Why children with disabilities are missing school and losing skills — from npr.org by Cory Turner

The fact that a district could struggle so mightily with special education staffing that students are missing school – that’s not just a Del Norte problem. A recent federal survey of school districts across the U.S. found special education jobs were among the hardest to staff – and vacancies were widespread. But what’s happening in Del Norte is extreme. Which is why the Lenovers and five other families are suing the school district, as well as state education leadership, with help from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

The district sits hidden away like a secret between Oregon, the frigid Pacific and some of the largest redwood trees in the world. It’s too isolated and the pay is not competitive enough, Harris says, to attract workers from outside Del Norte. Locally, these aides – like the one Emma requires – earn about as much as they would working at McDonald’s.

 

From DSC:
My wife does a lot of work with foster families and CASA kids, and she recommends these resources for helping children who have experienced adversity, early harm, toxic stress, and/or trauma. 


TBRI: Trust Based Relational Intervention — from child.tcu.edu by Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development

TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection.

The Connected Child by Karen Purvis

The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions, though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family–and addressing their special needs–requires care, consideration, and compassion. Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child will help you:

  • Build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child
  • Effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders
  • Discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened
 

The State of the American High School in 2024 — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Over the past 120 days, we’ve conducted tours of over 50 high schools in more than 1,000 classrooms across various cities including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Northern Colorado, Kansas City, Twin Cities, Pittsburgh, and San Diego. These schools were purposefully selected for their dedication to real world learning, positioning them at the forefront of innovative education. These visits showed schools leading the way into new pathways, active learning methods, and work-based learning initiatives. From our observations at these leading schools, we’ve identified 8 key insights about the state of American high schools.


We are on the brink of a significant transformation in how education qualifications are perceived and valued, thanks to a strategic move by ETS to make Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) a subsidiary. This pivotal development marks a shift from traditional metrics of educational success—courses and grades—to a more nuanced representation of student abilities through skills transcripts.

The partnership between ETS and MTC is not just a merger of organizations, but a fusion of visions that aim to recalibrate educational assessment. The collaboration is set to advance “Skills for the Future,” focusing on authentic, dynamic assessment methods that provide clear, actionable insights into student capabilities. This shift away from the century-old Carnegie Unit model, which measures educational attainment by time rather than skill mastery, aims to foster learning environments that prioritize personal growth over time spent in a classroom.

As we move forward, this approach could redefine success in education, making learning experiences more adaptive, equitable, and aligned with the demands of the modern world.

See:
Skills Transcripts at Scale: Why The ETS & MTC Partnership is a Big Deal — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • One of the core problems is that education is based on time rather than learning.
  • We finally have a chance to move courses and grades into the background and foreground powerful personalized learning experiences and capture and communicate the resulting capabilities in much more descriptive ways—and do it at scale

How to Help Older Students Who Struggle to Read — from nataliewexler.substack.com by Natalie Wexler
Many students above third grade need help deciphering words with multiple syllables

Kockler hypothesizes that the reading struggles of many older students are due in large part to two issues. One has to do with “linguistic difference.” If a child’s family and community speak a variant of English that differs from the kind generally used in books and by teachers—for example, African-American English—it could be harder for them to decode words and connect those words to their meanings.

The Decoding Threshold
The other issue has to do with difficulties in decoding multisyllabic words. Kockler points to a couple of large-scale research studies that have identified a “decoding threshold.”

In theory, students’ reading comprehension ability should improve as they advance to higher grade levels—and it often does. But the researchers found that if students are above fourth grade—past the point where they’re likely to get decoding instruction—and their decoding ability is below a certain level, they’re “extremely unlikely [to] make significant progress in reading comprehension in the following years.” The studies, which were conducted in a high-poverty, largely African-American district, found that almost 40% of fifth-graders and 20% of tenth-graders included in the sample fell below the decoding threshold.


What Is Doxxing, and How Can Educators Protect Their Privacy Online? — from edweek.org by Sarah D. Sparks

The education profession relies on teachers being accessible to their students and families and open to sharing with colleagues. But a little information can be a dangerous thing.


 

 

Hello GPT-4o — from openai.com
We’re announcing GPT-4o, our new flagship model that can reason across audio, vision, and text in real time.

GPT-4o (“o” for “omni”) is a step towards much more natural human-computer interaction—it accepts as input any combination of text, audio, image, and video and generates any combination of text, audio, and image outputs. It can respond to audio inputs in as little as 232 milliseconds, with an average of 320 milliseconds, which is similar to human response time in a conversation. It matches GPT-4 Turbo performance on text in English and code, with significant improvement on text in non-English languages, while also being much faster and 50% cheaper in the API. GPT-4o is especially better at vision and audio understanding compared to existing models.

Example topics covered here:

  • Two GPT-4os interacting and singing
  • Languages/translation
  • Personalized math tutor
  • Meeting AI
  • Harmonizing and creating music
  • Providing inflection, emotions, and a human-like voice
  • Understanding what the camera is looking at and integrating it into the AI’s responses
  • Providing customer service

With GPT-4o, we trained a single new model end-to-end across text, vision, and audio, meaning that all inputs and outputs are processed by the same neural network. Because GPT-4o is our first model combining all of these modalities, we are still just scratching the surface of exploring what the model can do and its limitations.





From DSC:
I like the assistive tech angle here:





 

 

Learning to Work, Or Working to Learn? — from insidehighered.com by Erin Crisp; via Melanie Booth, Ed.D. on LinkedIn
We need a systems approach to making work-to-learn models just as accessible as traditional learn-to-work pathways, Erin Crisp writes.

Over the past two years, I have had the unique experience of scaling support for a statewide registered teacher-apprenticeship program while also parenting three college-aged sons. The declining appeal of postsecondary education, especially among young men, is evident at my dinner table, in my office, and in my dreams (literally).

Scaling a statewide apprenticeship program for the preparation of teachers has meant that I am consistently hearing from four stakeholder groups—K-12 school district leaders, college and university leaders, aspiring young educators, and local workforce development leaders.

A theme has emerged from my professional life, one that echoes the dinner table conversations happening in my personal life: Society needs systematic work-to-learn pathways in addition to the current learn-to-work ecosystem. This is not an either/or. What we need is a systematic expansion of effort.

In a work-to-learn model, the traditional college sequence is flipped. Instead of starting with general education coursework or survey courses, the working learner is actively engaged in practicing the skills they are interested in acquiring. A workplace supervisor often helps him make connections between the coursework and the job. The learner’s attention is piqued. The learning is relevant. The learner gains confidence, and seeing their influence in the workplace (and paycheck) is satisfying. All of the ARCS model elements are easily achieved.

 

Learning On Purpose | What problem do you want to solve? — from michelleweise.substack.com by Dr. Michelle R. Weise

I quickly decided to take a different tack with my students, and instead asked each of them, “What problem in the world do you think you want to solve? If you could go to a school of hunger, poverty, Alzheimer’s disease, mental health … what kind of school would you want to attend?” This is when they started nodding vigorously.

What each of them identified was a grand challenge, or what Stanford d.school Executive Director Sarah Stein Greenberg has called: purpose learning. In a great talk for Wired, Greenberg asks,

What if students declared missions not majors? Or even better, what if they applied to the School of Hunger or the School of Renewable Energy? These are real problems that society doesn’t have answers to yet. Wouldn’t that fuel their studies with some degree of urgency and meaning and real purpose that they don’t yet have today?

 

Are Colleges Ready For an Online-Education World Without OPMs? — from edsurge.com by Robert Ubell (Columnist)
Online Program Management companies have helped hundreds of colleges build online degree programs, but the sector is showing signs of strain.

For more than 15 years, a group of companies known as Online Program Management providers, or OPMs, have been helping colleges build online degree programs. And most of them have relied on an unusual arrangement — where the companies put up the financial backing to help colleges launch programs in exchange for a large portion of tuition revenue.

As a longtime administrator of online programs at colleges, I have mixed feelings about the idea of shutting down the model. And the question boils down to this: Are colleges ready for a world without OPMs?


Guy Raz on Podcasts and Passion: Audio’s Ability to Spark Learning — from michaelbhorn.substack.com by Michael B. Horn

This conversation went in a bunch of unexpected directions. And that’s what’s so fun about it. After all, podcasting is all about bringing audio back and turning learning into leisure. And the question Guy and his partner Mindy Thomas asked a while back was: Why not bring kids in on the fun? Guy shared how his studio, Tinkercast, is leveraging the medium to inspire and educate the next generation of problem solvers.

We discussed the power of audio to capture curiosities and foster imagination, how Tinkercast is doing that in and out of the classroom, and how it can help re-engage students in building needed skills at a critical time. Enjoy!



April 2024 Job Cuts Announced by US-Based Companies Fall; More Cuts Attributed to TX DEI Law, AI in April — from challengergray.com

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Education
Companies in the Education industry, which includes schools and universities, cut the second-most jobs last month with 8,092 for a total of 17,892. That is a 635% increase from the 2,435 cuts announced during the first four months of 2023.

“April is typically the time school districts are hiring and setting budgets for the next fiscal year. Certainly, there are budgetary constraints, as labor costs rise, but school systems also have a retention and recruitment issue,” said Challenger.


Lifetime college returns differ significantly by major, research finds — from highereddive.com by Lilah Burke
Engineering and computer science showed the best return out of 10 fields of study that were examined.

Dive Brief:

  • The lifetime rate of return for a college education differs significantly by major, but it also varies by a student’s gender and race or ethnicity, according to new peer-reviewed research published in the American Educational Research Journal.
  • A bachelor’s degree in general provides a roughly 9% rate of return for men, and nearly 10% for women, researchers concluded. The majors with the best returns were computer science and engineering.
  • Black, Hispanic and Asian college graduates had slightly higher rates of return than their White counterparts, the study found.
 

Are two teachers better than one? More schools say yes to team teaching — from hechingerreport.org by Neal Morton
Early research shows it cuts turnover and improves teachers’ job satisfaction

The model, known as team teaching, isn’t new. It dates back to the 1960s. But Arizona State University resurrected the approach, in which teachers share large groups of students, as a way to rebrand the teaching profession and make it more appealing to prospective educators.

In Mesa, teachers working on a team leave their profession at lower rates, receive higher evaluations and are more likely to recommend teaching to a friend.

Early research also indicates students assigned to educator teams made more growth in reading and passed Algebra I at higher rates than their peers.


Question: What Early Advice Had a Lasting Impact on Your Teaching? — from edutopia.org
Share the pivotal advice that shaped your teaching and learn from others in our community.


What Districts With the Worst Attendance Have in Common — from edweek.org by Sarah D. Sparks

It is tough to bring students back to the classroom once chronic absenteeism rates begin to climb. As more districts struggle with historically high absenteeism, new research suggests they may need a more systemic approach to reengaging students.

A new working paper on Michigan schools released by the Annenberg Center found most school districts with severe attendance problems did not directly address absenteeism when planning school improvement strategies. Among those that did focus on improving attendance, few coordinated their interventions across schools and aligned interventions to combat the specific barriers keeping students from school.

“If you think about the reasons that families are missing school, informing families about their children’s attendance is certainly important, but it’s not like the primary driver of absenteeism,” Singer said, “so there’s a disconnect.”


3 Strategies for Successfully Starting Your Career as a School Leader — from edutopia.org by Alexandra Auriemma
An assistant principal near the end of her second year in the job shares her advice for those moving into leadership roles.

However, I’ve learned that effective leadership isn’t about having all of the answers; it’s about knowing which questions to ask. Effective leaders listen deeply and ask questions that shape people’s thinking, moving the organization from where it is to where it needs to go. 


Building Better Schools: The art of leading change in education — from gettingsmart.com by Tyler Thigpen

Today’s K12 students are spending the vast majority of their time in classrooms listening to answers to questions they did not ask and following rules they did not have a hand in making. Given that this dynamic goes on for years, what is it doing to students’ minds and spirits? To their agency and empowerment? Are we unintentionally graduating dependent young adults?

But what if the opposite were true? What if schools empowered children to flourish? What if schools were the places where they could explore, identify, express, and develop their thoughts, feelings, and goals? There’s power in the uniqueness of every child. It’s time that school designs honor students’ unique calling, preferences, and goals, and encourage them to pursue those. It’s time to move fully into a new era for learning where learners can develop greater self-leadership than ever before.

 

 

 

The Verge | What’s Next With AI | February 2024 | Consumer Survey

 

 

 

 

 

 




Microsoft AI creates talking deepfakes from single photo — from inavateonthenet.net


The Great Hall – where now with AI? It is not ‘Human Connection V Innovative Technology’ but ‘Human Connection + Innovative Technology’ — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark

The theme of the day was Human Connection V Innovative Technology. I see this a lot at conferences, setting up the human connection (social) against the machine (AI). I think this is ALL wrong. It is, and has always been a dialectic, human connection (social) PLUS the machine. Everyone had a smartphone, most use it for work, comms and social media. The binary between human and tech has long disappeared. 


Techno-Social Engineering: Why the Future May Not Be Human, TikTok’s Powerful ForYou Algorithm, & More — from by Misha Da Vinci

Things to consider as you dive into this edition:

  • As we increasingly depend on technology, how is it changing us?
  • In the interaction between humans and technology, who is adapting to whom?
  • Is the technology being built for humans, or are we being changed to fit into tech systems?
  • As time passes, will we become more like robots or the AI models we use?
  • Over the next 30 years, as we increasingly interact with technology, who or what will we become?

 

Description:

I recently created an AI version of myself—REID AI—and recorded a Q&A to see how this digital twin might challenge me in new ways. The video avatar is generated by Hour One, its voice was created by Eleven Labs, and its persona—the way that REID AI formulates responses—is generated from a custom chatbot built on GPT-4 that was trained on my books, speeches, podcasts and other content that I’ve produced over the last few decades. I decided to interview it to test its capability and how closely its responses match—and test—my thinking. Then, REID AI asked me some questions on AI and technology. I thought I would hate this, but I’ve actually ended up finding the whole experience interesting and thought-provoking.


From DSC:
This ability to ask questions of a digital twin is very interesting when you think about it in terms of “interviewing” a historical figure. I believe character.ai provides this kind of thing, but I haven’t used it much.


 

The AI Tools in Education Database — from aitoolsdirectory.notion.site; via George Siemens

Since AI in education has been moving at the speed of light, we built this AI Tools in Education database to keep track of the most recent AI tools in education and the changes that are happening every day. This database is intended to be a community resource for educators, researchers, students, and other edtech specialists looking to stay up to date. This is a living document, so be sure to come back for regular updates.


Another Workshop for Faculty and Staff — from aiedusimplified.substack.com by Lance Eaton
A recent workshop with some adjustments.

The day started out with a short talk about AI (slides). Some of it is my usual schtick where I do a bit of Q&A with folks around myths and misunderstandings of generative AI in order to establish some common ground. These are often useful both in setting the tone and giving folks a sense of how I come to explore generative AI: with a mixture of humor, concern, curiosity, and of course, cat pics.

From there, we launched into a series of mini-workshops where folks had time to first play around with some previously created prompts around teaching and learning before moving onto prompts for administrative work. The prompts and other support materials are in this Workshop Resource Document. The goal was to just get them into using one or more AI tools with some useful prompts so they can learn more about its capabilities.


The Edtech Insiders Rundown of ASU+GSV 2024 — from edtechinsiders.substack.com by by Sarah Morin, Alex Sarlin, and Ben Kornell
And more on Edtech Insiders+, upcoming events, Gauth, AI Reading Tutors, The Artificial Intelligence Interdisciplinary Institute, and TeachAI Policy Resources

Alex Sarlin

4. Everyone is Edtech Now
This year, in addition to investors, entrepreneurs, educators, school leaders, university admins, non-profits, publishers, and operators from countless edtech startups and incumbents, there were some serious big tech companies in attendance like Meta, Google, OpenAI, Microsoft, Amazon, Tiktok, and Canva. Additionally, a horde of management consultancies, workforce organizations, mental health orgs, and filmmakers were in attendance.

Edtech continues to expand as an industry category and everyone is getting involved.


Ep 18 | Rethinking Education, Lessons to Unlearn, Become a Generalist, & More — Ana Lorena Fábrega — from mishadavinci.substack.com by Misha da Vinci

It was such a delight to chat with Ana. She’s brilliant and passionate, a talented educator, and an advocate for better ways of learning for children and adults. We cover ways to transform schools so that students get real-world skills, learn resilience and how to embrace challenges, and are prepared for an unpredictable future. And we go hard on why we must keep learning no matter our age, become generalists, and leverage technology in order to adapt to the fast-changing world.

Misha also featured an item re: the future of schooling and it contained this graphic:


Texas is replacing thousands of human exam graders with AI — from theverge.com by Jess Weatherbed

The Texas Tribune reports an “automated scoring engine” that utilizes natural language processing — the technology that enables chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to understand and communicate with users — is being rolled out by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to grade open-ended questions on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams. The agency is expecting the system to save $15–20 million per year by reducing the need for temporary human scorers, with plans to hire under 2,000 graders this year compared to the 6,000 required in 2023.


Debating About AI: An Easy Path to AI Awareness and Basic Literacy — from stefanbauschard.substack.com by Stefan Bauschard
If you are an organization committed to AI literacy, consider sponsoring some debate topics and/or debates next year and expose thousands of students to AI literacy.

Resolved: Teachers should integrate generative AI in their teaching and learning.

The topic is simple but raises an issue that students can connect with.

While helping my students prepare and judging debates, I saw students demonstrate an understanding of many key issues and controversies.

These included—

*AI writing assessment/grading
*Bias
*Bullying
*Cognitive load
*Costs of AI systems
*Declining test scores
*Deep fakes
*Differentiation
*Energy consumption
*Hallucinations
*Human-to-human connection
*Inequality and inequity in access
*Neurodiversity
*Personalized learning
*Privacy
*Regulation (lack thereof)
*The future of work and unemployment
*Saving teachers time
*Soft skills
*Standardized testing
*Student engagement
*Teacher awareness and AI training; training resource trade-offs
*Teacher crowd-out
*Transparency and explainability
*Writing detectors (students had an exaggerated sense of the workability of these tools).

 

AI Cheatsheet Collection — from enchanting-trader-463.notion.site; via George Siemens
Here are the 30 best AI Cheat Sheets/Guides we collected from the internet


Generative AI: Empower your journey with AI solutions

Empower your journey with AI solutions. Discover, Learn, and Excel in the World of Artificial Intelligence


From The Rundown AI

The Rundown: Adobe just announced a new upgrade to its Firefly image generation model, bringing improvements in image quality, stylization capabilities, speed, and details – along with new AI integrations.

The details:

  • Firefly Image 3 promises new photorealistic quality, improved text rendering, better prompt understanding, and enhanced illustration capabilities.
  • New Structure and Style Reference tools allow users more precise control over generations.
  • Photoshop updates include an improved Generative Fill, Generate Image, Generate Similar, Generate Background, and Enhance Detail.
  • Adobe emphasized training the model on licensed content, with Firefly images automatically getting an AI metadata tag.

Why it matters…


 

Wonder Tools | Best apps for building good habits — from wondertools.substack.com by Jeremy Caplan and Andrea Engstrom

Most New Year’s resolutions are buried by now. April’s a great time for a fresh start. So today’s post focuses on simple, useful tools to help you revive a good habit or two. Read on for my favorite app for tracking habits and a few alternatives.

Streaks

 

Meeting Students’ Needs for Emotional Support — from edutopia.org by Zi Jia Ng
A new survey finds that a large percentage of students don’t feel that they have an adult to turn to at school when they’re troubled.

Only 55 percent of elementary school students (grades three through five), 42 percent of middle school students, and 40 percent of high school students in the United States have an adult at school they can talk to when they feel upset or stressed, according to a survey of more than 200,000 students across 20 different states. At every age, students benefit from a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart to understand them.

Here’s one strategy for helping to ensure that every student has a trusted adult at school.


Getting Middle and High School Students With Low Grades Back on Track — from edutopia.org by Christine Boatman
By sitting down with students and laying out just what they need to do to pass, teachers can give them the tools to succeed.

AN ANTIDOTE TO PROCRASTINATION
There are effective preventive measures that teachers can take to support middle and high school students with time-management and organizational skills. Still, some students inevitably may find themselves behind at the end of the semester and need individualized Tier 2 interventions as a result of their procrastination.

A Tier 2 strategy that teachers can use to support student efforts to pass classes during the end-of-the-semester scramble is the creation of individual PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycles. A PDSA cycle is a process in which teachers and students work together to create a plan for improvement; implement, or do, the plan; study if the plan’s actions were successful; and act to create long-term improvement actions based on the results of the plan.

In PDSA cycles, teachers work with their students to create plans for success. These plans can be used either with a whole group or on an individual basis. Through working one-on-one with students this way, I’ve seen large gains in student achievement and agency.


A Student’s Perspective on Career and Interview Readiness — from gettingsmart.com by Tyler Robert and Todd Smith

Key Points

  • Sharing experiences in real-world learning is an asset when interviewing for early career opportunities.
  • Building confidence in not only being interviewed but also speaking about your skills in common language is a key part of creating effective pathways.

Asking Students What They Would Do If They Were The Teacher — from thebrokencopier.substack.com by Marcus Luther
one of my favorite practices we’ve normed in our classroom

Though it had been a bit since our previous check-in, the major drop in how students were doing overall was staggering—yet also very much tracked with the “vibe” of the classroom of late: students still feel pretty good about what we’re doing, but overall are exhausted and stressed, each in their own way but collectively as well.

My plan on Monday, then?

To share these results with the entire classroom followed by a simple question:

“If you were the teacher and you saw this feedback, what would you think and, more importantly, what would you do?”

And then I’ll listen to what they have to say.

Reflecting back on my own classroom over the years, though, too often the collecting of the feedback became a dead end as far as how students experienced this: they gave their results and then those results disappeared into the digital ether, in their eyes.


 

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian