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.

 

Returning Joy to Teaching & Learning — from gettingsmart.com by Trace Pickering

Key Points

  • Too many school-based reform efforts continue to have educators implicitly standing with the standards against the students.
  • Pivot your perspective for a moment to the opposite.
  • What does a school where its educators stand with the students against the standards look like?

From DSC:
My hunch is that we need to cut — or significantly weaken the ties — between the state legislative bodies out there and our public school systems. We shouldn’t let people who know little to nothing about teaching and learning make decisions about how and what to teach students. Let those on the front lines — ie., the teachers and local school system leaders/staff — collaborate with the community on those items.

 

 

Students Are Calling BS on High School and Opportunity Knocks — from gettingsmart.com by Trace Pickering

Excerpts:

Let’s be clear. These students are not wrong. The pandemic showed students that much of what they were required to do and endure during pre-pandemic high school was a lot of busywork and tasks that held little relevance or interest to them, and apparently didn’t really matter since they were able to be successful without all that extra work. When schools lost their ability to command and control a student’s time, it forced a different economy for schools and educators. It required the curriculum to be pared down to only the essential standards and information. It now had a very real and powerful competitor for the student’s time – a job, a hobby, sports, music, sleep…

Students are no longer a captive audience. They have more options and choices. To avoid obsolescence, perhaps schools should focus on making school a place where kids see value and want to come to each day.

This is a wonderful opportunity to put in place the things that really drive 21st-century skills and give students the keys to their own learning and growth. To truly personalize learning for students, and unlock teacher professionalism and creativity in the process. That extra time could allow students to pursue areas of passion and interest, to dive deep into a subject that interests them, pursue job shadows and internships, and earn and learn on a job.

 

Struggling small colleges are joining the ‘sharing economy’ — teaming up to share courses and majors — from by hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus
Faced with declining enrollment, colleges find ways to add in-demand courses and attract reluctant students

Excerpt:

“I couldn’t say no to getting the degree I wanted from a smaller school instead of at a big university where you’re looking at 200 students in a class,” said Smith, now an Adrian sophomore.

Adrian is among a fast-growing number of mostly small, liberal arts colleges that are adding explicitly career-focused programs through a little-noticed innovation called course sharing.

It’s a sort of Amazon Prime approach to higher education that lets majors in the humanities and other disciplines, without leaving their home campuses, “stream” classes, often taught by star faculty from top universities, in fields such as coding.

“You get an Adrian degree, you have an Adrian experience, you play your sport,” said Ryan Boyd, another Adrian student who through course sharing was able to add a minor in computer science to his business management major. “But you get to take courses from Michigan and Harvard.”

From DSC:
As a person who enjoys peering into the future, I often wondered what the place of consortiums would be within higher education. Would organizations share content with each other? This article is along those lines. I will continue to pulse-check that area.

 

Arts Integration and STEAM Resources for K-12 Educators

Unlock the power of creativity -- arts integration and STEAM resources for K-12 educators

Official Trailer (Art Works for Teachers)

Excerpt:

Introducing the Art Works for Teacher Podcast Trailer! Get a quick sneak peek at what you can expect from this new show, launching September 22, 2022. New episodes will be available each Thursday on your favorite podcast platform, on YouTube, and right here on our site.


From DSC:
Along these lines, also see WEST MICHIGAN CENTER FOR ARTS + TECHNOLOGY. Such a learning environment builds skills and creativity while supercharging participation and engagement!

 

 

From DSC:
Below are some reflections based on an article entitled, Understanding learning transfer through Archwell Academies. It’s from chieflearningofficer.com and was written by Erin Donovan and Keith Keating.

Excerpt:

To capitalize on learning transfer and extend learning beyond traditional training periods, practitioners have established capability academies. According to Josh Bersin, capability academies are the evolution of traditional training and self-directed learning. Bersin posited:

Capability academies are business-driven, collaborative learning environments that facilitate learning retention. . . . Going beyond rote lessons, capability academies help companies prepare for transformation by helping employees develop complex skills and providing guidance on how to apply them in the context of the business.

The core concept of capability academies rests on the importance of collaboration between the trainers and the business. The intention is to provide learners with practice of conceptual understanding and comparative scenarios in the context and environment where they will ultimately apply their skills. Capability academies focus on providing training distinctly aligning with learners’ job responsibilities.

From DSC:
First of all, I have a lot of respect for the people that this article mentions, such as Josh Bersin and Will Thalheimer. So this article caught me eye.

It seems to me that the corporate world is asking for institutions of traditional higher education to deliver such “capability academies.” But that makes me wonder, could this even be done? Surely there aren’t enough resources to develop/deliver/maintain so many environments and contexts, right? It took Archwell, a global mortgage services outsourcing provider, an entire year to systematically design and develop such customized capability academies — just for their clients’ businesses. 

The article goes on:

The core concept of capability academies rests on the importance of collaboration between the trainers and the business. The intention is to provide learners with practice of conceptual understanding and comparative scenarios in the context and environment where they will ultimately apply their skills. Capability academies focus on providing training distinctly aligning with learners’ job responsibilities.

Context. Skills. Acquiring knowledge. Being able to apply that knowledge in a particular environment. Wow…that’s a lot to ask institutions of traditional higher education to deliver. And given the current setup, it’s simply not going to happen. Faculty members’ plates are already jammed-packed. They don’t have time to go out and collaborate with each business in their area (even with more sabbaticals…I don’t see it happening).

I’m sure many at community colleges could chime in here and would likely say that that’s exactly what they are doing. But I highly doubt that they are constantly delivering this type of customized offering for all of the businesses in each major city in their area.

I can hear those in corporate training programs saying that that’s what they are doing for their own business. But they don’t provide it for other businesses in their area.

So, what would it take for higher education to develop/offer such “capability academies?” Is it even possible?

We continue to struggle to design the ultimate learning ecosystem(s) — one(s) whereby we can provide personalized learning experiences for each person and business. We need to continue to practice design thinking here, as we seek to provide valuable, relevant/up-to-date, and cradle-to-grave learning experiences.

The problem is, the pace of change has changed. Institutions of traditional higher education can’t keep up. And frankly, neither can most businesses out there.

I keep wondering if a next-generation learning platform — backed up by AI but delivered with human expertise — will play a role in the future. The platform would offer products and services from teams of individuals — and/or from communities of practices — who can provide customized, up-to-date training materials and the learning transfers that this article discusses.

But such a platform would have to offer socially-based learning experiences and opportunities for accountability. Specific learning goals and learning cohorts help keep one on track and moving forward.

 

Black architects are rare. This program plans to change that — from fastcompany.com by Nate Berg
Black Architects in the Making exposes students to architecture starting in elementary school.

Excerpt:

There should be many more Black architects in the U.S. Based solely on Census figures, about 14% of the U.S. population identifies as Black, but in a profession of more than 122,000 registered architects, the number of Black architects is far from proportional.

“We would anticipate something in the region of 17,000 architects would identify as Black. In fact, we have less than 2,500,” says Craig Aquart, a principal at the Miami architectural firm, MC Harry Associates. That comes out to just about 2%.

This disparity is what led Aquart to help create Black Architects in the Making (BAM), a program aimed at bringing architectural exposure to Black students from elementary school to high school in the Miami region.

 

Why my school is putting music education front and centre — from educationhq.com by Justin Garrick

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Music education must not be only for those already with the background or the early talent or the pre-existing motivation to access it.

Music education must be for all, because music itself is for all.

Just like language and literature, which are at the compulsory core of the curriculum, music is the expression of culture and is pervasive to our daily experience. It surrounds us on the airwaves of radio, television and streaming in all the glory and diversity of its genres.

It influences our thoughts and moods and choices. We exercise, drive, shop, eat and celebrate with music. It’s intrinsic to our wellbeing, our social interaction, our spiritual and sensual experience, and to our religious, national and cultural rites.

From DSC:
I’m very grateful for the choir-related classes and experiences that I’ve had throughout my lifetime. I’m grateful for learning the basics of playing the piano and the drums. Although I didn’t stick with either instrument, I’m glad that I can read some (basic) music. But beyond that, music hosts so many memories for me. I’m instantly taken back to various times, places, people, and emotions — depending on the song(s) that I’m listening to.

 

Best Sites and Apps for Digital Storytelling — from techlearning.com by Diana Restifo
Digital storytelling can help boost communication and presentation skills

Excerpt:

…storytelling is a great way for kids to learn to love reading and writing. But almost any school subject can be considered through a dramatic frame, from history to geography to science. Even math can be taught through narrative (word problems, anyone?). Most importantly, storytelling gives kids the opportunity to be inventive with language, graphics, and design, and to share their creations with others.

The following sites and apps for storytelling range from basic to advanced. Many are designed for educators or include guides for use in education. And while most are paid products, the prices are generally reasonable and nearly every platform offers a free trial or free basic account.

6 best classroom noise meters for teachers — from educatorstechnology.com by Med Kharbach

Excerpt:

One of the effective ways to monitor and reduce noise levels in classrooms is by making noise visible. Enabling students to visualize their noise raises awareness to their sound levels and makes them noise conscious. There are several noise meter tools and apps to use in your classroom to bring down students noise and therefore help in creating optimal learning experiences. Below is a collection of some of the best noise meters for classroom use.  They are simple, easy to use, and cost-effective.

Digital age classroom projects — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Classroom learning today has left the era of flipping through textbooks trying to be on the same page with the teacher, though not for every class lesson. Educators today are seizing the opportunities of digital devices and media to expand learning opportunities beyond pencil and paper homework. Also, assessment is not just a multiple-choice test.

Consider trying one of these projects:

The Education of Incarcerated Youth with Disabilities Ep.14 — from edcircuit.com

Excerpt:

The School Justice Project (SJP) champions an extremely vulnerable population: incarcerated youth with disabilities. The SJP’s mission is to ensure every learner, in or out of prison facilities, receives the education they were promised and deserve. Their current class action lawsuit against the DC prison system underscores the impact of their efforts. Featured guest, Claire Blumenson, pulls no punches as she forces us to look, and not to look away, in this pivotal moment.

We are educators, parents, siblings, and friends who aren’t satisfied with the quality of the content our students are exposed to. We know they deserve better, and are committed to bringing authentic, engaging, diverse and accessible content to all learners.

Business Leaders Say Computer Science Needs to Be A Core Subject — from edsurge.com by Daniel Mollenkamp

Excerpt:

[On July 12], a collection of more than 500 prominent business, education and nonprofit leaders called on states to update their K-12 curriculum to make computer science a core subject.

In a letter sent to governors from all fifty states, they write, “computer science provides an essential foundation—not only for careers in technology, but for every career in today’s world,” and call upon state leaders to update curriculum to ensure that all students have an opportunity to learn computer science in school.

What is Microsoft Sway and How Can it Be Used to Teach? Tips & Tricks — from techlearning.com by Luke Edwards
Microsoft Sway is a presentation tool that works really well for teaching

Excerpt:

Microsoft Sway is the company’s alternative to PowerPoint as a presentation tool that embraces collaborative working. As such, this is a powerful system for teachers and students to use in the classroom and beyond.

The idea behind Sway is to offer a super simple setup that allows anybody to create presentation slideshows. This makes it good for both younger students and teachers for in-class or online-based presenting.


For a somewhat related item, see:

Exploring some different instructional strategies and discovering how to incorporate them into the classroom process can rekindle a love affair with teaching. Finding the right instructional strategy to fit your classroom can make a world of difference to your students by allowing them to make meaningful connections with what they are learning. Take a look at a few different strategies, and see which one might suit your students this academic year.


 

Teaching Financial Literacy — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
More states are adopting financial literacy requirements for students. Here are tips for teaching the topic.

Excerpt:

Teaching students about this financial misinformation is vital, Pelletier says. As is giving students the tools to understand cryptocurrency, NFTs, intense inflation, and student debt, along with more traditional lessons in financial literacy.

Financial Literacy: Teaching and Engagement Resources
There are free online resources with ready-to-go financial lesson plans, videos, and classroom exercises.

While not much time is spent in K-12 educating students about money, once they graduate, it will be an important topic for them. “Not a day will go by that they’re not thinking about money. How to make it, how to spend it, how to save it,” Pelletier says. “And yet it’s like the least thing you’re taught in school.” 

From DSC:
I appreciated Erik’s article/topic here and I would add that I wish that we would teach high schoolers about legal-related items such as wills, trusts, power of attorney for health care and for finances, finding legal assistance, etc.

But even as I write this, I recall that my neighbor is leaving our local school district to move to another school district for her kids’ sake (her and her husband’s words, not mine). I get it. Teachers have sooooo much on their plate already. So I don’t mean to throw another item on their jammed-full job plates.

But I hope that we will look at how to redesign our lifelong learning ecosystems to make them even more relevant, helpful, practical, useful, and up-to-date/responsive. We would probably find that the youth would be more attentive if they sensed that the information they are being taught will definitely come in handy in their futures. Better yet, bring former students in via digital video to relay practical examples of things that they — or their parents, grandparents, friends, etc. — are experiencing to the current students.


Also relevant/see:

High School Students Say They Learn The Most Important Skills Outside of School — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The trend that could have a huge impact on education, at the K-12 and college level, Evans argues. For one thing, it’s a challenge to teachers—that they should do more to tap into the intrinsic motivation of students, that students can learn so much more if they’re excited about what they’re doing.

From DSC:
This item from EdSurge mentioned “free agent learning” — so I put a Google Alert out there for this phrase this morning, as I want to learn more about that topic/item.


 

New Pathways: Experiencing Success In What’s Next — from Getting Smart

Excerpt:

Some of you were able to attend our official kick-off event yesterday (on 6/21/22), but for those who weren’t able to make it we wanted to let you know that our new campaign, New Pathways, has officially begun!. Over the next few years, and in partnership with ASA, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Stand Together and the Walton Foundation, we will be dedicated to tracking innovations in the following six pillars:

  1. Unbundled Learning
  2. Credentialed Learning
  3. Accelerated Pathways
  4. New Learning Models
  5. Support & Guidance
  6. Policies & Systems
We believe that when combined, these pillars enable learners to find success in what’s next in their professional lives, their personal lives and in their communities.

 

 


 

The Exit Interview Nine departing presidents on how the job — and higher ed — is changing. — from chronicle.com by Eric Kelderman

“One of the things I’ve learned in this job is that it’s time for us to really think hard about the obligations the postsecondary educational sector has to the country,” Quillen said. “What is, as it were, the social contract between that sector and the society that supports us? And what do we need to do to fulfill our obligations there?”

Carol Quillen


Carol Quillen
 

100 Universities established an OPM, Bootcamp or Pathways partnership in Q1 2022 — from holoniq.com
Bootcamps are directing more resources B2B and B2G, OPMs are growing existing partnerships further and evolving their technology and healthcare programs.

Excerpt:

Higher Education, like the broader economy, is awkwardly emerging from an almost exclusively digital, isolated and stimulus fuelled environment into… well it’s not clear yet. University Partnerships continued to be established at pace through Q1 2022, albeit at a much slower rate than through 2021.



Also relevant/see:

College contracts with OPMs need better oversight, watchdog says — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Excerpt from Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Department of Education should strengthen oversight of colleges’ relationships with companies that help them launch and build online programs, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, an auditing agency for Congress.

Addendum on 5/11/22:


 

OPINION: It may be time to rethink the emphasis on taking calculus in high school — from hechingerreport.org by Veronica Anderson
An argument for opening other paths that could be more relevant to students

Excerpt:

Based on data from surveys and interviews, “A New Calculus for College Admissions” reveals how deep-seated preferences for calculus weigh heavily in decisions about who gets admitted to college.

Yet does it make sense for calculus to have such an influential role in college admission when so few college majors actually require the course? There are other ways for high school students to gain the quantitative reasoning skills that will prepare them for the rigors of college and the workplace.

It’s time to reconsider the dominance of calculus.

From DSC:
I wholeheartedly agree. And along these lines, I think it would be far more beneficial to students to have classes on topics such:

  • How do I do my taxes?
  • What legal things do I need to know about (i.e., wills, trusts, civil law-related items, other)?
  • How can I get and stay healthy?
 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian