Virtual reality gives humans a turtle’s-eye view of wildlife — from phys.org by Laurel Hamers, University of Oregon

Excerpt:

A virtual reality simulation designed by a University of Oregon (UO) professor could help spur people to environmental action.

Participants in Project Shell don a virtual reality headset and take on the body of a loggerhead sea turtle, sporting flippers instead of arms. During a 15-minute immersive experience, they journey from a hatchling to an adult turtle, dodging hazards like ships and wayward fishing gear.

Participating in the simulation increased people’s empathy and concern for environmental issues, new research shows. 

“Embodiment of non-human bodies is a powerful tool that environmental storytellers can use,” said Daniel Pimentel, a professor in the UO’s School of Journalism and Communication who led the work. “I hope that this experience can help raise awareness and hopefully engage the public in a way that trickles down to more support.”

From DSC:
While we’re talking turtles, see these miniature creations!

 
 

Some learning-related tips from Eva Keiffenheim’s Learn Letter


Excerpts from Eva’s 6/15/22 letter re: learning a language — with Mathias Barra, who “has studied about 20 languages and is fluent in six”

2) The best way to mastery is by making language learning part of your life
There’s no single best way to study languages. Mathias approached every language differently.

The most important thing is to find some activities that you actually enjoy in the language. For example, you can:

  • watch a Netflix series with double subtitles with the free Language Reactor extension
  • reading a book in the language you’re learning, for example with easy readers?
  • go to radio.garden and listen to the language you’re learning
  • switch your phone settings to another language
  • write your diary in the language you’re learning

“The best way to study languages is not to limit it to study time, but to make it part of your life, for example, through exposure.”

Some tools and resources Mathias recommends:

  • iTalki offers 1-on-1 lessons in more than 150 languages
  • Journaly allows you to type a text that natives correct
  • Slowly connects you with a language tandem for writing letters
  • HiNative gets you answers from native speakers
  • Speechling helps you work on listening comprehension

See the full interview here.

And from Eva’s 6/22/22 Learn Letter:

According to this concept, there’s an optimal arousal level for task performance. The Yerkes-Dodson Law says there is an empirical relationship between stress and performance. Yerkes and Dodson discovered that the optimal arousal level depends on the complexity and difficulty of the task.

From DSC:
Reading a bit about the Yerkes-Dodson Law, I was reminded of a bad learning experience from years ago. I recall sitting in a conference room at Baxter Healthcare and I was trying to learn more about programming.  I had just been switched into a new group and my new supervisor was trying to teach me some basic items (basic to him, anyway). He was getting increasingly frustrated at me for not understanding some things. The more frustrated he got, the less I could even concentrate on what he was saying and trying to teach me. 

Along these lines, I also remember a relative trying to teach another relative some new things. Again, the more upset the “teacher” got, the less able the “learner” was able to concentrate. It didn’t end well. 

Oh…what’s that?! I’m hearing a loud “Amen!!!” coming from countless music teachers and students out there too. 

For these kinds of reasons, I want to learn more about the place of emotion in our learning ecosystems.

 

From DSC:
This looks like an interesting set of educational resources!

This is a screenshot of the Twinkl Education Blog


From DSC:
One of our daughters — the one who is going to be teaching third graders next year — said that the above siteand resources reminded her of Teachers Pay Teachers. So I thought I’d include that here as well.

This is a screenshot of the Teachers Pay Teachers website

 

 

Above video from Steve Kerr’s statement on school shooting in Texas

From DSC:
Steve Kerr has it right. Powerful. Critically important. 

“Enough!”  “We can’t get numb to this!”

 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the item below, I thought, “Hmmm…traditional institutions of higher education better look out if alternatives continue to gain momentum.” Perhaps it’s wise to double down on efforts to gather feedback from students, families, parents, businesses, and other stakeholders in the workplace regarding what they want and need — vs. what the faculty members of institution ABC want to teach.


A Third of U.S. College Students Consider Withdrawing — from news.gallup.com by Stephanie Marken

Excerpt:

Editor’s Note: The research below was conducted in partnership between the Lumina Foundation and Gallup.

About a third (32%) of currently enrolled students pursuing a bachelor’s degree report they have considered withdrawing from their program for a semester or more in the past six months. A slightly higher percentage of students pursuing their associate degree, 41%, report they have considered stopping out in the past six months. These are similar to 2020 levels when 33% of bachelor’s degree students reported they had considered stopping out and 38% of associate degree students said the same.

 

12 examples of artificial intelligence in everyday life — from itproportal.com by Christopher Oldman

Excerpt:

4. Plagiarism
The college students’ (or is it professor’s?) nightmare. Whether you are a content manager or a teacher grading essays, you have the same problem – the internet makes plagiarism easier.

There is a nigh unlimited amount of information and data out there, and less-than-scrupulous students and employees will readily take advantage of that.

Indeed, no human could compare and contrast somebody’s essay with all the data out there. AIs are a whole different beast.

They can sift through an insane amount of information, compare it with the relevant text, and see if there is a match or not.

Furthermore, thanks to advancement and growth in this area, some tools can actually check sources in foreign languages, as well as images and audio.

Intel calls its AI that detects student emotions a teaching tool. Others call it ‘morally reprehensible.’ — from protocol.com by Kate Kaye
Virtual school software startup Classroom Technologies will test the controversial “emotion AI” technology.

Excerpts:

But Intel and Classroom Technologies, which sells virtual school software called Class, think there might be a better way. The companies have partnered to integrate an AI-based technology developed by Intel with Class, which runs on top of Zoom. Intel claims its system can detect whether students are bored, distracted or confused by assessing their facial expressions and how they’re interacting with educational content.

But critics argue that it is not possible to accurately determine whether someone is feeling bored, confused, happy or sad based on their facial expressions or other external signals.

The classroom is just one arena where controversial “emotion AI” is finding its way into everyday tech products and generating investor interest. It’s also seeping into delivery and passenger vehicles and virtual sales and customer service software.

MIT’s FutureMakers programs help kids get their minds around — and hands on — AI — from news.mit.edu by Kim Patch
The programs are designed to foster an understanding of how artificial intelligence technologies work, including their social implications.

Excerpt:

During one-week, themed FutureMakers Workshops organized around key topics related to AI, students learn how AI technologies work, including social implications, then build something that uses AI.

“AI is shaping our behaviors, it’s shaping the way we think, it’s shaping the way we learn, and a lot of people aren’t even aware of that,” says Breazeal. “People now need to be AI literate given how AI is rapidly changing digital literacy and digital citizenship.”

AI can now kill those annoying cookie pop-ups — from thenextweb.com by Thomas Macaulay
The notifications have been put on notice

Excerpt:

After years of suffering this digital torture, a new AI tool has finally offered hope of an escape.

Named CookieEnforcer, the system was created by researchers from Google and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The system was created to stop cookies from manipulating people into making website-friendly choices that put their privacy at risk. Yet it could also end the constant hassle of navigating the notices.

Using machine learning to improve student success in higher education — from mckinsey.com
Deploying machine learning and advanced analytics thoughtfully and to their full potential may support improvements in student access, success, and the overall student experience.

Excerpt:

Yet higher education is still in the early stages of data capability building. With universities facing many challenges (such as financial pressures, the demographic cliff, and an uptick in student mental-health issues) and a variety of opportunities (including reaching adult learners and scaling online learning), expanding use of advanced analytics and machine learning may prove beneficial.

Below, we share some of the most promising use cases for advanced analytics in higher education to show how universities are capitalizing on those opportunities to overcome current challenges, both enabling access for many more students and improving the student experience.

Artificial intelligence (AI): 7 roles to prioritize now — from enterprisersproject.com by Marc Lewis
Which artificial intelligence (AI) jobs are hottest now? Consider these seven AI/ML roles to prioritize in your organization

Excerpt:

Rather than a Great Resignation, this would suggest a Great Reallocation of the workforce. As a global search consultant, we are seeing this precipitous shift in positions, with great demand for skills in artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).

With that in mind, here are seven artificial intelligence (AI)-related roles to consider prioritizing right now as the workforce reallocates talent to new jobs that drive economic value for leading companies…

4 ways AI will be a great teaching assistant — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

 

Grandpa Creates Hologram Twin For Future Grandkids Using VR — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick
Not even death will stop this tech-savvy grandfather from meeting his great-grandchildren.

“I think it is a wonderful way to preserve my family’s history for future generations,” said Jerry while speaking to Jam Press. “To see myself like that, is just mind-blowing — it feels like watching a movie. By not just reading the words as in my memoir but to actually get the chance to see and hear me recalling the stories is just magical.”

Also from Kyle Melnick:

How VR/AR Technology Is Being Used To Treat Autism
XRHealth brings its unique VR/AR therapy to the United States.

Excerpt:

Previously available in Australia, the technology has been used to treat the effects of autism, from anxiety and stress to attention, memory, mobility/coordination, and frustration tolerance. XRHealth’s healthcare platform offers a variety of professional services. This includes one-on-one meet-ups with XRHealth therapists as well as virtual group sessions, all of which accessible remotely using modern VR headsets.

 

Benefits of music lessons — from thetechadvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Music is a fun and worthwhile discipline to learn. When kids start learning the skill early in their lives, they can become so good at it and even create a career out of this talent. Here are other benefits your child could enjoy once they start taking music lessons.

From DSC:
While all these are true, it also helps a person appreciate the universal language of music. Music speaks deeply. As an example here…

Years ago, when I was working in technical support and customer service (within the corporate world) and ran into some tough, unpleasant, angry doctors or hospital administrators, I would go listen to music at lunch times. I came back refreshed and ready to go again. Music could turn my moods and attitudes around. Plus music was ever-present within our household as my mom and dad met in music school and my mom taught piano for years (often in our home). My dad loved to sing and often practiced at night after work.

Anyway, here’s to music. Thank you LORD for it! May music classes and opportunities continue to play an important role within our learning ecosystems for years to come!

 

As Teen Mental Health Worsens, Schools Learn How to Help — from pewtrusts.org by Christine Vestal

Excerpt:

If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you can get help by calling the confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.

Teen mental health already was deteriorating before the coronavirus pandemic. In the two years since, the isolation, grief and anxiety created by school closures, deaths and loss of family income have led to even steeper declines in children’s mental health, experts say.

Along the lines of major issues to tackle, see:

 

From DSC:
I thought this was a powerful message as well. It was good for me to hear this — and not just for people who have Intellectual Disabilities (ID), but rather for all learners/people.

 

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

From DSC:
A family member struggles with spelling — big time. This causes her major amounts of anxiety in school.

Another family member had some learning disabilities and reflects back on school with some bad memories.

Another family member struggles with social graces and learns at a much different pace than her peers — the move to her education being (predominantly) done via homeschooling has helped significantly.

A friend of mine has Dyslexia. He recently said that school was hell for him.

Another person I know doesn’t understand his daughter’s learning disabilities — at all. He’s asking a fish to climb the tree and yells at his daughter when she doesn’t produce like the other kids do. Her school is for college-bound learners, and there’s always pressure to maintain the school’s “blue-ribbon” status (i.e., sorry if you don’t fit in…but please board the train anyway, as it’s about to depart).

These people and stories about their educations got me to reflect on all the people who went through the school systems in the United States (over the last few decades) that didn’t work well for them. In fact, not only did the systems not work well for them, they were the sources of a great deal of pain, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and embarrassment.  Instead of being a place of wonder or joy, school was a painful, constant struggle to get through.

For those who can keep up or even excel at the pace that the trains travel at, school isn’t that much of a problem. There are likely different levels of engagement involved here, but school is manageable and it doesn’t cause nearly the stress for someone who struggles with it.

For those with learning disabilities, I’d like to apologize to you on behalf of all the people who legislated or created rigid, one-size-fits-all school systems that didn’t understand and/or meet your needs. (Why we allow legislators — who aren’t the ones on the front lines — to control so much of what happens in our school systems is beyond me.) I’d like to apologize on behalf of all of the teachers, administrators, and staff who just accept the systems as they are.

Please help us reinvent our school systems. Help us develop the future of education. Help us develop a more personalized, customized approach. For those who are working to provide that, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

To everyone working within Pre-K through 12th grade, help us offer: More voice. More choice. More control. The status quo has to go. School should not be a constant source of pain and anxiety.

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

 

 

Seeing the possibilities, I finally took a chance. I studied English, political science and finite math, and each class I passed deepened my confidence and self-love.

This growing self-love was key to my academic development. Growing up, I didn’t experience much real love, outside of my mother and a few family members. I most often encountered the kind of false love expressed through violence and monetary possessions. College changed the way I thought about myself and others. I worked hand-in-hand with men from all backgrounds to complete assignments, and even taught other students. Before I knew it, I was getting A’s on my essays and solving quadratic equations in math class.

When people question why it’s important to educate prisoners, I remind them that to see change, we must support change. We must give individuals the opportunity to see themselves as more than the harm they’ve caused, more than what was once broken within them.

Christopher Blackwell

Also relevant/see:

Calvin University's Prison Initiative

 

University Behind Bars

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian