apa.org)

Excerpt:

Socioeconomic status (SES) encompasses not just income but also educational attainment, financial security, and subjective perceptions of social status and social class. Socioeconomic status can encompass quality of life attributes as well as the opportunities and privileges afforded to people within society. Poverty, specifically, is not a single factor but rather is characterized by multiple physical and psychosocial stressors. Further, SES is a consistent and reliable predictor of a vast array of outcomes across the life span, including physical and psychological health. Thus, SES is relevant to all realms of behavioral and social science, including research, practice, education and advocacy.

Those with Disabilities Earn 37% Less on Average; Gap is Even Wider in Some States — air.org

Subminimum Wage and Sheltered Workshops — from United Way of South Central Michigan

Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 as part of the New Deal; one of the Act’s provisions, Section 14 (c), grants special certificates allowing for the employment of workers with disabilities below the federal minimum wage.

Many employers operating under 14(c) have historically employed people with disabilities in segregated work centers commonly referred to as sheltered workshops. This creates a situation where the employer profits from paying sub-minimum wages to their employees with disabilities. Some states have prohibited the practice of subminimum wages and sheltered workshops altogether; however as of 2020, 46 states and the District of Columbia continue to allow 14(c) certificates. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights revealed that in 2017 and 2018, the average wage of a person with a disability working under a 14(c) certificate was $3.34 per hour and the average number of hours worked was 16 hours per week, making the average wage just $53.44 per week.

Employment First is a state and national movement to help individuals with disabilities realize their fullest employment potential through the achievement of individual, competitive, and integrated employment outcomes. Employment First in Michigan has established guidelines to help move the state to community-based and integrated employment by using executive orders and passing legislation.

 

‘It’s a mess and I’ve never seen anything like it’: global lost luggage crisis mounts — from theguardian.com by Mattha Busby

From DSC:
After seeing the above article, I wondered:

  • How might the future #AR glasses help with this situation?
  • Could such devices help the relevant employees automatically scan each bar code for where to route (or not) the luggage? (As I’m sure is already happening in many situations that occur away from what’s occurring on the tarmac.)

Will AR glasses be used for such training-related applications in the future?  For such logistical applications? Hmmm…time will tell.

 

GAO: Accommodations pose challenges to testing companies, test-takers — from k12dive.com by Kara Arundel
The pandemic made it more difficult to provide accommodations for higher ed admission tests, educational testing companies told the government agency.

Excerpt:

Individuals with disabilities and testing companies that administer assessments for higher education admission report challenges regarding testing accommodations, ranging from problems in providing documentation to concerns about maintaining test integrity, according to research by the Government Accountability Office.

Some individuals had difficulty providing adequate documentation to justify their accommodations, according to representatives from six disability advocacy organizations. Officials from five testing companies described hardships in reviewing and granting accommodation requests.

 

CLASSROOM AND AT-HOME ACCOMMODATIONS FOR DYSLEXIA — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

For most kids of school age, recognizing letters and learning to pronounce them comes as easy as possible. However, for children living with Dyslexia, it is typically an uphill task to achieve. Dyslexia is a reading disorder that impedes a child’s early academic development by significantly decreasing the ability to process graphic symbols, especially where it concerns language. Such children may struggle with language development before school age and experience difficulties learning to spell when they eventually enroll in school. Some symptoms commonly exhibited by dyslexic children include reversed letter and word sequences, weak literacy skills, and poor handwriting.

In all these, the good news for parents and educators with dyslexic children in their care is that with early diagnosis and suitable accommodations, they can learn to read like the other children.

CLASSROOM AND AT-HOME ACCOMMODATIONS FOR DYSCALCULIA — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

If you have a child struggling with basic math skills and you’ve done everything else to resolve the situation yet it persists, the child might be suffering from Dyscalculia. Dyscalculia is a learning disorder typified by an inability to grasp basic math skills. The peculiar thing about this learning disorder is how it seems only to concern itself with foundational math skills. Lots of people living with this disorder will go on to learn advanced mathematical principles and concepts without any problems. Although manifestations of Dyscalculia will differ from person to person, another symptom commonly associated with the disorder is visual-spatial struggles or difficulty in processing what they hear.

It does not matter whether you are a parent or a teacher; if you are looking for the right accommodations needed to aid students with Dyscalculia, you have come to the right post. These are some steps you can take both in the classroom and at home to ease learning for students with Dyscalculia.

CLASSROOM AND AT-HOME ACCOMMODATIONS FOR DYSNOMIA — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

When kids struggle with recalling words, numbers, names, etc., off the top of their heads without recourse to a visual or verbal hint, they might likely be suffering from Dysnomia. Dysnomia is a learning disability marked by an inability to recollect essential aspects of the oral or written language.

CLASSROOM AND AT-HOME ACCOMMODATIONS FOR DYSGRAPHIA — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Like most learning disabilities, Dysgraphia makes learning difficult for students. In this case, this learning disorder is peculiar to handwriting and motor skills proficiency. Students living with Dysgraphia can suffer from problems ranging from forming letters accordingly, transferring their thoughts onto paper, tying their shoelaces, and zipping a jack. It is pretty standard that Dysgraphia sufferers compensate for their struggles with handwriting by developing remarkable verbal skills. However, this disorder is prone to misdiagnosis. It is due to a lack of sufficient research on the subject.

As a parent or an educator, if you have students who live with Dysgraphia, this post will show you which accommodations you need to put in place to help them learn correctly.


Also relevant/see:

EARLY INTERVENTION: A GUIDE — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Educators must effectively identify a student who needs early intervention, whether for autism, learning disorders, or even reading difficulties. The more serious the issue, the more essential early action becomes.


 

Google accelerates audiobook production exponentially — from provideocoalition.com by Allan Tépper

Excerpt:

In March 2022, I published Google’s Aloud auto-dubs your English video in Castilian or Portuguese, free. Now, Google is doing a similar quantum leap for audiobook production. In fact, I already converted and published one of my own books as an audiobook successfully using Google’s semi-automatic voices. Ahead, I’ll explain how Google’s process can convert the manuscript into a presentable audiobook in a few hours instead of over a month of work, using one of Google’s automated voices which are available for different languages and regions.

 

From DSC:
Wow…I hadn’t heard of voice banking before. This was an interesting item from multiple perspectives.

Providing a creative way for people with Motor Neurone Disease to bank their voices, I Will Always Be Me is a dynamic and heartfelt publication — from itsnicethat.com by Olivia Hingley
Speaking to the project’s illustrator and creative director, we discover how the book aims to be a tool for family and loved ones to discuss and come to terms with the diagnosis.

Excerpt:

Whilst voice banking technology is widely available to those suffering from MND, Tal says that the primary problem is “that not enough people are banking their voice because the process is long, boring and solitary. People with MND don’t want to sit in a lonely room to record random phrases and sentences; they already have a lot to deal with.” Therefore, many people only realise or interact with the importance of voice banking when their voice has already deteriorated. “So,” Tal expands, “the brief we got was: turn voice banking into something that people will want to do as soon as they’re diagnosed.”

 

New Accessibility Features Coming to Apple Devices — from .lifewire.com by Cesar Cadenas; fact checked by Jerri Ledford
Helping people with disabilities navigate the world

Excerpt:

Door Detection is a new mode coming to Apple’s Magnifier app. As the name suggests, the feature helps people find the door and how far they are it, and describes various attributes of the door. These attributes include if the door is open or closed as well as how to open it.

 

Addendum on 5/19/22:

Addendums on 5/20/22:

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian