From DSC:
Below are but some of the changes to the learning ecosystems out there. Certainly, more are coming.


Ex-Google employees form virtual tech ‘school’ for gap year students amid college closures — from cnbc.com by Jennifer Elias

KEY POINTS
  • Current and former Google employees are forming an online program aimed at preparing students for the workforce if they’re taking time off school due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It comes as many college students defer school as universities shift learning models to mostly online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Google execs past and present have volunteered to mentor college students on topics ranging from career trajectory to how to stand out in virtual Zoom interviews.

Along these lines, see:

  • Google has a plan to disrupt the college degree — from inc.com by Justin Bariso
    Google’s new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college.
    Excerpt:
    Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It’s launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.

From DSC:
Also, to see some more changes to the learning ecosystems out there, set up a Google Alert (or something similar in Feedly or via another tool) for “Learning Pods,” “Pandemic Pods,” and/or the “growth of homeschooling.” Here’s but one recent example:

Zoo Knoxville to start virtual learning pods for students

 


 

Check out the Academic Warriers website

About Academic Warriors:

Life can be very hard for autistic, gifted and special needs learners.  Autistic and gifted learners often times struggle in school because they learn very differently than their peers. These special learners need a personalized approach to their education that allows them to learn in their own way at their own pace.

Many times parents and students feel as if they are the only ones like them in the world. This can often times lead to isolation and frustration. It is important for all autistic, gifted and special needs to unite in order to support one another. We are named Academic Warriors because all our students are superheroes in a world that doesn’t always understand and/or appreciate them. We help our students to become strong, independent and positive learners despite what the world may think of them.

It is the mission of Academic Warriors to help create positive learning experiences and communities throughout the United States for autistic, gifted and special needs learners. We offer online courses, programs, private school and in person events that foster an unique learning environment that promotes unity among all our students and families. We strive to create online and in person learning communities in every state that will provide educational opportunities for all families of autistic, gifted and special needs students. Together we can create a better world for the autistic, gifted and special needs learner.

 


From DSC:
As part of a homeschooling-based situation, my wife received the following item for one of our daughters (who needs additional/personalized assistance to learn). Simultaneously, she and our daughter sent them a Michigan Exchange Box. Very cool.

My wife and one of our daughters received this set of things from a homeschooler in Mississippi! Very cool!

I believe my wife found this out at the following group in Facebook:

 


Some channels out on Youtube that have to do with learning:
(and by the way, according to Jane Hart’s recent Top 200 Tools for Learning, YouTube is in the #1 spot for the 5th year in a row!)

Snake Discovery -- videos out on YouTube

Bondi Vet - videos on YouTube

 


 

From the Off-Trail Learning website, here are some self-directed learning centers

 


The Barn for Equine Learning

“Horse Sense Tutoring Services is a unique resource that combines the power of Equine Assisted Learning with evidence-based reading and math strategies that engage the mind, body, and emotions in learning.  We use the principles of discovery, experience, movement, reflection, and connection in partnership with our horse friends.

Based at The Barn for Equine Learning…my program offers targeted reading, math, and basic horsemanship tutoring for students in grades K – 8. Horses become teaching and learning partners as students experience academics and social-emotional learning in a whole new way.

If you are looking for a unique tutoring and confidence-building experience for your child, PM for more information.  Sessions are held outdoors and/or in an open barn setting.

(Small group field trips with an introduction to basic horsemanship skills are also available).

 


From DSC:
So these are just a few examples of how the learning ecosystems are changing out there! Surely, there will be more changes coming down the pike.


 

 

From DSC:
Thanks Tony for this item. I was trying to think of how to do this just the other day…so I’m a bit late in posting this, but better late than never, heh?

 

33 Great Ways to Teach English with Technology –from englishpost.org

Excerpt:

How to Teach English with Technology is about language and second language teaching using the best educational technology resources for the ESL Classroom.

When technology integration in the classroom is seamless and thoughtful, students not only become more engaged, they begin to take more control over their own learning, too.

 

From DSC:
Besides the idea of a learning journal and having students check in on these 3 questions…

…here’s another idea/approach to consider using:

The Start, Stop, Continue Strategy —  by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

  • Write down one thing they would like for you or their classmates to START doing to make the course more successful.
  • Next, ask students to write down one thing they would like you or their classmates to STOP doing.
  • Then, ask students to write down one thing they’d like for you or their classmates to CONTINUE doing.

 

From DSC:
The problem with some of this, I realize, is that one person’s learning preferences are just that. They represent that one person’s learning preferences. So someone may say they don’t like using Discussion Boards, while someone else says that DBs work well for them. But if you hear enough of your students say to stop doing XYZ, then that’s solid feedback. Or if enough students ask, “Could we START doing ABC?”…that’s good feedback. 

I found the above item from Barbi’s recent posting:

Excerpts:

  • Here are two recommendations and one strategy to encourage students to read:
    RECOMMENDATION #1 TO GET STUDENTS TO READ: FIND THE WHY.
    RECOMMENDATION #2 TO GET STUDENTS TO READ: CLARIFY THE “DO”
 
 

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in #RemoteLearning — from jakemiller.net by Jake Miller

Excerpt:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

While, certainly, some educators are doing great things to support these students, from my observations, this has taken a backseat to other elements of remote learning.  And these students NEED OUR HELP.

Unfortunately, I am not an expert in special education, accessibility features or assistive technology. I am, however, skilled at asking other people to share their expertise. ? So, in episode 40 of the Educational Duct Tape podcast and in the 4.8.20 #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat I asked educators one simple question:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

And they DELIVERED. I mean, the awesome suggestions and resources, all from a perspective of support rather than judgment, POURED in. And so, here they are.

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in Remote Learning

 

 

From DSC:
Below are some resources for teaching at home. And some of this (much of this?) is not typical homeschooling, just as much of what’s being done out there isn’t necessarily typical online-based learning. And some out there may not like such lists, and would prefer a detailed report on just one tool. But this last week was incredibly busy — and time is not a luxury I have right now. And these resources might provide someone out there with just the right tool or pedagogy that they’ve been looking for.

Also, I might suggest:

  • Creating a Google alert (google.com/alerts) on HSLDA, on homeschooling, on homeschoolers, and/or on related searches.
  • Create a Keyword Alert on an RSS aggregator such as Feedly
  • Follow relevant hashtags on Twitter such as #homeschooling

Some analog ideas:

  • Reading a book together
  • Watching a play, drama, or another type of program together
  • Taking a walk out in nature together
  • Gather together as a family and/or lingering over breakfast or dinner
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Taking pictures

And now is a great time to see what your child or children WANT TO LEARN ABOUT! Turn over the control to them for a while — and watch what happens when intrinsic motivation takes hold! 


Not a teacher but find yourself homeschooling? These educational apps are free — from parade.com by Stephanie Osmanski

  • This posting covers 25 Free Learning Apps

We are all homeschoolers now (podcast) — from cato.org featuring Kerry McDonald and Caleb Brown
Thanks to COVID-19, many parents find themselves with kids at home all day. What’s the best way to keep them engaged in their educations? Kerry McDonald, author of Unschooled, comments.

Getting Smart’s Getting Through

Free, Online Learning Resources When Coronavirus Closes Schools — from cato.org by Kerry McDonald

Homeschooling Mother and Author: 6 Ideas For Parents While Schools Are Closed — from fee.org by Kerry McDonald
Amid the Covid-19 lockdown, there are steps parents can take to make time at home with their children more rewarding and tolerable.

Apps for Special Needs Students—As School Buildings Shutter — from edutopia.org by Janey Clare
The coronavirus creates a unique challenge for special needs students—educators share recommendations for apps to support learning at home.

How to Support Home Learning in Elementary Grades — from edutopia.org by John Thomas
A first and second grade teacher shares his home learning plan for his students and how he is engaging their families.

6 Lessons Learned About Remote Learning During the Coronavirus Outbreak — from blogs.edweek.org by Mark Lieberman

 

From DSC:
How’s this for your next gift for that person in your life who loves books!?! 🙂


The Bookwheel Allowed 16th-Century Scholars to Read Multiple Books at One Time — from interestingengineering.com by Trevor English
This contraption allowed engineers to read multiple books at the same time.

 

Top ten podcasts every teacher needs to hear — from wiley.com; with thanks to Emily Liebtag for her posting on Twitter for this resource

Excerpt:

Listening to podcasts is an easy way to dive into a topic that interests you and learn something new from others who share your passion for education.

We’re highlighting the following ten podcast episodes featuring Jossey-Bass authors that you can listen to whenever, wherever to help you master your craft or reignite your love of teaching.

So, take some time for yourself, grab your earbuds, and press play on these…

 

Can Storytime in the Laundromat Improve Early-Childhood Literacy? — from PBS News Hour, edweek.org, youtube.com

Description:

How about reading a book in between the wash and spin cycles? That is what’s happening in some of the nation’s laundromats as early-literacy groups, librarians, and laundromat owners combine forces to bring books and story hours to everyday locations.

 

 

 
 

Awesome study hacks: 5 ways to remember more of what you read — from academiccoachingwithpat.com by Pat LaDouceur; with thanks to Julia Reed for her Tweet on this

Excerpts:

  1. Annotate as you read
  2. Skim
  3. Rewrite key ideas in your own words
  4. Write a critique
  5. List your questions

 

Reorganizing information helps you learn it more effectively, which is why Rewriting makes the list as one of the top 5 reading study hacks. It forces you to stay active and involved with the text (from DSC: the word “engaged” comes to mind here), to consider arguments and synthesize information, and thus remember more of what you read.

 

 

From DSC:
I have often reflected on differentiation or what some call personalized learning and/or customized learning. How does a busy teacher, instructor, professor, or trainer achieve this, realistically?

It’s very difficult and time-consuming to do for sure. But it also requires a team of specialists to achieve such a holy grail of learning — as one person can’t know it all. That is, one educator doesn’t have the necessary time, skills, or knowledge to address so many different learning needs and levels!

  • Think of different cognitive capabilities — from students that have special learning needs and challenges to gifted students
  • Or learners that have different physical capabilities or restrictions
  • Or learners that have different backgrounds and/or levels of prior knowledge
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Educators  and trainers have so many things on their plates that it’s very difficult to come up with _X_ lesson plans/agendas/personalized approaches, etc.  On the other side of the table, how do students from a vast array of backgrounds and cognitive skill levels get the main points of a chapter or piece of text? How can they self-select the level of difficulty and/or start at a “basics” level and work one’s way up to harder/more detailed levels if they can cognitively handle that level of detail/complexity? Conversely, how do I as a learner get the boiled down version of a piece of text?

Well… just as with the flipped classroom approach, I’d like to suggest that we flip things a bit and enlist teams of specialists at the publishers to fulfill this need. Move things to the content creation end — not so much at the delivery end of things. Publishers’ teams could play a significant, hugely helpful role in providing customized learning to learners.

Some of the ways that this could happen:

Use an HTML like language when writing a textbook, such as:

<MainPoint> The text for the main point here. </MainPoint>

<SubPoint1>The text for the subpoint 1 here.</SubPoint1>

<DetailsSubPoint1>More detailed information for subpoint 1 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SubPoint2>The text for the subpoint 2 here.</SubPoint2>

<DetailsSubPoint2>More detailed information for subpoint 2 here.</DetailsSubPoint2>

<SubPoint3>The text for the subpoint 3 here.</SubPoint3>

<DetailsSubPoint3>More detailed information for subpoint 3 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SummaryOfMainPoints>A list of the main points that a learner should walk away with.</SummaryOfMainPoints>

<BasicsOfMainPoints>Here is a listing of the main points, but put in alternative words and more basic ways of expressing those main points. </BasicsOfMainPoints>

<Conclusion> The text for the concluding comments here.</Conclusion>

 

<BasicsOfMainPoints> could be called <AlternativeExplanations>
Bottom line: This tag would be to put things forth using very straightforward terms.

Another tag would be to address how this topic/chapter is relevant:
<RealWorldApplication>This short paragraph should illustrate real world examples

of this particular topic. Why does this topic matter? How is it relevant?</RealWorldApplication>

 

On the students’ end, they could use an app that works with such tags to allow a learner to quickly see/review the different layers. That is:

  • Show me just the main points
  • Then add on the sub points
  • Then fill in the details
    OR
  • Just give me the basics via an alternative ways of expressing these things. I won’t remember all the details. Put things using easy-to-understand wording/ideas.

 

It’s like the layers of a Microsoft HoloLens app of the human anatomy:

 

Or it’s like different layers of a chapter of a “textbook” — so a learner could quickly collapse/expand the text as needed:

 

This approach could be helpful at all kinds of learning levels. For example, it could be very helpful for law school students to obtain outlines for cases or for chapters of information. Similarly, it could be helpful for dental or medical school students to get the main points as well as detailed information.

Also, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) grows, the system could check a learner’s cloud-based learner profile to see their reading level or prior knowledge, any IEP’s on file, their learning preferences (audio, video, animations, etc.), etc. to further provide a personalized/customized learning experience. 

To recap:

  • “Textbooks” continue to be created by teams of specialists, but add specialists with knowledge of students with special needs as well as for gifted students. For example, a team could have experts within the field of Special Education to help create one of the overlays/or filters/lenses — i.e., to reword things. If the text was talking about how to hit a backhand or a forehand, the alternative text layer could be summed up to say that tennis is a sport…and that a sport is something people play. On the other end of the spectrum, the text could dive deeply into the various grips a person could use to hit a forehand or backhand.
  • This puts the power of offering differentiation at the point of content creation/development (differentiation could also be provided for at the delivery end, but again, time and expertise are likely not going to be there)
  • Publishers create “overlays” or various layers that can be turned on or off by the learners
  • Can see whole chapters or can see main ideas, topic sentences, and/or details. Like HTML tags for web pages.
  • Can instantly collapse chapters to main ideas/outlines.

 

 

Where teachers can find free audiobooks for their students — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Audiobooks are fantastic ways to bring stories to life in your classroom and keep students engaged. Reading Rockets explains, “Audiobooks have traditionally been used in schools by teachers of second-language learners, learning-disabled students, and struggling readers or nonreaders. In many cases, audiobooks have proven successful in providing a way for these students to access literature and enjoy books.” However, educators have found that audiobooks benefit all students!

Unfortunately, audiobooks are pricey, so you should not expect your students to have them at home. You should also not plan on spending large amounts of money to build your audiobook collection for your classroom. For instance, the widely popular Audible site for downloadable audiobooks is a subscription-based service, but it only allows you to choose one book per month. Instead, take advantage of the wealth of free audiobooks available for teachers and students.

 

 

 

 

Google’s robot assistant now makes eerily lifelike phone calls for you — from theguardian.com by Olivia Solon
Google Duplex contacts hair salon and restaurant in demo, adding ‘er’ and ‘mmm-hmm’ so listeners think it’s human

Excerpt:

Google’s virtual assistant can now make phone calls on your behalf to schedule appointments, make reservations in restaurants and get holiday hours.

The robotic assistant uses a very natural speech pattern that includes hesitations and affirmations such as “er” and “mmm-hmm” so that it is extremely difficult to distinguish from an actual human phone call.

The unsettling feature, which will be available to the public later this year, is enabled by a technology called Google Duplex, which can carry out “real world” tasks on the phone, without the other person realising they are talking to a machine. The assistant refers to the person’s calendar to find a suitable time slot and then notifies the user when an appointment is scheduled.

 

 

Google employees quit over the company’s military AI project — from thenextweb.com by Tristan Greene

Excerpt:

About a dozen Google employees reportedly left the company over its insistence on developing AI for the US military through a program called Project Maven. Meanwhile 4,000 others signed a petition demanding the company stop.

It looks like there’s some internal confusion over whether the company’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto covers making machine learning systems to aid warfare.

 

 

 

The link between big tech and defense work — from wired.com by Nitasha Tiku

Except:

FOR MONTHS, A growing faction of Google employees has tried to force the company to drop out of a controversial military program called Project Maven. More than 4,000 employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a petition asking Google to cancel the contract. Last week, Gizmodo reported that a dozen employees resigned over the project. “There are a bunch more waiting for job offers (like me) before we do so,” one engineer says. On Friday, employees communicating through an internal mailing list discussed refusing to interview job candidates in order to slow the project’s progress.

Other tech giants have recently secured high-profile contracts to build technology for defense, military, and intelligence agencies. In March, Amazon expanded its newly launched “Secret Region” cloud services supporting top-secret work for the Department of Defense. The same week that news broke of the Google resignations, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft locked down a deal with intelligence agencies. But there’s little sign of the same kind of rebellion among Amazon and Microsoft workers.

 

 

Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police — from wpxi.com by Gene Johnson

Excerpt:

Facebook SEATTLE (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to “easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone.”

The tool, called Rekognition, is already being used by at least one agency – the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon – to check photographs of unidentified suspects against a database of mug shots from the county jail, which is a common use of such technology around the country.

 

 

From DSC:
Google’s C-Suite — as well as the C-Suites at Microsoft, Amazon, and other companies — needs to be very careful these days, as they could end up losing the support/patronage of a lot of people — including more of their own employees. It’s not an easy task to know how best to build and use technologies in order to make the world a better place…to create a dream vs. a nightmare for our future. But just because we can build something, doesn’t mean we should.

 

 

The Complete Guide to Conversational Commerce | Everything you need to know. — from chatbotsmagazine.com by Matt Schlicht

Excerpt:

What is conversational commerce? Why is it such a big opportunity? How does it work? What does the future look like? How can I get started? These are the questions I’m going to answer for you right now.

The guide covers:

  • An introduction to conversational commerce.
  • Why conversational commerce is such a big opportunity.
  • Complete breakdown of how conversational commerce works.
  • Extensive examples of conversational commerce using chatbots and voicebots.
  • How artificial intelligence impacts conversational commerce.
  • What the future of conversational commerce will look like.

 

Definition: Conversational commerce is an automated technology, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that enables online shoppers and brands to interact with one another via chat and voice interfaces.

 

 

 

Notes from the AI frontier: Applications and value of deep learning — from mckinsey.com by Michael Chui, James Manyika, Mehdi Miremadi, Nicolaus Henke, Rita Chung, Pieter Nel, and Sankalp Malhotra

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as a transformational technology of our digital age—and its practical application throughout the economy is growing apace. For this briefing, Notes from the AI frontier: Insights from hundreds of use cases (PDF–446KB), we mapped both traditional analytics and newer “deep learning” techniques and the problems they can solve to more than 400 specific use cases in companies and organizations. Drawing on McKinsey Global Institute research and the applied experience with AI of McKinsey Analytics, we assess both the practical applications and the economic potential of advanced AI techniques across industries and business functions. Our findings highlight the substantial potential of applying deep learning techniques to use cases across the economy, but we also see some continuing limitations and obstacles—along with future opportunities as the technologies continue their advance. Ultimately, the value of AI is not to be found in the models themselves, but in companies’ abilities to harness them.

It is important to highlight that, even as we see economic potential in the use of AI techniques, the use of data must always take into account concerns including data security, privacy, and potential issues of bias.

  1. Mapping AI techniques to problem types
  2. Insights from use cases
  3. Sizing the potential value of AI
  4. The road to impact and value

 

 

 

AI for Good — from re-work.co by Ali Shah, Head of Emerging Technology and Strategic Direction – BBC

 

 

 

Algorithms are making the same mistakes assessing credit scores that humans did a century ago — from qz.com by Rachel O’Dwyer

 

 

 

 

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