Making a Digital Window Wall from TVs — from theawesomer.com

Drew Builds Stuff has an office in the basement of his parents’ house. Because of its subterranean location, it doesn’t get much light. To brighten things up, he built a window wall out of three 75? 4K TVs, resulting in a 12-foot diagonal image. Since he can load up any video footage, he can pretend to be anywhere on Earth.

From DSC:
Perhaps some ideas here for learning spaces!

 

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.

 

To Combat Learning Loss, Schools Need to Overhaul the Industrial-Age Paradigm — from educationnext.org by Frederick Hess
The decline in academic gains may be steeper, but it’s not a new phenomenon

Excerpt:

Why did movements over the last two decades to raise standards, improve educator quality, upgrade curriculum, enable choice, leverage assessment, instill accountability, and increase funding appear to have such a limited impact on college and career readiness?

One potential answer: Nearly all of these reforms left the basic tenets of the industrial-paradigm classroom intact.

The above article links to:

Out of the Box -- How Innovative Learning Models Can Transform K-12 Education

It’s Time to Rethink the ‘One Teacher, One Classroom’ Model — from edweek.org by Irene Chen & Stephanie Banchero
How to build a happier and more effective teaching force

Excerpt:

The last few years have taken a toll on our teachers. The COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing cultural divisions, and the Uvalde, Texas, massacre all weigh heavily. Morale is at an all-time low. Now is the time to rethink the teaching profession.


Addendum; also relevant/see:


 

edX Announces 2022 edX Prize Finalists for Innovation in Online Teaching — from prnewswire.com by 2U, Inc.

Excerpt:

The 2022 finalists include (sorted alphabetically by institution):

Other recent items from GSV:

“The reason TikTok is so popular is because it’s short-form and engaging; the opposite to the usual two-hour training course.

“Spacing out micro-learning chunks across the course of a year gives you a much better chance of retaining it and actually acting on it. That’s why GoodCourse is built to engage a Gen Z workforce.”

 

Stephen Downes’ reflection on “Every Student Needs a Learning Coach” — from by Nate McClennen

Excerpt (from Stephen):

The key to making this happen, I think, is to reorganize local schooling to take advantage of online (and increasingly, AI-generated) learning services, allowing in-person educators to adopt this coaching function.

Key points from Nate’s article:

  • As learning becomes more personalized, learning opportunities expanded and unbounded, and learning science research more robust, an updated and revised advisory role is more important than ever.
  • Redefining the coaching/mentor/advisor role as the educational landscape shifts is critical to ensure success for every learner.

Also relevant to using AI in education/see:

 

 

Can a Group of MIT Professors Turn a White Paper Into a New Kind of College? — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

A group of professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology dropped a provocative white paper in September that proposed a new kind of college that would address some of the growing public skepticism of higher education. This week, they took the next step toward bringing their vision from idea to reality.

That next step was holding a virtual forum that brought together a who’s who of college innovation leaders, including presidents of experimental colleges, professors known for novel teaching practices and critical observers of the higher education space.

The MIT professors who authored the white paper tried to make clear that even though they’re from an elite university, they do not have all the answers. Their white paper takes pains to describe itself as a draft framework and to invite input from players across the education ecosystem so they can revise and improve the plan.

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

The goal of this document is simply to propose some principles and ideas that we hope will lay the groundwork for the future, for an education that will be both more affordable and more effective.

Promotions and titles will be much more closely tied to educational performance—quality, commitment, outcomes, and innovation—than to research outcomes. 

 

10 Ways to Give a Better Lecture — from cultofpedagogy.com by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpt:

It would be an understatement to say that lecturing is frowned upon in modern teaching. At this point it’s almost become a cliché: Don’t be the sage on the stage; be the guide on the side. Ideally, we should stick to supporting students through inquiry learning, cooperative learning, project-based learning, and so on. I have personally advocated for ALL of these approaches, over and over again. And I do believe that students need to be active in their learning.

But does that mean we dump lectures altogether? At a time when TED Talks and online courses are incredibly popular, when our students get at least some portion of their instruction through video-based, blended learning platforms, and when most people reading this have probably learned something useful or interesting in the last month from YouTube, aren’t we all learning from lectures all the time?

I’d argue that two factors have given lectures a bad name: overuse and poor execution. Let’s look at these issues one at a time.

 

You Don’t Need a Law Degree to Transform Legal Operations — from news.bloomberglaw.com by Memme Onwudiwe and Tom Stephenson

Excerpt:

While the future of legal innovation remains unclear, it is apparent that law schools must evolve to meet students’ technological needs. At the very least, lawyers and legal professionals must have more collaborative conversations on the broader educational need for legal technology.

Legal operations professionals have a unique opportunity to emphasize the importance of designing and implementing a business solution ecosystem to guide greater efficiency and decision-making. If data and trends tell us anything, law firms and corporate law departments must adapt to achieve better business outcomes, while law schools have to change the way they teach in our modern digital economy.

Also relevant/see:

 

Teaching: Flipping a Class Helps — but Not for the Reason You’d Think — from the Teaching newsletter out at The Chronicle of Higher Education by Beckie Supiano

Excerpt:

The authors propose a different model of flipping that gives their paper its title, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed — Rethinking Flipped Learning: A Review of Meta-Analyses and a Subsequent Meta-Analysis.”

Their model:

  • Fail: Give students a chance to try solving problems. They won’t have all the information needed to arrive at the solution, but the attempt activates their prior learning and primes them for the coming content.
  • Flip: Deliver the content ahead of class, perhaps in a video lecture.
  • Fix: During class time, a traditional lecture can deepen understanding and correct misperceptions.
  • Feed: Formative assessment lets students check their level of understanding.

I find this paper interesting for a number of reasons. It ties into a challenge I’d like to dig into in the future: the gap that can exist between a teaching approach as described in research literature and as applied in the classroom.

From DSC:
Though I haven’t read this analysis (please accept my apology here), I would hope that it would also mention one of the key benefits of the flipped classroom approach — giving students more control over the pacing of the content. Students can stop, fast-forward, rewind, and pause the content as necessary. This is very helpful for all students, but especially for students who don’t have English as their primary language.

I like this approach because if students fail to solve the problem at first, they will likely be listening more/very carefully as to how to solve it:

Drawing on related research, we proposed a more specific model for flipping, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed” whereby students are asked to first engage in generating solutions to novel problems even if they fail to generate the correct solutions, before receiving instructions.

Plus, students will begin to recall/activate their prior knowledge on a subject in order to try to solve the problem. That retrieval practice in and of itself can be helpful.

 

The Shrinking of Higher Ed — A Special Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education
A special report on the implications of the enrollment contraction.

Excerpt:

Nearly 1.3 million students have disappeared from American colleges since the Covid-19 pandemic began. That enrollment contraction comes at a precarious moment for the sector. Inflation is driving up costs and straining budgets, stock-market volatility is putting downward pressure on endowment returns, and federal stimulus funds are running out. Why is the enrollment crunch happening now? How are colleges responding? What might turn things around? Those are the questions fueling this special report.

A Public Regional on the Edge — from chronicle.com by Eric Kelderman
New Jersey City University’s plan to grow its way out of financial trouble backfired. What went wrong?

Excerpts:

NJCU’s story is a cautionary tale for similar institutions — small public regional colleges with ambitions to expand in a crowded higher-education market. While its real-estate dealings have drawn unfavorable scrutiny, the university was responding to challenges that face its peers, in northern New Jersey and around the country: increased competition for a declining number of high-school graduates.

Public regional universities, like NJCU, enroll about 40 percent of all college students nationally, and a far larger percentage of minority, low-income, and first-generation students than better-known flagships and top research universities do.

But a lack of state support, limited ability to attract students from outside the region, and sparse fund raising have made the university vulnerable to economic downturns and demographic shifts that have led to fewer high-school graduates, especially in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

Linked to in the above article was this article:

Declining enrollment has Western Michigan University on budgetary tightrope — from mlive.com by Julie Mack

Excerpts:

KALAMAZOO, MI — Western Michigan University has 17,835 students this fall, its lowest enrollment since the 1960s.

The number is down 6% from last fall. Down 27% from a decade ago, when the fall headcount was 24,598. Down 41% from 20 years ago, when WMU’s fall count peaked at 29,732.

And thanks to a declining birthrate and a shrinking percentage of new high school graduates enrolling in college, that downward enrollment trend is likely to continue indefinitely.

Rather, “what COVID did was force our hand after years of pressure created by declining enrollment and demographic trends that suggest declines will continue for the next decade,” she said. “So while COVID brought our financial situation into sharp relief, the budget cut was a measure taken to relieve pressure created over many, many years.”


A relevant addendum here:

Avoiding the Trap of Too Little Too Late — from tytonpartners.com by Trace Urdan; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource

Excerpt:

The challenges facing higher education are well understood: a demographic cliff of traditional-aged applicants, a declining proportion of full-pay families, and a growing skepticism of the value of (ever-more) expensive post-secondary degrees with resulting student consumerism. Add to this rapidly rising technological complexity, deferred maintenance on deteriorating physical assets, escalating administrative costs associated with student services and supports, and a burgeoning array of college substitutes, and the challenges are clear. The combination of lower tuition revenue and higher costs points toward an inevitable sector consolidation. And while many college administrators will readily acknowledge this point in the abstract, few will consider that it might apply to them.

 

You want your students back in the classroom? Give them a good reason! — from educationalist.substack.com by Alexandra Mihai

Excerpt:

Right now what I would like to do is turn things upside- down and bring the physical classroom and the in-person teaching and learning into the spotlight. After almost three years of doing things differently, for better or worse, I believe this is a crucial exercise that will help us calibrate our practice moving further. Ironically, despite our expectations that students will happily rush back to campus, many of us noticed a different reality: low attendance levels and in some cases also low engagement.

So, a few questions we could start by asking ourselves are…

So the next time someone asks “why should students come to class?” let’s try to answer anything else than “because they have to”.

 

From DSC:
And while I’m adding Tweets here…

 

 

In one giant classroom, four teachers manage 135 kids – and love it — from hechingerreport.org by Neal Morton
Schools in Mesa, Arizona, piloted a team teaching model to combat declining enrollment and teacher shortages; now the approach is spreading

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Five years ago, faced with high teacher turnover and declining student enrollment, Westwood’s leaders decided to try something different. Working with professors at Arizona State University’s teachers college, they piloted a classroom model known as team teaching. It allows teachers to voluntarily dissolve the walls that separate their classes across physical or grade divides.

Here, more than 130 freshmen at Westwood High School learn in one giant classroom overseen by four teachers. 

Team teaching is taking hold in Mesa, Arizona’s largest school district. Here, more than 130 freshmen at Westwood High School learn in one giant classroom overseen by four teachers. Credit: Matt York/Associated Press

 

By giving teachers more opportunities to collaborate and greater control over how and what they teach, Mesa’s administrators hoped to fill staffing gaps and boost teacher morale and retention. Initial research suggests the gamble could pay off.


Also see:

Educator shortages are a real crisis — especially in special education — from k12dive.com
Administrators are straining under the pressure of finding qualified personnel to meet federal requirements on specialized instruction and related services.

The Council of Administrators of Special Education is keenly aware of the shortage of qualified teachers, specialized instructional support personnel and administrators to fill vacancies in school districts across the country, with shortages particularly acute in special education. We hear daily from administrators citing the impossibility of finding qualified personnel to meet mandates of the federal law requiring specialized instruction and related services for children with disabilities.


 

Rethinking Learning Spaces: 4 Strategies for Student-Centered Learning — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
The Brigantine Public School district has redesigned its learning spaces and rethought how and where learning takes place. Superintendent Glenn Robbins shares how others districts can do the same and prioritize student-centered learning in the process.

Excerpt:

Robbins shares how other educators can rethink their learning spaces and encourage student voice and choice in the process.

 

Why Now Is The Time To Overhaul K-12 Education — from forbes.com by Phyllis Lockett and Michael Horn

Excerpts:

If you take a team approach, then one adult works with students on their social-emotional learning and how they connect to their learning. And another leverages data to create small group opportunities based on the learning objective. And another connects learning to real world projects and helps students build social capital in the community, which also creates a more permeable classroom that’s open to the outside world. Or there could be other ways the teams are structured to best support the student.

For all the plans in the past to “reinvent” K-12 education, none have questioned the fundamentals of time-based instruction. It’s no surprise then that the system produces the outcomes it does. Not every child needs exactly 180 days to master the knowledge and skills required for a third grader. Conversely, some kids need more time. It’s an arbitrary system that cuts off learning for children based on a calendar, yet doesn’t provide a different pathway forward for them that’s productive. In our current system, time is fixed and learning is variable, then students are labeled and sorted accordingly.

Michael Horn


From DSC:
This quote…

The answer is for district leaders to create independent teams of educators in which they are shielded from traditional day to day pressures and have the explicit license to do things differently. They can give these new “schools within schools” the resources they need without encumbering them by the old ways of doing things.

…makes me think of a graphic I did a while back about the need for more Trim Tabs within our learning ecosystems:


 
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