Legal Battle Over Captioning Continues — from insidehighered.com by Lindsay McKenzie
A legal dispute over video captions continues after court rejects requests by MIT and Harvard University to dismiss lawsuits accusing them of discriminating against deaf people.

Excerpt:

Two high-profile civil rights lawsuits filed by the National Association of the Deaf against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are set to continue after requests to dismiss the cases were recently denied for the second time.

The two universities were accused by the NAD in 2015 of failing to make their massive open online courses, guest lectures and other video content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Some of the videos, many of which were hosted on the universities’ YouTube channels, did have captions — but the NAD complained that these captions were sometimes so bad that the content was still inaccessible.

Spokespeople for both Harvard and MIT declined to comment on the ongoing litigation but stressed that their institutions were committed to improving web accessibility.

 

 

From DSC:
I ran into the posting below on my Twitter feed. I especially want to share it with all of those students out there who are majoring in Education. You will find excellent opportunities to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter.

But this idea/concept/opportunity also applies to current teachers, professors, trainers, special educators, principals, superintendents, school board members, coaches, and many, many others.

You will not only learn a great deal by tapping into those streams of content, but you will be able to share your own expertise, insights, resources, reflections, etc.  Don’t underestimate the networking and learning potential of Twitter. It’s one of the top learning tools in the world.

One last thought before you move onto the graphics below…K-12 educators are doing a super job of networking and sharing resources with each other. I hope that more faculty members who are working within higher education can learn from the examples being set forth by K-12 educators.

 

 

Also see:

 

Also see:

 

 

To Differentiate: Lower Floors and Raise Ceilings — from byrdseed.com by Ian Bryd
When you’re planning a task for a wide range of students, the terms “floor” and “ceiling” are easy mental shortcuts to increase the range of success for all kids.

Excerpt:

It should be our goal to develop tasks that all students can get started with, but that also scale up for students who are ready for more. This is the easiest way to create a task that can work for everyone.

My friend Lisa has a fantastic piece of differentiation advice:

Plan for your highest-ability students first, then figure out how to onboard your other learners.

Why? Because it’s really hard to increase the ceiling on a worksheet. It’s much easier to lower the floor on, say, a research project. You can always scaffold down – but you can’t always raise the ceiling.

 

Aiming for a low floor and high ceiling supports all students. Plus, it gives even low-performing kids a chance to go somewhere interesting. You’ll never know who will take advantage of that high ceiling.

 

 

Cambridge library installation gives readers control of their sensory space — from cambridge.wickedlocal.com by Hannah Schoenbaum

Excerpts:

A luminous igloo-shaped structure in the front room of the Cambridge Public Library beckoned curious library visitors during the snowy first weekend of March, inviting them to explore a space engineered for everyone, yet uniquely their own.

Called “Alterspace” and developed by Harvard’s metaLAB and Library Innovation Lab, this experiment in adaptive architecture granted the individual control over the sensory elements in his or her space. A user enters the LED-illuminated dome to find headphones, chairs and an iPad on a library cart, which displays six modes: Relax, Read, Meditate, Focus, Create and W3!Rd.

From the cool blues and greens of Relax mode to a rainbow overload of excitement in the W3!Rd mode, Alterspace is engineered to transform its lights, sounds and colors into the ideal environment for a particular action.

 

 

From DSC:
This brings me back to the question/reflection…in the future, will students using VR headsets be able to study by a brook? An ocean? In a very quiet library (i.e., the headset would come with solid noise cancellation capabilities build into it)?  This type of room/capability would really be helpful for our daughter…who is easily distracted and doesn’t like noise.

 

 

7 Things You Should Know About Accessibility Policy — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

Websites from the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) of the California State University, Penn State, the University of Virginia, and the Web Accessibility Initiative feature rich content related to IT accessibility policies. A California State University memorandum outlines specific responsibilities and reporting guidelines in support of CSU’s Policy on Disability Support and Accommodations. Cornell University developed a multiyear “Disability Access Management Strategic Plan.” Specific examples of accessibility policies focused on electronic communication and information technology can be found at Penn State, Purdue University, Yale University, and the University of Wisconsin– Madison. Having entered into a voluntary agreement with the National Federation of the Blind to improve accessibility, Wichita State University offers substantial accessibility-related resources for its community, including specific standards for ensuring accessibility in face-to face instruction.

 

 

The information below is from Deb Molfetta, Outreach Coordinator at EdDPrograms.org


EdDPrograms.org helps educators and administrators research doctoral education opportunities. Their organization’s work in education began in 2008 with projects ranging from a new teacher survival guide to their own teacher education scholarship program. More recently they realized that there weren’t any websites dedicated to professional development through Doctor of Education (EdD) programs, which is why they created their own – EdDPrograms.org. It covers a lot of ground, but here are a few sections they think administrators will appreciate:

EdDPrograms.org is owned and operated by a group that has been creating post-secondary education resources since 2008. According to Deb, they have a history of providing students with objective, fact-based resources.

 

 

 

For the first time in its history, the Gerber spokesbaby is a child with Down syndrome — from cnn.com by Andrea Diaz

Excerpt:

(CNN) This cutie with a contagious smile is 18-month-old Lucas Warren and on (2/7/18) he made history: He’s the first child with Down syndrome to become Gerber’s “Spokesbaby of the year” in its 91-year history.

 

Meet the first Gerber Baby with Down syndrome

 

From DSC:
I just saw this item from last February… and I love it! 

 

 

From DSC:
For anyone out there who thinks that teaching and learning is easy and who agrees with the uninformed saying that goes “Those who can’t do…teach”…might I recommend a few potential to-do’s for you to try out…?

  1. Try teaching 30-35 students yourself for at least 4-6 weeks about a topic that you just found out that you’ll be teaching and one that you don’t know much about. (And see if you enjoy the process that some teachers sometimes have to go through…putting down the tracks right in front of the trains that are rapidly moving down the tracks right behind them.) Also, you must have at least one student in your class who requires an Individualized Education Program (IEP) as well as 4-5 students who constantly cause trouble and who don’t want to be in school at all.
    .
  2. Identify each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning preferences — and their Zone of Proximal Development — then customize the learning that each of your 30-35 learners receives (with the goal of keeping each student moving forward at their most appropriate pace, while staying encouraged and yet appropriately challenged).
    .
  3. Attend Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and work with other IEP team members to significantly contribute to the appropriate student’s (or students’) teaching and learning environment(s). For a real challenge, at least one of those students will be someone who is struggling, but is very much hanging in there — someone who is “right in the middle of the pack,” so to speak. (My guess is that if you did this, you would never think of teaching, nor teachers, nor other specialists in quite the same way again. My guess is that you would develop a whole new appreciation for how complex teaching and learning really is.)

Regarding that last item about at least one of your students requiring an IEP, here are some questions that might come up:

  • What specialized services are needed this year?
  • What do the teachers need to know about this student’s cognitive processing/executive functioning?
  • How has the student been doing with the specialized services and teaching and learning strategies that have been attempted since the last IEP meeting? 
  • If their scores are going down, how are you going to address that issue (especially given limited resources)?
  • How is the student’s motivation level doing? Is attending school still a positive experience? Or are things starting to become negative and/or downright painful for the student? Are they starting to get bummed out about having to come to school?
  • How are they relating with and collaborating with other students? If poorly, how are you going to address that issue? How are you going to handle group-related projects (especially after reading all of those articles that assert which skills the workplace values these days)?
  • What do you do with grades and assessments? Do you treat the student differently and give them higher grades to keep them encouraged? But if you do that, will your school system back you up on that or will someone come down hard on you for doing that? Or, perhaps you will find yourself struggling internally — trying to figure out what grades are really for and wondering if they are helpful in the first place. In fact, you might find yourself wondering if grades aren’t really just a mechanism for ranking and comparing individuals, schools, and even entire school systems (which, as we know, impacts property values)? 
  • What do grades really produce — game players or (lifelong) learners? It won’t surprise you to know that I would argue that the former is what gets “produced.”  Grades don’t really produce as many learners as they do game-players (i.e., students who know the minimum amount of work that they need to do and still get that all important A).

So, as you can hopefully see here, learning is messy. It’s rarely black and white…there’s a lot of gray out there and a lot of things to consider. It’s not a one-size fits all. And teaching others well is certainly NOT easy to do! 

RELEVANT IDEAS:

While I’m thinking about related ideas here…wouldn’t it be great if EVERY. SINGLE. STUDENT. could have their own IEP and their own TEAM of specialists — people who care about their learning?

What if each student could have their own cloud-based learner profile — a portion of which would be a series of VoiceThreads per student, per period of time (or per mastering a particular topic or area)?  Such VoiceThreads could include multimedia-based comments, insights, and recommendations for how the student is doing and how they best learn. Through the years, those teams of people — people who care about that student’s learning — could help that student identify their:

  • strengths
  • weaknesses
  • passions/interests
  • their optimal learning strategies and preferences
  • potential careers

The students could periodically review such feedback.

 

 

For every single student, we could build a history of feedback, helpful suggestions, 
and recommendations via audio, video, text, graphics, etc.

 

 

Executive Function Deficits Determine Student Achievement — from thejournal.com by Sara Friedman
A new report finds the achievement gap tends to widen with students having academic difficulties in math and science starting in kindergarten.

Excerpt:

Difficulties in math and science learning in the early grades can have lasting consequences for students who have impairments in executive functions, according to a new report from Penn State researchers published in the Early Childhood Quarterly journal. The research looks back at executive functions related to working memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control to determine when problems begin in early STEM education.

The study analyzes data from 11,010 students who participated in the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics Early Childhood Education Study, which measures childhood development, school readiness and early childhood experiences. The report data comes from students who started kindergarten in the 2010-2011 school year through the spring of third grade.

 

From DSC:
One of our daughters has issues involving executive functioning…we’re told that she has to work twice as hard as the other students to process the information coming at her. Thus, mini breaks are really helpful for her. For example, if she can walk something to the office, that’s really beneficial for her.

 

 

 

Presentation Translator for PowerPoint — from Microsoft (emphasis below from DSC:)

Presentation Translator breaks down the language barrier by allowing users to offer live, subtitled presentations straight from PowerPoint. As you speak, the add-in powered by the Microsoft Translator live feature, allows you to display subtitles directly on your PowerPoint presentation in any one of more than 60 supported text languages. This feature can also be used for audiences who are deaf or hard of hearing.

 

Additionally, up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along with the presentation in their own language, including the speaker’s language, on their phone, tablet or computer.

 

From DSC:
Up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along with the presentation in their own language! Wow!

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?! If this could also address learners and/or employees outside the room as well, this could be an incredibly powerful piece of a next generation, global learning platform! 

Automatic translation with subtitles — per the learner’s or employee’s primary language setting as established in their cloud-based learner profile. Though this posting is not about blockchain, the idea of a cloud-based learner profile reminds me of the following graphic I created in January 2017.

A couple of relevant quotes here:

A number of players and factors are changing the field. Georgia Institute of Technology calls it “at-scale” learning; others call it the “mega-university” — whatever you call it, this is the advent of the very large, 100,000-plus-student-scale online provider. Coursera, edX, Udacity and FutureLearn (U.K.) are among the largest providers. But individual universities such as Southern New Hampshire, Arizona State and Georgia Tech are approaching the “at-scale” mark as well. One could say that’s evidence of success in online learning. And without question it is.

But, with highly reputable programs at this scale and tuition rates at half or below the going rate for regional and state universities, the impact is rippling through higher ed. Georgia Tech’s top 10-ranked computer science master’s with a total expense of less than $10,000 has drawn more than 10,000 qualified majors. That has an impact on the enrollment at scores of online computer science master’s programs offered elsewhere. The overall online enrollment is up, but it is disproportionately centered in affordable scaled programs, draining students from the more expensive, smaller programs at individual universities. The dominoes fall as more and more high-quality at-scale programs proliferate.

— Ray Schroeder

 

 

Education goes omnichannel. In today’s connected world, consumers expect to have anything they want available at their fingertips, and education is no different. Workers expect to be able to learn on-demand, getting the skills and knowledge they need in that moment, to be able to apply it as soon as possible. Moving fluidly between working and learning, without having to take time off to go to – or back to – school will become non-negotiable.

Anant Agarwal

 

From DSC:
Is there major change/disruption ahead? Could be…for many, it can’t come soon enough.

 

 

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