6 Free Tools for Evaluating Web Accessibility — from boia.org

Excerpt:

Can you evaluate your website’s accessibility on your own?

Not necessarily. To ensure conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), you’ll need to test your content regularly by using both manual and automated tools. Ideally, manual tests should be performed by human testers who have disabilities.

However, as you learn about the concepts of WCAG, you can use free tools to test your website for common barriers. If you’re a web designer or developer, online tools can be a vital resource as you incorporate the best practices of inclusive design.

Below, we’ll discuss six free tools that can help you make better design decisions.

 

Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards — from digitaltrends.com by Drew Prindle

Excerpt:

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most…

Samsung's Relumino Mode helps those with low vision

Also relevant/see:

 

The talent needed to adopt mobile AR in industry — from chieflearningofficer.com by Yao Huang Ph.D.

Excerpt:

Therefore, when adopting mobile AR to improve job performance, L&D professionals need to shift their mindset from offering training with AR alone to offering performance support with AR in the middle of the workflow.

The learning director from a supply chain industry pointed out that “70 percent of the information needed to build performance support systems already exists. The problem is it is all over the place and is available on different systems.”

It is the learning and development professional’s job to design a solution with the capability of the technology and present it in a way that most benefits the end users.

All participants revealed that mobile AR adoption in L&D is still new, but growing rapidly. L&D professionals face many opportunities and challenges. Understanding the benefits, challenges and opportunities of mobile AR used in the workplace is imperative.

A brief insert from DSC:
Augmented Reality (AR) is about to hit the mainstream in the next 1-3 years. It will connect the physical world with the digital world in powerful, helpful ways (and likely in negative ways as well). I think it will be far bigger and more commonly used than Virtual Reality (VR). (By the way, I’m also including Mixed Reality (MR) within the greater AR domain.) With Artificial Intelligence (AI) making strides in object recognition, AR could be huge.

Learning & Development groups should ask for funding soon — or develop proposals for future funding as the new hardware and software products mature — in order to upskill at least some members of their groups in the near future.

As within Teaching & Learning Centers within higher education, L&D groups need to practice what they preach — and be sure to train their own people as well.

 

From DSC:
I was watching a sermon the other day, and I’m always amazed when the pastor doesn’t need to read their notes (or hardly ever refers to them). And they can still do this in a much longer sermon too. Not me man.

It got me wondering about the idea of having a teleprompter on our future Augmented Reality (AR) glasses and/or on our Virtual Reality (VR) headsets.  Or perhaps such functionality will be provided on our mobile devices as well (i.e., our smartphones, tablets, laptops, other) via cloud-based applications.

One could see one’s presentation, sermon, main points for the meeting, what charges are being brought against the defendant, etc. and the system would know to scroll down as you said the words (via Natural Language Processing (NLP)).  If you went off script, the system would stop scrolling and you might need to scroll down manually or just begin where you left off.

For that matter, I suppose a faculty member could turn on and off a feed for an AI-based stream of content on where a topic is in the textbook. Or a CEO or University President could get prompted to refer to a particular section of the Strategic Plan. Hmmm…I don’t know…it might be too much cognitive load/overload…I’d have to try it out.

And/or perhaps this is a feature in our future videoconferencing applications.

But I just wanted to throw these ideas out there in case someone wanted to run with one or more of them.

Along these lines, see:

.

Is a teleprompter a feature in our future Augmented Reality (AR) glasses?

Is a teleprompter a feature in our future Augmented Reality (AR) glasses?

 

How to Do Screen Recording with Just Your Browser — from Hongkiat.com

Excerpt:

Do you know you can perform screen recording without using any native tool provided by your operating system or any 3rd party screen recording app?

Here’s an awesome screen recording tool by Google that you need to know about if you haven’t already. And all you need is your Google Chrome browser.

To start, go to the Google Admin Toolbox website and click on Screen Recorder.

Speaking of applications and tools, also see:

xrai.glass

 

Welcome To Day One Of #Appvent22 — from ictevangelist.com by Mark Anderson

What is Book Creator? Tips & Tricks — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Book Creator is a free tool that allows users to create multimedia ebooks

Excerpt:

Book Creator is a free education tool designed to enable students to engage with class material in a direct and active way by creating multimedia ebooks with a variety of functions.

 Available as a web app on Chromebooks, laptops, and tablets, and also as a standalone iPad app, Book Creator is a digital resource that helps students explore their creative sides while learning.

The tool lends itself well to active learning and collaborative projects of all kinds, and is appropriate for various subjects and age groups.

 

A bot that watched 70,000 hours of Minecraft could unlock AI’s next big thing — from technologyreview.com by Will Douglas Heaven
Online videos are a vast and untapped source of training data—and OpenAI says it has a new way to use it.

Excerpt:

OpenAI has built the best Minecraft-playing bot yet by making it watch 70,000 hours of video of people playing the popular computer game. It showcases a powerful new technique that could be used to train machines to carry out a wide range of tasks by binging on sites like YouTube, a vast and untapped source of training data.

The Minecraft AI learned to perform complicated sequences of keyboard and mouse clicks to complete tasks in the game, such as chopping down trees and crafting tools. It’s the first bot that can craft so-called diamond tools, a task that typically takes good human players 20 minutes of high-speed clicking—or around 24,000 actions.

The result is a breakthrough for a technique known as imitation learning, in which neural networks are trained to perform tasks by watching humans do them.

The team’s approach, called Video Pre-Training (VPT), gets around the bottleneck in imitation learning by training another neural network to label videos automatically.

Speak lands investment from OpenAI to expand its language learning platform — from techcrunch.com by Kyle Wiggers

Excerpts:

“Most language learning software can help with the beginning part of learning basic vocabulary and grammar, but gaining any degree of fluency requires speaking out loud in an interactive environment,” Zwick told TechCrunch in an email interview. “To date, the only way people can get that sort of practice is through human tutors, which can also be expensive, difficult and intimidating.”

Speak’s solution is a collection of interactive speaking experiences that allow learners to practice conversing in English. Through the platform, users can hold open-ended conversations with an “AI tutor” on a range of topics while receiving feedback on their pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

It’s one of the top education apps in Korea on the iOS App Store, with over 15 million lessons started annually, 100,000 active subscribers and “double-digit million” annual recurring revenue.

 

 

Is AI Generated Art Really Coming for Your Job? — from edugeekjournal.com by Matt Crosslin

Excerpt:

So, is this a cool development that will become a fun tool for many of us to play around with in the future? Sure. Will people use this in their work? Possibly. Will it disrupt artists across the board? Unlikely. There might be a few places where really generic artwork is the norm and the people that were paid very little to crank them out will be paid very little to input prompts. Look, PhotoShop and asset libraries made creating company logos very, very easy a long time ago. But people still don’t want to take the 30 minutes it takes to put one together, because thinking through all the options is not their thing. You still have to think through those options to enter an AI prompt. And people just want to leave that part to the artists. The same thing was true about the printing press. Hundreds of years of innovation has taught us that the hard part of the creation of art is the human coming up with the ideas, not the tools that create the art.

A quick comment from DSC:
Possibly, at least in some cases. But I’ve seen enough home-grown, poorly-designed graphics and logos to make me wonder if that will be the case.

 

How to Teach With Deep Fake Technology — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Despite the scary headlines, deep fake technology can be a powerful teaching tool

Excerpt:

The very concept of teaching with deep fake technology may be unsettling to some. After all, deep fake technology, which utilizes AI and machine learning and can alter videos and animate photographs in a manner that appears realistic, has frequently been covered in a negative light. The technology can be used to violate privacy and create fake videos of real people.

However, while these potential abuses of the technology are real and concerning that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to the technology’s potential when using it responsibly, says Jaime Donally, a well-known immersive learning expert.

From DSC:
I’m still not sure about this one…but I’ll try to be open to the possibilities here.

 

Educators Are Taking Action in AI Education to Make Future-Ready Communities — from edsurge.com by Annie Ning

Excerpt:

AI Explorations and Their Practical Use in School Environments is an ISTE initiative funded by General Motors. The program provides professional learning opportunities for educators, with the goal of preparing all students for careers with AI.

Recently, we spoke with three more participants of the AI Explorations program to learn about its ongoing impact in K-12 classrooms. Here, they share how the program is helping their districts implement AI curriculum with an eye toward equity in the classroom.

 

Stealth Legal AI Startup Harvey Raises $5M in Round Led By OpenAI — from lawnext.com by Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A hitherto stealth legal AI startup emerged from the shadows today with news via TechCrunch that it has raised $5 million in funding led by the startup fund of OpenAI, the company that developed advanced neural network AI systems such as GPT-3 and DALL-E 2.

The startup, called Harvey, will build on the GPT-3 technology to enable lawyers to create legal documents or perform legal research by providing simple instructions using natural language.

The company was founded by Winston Weinberg, formerly an associate at law firm O’Melveny & Myers, and Gabriel Pereyra, formerly a research scientist at DeepMind and most recently a machine learning engineer at Meta AI.

 

Our mission is to empower people with disabilities to live their best life! We do this by showcasing adaptive products.

The product categories out at allaccesslife.org

 


Addendum on 11/14/22:

clusiv.io — as mentioned at The Accelerator at WGU Labs Invests in Platform for the Blind or Visually Impaired

Clusiv is an online learning platform for the blind and visually impaired that teaches occupational training, technology skills, and educational courses to empower employment. We help remove barriers to successful employment by teaching the skills you need to be equipped for the modern workforce.


 

How AI will change Education: Part I | Transcend Newsletter #59 — from transcend.substack.com by Alberto Arenaza; with thanks to GSV’s Big 10 for this resource

Excerpt:

You’ve likely been reading for the last few minutes my arguments for why AI is going to change education. You may agree with some points, disagree with others…

Only, those were not my words.

An AI has written every single word in this essay up until here.

The only thing I wrote myself was the first sentence: Artificial Intelligence is going to revolutionize education. The images too, everything was generated by AI.

 

 

Assistive Technology for Kids with Multiple Disabilities — from equalentry.com

Help Kids Learn dot com -- online learning for special education -- uses assistive technologies

 

Lego Owner to Acquire Education-Technology Firm Brainpop — from nytimes.com by Trefor Moss
Kirkbi, the family-run company behind the world’s largest toy maker, plans to establish an education business

Excerpt:

Lego owner Kirkbi A/S is buying U.S. video-learning firm Brainpop for $875 million, according to the companies, as the family behind the world’s largest toy maker expands into the education business.

The Danish company said the purchase of Brainpop, which produces short animations used in schools to help children learn everything from math to music, was part of a plan to build a new business pillar. The deal—through which Kirkbi is acquiring Brainpop’s owner FWD Media Inc.—is expected to close Tuesday, the companies said.

“We are definitely on the path to establishing the Lego idea of learning through play in the formal education space,” said Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, executive chairman of the Lego Brand Group, the Kirkbi entity that oversees the toy brand.

 

What might the ramifications be for text-to-everything? [Christian]

From DSC:

  • We can now type in text to get graphics and artwork.
  • We can now type in text to get videos.
  • There are several tools to give us transcripts of what was said during a presentation.
  • We can search videos for spoken words and/or for words listed within slides within a presentation.

Allie Miller’s posting on LinkedIn (see below) pointed these things out as well — along with several other things.



This raises some ideas/questions for me:

  • What might the ramifications be in our learning ecosystems for these types of functionalities? What affordances are forthcoming? For example, a teacher, professor, or trainer could quickly produce several types of media from the same presentation.
  • What’s said in a videoconference or a webinar can already be captured, translated, and transcribed.
  • Or what’s said in a virtual courtroom, or in a telehealth-based appointment. Or perhaps, what we currently think of as a smart/connected TV will give us these functionalities as well.
  • How might this type of thing impact storytelling?
  • Will this help someone who prefers to soak in information via the spoken word, or via a podcast, or via a video?
  • What does this mean for Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and/or Virtual Reality (VR) types of devices?
  • Will this kind of thing be standard in the next version of the Internet (Web3)?
  • Will this help people with special needs — and way beyond accessibility-related needs?
  • Will data be next (instead of typing in text)?

Hmmm….interesting times ahead.

 

2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience — from library.educause.edu by Jenay Robert

2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience

Excerpt:

In this report, we describe the findings of the survey in four key areas:

Key Findings

  • Educational technology impacts student wellness.
  • Physical campus spaces continue to play an important role in students’ access to education.
  • The online versus face-to-face dichotomy is being disrupted.
  • Device access is not a simple issue when examined through an equity lens.
  • Assistive technology can help all students.
  • Students are whole people with complex learning needs and goals.
 

Why text-to-speech tools might have a place in your classroom with Dr. Kirsten Kohlmeyer – Easy TeTech Podcast 183 — from classtechtips.com by Monica Burns

Excerpt:

In this episode, Assistive Technology Director, Dr. Kirsten Kohlmeyer, joins to discuss the power of accessibility and text-to-speech tools in classroom environments. You’ll also hear plenty of digital resources to check out for text-to-speech options, audiobooks, and more!

Assistive tools can provide:

  • Text-to-speech
  • Definitions/vocabularies
  • Ability to level the Lexile level of a reading
  • Capability to declutter a website
  • More chances to read to learn something new
  • and more

Speaking of tools, also see:

 

8 Ways to Use QR Codes in Higher Education Classrooms — from er.educause.edu by Tolulope (Tolu) Noah

Excerpt:

QR codes open up a world of possibility in the higher education setting. They provide a quick and easy way for students to access instructional materials, and they complement the design of more interactive and engaging learning experiences.

From DSC:
QR codes can bridge the physical world with the digital world — which is something about to take an exponential leap as more AR and MR-based hardware and software solutions hit the marketplace in the near future.

 

Here Are Some Dos And Don’ts Of Disability Language — from forbes.com by Andrew Pulrang

Excerpt:

Is there a way for anyone to navigate disability language clearly, safely, and respectfully?

Obviously, it’s impossible to satisfy everyone. But that doesn’t mean there are no useful guidelines. Here are a few tips to sort through the competing schools of thought on disability language, and ride the various waves of popularity and revision that disability language goes through.

1. Recognize obviously insulting terms and stop using or tolerating them.
2. Aim to be factual, descriptive, and simple, not condescending, sentimental, or awkward.
3. Respect disabled people’s actual language preferences.

Disability Language Style Guide — from National Center on Disaplity and Journalism (ncdj.org)

Disability and Health Overview  — from cdc.gov

Research Center | ALICE in focus studies:
Financial Hardship Among People With Disabilities

Excerpt:

According to the outdated Federal Poverty Level, 18% of people with disabilities in the U.S. lived in poverty in 2019. Yet United For ALICE data shows that another 34% were also struggling, in households that earned above the FPL but less than what it costs to afford the basics. These households are ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

Disability & Socioeconomic Status — from the American Psychological Association (apa.org)

Excerpt:

Socioeconomic status (SES) encompasses not just income but also educational attainment, financial security, and subjective perceptions of social status and social class. Socioeconomic status can encompass quality of life attributes as well as the opportunities and privileges afforded to people within society. Poverty, specifically, is not a single factor but rather is characterized by multiple physical and psychosocial stressors. Further, SES is a consistent and reliable predictor of a vast array of outcomes across the life span, including physical and psychological health. Thus, SES is relevant to all realms of behavioral and social science, including research, practice, education and advocacy.

Those with Disabilities Earn 37% Less on Average; Gap is Even Wider in Some States — air.org

Subminimum Wage and Sheltered Workshops — from United Way of South Central Michigan

Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 as part of the New Deal; one of the Act’s provisions, Section 14 (c), grants special certificates allowing for the employment of workers with disabilities below the federal minimum wage.

Many employers operating under 14(c) have historically employed people with disabilities in segregated work centers commonly referred to as sheltered workshops. This creates a situation where the employer profits from paying sub-minimum wages to their employees with disabilities. Some states have prohibited the practice of subminimum wages and sheltered workshops altogether; however as of 2020, 46 states and the District of Columbia continue to allow 14(c) certificates. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights revealed that in 2017 and 2018, the average wage of a person with a disability working under a 14(c) certificate was $3.34 per hour and the average number of hours worked was 16 hours per week, making the average wage just $53.44 per week.

Employment First is a state and national movement to help individuals with disabilities realize their fullest employment potential through the achievement of individual, competitive, and integrated employment outcomes. Employment First in Michigan has established guidelines to help move the state to community-based and integrated employment by using executive orders and passing legislation.

 

‘It’s a mess and I’ve never seen anything like it’: global lost luggage crisis mounts — from theguardian.com by Mattha Busby

From DSC:
After seeing the above article, I wondered:

  • How might the future #AR glasses help with this situation?
  • Could such devices help the relevant employees automatically scan each bar code for where to route (or not) the luggage? (As I’m sure is already happening in many situations that occur away from what’s occurring on the tarmac.)

Will AR glasses be used for such training-related applications in the future?  For such logistical applications? Hmmm…time will tell.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian