Impact of Missed Special Ed. Evaluations Could Echo for Years — from edweek.org by Evie Blad

The practical consequences for individual students are significant: students with undiagnosed dyslexia lacked needed supports during the crucial years of early literacy instruction, while students with unrecognized emotional disability went without interventions to help them constructively respond to challenges. And while schools are working to provide compensatory education for gaps in special education services for students who had been identified before the pandemic, their obligations to those who missed identification altogether are far less clear.

The estimate, which builds on similar research from other states, echoes the concerns of advocates who’ve sounded alarms about the pandemic’s effects on students with disabilities. Such students, they say, missed precious opportunities for earlier interventions because of stalled evaluations.

 

NYC High School Reimagines Career & Technical Education for the 21st Century — from the74million.org by Andrew Bauld
Thomas A. Edison High School is providing students with the skills to succeed in both college and career in an unusually creative way.

From DSC:
Very interesting to see the mention of an R&D department here! Very cool.

Baker said ninth graders in the R&D department designed the essential skills rubric for their grade so that regardless of what content classes students take, they all get the same immersion into critical career skills. Student voice is now so integrated into Edison’s core that teachers work with student designers to plan their units. And he said teachers are becoming comfortable with the language of career-centered learning and essential skills while students appreciate the engagement and develop a new level of confidence.

The R&D department has grown to include teachers from every department working with students to figure out how to integrate essential skills into core academic classes. In this way, they’re applying one of the XQ Institute’s crucial Design Principles for innovative high schools: Youth Voice and Choice.
.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian


Student Enterprise: Invite Learners to Launch a Media Agency or Publication — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • Client-connected projects have become a focal point of the Real World Learning initiative, offering students opportunities to solve real-world problems in collaboration with industry professionals.
  • Organizations like CAPS, NFTE, and Journalistic Learning facilitate community connections and professional learning opportunities, making it easier to implement client projects and entrepreneurship education.

Important trend: client projects. Work-based learning has been growing with career academies and renewed interest in CTE. Six years ago, a subset of WBL called client-connected projects became a focal point of the Real World Learning initiative in Kansas City where they are defined as authentic problems that students solve in collaboration with professionals from industry, not-for-profit, and community-based organizations….and allow students to: engage directly with employers, address real-world problems, and develop essential skills.


Portrait of a Community to Empower Learning Transformation — from gettingsmart.com by Rebecca Midles and Mason Pashia

Key Points

  • The Community Portrait approach encourages diverse voices to shape the future of education, ensuring it reflects the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders.
  • Active, representative community engagement is essential for creating meaningful and inclusive educational environments.

The Portrait of a Graduate—a collaborative effort to define what learners should know and be able to do upon graduation—has likely generated enthusiasm in your community. However, the challenge of future-ready graduates persists: How can we turn this vision into a reality within our diverse and dynamic schools, especially amid the current national political tensions and contentious curriculum debates?

The answer lies in active, inclusive community engagement. It’s about crafting a Community Portrait that reflects the rich diversity of our neighborhoods. This approach, grounded in the same principles used to design effective learning systems, seeks to cultivate deep, reciprocal relationships within the community. When young people are actively involved, the potential for meaningful change increases exponentially.


Q&A: Why Schools Must Redesign Learning to Include All Students — from edtechmagazine.com by Taashi Rowe
Systems are broken, not children, says K–12 disability advocate Lindsay E. Jones.

Although Lindsay E. Jones came from a family of educators, she didn’t expect that going to law school would steer her back into the family business. Over the years she became a staunch advocate for children with disabilities. And as mom to a son with learning disabilities and ADHD who is in high school and doing great, her advocacy is personal.

Jones previously served as president and CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities and was senior director for policy and advocacy at the Council for Exceptional Children. Today, she is the CEO at CAST, an organization focused on creating inclusive learning environments in K–12. EdTech: Focus on K–12 spoke with Jones about how digital transformation, artificial intelligence and visionary leaders can support inclusive learning environments.

Our brains are all as different as our fingerprints, and throughout its 40-year history, CAST has been focused on one core value: People are not broken, systems are poorly designed. And those systems are creating a barrier that holds back human innovation and learning.

 

Why children with disabilities are missing school and losing skills — from npr.org by Cory Turner

The fact that a district could struggle so mightily with special education staffing that students are missing school – that’s not just a Del Norte problem. A recent federal survey of school districts across the U.S. found special education jobs were among the hardest to staff – and vacancies were widespread. But what’s happening in Del Norte is extreme. Which is why the Lenovers and five other families are suing the school district, as well as state education leadership, with help from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

The district sits hidden away like a secret between Oregon, the frigid Pacific and some of the largest redwood trees in the world. It’s too isolated and the pay is not competitive enough, Harris says, to attract workers from outside Del Norte. Locally, these aides – like the one Emma requires – earn about as much as they would working at McDonald’s.

 

Are we ready to navigate the complex ethics of advanced AI assistants? — from futureofbeinghuman.com by Andrew Maynard
An important new paper lays out the importance and complexities of ensuring increasingly advanced AI-based assistants are developed and used responsibly

Last week a behemoth of a paper was released by AI researchers in academia and industry on the ethics of advanced AI assistants.

It’s one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful papers on developing transformative AI capabilities in socially responsible ways that I’ve read in a while. And it’s essential reading for anyone developing and deploying AI-based systems that act as assistants or agents — including many of the AI apps and platforms that are currently being explored in business, government, and education.

The paper — The Ethics of Advanced AI Assistants — is written by 57 co-authors representing researchers at Google Deep Mind, Google Research, Jigsaw, and a number of prominent universities that include Edinburgh University, the University of Oxford, and Delft University of Technology. Coming in at 274 pages this is a massive piece of work. And as the authors persuasively argue, it’s a critically important one at this point in AI development.

From that large paper:

Key questions for the ethical and societal analysis of advanced AI assistants include:

  1. What is an advanced AI assistant? How does an AI assistant differ from other kinds of AI technology?
  2. What capabilities would an advanced AI assistant have? How capable could these assistants be?
  3. What is a good AI assistant? Are there certain values that we want advanced AI assistants to evidence across all contexts?
  4. Are there limits on what AI assistants should be allowed to do? If so, how are these limits determined?
  5. What should an AI assistant be aligned with? With user instructions, preferences, interests, values, well-being or something else?
  6. What issues need to be addressed for AI assistants to be safe? What does safety mean for this class of technologies?
  7. What new forms of persuasion might advanced AI assistants be capable of? How can we ensure that users remain appropriately in control of the technology?
  8. How can people – especially vulnerable users – be protected from AI manipulation and unwanted disclosure of personal information?
  9. Is anthropomorphism for AI assistants morally problematic? If so, might it still be permissible under certain conditions?
 

Addressing equity and ethics in artificial intelligence — from apa.org by Zara Abrams
Algorithms and humans both contribute to bias in AI, but AI may also hold the power to correct or reverse inequities among humans

“The conversation about AI bias is broadening,” said psychologist Tara Behrend, PhD, a professor at Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations who studies human-technology interaction and spoke at CES about AI and privacy. “Agencies and various academic stakeholders are really taking the role of psychology seriously.”


NY State Bar Association Joins Florida and California on AI Ethics Guidance – Suggests Some Surprising Implications — from natlawreview.com by James G. Gatto

The NY State Bar Association (NYSBA) Task Force on Artificial Intelligence has issued a nearly 80 page report (Report) and recommendations on the legal, social and ethical impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI on the legal profession. This detailed Report also reviews AI-based software, generative AI technology and other machine learning tools that may enhance the profession, but which also pose risks for individual attorneys’ understanding of new, unfamiliar technology, as well as courts’ concerns about the integrity of the judicial process. It also makes recommendations for NYSBA adoption, including proposed guidelines for responsible AI use. This Report is perhaps the most comprehensive report to date by a state bar association. It is likely this Report will stimulate much discussion.

For those of you who want the “Cliff Notes” version of this report, here is a table that summarizes by topic the various rules mentioned and a concise summary of the associated guidance.

The Report includes four primary recommendations:


 

 

 

The US is experiencing a boom in microschools. What are they? — from  thehill.com by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech; via GSV

Story at a glance (emphasis DSC)

  • There has been a surge in new microschools in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The National Microschooling Network estimates there are about 95,000 microschools in the country. The median microschool serves 16 students.
  • There is no regulatory body solely responsible for tracking microschools, so it is difficult to determine just how much their popularity has grown.

Advocates for microschools say they offer some students — especially those who are gifted or have learning disabilities — a greater chance to thrive academically and socially than traditional schools do.   

At Sphinx Academy, a micro-school based in Lexington, Ky., almost all 24 students are “twice exceptional,” meaning they are gifted in one academic area but have one or more learning disabilities like ADHD or dyslexia, according to the school’s director Jennifer Lincoln.   


Student Apathy Is a Big Classroom Challenge, Teachers Say. Cellphones Aren’t Helping — from edweek.org by Madeline Will

The stakes are high: Students have a lot of academic ground to make up following the pandemic. Yet they’re not fully engaged in the classroom, teachers report in a new national survey.


 

 

Making your campus neurodivergent friendly — from timeshighereducation.com
How to create a university where neurodivergent staff and students feel welcome and thrive in the classroom, in the lab and throughout campus

Neurodivergent students and staff think about, interact with and see the world differently from their neurotypical peers and colleagues. Universities that adopt inclusive practices to welcome people with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and other disabilities to campus also foster their distinct strengths and talents in the classroom, labs, boardrooms and social spaces. This collection of resources offers advice for teachers, researchers, PhD supervisors and administrators for supporting neurodiversity in higher education.


Some Colleges Will Soon Charge $100,000 a Year. How Did This Happen? — from nytimes.com by Ron Lieber; via Ryan Craig
Some Vanderbilt students will have $100,000 in total expenses for the 2024-25 school year. The school doesn’t really want to talk about it.

It was only a matter of time before a college would have the nerve to quote its cost of attendance at nearly $100,000 a year. This spring, we’re catching our first glimpse of it.

One letter to a newly admitted Vanderbilt University engineering student showed an all-in price — room, board, personal expenses, a high-octane laptop — of $98,426. A student making three trips home to Los Angeles or London from the Nashville campus during the year could hit six figures.

This eye-popping sum is an anomaly. Only a tiny fraction of college-going students will pay anything close to this anytime soon, and about 35 percent of Vanderbilt students — those who get neither need-based nor merit aid — pay the full list price.

But a few dozen other colleges and universities that reject the vast majority of applicants will probably arrive at this threshold within a few years. Their willingness to cross it raises two questions for anyone shopping for college: How did this happen, and can it possibly be worth it?


‘Running Out of Road’ for FAFSA Completion — from insidehighered.com by Liam Knox
The number of students who filled out the federal aid form is down nearly 30 percent. The ramifications for access and enrollment could be devastating.

And that’s probably an optimistic estimate, said Bill DeBaun, NCAN’s senior director of data and strategic initiatives; if the pace of completion doesn’t pick up, the decline could be closer to 700,000 students. That could translate to up to a 4 percent drop in college-goers come fall, DeBaun said, which would be the largest enrollment drop since the COVID-19 pandemic—and one that’s likely to be made up primarily of low-income and first-generation students.


Study: Nearly 40 Percent of Students Started, Never Finished College — from insidehighered.com by Kathryn Palmer
Federal researchers followed the post-secondary outcomes of 23,000 students for 12 years. 

Only 60 percent of students who enrolled in college earned a degree or credential within eight years of graduating high school.

That’s one of the biggest takeaways from a new report the National Center for Education Statistics released Monday that analyzed the enrollment, completion and financial aid outcomes of students.

The researchers tracked the postsecondary educational outcomes of roughly 23,000 students beginning in 2009 when they were freshman in high school through 2021, when the cohort was eight years out from graduating high school.


Race to the Finish | The rise of faster bachelor’s degrees raises the question: What is college for? — from chronicle.com by Kelly Field; from Jeff Selingo

Taken together, the two recent decisions illustrate a blurring of the lines between the two- and four-year sectors that is taking place not just in Idaho, but nationwide, as colleges struggle to overcome enrollment declines and skepticism about the value of a bachelor’s degree.

“It’s pretty clear that higher education is in a funk,” said Robert M. Zemsky, a University of Pennsylvania professor, who has been advocating for three-year programs for more than 15 years. “There’s a sense that we have to do something to make the product better, more relevant, and less costly to students.”


Excerpt from Next — from/by Jeff Selingo

Bottom line: While critics of a shorter degree see it as a lesser replacement for the four-year baccalaureate degree, advocates see it as another option for students who might not be interested in college at a time when enrollment is falling.

  • “We need to use this opportunity to redesign and do things better,” Carrell said. “That means that we all need to stay curious. We need to be a learning enterprise…and learn from the evidence we produce.”

Job-Ready on Day One — from the-job.beehiiv.com by Paul Fain

The U.S. faces a serious shortage of workers in the skilled trades—fields like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, solar, and construction. And those labor gaps are likely to widen as the federal government spends billions on infrastructure projects.

Employers in these industries are desperate for hires, says Doug Donovan, the founder and CEO of Interplay Learning. Yet the “challenge is not employer demand for workers,” he says, “but rather ensuring that learners learn about skilled trades careers and pursue them.”

The Austin-based Interplay offers online and VR training for workers in the skilled trades. The company was founded in 2016 with a focus on upskilling the hands-on worker. Even before the pandemic exacerbated labor shortages, Donovan says companies in these trades needed to hire workers who didn’t have all the skills required for jobs.

Interplay’s online courses and 3D, interactive simulations get close to what a learner is going to see on the job, says Donovan. “We aren’t trying to replace hands-on, instructor-led training,” he says. “We are trying to deliver tools that enhance that hands-on time or make it more efficient.”


 

 

Student perceptions of American higher education — from usprogram.gatesfoundation.org by Edge Research & HCM Strategists
Continued research exploring college enrollment declines

Overview of 2023 Findings
Despite our understanding of the value of higher education, perceptions among these audiences make it clear that institutions need to prove their value to them. In particular, why does the value of a 2-year or 4-year degree outweigh the value of credentials and job training programs? Both High Schoolers and Non-Enrollees see and select other paths that are shorter, cheaper, and/or more directly linked to specific job opportunities.

As part of that effort, these audiences want and need supports throughout their college journeys to reach the destination of acquiring a degree. These audiences feel anxious about making the wrong choices when it comes to college, and that those choices will impact the rest of their lives. Finally, it is also important to understand that the information received by these audiences differs by cohort. High Schoolers are at the epicenter of the college information network. Non-Enrollees, on the other hand, are forced to seek information about colleges, and the information they find tends to be less positive compared to what High Schoolers receive and consume about higher education.

Higher Education Must Prove Value to Potential Students, Who are Currently More Attracted to Immediate, Lower-Cost Options


Many Students Don’t Inform Their Colleges About Their Disability. That Needs to Change. — from edsurge.com by Stephanie A.N. Levin

After engaging in a policy review and coding a set of policy documents from disability service offices at colleges and universities across the U.S., it became clear to me that I wasn’t alone in my reluctance to seek accommodations at my college. It turns out that many higher education students with disabilities are hesitant to self-identify and pursue accommodations that could support them in their studies.

According to the most recent data published by the National Center for Education Statistics, about 20 percent of undergraduate students and nearly 11 percent of graduate students have a disability. There’s a discrepancy though, between the rate of students reporting having a disability, and those who are actually registering with their campus disability center. It turns out many students don’t inform their colleges of their disability and that has led to a support gap.The truth is, too many college and university students with disabilities decide to forgo a request for the accommodations that they may need to be successful.


5 ways to support today’s online learner — from insidetrack.org

  1. Make online learning learner-centered, demand-driven and career-advancing
  2. Help cultivate a sense of belonging
  3. Reduce barriers to online learning
  4. Encourage investment in planning and support structures
  5. Build up online learner confidence

 

Using AI to Support People with Disability in the Labour Market (OECD) — from aiadvisoryboards.wordpress.com

The document “Using AI to Support People with Disability in the Labour Market” explores the potential of AI in fostering employment for individuals with disabilities. Here are the key takeaways from the document:

  1. Evaluation of AI Solutions: …
  2. Challenges and Obstacles: …
  3. Role of Governments: …
  4. Regulations and Policies: …
  5. Technical Limitations: …
  6. Mitigation Strategies: …

These key points underscore the importance of addressing challenges, enhancing policies, and leveraging AI technologies to create more inclusive opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the labor market.


PDF Accessibility: Understanding the Basics — from boia.org

The Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) is one of the most popular formats for online documents. Put simply, if you need to download a tax form or review a company brochure, you’ll probably download a PDF to do so.

Unfortunately, many PDFs aren’t accessible for users with disabilities. A 2023 report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) found that only 20% of the government’s most-downloaded PDFs were conformant with federal accessibility standards. Private businesses also struggle to meet basic accessibility requirements.

The good news: If you think about accessibility when authoring your documents, you can provide a better experience for readers. Here’s how to get started.


Exploring AI’s Role in Accessibility and Inclusion — from blog.usablenet.com by UsableNet

AI’s Role in Improving Accessible Digital Experiences


How AI will transform digital accessibility — from ciodive.com by Phil Strain

What if a person with a visual impairment could receive audio assistance reading a map — and detailed instructions on how to navigate their local railway system? Or what if they could use image-to-text technology to quickly discern what’s in their fridge, along with recipe suggestions and a shopping list for their grocery delivery order?

AI-powered tools that do just that are now a reality thanks to Danish startup Be My Eyes, which uses the visual input capability of GPT-4 to create “virtual volunteers” for people who are blind or vision-impaired. It’s just one example of how advancements in AI are transforming the digital accessibility landscape.


 

The Edtech Insiders Rundown of SXSW EDU 2024 — from edtechinsiders.substack.com by Ben Kornell, Alex Sarlin, and Sarah Morin
And more on our ASU + GSV Happy Hour, GenAI in edtech market valuations, and interviews from The Common Sense Summit.

Theme 1: The Kids Are Not Alright
This year’s SXSW EDU had something for everyone, with over a dozen “Program Tracks.” However, the one theme that truly connected the entire conference was mental health.

36 sessions were specifically tagged with mental health and wellness, but in sessions on topics ranging from literacy to edtech to civic engagement, presenters continued to come back again and again to the mental health crisis amongst teens and young adults.

Theme 2: Aye AI, Captain
Consistent with past conferences, this year leaned in on the K12 education world. As expected, one of the hottest topics for K12 was the role of AI (or lack thereof) in schools. Key takeaways included…


AI Literacy: A New Graduation Requirement and Civic Imperative — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark and Mason Pashia

Key Points

  • There is still time to ensure that all of your students graduate with an understanding of how AI works, why it is important and how to best use it.

What would it look like to make a commitment that come graduation every senior will have at least basic AI literacy? This includes an appreciation of AI as a creation engine and learning partner but also an understanding of the risks of deepfakes and biased curation. We’re entering a time where to quote Ethan Mollick “You can’t trust anything you read or see ever again.” Whether formal or informal, it’s time to start building AI literacy.


New Alabama Education Law Represents Small But Significant Advance — from forbes.com by Jeanne Allen

Valiant Cross Academy raises the bar for young men. A young man seated in a pew is raising his hand.

More than 50 years later, across the street from the church and concerned with declining education and the pace of social change, brothers Anthony and Fred Brock founded Valiant Cross Academy, an all-male academy aimed at “helping boys of color become men of valor.”

Valiant Cross embodies King’s hopes, pursuing the dream that its students will be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, and working to ensure that they are well prepared for productive lives filled with accomplishment and purpose.

“We’re out to prove that it’s an opportunity gap, not an achievement gap” says head of school Anthony Brock. And they have. In 2022, 100 percent of Valiant seniors graduated from the academy, pursuing post-graduate options, enrolling in either four- or two-year college, or established career-training programs.


 

 

12 Books for Instructional Designers to Read This Year — from theelearningcoach.com by Connie Malamed

Over the past year, many excellent and resourceful books have crossed my desk or Kindle. I’m rounding them up here so you can find a few to expand your horizons. The list below is in alphabetical order by title.

Each book is unique, yet as a collection, they reflect some common themes and trends in Learning and Development: a focus on empathy and emotion, adopting best practices from other fields, using data for greater impact, aligning projects with organizational goals, and developing consultative skills. The authors listed here are optimistic and forward-thinking—they believe change is possible. I hope you enjoy the books.

 

What is executive function?

What is executive function? — from understood.org by Gail Belsky

Executive function is a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. Trouble with executive function can make it hard to focus, follow directions, and handle emotions, among other things.

Snapshot: What executive function is
Some people describe executive function as “the management system of the brain.” That’s because the skills involved let us set goals, plan, and get things done. When people struggle with executive function, it impacts them at home, in school, and in life.

There are three main areas of executive function. They are…

 

From DSC:
Let’s celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st! The theme is “End The Stereotypes.”

And for me, there is no “normal” anymore. That’s a word that has increasingly been pushed out of my vocabulary. I don’t believe in it anymore.

Along these lines, here’s one of the quotes from the website:

Some people think that people with Down syndrome can’t live ‘normal’ lives. That’s wrong! And what is ‘normal’ anyway?

My life is similar to lots of my family and friends. I went to my local school, I’m involved in a local orchestra and the scouts. I am training to be a teaching assistant.

All of this for me is ‘normal’, just like everyone else.
.

World Down Syndrome Day for 2024 -- with the theme being End The Stereotypes


Also see:

Let’s Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day 2024 on March 21st!!! — from charityfootprints.com

Let's Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day 2024 on March 21st!


Also see:

Mosaic Down Syndrome

 

Nursing Career Guide for People With Disabilities — from nursingeducation.org by Abby McCoy, RN, BSN; with thanks to Sarah Breckon for this resource

As Sarah mentioned to me, this article includes a comparison of some of the benefits and challenges of a nursing career, tips on choosing an accessible nursing school, and examines different nursing career paths, their demands, and accommodations available. It also includes practical advice on job interviews, disclosing disabilities to employers, and understanding legal protections.

The need for caring and skilled nurses is higher than ever. For people with disabilities, getting into nursing might seem like a tough road with a lot of unknowns. Luckily, it isn’t just doable, people with different abilities can find the career extremely fulfilling. Plenty of opportunities and resources exist for those who want to make a mark in healthcare, no matter the challenges they might face.

 

Immersive virtual reality tackles depression stigma says study — from inavateonthenet.net

A new study from the University of Tokyo has highlighted the positive effect that immersive virtual reality experiences have for depression anti-stigma and knowledge interventions compared to traditional video.

The study found that depression knowledge improved for both interventions, however, only the immersive VR intervention reduced stigma. The VR-powered intervention saw depression knowledge score positively associated with a neural response in the brain that is indicative of empathetic concern. The traditional video intervention saw the inverse, with participants demonstrating a brain-response which suggests a distress-related response.

From DSC:
This study makes me wonder why we haven’t heard of more VR-based uses in diversity training. I’m surprised we haven’t heard of situations where we are put in someone else’s mocassins so to speak. We could have a lot more empathy for someone — and better understand their situation — if we were to experience life as others might experience it. In the process, we would likely uncover some hidden biases that we have.


Addendum on 3/12/24:

Augmented reality provides benefit for Parkinson’s physical therapy — from inavateonthenet.net

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian