The Section 508 Refresh and What It Means for Higher Education — from er.educause.edu by Martin LaGrow

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Higher education should now be on notice: Anyone with an Internet connection can now file a complaint or civil lawsuit, not just students with disabilities. And though Section 508 was previously unclear as to the expectations for accessibility, the updated requirements add specific web standards to adhere to — specifically, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Although WCAG 2.0 has been around since the early 2000s, it was developed by web content providers as a self-regulating tool to create uniformity for web standards around the globe. It was understood to be best practices but was not enforced by any regulating agency. The Section 508 refresh due in January 2018 changes this, as WCAG 2.0 level AA has been adopted as the standard of expected accessibility. Thus, all organizations subject to Section 508, including colleges and universities, that create and publish digital content — web pages, documents, images, videos, audio — must ensure that they know and understand these standards.

Reacting to the Section 508 Refresh
In a few months, the revised Section 508 standards become enforceable law. As stated, this should not be considered a threat or burden but rather an opportunity for institutions to check their present level of commitment and adherence to accessibility. In order to prepare for the update in standards, a number of proactive steps can easily be taken:

  • Contract a third-party expert partner to review institutional accessibility policies and practices and craft a long-term plan to ensure compliance.
  • Review all public-facing websites and electronic documents to ensure compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.
  • Develop and publish a policy to state the level of commitment and adherence to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
  • Create an accessibility training plan for all individuals responsible for creating and publishing electronic content.
  • Ensure all ICT contracts, ROIs, and purchases include provisions for accessibility.
  • Inform students of their rights related to accessibility, as well as where to address concerns internally. Then support the students with timely resolutions.

As always, remember that the pursuit of accessibility demonstrates a spirit of inclusiveness that benefits everyone. Embracing the challenge to meet the needs of all students is a noble pursuit, but it’s not just an adoption of policy. It’s a creation of awareness, an awareness that fosters a healthy shift in culture. When this is the approach, the motivation to support all students drives every conversation, and the fear of legal repercussions becomes secondary. This should be the goal of every institution of learning.

 

 

 
 

We Need to Help Our Students Build Solid Online-Based Footprints
I used a tool called VideoScribe to create this piece. The video relays how important it is that our students have solid, sharp, online-based footprints.

 

We need to help our students build their own online-based footprints

 

 

We need to help our students build their own online-based footprints

 

 

 

We need to help our students build their own online-based footprints

 

 

 

 LinkedIn’s 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report

 

LinkedIn’s 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report — from economicgraph.linkedin.com

Excerpt:

Here’s what we found:

  • Tech is king: Jobs with the top growth potential are tech-focused, with demand coming from tech and non-tech companies alike. Machine learning engineer, data scientist, and big data engineers rank among the top emerging jobs — with companies in a wide range of industries seeking those skills.
  • Soft skills matter: Not all of the emerging tech jobs require technical skills. Sales development representative, customer success manager, and brand partner rank among the top emerging jobs at companies where a technical background is not a necessity. Traditional soft skills like communication and management underpin all of these emerging jobs.
  • Jobs with high mobility on the rise: Several top emerging jobs reflect broader societal trends, such as wellness, flexibility and location mobility. More people are getting healthy which could explain why barre instructor featured among our emerging jobs. Not quite as surprising, licensed realtors ranked highly as the post-Great Recession recovery of the real estate market rolls forward. Just in the past year, the number of licensed realtors has surged 40 percent. These type of roles tend to be more widely distributed across U.S. regions.
  • Low supply of talent for top jobs: Data scientist roles have grown over 650 percent since 2012, but currently 35,000 people in the US have data science skills, while hundreds of companies are hiring for those roles – even those you may not expect in sectors like retail and finance – supply of candidates for these roles cannot keep up with demand.
  • Future-proofing skills is critical: Some of these emerging skills didn’t even exist five years ago, and many professionals are not confident their current skill set will be relevant within the next 1-2 years.

 

top 20 fastest growing jobs in the united states

 

Software engineers are feeding into nearly all of these emerging jobs.

 

 

Even further, it’s estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately hold jobs that don’t yet exist.

 

 

Future-proofing skills is critical: Some of these emerging skills didn’t even exist five years ago, and many professionals are not confident their current skill set will be relevant within the next 1-2 years.

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

 

 

Innovating Pedagogy 2017 — from iet.open.ac.uk

Excerpt:

This series of reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation. This sixth report proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education. To produce it, a group of academics at the Institute of Educational Technology in The Open University collaborated with researchers from the Learning In a NetworKed Society (LINKS) Israeli Center of Research Excellence (I-CORE). We proposed a long list of new educational terms, theories, and practices. We then pared these down to ten that have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice, particularly in secondary and tertiary education. Lastly, we drew on published and unpublished writings to compile the ten sketches of new pedagogies that might transform education. These are summarised below in an approximate order of immediacy and timescale to widespread implementation.

 

 

 

Provosts, Pedagogy, and Digital Learning — from er.educause.edu by Kenneth Green, Charles Cook, Laura Niesen de Abruna and Patricia Rogers
Panel members from an EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference session offer insights about the role of provosts and chief academic officers in digital courseware deployment and the challenges of using technology to advance teaching, learning, and student success.

Excerpt:

At the EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference, Kenneth C. (Casey) Green moderated a panel discussion with two of the CAOs involved in the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) Digital Fellows Program and with the principal investigator on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant that created the year-long program. In this session, the three panel members offered their perspectives on campus IT investments, including what the panelists see as working—and what they see as missing—in instructional technology portfolios today.

 

 

Green: What about protection and support for faculty—especially young faculty? Often and disproportionately, younger faculty handle the heavy lifting for departments because, being younger, they’re supposed to “do the technology stuff.” Yet, when they do it—and I hear this at all types of institutions—they don’t get credit for the work in terms of review and promotion. The technology work doesn’t count, particularly at four-year colleges and research institutions.2 Young faculty are told: “Wait. Get tenured, get through the hurdle, get over the hump, then do it. Because this will not help your career—even if you’re being pressured to be the lead person on a digital learning initiative for your institution.”

 

 

Niesen de Abruna: …Now the CIO has to be a partner with the CAO. Their joint enterprise is to leverage learning in their community and to work together and translate things for one another, acting as partners in terms of trying to benefit from what’s happening in instructional design. It’s very exciting for CIOs and CAOs to have that sort of relationship.

 

 

Also see:

  • Insights from Campus Leaders on Current Challenges and Expectations of IT — from er.educause.edu by Kathryn Gates and Joan Cheverie
    IT’s role across a higher education institution is crucial, yet campus leaders typically understand IT challenges and opportunities based largely on their functional roles. Interviews with campus leaders offer insights into these views, as well as how to understand IT more broadly to better serve an institution’s mission.

 

 

 

As Pedagogy Changes, Learning Spaces Are Transforming Too — from thejournal.com by Dennis Pierce
The American architect Louis Sullivan coined the phrase “form follows function,” and this is true of classrooms as well.

Excerpt:

In Johnson’s classroom at H.D. Isenberg Elementary School in Salisbury, NC, students can choose from a variety of seating options. There are tables for students to collaborate in groups of four, as well as bar-style seating on taller stools and even a few couches where they can sit comfortably while they work or read independently. The school provided the tables, and Johnson supplied the rest of the furniture himself.

To teach his students about citizenship, Johnson operates his classroom like a community. “I call it the Johnsonville Learning Community,” he said.

His fourth- and fifth-grade students can earn currency by coming to class each day and successfully completing assignments, and they also hold various classroom jobs. “The students who keep the classroom clean are part of our janitorial service,” he explained. “The student who brings things to the office is our delivery service.” Students use part of their currency to pay “rent” each month, and that entitles them to sit where they want.

Johnson’s school system is a 1-to-1 district, and every student is given an iPad to take home. Much of his instruction is project-based, with students working in small groups on tasks using curriculum from sources such as Defined STEM. In one recent project, his students used 3D modeling software on their iPads to create a multi-touch book about the human body systems.

 

 

Johnson’s classroom is an example of how changes in both the design of the learning space and the teaching that takes place there have combined to making learning much more engaging and effective for students.

A growing body of research suggests that the design of a learning space can have a significant effect on student success. For instance, a study by researchers at the University of Salford in England found that classroom design can have a 25 percent impact, either positive or negative, on student achievement over the course of an academic year — with factors such as color, complexity, flexibility, lighting and student choice having the most influence.

 

 

From DSC:
I saw the word CHOICE (or some variant of it) mentioned several times in this article. That’s a helpful step in developing the kind of mindset that our students will need in the future. Making choices, thinking on their feet, being able to adapt and pivot, NOT looking to be spoon fed by anyone — because that’s likely not going to happen once they graduate.

 

 

 

 

 

When redesigning learning spaces, let the type of learning experiences you want to foster be your guide, Jakes advised. “Focus on experiences, not things,” he said. “This is not about furniture; it’s about the learning. What experiences do I want to create for students? Then, what design would support that?”

David Jakes

 

 

 

Ask About AI: The Future of Learning and Work — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpts:

Code that learns may prove to be the most important invention in human history. But in 2016, there was almost no discussion of the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) in K-12 education—either the immense implications for the employment landscape or the exciting potential to improve learning.

We spent two years studying the implications of AI and concluded that machine intelligence turbocharged by big data and enabling technologies like robotics is the most significant change force facing humanity. Given enormous benefits and challenges we’re just beginning to understand, we believe it is an important time to Ask About AI (#AskAboutAI).

After interviewing experts, hosting a dozen community conversations, and posting more than 50 articles we’re summarizing what we’ve learned in a new paper Ask About AI: The Future of Learning and Work.

The paper explores what’s happening in the automation economy, the civic and social implications, and how to prepare ourselves and our children for exponential change.

With this launch we’re also launching a new microsite on Future of Work.

 

 

 

 

To initiate lifelong learning, secondary schools should encourage students to be reflect on how they learn, and build habits of success. There are an increasing number of organizations interested in being lifelong learning partners for students—college alumni associations, professional schools and private marketplaces among them.

Self-directed learning is most powerfully driven by a sense of purpose. In our study of Millennial employment, Generation Do It Yourself, we learned that it is critical for young people to develop a sense of purpose before attending college to avoid the new worst-case scenario—racking up college debt and dropping out. A sense of purpose can be developed around a talent or issue, or their intersection; both can be cultivated by a robust guidance system.

We’ve been teaching digital literacy for two decades, but what’s new is that we all need to appreciate that algorithms curate every screen we see. As smart machines augment our capabilities, they will increasingly influence our perceptions, opportunities and decisions. That means that to self- and social awareness, we’ll soon need to add AI awareness.

Taken together, these skills and dispositions create a sense of agency—the ability to take ownership of learning, grow through effort and work with other people in order to do the learning you need to do.

 

 

 

 

A game to help students pay the right price for college — from nytimes.com by Ron Lieber

Excerpt:

In the last big economic downturn, back when Tim Ranzetta was in the student loan analysis and consulting business and working with colleges, borrowers often found their way to him, too.

There would be tears. And he would get off the phone with the same frustration each time over how little the people who actually use them know about student loans.

Starting this week, he has a new tool in what has become a yearslong campaign to fill that gap: a free, interactive, web-based game called Payback. In playing, students see running totals of their debt but can also track academic focus, the connections they’re making that could be useful later and their overall happiness — crucial factors in actually finishing college and graduating with a job that can help them repay their debt.

 

Also see:

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
Audrey Willis, with Circa Interactive, reminded me that next week is Computer Science Education Week. She wrote to me with the following additional resources:


 

As you may know, Computer Science Education Week starts next week on December 4. This week aims to raise awareness of the need to bolster computer science education around the world by encouraging teachers and students to host computer science events throughout the week. These events can include teacher-guided lesson plans, participating in the Hour of Code, watching computer science videos, or using your own resources to help inspire interest among students. It is for this reason that I wanted to share a few computer science resources with you that were just published by renowned universities. I believe these resources can provide K-12 students with valuable information about different career fields that an interest in computer science can lead to, from education and health information management, to electrical engineering.

Thanks in advance,
Audrey Willis
Circa Interactive

 

 

 

 

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