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‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death’
[a] or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
 Then he said,
“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

From DSC:
Our dad, in his younger days, used to sing a song with Revelation Verse 21:4 in it. It was a beautiful piece that he had recorded years ago. That recording recently resurfaced, and our family is glad that we located it again. (Our dad sang quite a bit throughout his lifetime, and still likes to recall/sing some tunes. He and our mom met in college, both studying within the School of Music.)

Music was a big part of our family -- my dad used to sing quite a bit. He had a beautiful voice!


Anyway, that song will likely be played at one or more of the funerals within our family in the near future. Any day now we could get “that call.” Or, if we’re lucky enough, we’ll be able to be present with him when he passes away (though Covid19 is making that very difficult these days). 

Add to these experiences the recent loss of a dear, lifelong friend to cancer — and I’ve once again been reminded of the brevity of our lives. These reflections bring a couple more verses to my mind…


From DSC:

If you doubt that last sentiment/lesson, watch a different version of this song, from a present-day recording.

Our lives move quickly. Carpe Diem!


Time flies. So as our mom would say, “Carpe Diem!”
(i.e., “Seize the day!”)

 

Today’s awkward Zoom classes could bring a new era of higher education — from edsurge.com by Debra Spar

Excerpt:

Indeed, the forced march to Zoom has also forced colleges and universities to wrestle at last with the incipient promise of educational technologies; with the power that was evident, if not yet realized, in the early MOOCs. Much of that power has to do with scale–the ability to take a single course, even a single lecture, and share it across a vast universe of learners. But some also comes from the strange intimacy of the small screen, and from the possibilities of collapsing both time and space.

Office hours, for instance, migrate easily. Bringing in guest speakers works remarkably well, allowing faculty to introduce a wide range of voices into their classroom conversations. On the screen, everyone can see and hear and participate. 

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room

 

From DSC:
Yet another example of the changes occurring in the learning ecosystems out there.

COVID-19 Fuels Big Enrollment Increases in Virtual Schools — from edweek.org by Mark Lieberman

Excerpt:

Florida Virtual School’s enrollment is up 54 percent year over year for its individual online course offerings and 64 percent for full-time programs. Public schools’ online programs managed by the for-profit provider K12 Inc. have grown from 122,000 enrollments in fall 2019 to 170,000 a year later. Applications to Connections Academy, a virtual school provider owned by Pearson, are up 61 percent.

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School filled up months before it usually starts receiving the bulk of new applicants. An Oklahoma virtual charter school earlier this summer was enrolling 1,000 students a day. Enrollment in virtual schools is also up in ConnecticutOhio, and Wisconsin.

 

From DSC:
For those folks looking for work, the article below relays some solid advice/tips to get you past the Applicant Tracking Systems out there. The last time I was searching for a position, I had no idea how prevalent these systems are out there. To quote from the article:

Because of the sheer volume, 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to manage each step of the hiring process. 

If you haven’t looked for a job in a while, this will blow you away. To get your resume in front of an actual human being is a major accomplishment.

5 secrets to get you past the résumé-reading robots — from fastcompany.com by
Before your résumé gets to a recruiter, it’s read by an AI-driven Applicant Tracking System. A human resources exec advises how you can beat the robot.

 


From DSC:
…and by the way, this is very much relevant for faculty members and staff members out there. Consider this quote from Debora Spar, senior associate dean of Harvard Business School Online:

Many colleges and universities will suffer extreme financial stress; some – up to 345 colleges, according to one recent estimate – could be forced to close. Faculty are likely to face layoffs unprecedented in the history of U.S. higher education.


 

The Fastest, Most Scalable Path to Work-Readiness for College Students — from evolllution.com by Brandon Busteed

Excerpts:

A credegree is a portmanteau of the words credential and degree. Its purpose is simple and clear: to enable students to graduate with both a bachelor’s degree and a highly valued industry-recognized credential.

To be both broadly educated and specifically skilled is a graduate’s ideal outcome.

 

 

From DSC:
The perfect storm continues to build against traditional institutions of higher education. The backlash continues to build strength. And there WILL BE change — there’s no choice now. Alternatives to these traditional institutions of higher education continue to appear on the scene.

Over the last several decades, traditional institutions of higher education had the chance to step in and do something. They didn’t take nearly enough action. As in other industries, these days of the Coronavirus just hasten the changes that were already afoot. 

Also see:

  • Alternative Credentials on the Rise — from insidehighered.com by Paul Fain, with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
    Interest is growing in short-term, online credentials amid the pandemic. Will they become viable alternative pathways to well-paying jobs?
 

The new workplace -- August 2020

 

“……hotels and restaurants, in the absence of their traditional clientele, are repurposing their spaces as rentable offices.”

Emily Safian-Demers (source)

 

Moody’s: Coronavirus is accelerating shift to online education — from educationdive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Dive Brief:

  • The pandemic will hasten a transformation of higher education business models, according to a new Moody’s Investors Service report.
  • The crisis will accelerate many colleges’ plans to grow their online footprints, though not all schools have the resources to invest in digital infrastructure, the report notes. They will also likely expand non-degree and certificate programs.
  • Analysts predict that once the pandemic subsides, some colleges will struggle if they haven’t established a strong online presence.

“Some universities previously resistant to change will have to take more expansive steps to adapt to this transformation,” Pranav Sharma, assistant vice president at Moody’s, said in a statement. “Not all universities, however, have the resources or culture to move quickly and the coronavirus will expedite existential threats for some.”

Also see:

Active Learning while Physically Distant — from blogs.acu.edu

Excerpt:

  • Use a Google Form as an entrance or exit ticket. Upon entering class, a quick google form can engage students with a couple of quick questions. A google form as an exit ticket can provide good insight into student learning that day.
 

Alternative Credentials, Scaled Degrees, and the New Higher Ed Matthew Effect — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kim
The potential impact of elite-branded affordable online certificates and degrees on regionally-branded tuition-dependent colleges and universities.

Excerpt:

I pulled those quotes from the 8/10/20 IHE article At Home, Workers Seek Alternative Credentials. Given the crazy times, I’m not sure if that article is getting the attention across higher ed that it deserves. Everyone is entirely focused on the near-term challenges of academic continuity during the pandemic. And that is the right place to be focusing. You can’t plan for the long-term when the short-term is so unstable.

But today, I’m going to ask you to do just that. If you can, step back from thinking about COVID-19 and what is happening to your school in the fall, and give some thought to the medium-to-long-term impact of the rise of alternative credentials and scaled degrees to your institution.

First, let me ask you a question. How does your school balance its books? Where does the money come from?

 

From edsurge.com today:

THOROUGHLY MODERN MEDIA: This spring, a college theater course about women’s voting rights aimed to produce a new play about the suffrage struggle. When the pandemic scuttled those plans, professors devised a new way to share suffragist stories by creating an interactive, online performance set in a virtual Victorian mansion. And their students were not the only ones exploring women’s voting rights as the country marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

…which linked to:

The Pandemic Made Their Women’s Suffrage Play Impossible. But the Show Went on— Virtually — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

Then the pandemic hit. Students left Radford and Virginia Tech. Live theater was canceled.

But the class wasn’t.

“Neither of us ever said, ‘Forget it,’” Hood says. “Our students, they all wanted to know, ‘What are we doing?’ We came to them with this insane idea.”

They would create an interactive, online production staged in a virtual Victorian mansion.

“Stage performance is different than film or audio. If you just have audio, you only have your voice. Clarity, landing sentences, really paying attention to the structure of a sentence, becomes important,” Nelson says. “Students got a broader sense of the skills and approaches to different mediums—a crash course.”

 

From DSC:
Talk about opportunities for interdisciplinary learning/projects!!!  Playwrights, directors, actors/actresses, set designers, graphic designers, fine artists, web designers and developers, interactivity/interface designers, audio designers, video editors, 3D animators, and more!!!

 

The performance website, “Women and the Vote,” premiered on May 18, 2020

 

#lifelonglearning #stayingrelevant #reinvent #learning #surviving

 

Speaking of career-related items…also see the powerful commentary out at:

From DSC:
That article reminded me that there are a variety of people working on the “front lines” of this pandemic. 

 

Using the TV as a key tool in our learning ecosystems

From DSC:

  • If one doesn’t have access to the Internet, a computer, or any such mobile technology as seen in the image above…could TV become the medium through which one could be educated during this next year of the Coronavirus situation? That is, until we can develop better and more equitable policies, plans, funding, systems, infrastructures, and connectivity for all students!
  • After that, could we see more televisions morph into smart/connected TVs?
  • Could PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and other major networks collaborate with the U.S. Department of Education to help us educate all students? 
  • Could the largest internet company of 2030 be an online school as Thomas Frey predicts?

A few years ago, I had hoped that Apple was going to go all-in with their tvOS platform.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 9: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the New Apple TV during a Special Event; 9/9/15.

 

Though it’s still early in the game, that really hasn’t happened to the extent that I had hoped. That said, more recently, I was encouraged to see this article from back in July:

LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND LOUISIANA PUBLIC BROADCASTING TO TELEVISE HIGH-QUALITY MATH INSTRUCTION THIS SUMMER

 



 

Let’s ask the employees of PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and other networks if they would be willing to work with the U.S. Department of Education to help educate ALL students! Though educational TV is not new, I’m talking about taking things to a *whole* new level.

With that in mind, I created the following graphic:

Let's use television to minimize the learning gaps that will otherwise be experienced by many students this next year!

(One might ask why I used an old television in the above graphic. I was trying to get at the idea that one might not have a lot of resources to work with.)

 

Back-to-School Help for Students Without Internet — from by James K. Willcox
For millions of families, broadband access is a challenge. These resources can help bridge that digital divide.

Excerpt:

“If it wasn’t glaringly clear before, the pandemic has confirmed the vital importance of a broadband internet connection—one that is reliable, affordable, and in some cases, simply available,” says Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel in Consumers Reports’ Washington, D.C., office. “Unfortunately, far too many Americans lack access or are unable to afford broadband.”

A new state-by-state report on America’s K-12 students by Common Sense and Boston Consulting finds that almost 16 million students and 10 percent of teachers lack adequate internet or computing devices at home. Minority households are among the most affected. Though 18 percent of white homes lack broadband, the figure rises to 26 percent for Latinx homes and 30 percent for Black homes. The percentage is even higher among Native American households.

From DSC:
Though this solid article lists some very helpful resources, we have to do much better than this as a nation! It’s not right. 

My thanks to James McQueen for this resource.

 

The novel coronavirus is not a statistic. It’s not an agenda. It’s not a debate. COVID-19 is real enough to rise up and beat me senseless. We need to stop giving it license to do the same to others.

[Bill Plaschke]

 

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