7 Good Chrome Extensions for Students with Dyslexia — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

In today’s post I am sharing with you this collection of Chrome extensions to help particularly students with dyslexia enhance their reading skills. The tools bring added functionalities to Chrome browser converting it into a clutter free space where students can focus on their reading.  Most of these extensions offer features such as annotations, OCR services, speech to text, special fonts, dictation, and many more.

From DSC:
Here are some other resources that have to do with accessibility and Google as well:

 

Google CEO Still Insists AI Revolution Bigger Than Invention of Fire — from gizmodo.com by Matt Novak
Pichai suggests the internet and electricity are also small potatoes compared to AI.

Excerpt:

The artificial intelligence revolution is poised to be more “profound” than the invention of electricity, the internet, and even fire, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who made the comments to BBC media editor Amol Rajan in a podcast interview that first went live on Sunday.

“The progress in artificial intelligence, we are still in very early stages, but I viewed it as the most profound technology that humanity will ever develop and work on, and we have to make sure we do it in a way that we can harness it to society’s benefit,” Pichai said.

“But I expect it to play a foundational role pretty much across every aspect of our lives. You know, be it health care, be it education, be it how we manufacture things and how we consume information. 

 

AI voice actors sound more human than ever —and they’re ready to hire— from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao
A new wave of startups are using deep learning to build synthetic voice actors for digital assistants, video-game characters, and corporate videos.

Excerpt:

The company blog post drips with the enthusiasm of a ’90s US infomercial. WellSaid Labs describes what clients can expect from its “eight new digital voice actors!” Tobin is “energetic and insightful.” Paige is “poised and expressive.” Ava is “polished, self-assured, and professional.”

Each one is based on a real voice actor, whose likeness (with consent) has been preserved using AI. Companies can now license these voices to say whatever they need. They simply feed some text into the voice engine, and out will spool a crisp audio clip of a natural-sounding performance.

But the rise of hyperrealistic fake voices isn’t consequence-free. Human voice actors, in particular, have been left to wonder what this means for their livelihoods.

And below are a couple of somewhat related items:

Amazon’s latest voice interoperability move undermines Google — from protocol.com by Janko Roettgers
With a new toolkit, Amazon is making it easier to build devices that run multiple voice assistants — weakening one of Google’s key arguments against licensing the Google Assistant for such scenarios.

People should be able to pick whatever assistant they prefer for any given task, simply by invoking different words, Rubenson said. “We think it’s critical that customers have choice and flexibility,” he said. “Each will have their own strengths and capabilities.”

Protocol Next Up — from protocol.com by Janko Roettgers
Defining the future of tech and entertainment with Janko Roettgers.

Voice is becoming a true developer ecosystem. Amazon now has more than 900,000 registered Alexa developers, who collectively have built over 130,000 Alexa skills. And those skills are starting to show up in more and more places: “We now have hundreds of physical products” with Alexa built in, Alexa Voice Service & Alexa Skills VP Aaron Rubenson told me this week.

 

Lights, Camera, Action! 5 Ideas for Student-Created Video Assignments — from barbihoneycutt.com by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

Here are 5 ideas for student-created videos. I hope these ideas inspire you to mix up your assignments and assessments to increase student engagement and improve learning.

Judith [Dutill] mentioned that students’ knowledge of and comfort with communicating by video is a 21st century skill that we need to prepare them for.

 
 

New accessibility features for students and teachers using Chromebooks — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

After the new Google Meet updates, Google introduced new features in Chromebooks, ones that will definitely enhance the overall usability and accessibility of the device. Starting with the new PIN logins’ feature for education users, students, teachers, and educators will now be able to log in to their assigned devices using a six digit pin code. This new feature will be standard on all new Chromebooks.
Students with special needs will particularly benefit from the introduction of new accessibility features. There is the novel Live Caption functionality which allows students to caption videos. There is also the Switch Access feature which allows users to control their cursor either using the built-in keyboard or through connecting an external USB or Bluetooth.

 

 

From DSC:
One of our daughters — who just graduated from college with a degree in Early Education — told me about a fun tool for classroom management. It’s called ClassroomScreen.com. I just thought I’d pass it along in case you want to try it out!

“Support your class activities, stimulate engagement and help your students get to work by using the intuitive tools of Classroomscreen.”

A fun tool for classroom management: Roll the dice, a calendar, stopwatch, clock, & more!

She also mentioned:

  • Slides.go — Free Google Slides and PowerPoint templates to boost your presentations
  • Teacher TikTok — elementary teacher, classroom resources
 

Google revives RSS — from techcrunch.com by Frederic Lardinois

Excerpt:

Chrome, at least in its experimental Canary version on Android (and only for users in the U.S.), is getting an interesting update in the coming weeks that brings back RSS, the once-popular format for getting updates from all the sites you love in Google Reader and similar services.

In Chrome, users will soon see a “Follow” feature for sites that support RSS and the browser’s New Tab page will get what is essentially a (very) basic RSS reader — I guess you could almost call it a “Google Reader.”

From DSC:
I have been using RSS feed aggregators for years as I find them highly effective, efficient ways to keep pulse-checks on a variety of items. When Google Reader left the scene years ago, I switched to Feedly. Regardless of the tool, I hope the functionalities that the RSS protocol gives us will be enhanced…not removed. RSS feeds help me tap into — and contribute towards — the streams of content that are always flowing by us.

 

Microsoft President Warns of Orwell’s 1984 ‘Coming to Pass’ in 2024 — from interestingengineering.com by Chris Young
Microsoft’s Brad Smith warned we may be caught up in a losing race with artificial intelligence.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The surveillance-state dystopia portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984 could “come to pass in 2024” if governments don’t do enough to protect the public against artificial intelligence (AI), Microsoft president Brad Smith warned in an interview for the BBC’s investigative documentary series Panorama.

During the interview, Smith warned of China’s increasing AI prowess and the fact that we may be caught up in a losing race with the technology itself.

“If we don’t enact the laws that will protect the public in the future, we are going to find the technology racing ahead, and it’s going to be very difficult to catch up,” Smith stated.

From DSC:
This is a major heads up to all those in the legal/legislative realm — especially the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Bar Associations across the country! The ABA needs to realize they have to up their game and get with the incredibly fast pace of the twenty-first century. If that doesn’t occur, we and future generations will pay the price. Two thoughts come to my mind in regards to the ABA and for the law schools out there:

Step 1: Allow 100% online-based JD programs all the time, from here on out.

Step 2: Encourage massive new program development within all law schools to help future lawyers, judges, legislative reps, & others build up more emerging technology expertise & the ramifications thereof.

Google’s plan to make search more sentient — from vox.com by Rebecca Heilweil
Google announces new search features every year, but this time feels different.

Excerpt:

At the keynote speech of its I/O developer conference on Tuesday, Google revealed a suite of ways the company is moving forward with artificial intelligence. These advancements show Google increasingly trying to build AI-powered tools that seem more sentient and that are better at perceiving how humans actually communicate and think. They seem powerful, too.

Two of the biggest AI announcements from Google involve natural language processing and search.

Google also revealed a number of AI-powered improvements to its Maps platform that are designed to yield more helpful results and directions.

Google’s plans to bring AI to education make its dominance in classrooms more alarming — from fastcompany.com by Ben Williamson
The tech giant has expressed an ambition to transform education with artificial intelligence, raising fresh ethical questions.

Struggling to Get a Job? Artificial Intelligence Could Be the Reason Why — from newsweek.com by Lydia Veljanovski; with thanks to Sam DeBrule for the resource

Excerpt:

Except that isn’t always the case. In many instances, instead of your application being tossed aside by a HR professional, it is actually artificial intelligence that is the barrier to entry. While this isn’t a problem in itself—AI can reduce workflow by rapidly filtering applicants—the issue is that within these systems lies the possibility of bias.

It is illegal in the U.S. for employers to discriminate against a job applicant because of their race, color, sex, religion, disability, national origin, age (40 or older) or genetic information. However, these AI hiring tools are often inadvertently doing just that, and there are no federal laws in the U.S. to stop this from happening.

These Indian edtech companies are shaping the future of AI & robotics — from analyticsinsight.net by Apoorva Komarraju May 25, 2021

Excerpt:

As edtech companies have taken a lead by digitizing education for the modern era, they have taken the stance to set up Atal Tinkering Labs in schools along with other services necessary for the budding ‘kidpreneurs’. With the availability of these services, students can experience 21st-century technologies like IoT, 3D printing, AI, and Robotics.

Researchers develop machine-learning model that accurately predicts diabetes, study says — from ctvnews.ca by Christy Somos

Excerpt:

TORONTO — Canadian researchers have developed a machine-learning model that accurately predicts diabetes in a population using routinely collected health data, a new study says.

The study, published in the JAMA Network Open journal, tested new machine-learning technology on routinely collected health data that examined the entire population of Ontario. The study was run by the ICES not-for-profit data research institute.

Using linked administrative health data from Ontario from 2006 to 2016, researchers created a validated algorithm by training the model on information taken from nearly 1.7 million patients.

Project Guideline: Enabling Those with Low Vision to Run Independently — from ai.googleblog.com by Xuan Yang; with thanks to Sam DeBrule for the resource

Excerpt:

For the 285 million people around the world living with blindness or low vision, exercising independently can be challenging. Earlier this year, we announced Project Guideline, an early-stage research project, developed in partnership with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, that uses machine learning to guide runners through a variety of environments that have been marked with a painted line. Using only a phone running Guideline technology and a pair of headphones, Guiding Eyes for the Blind CEO Thomas Panek was able to run independently for the first time in decades and complete an unassisted 5K in New York City’s Central Park.

Deepfake Maps Could Really Mess With Your Sense of the World — from wired.com by Will Knight
Researchers applied AI techniques to make portions of Seattle look more like Beijing. Such imagery could mislead governments or spread misinformation online.

In a paper published last month, researchers altered satellite images to show buildings in Seattle where there are none.

 

2 Chronicles 10 (NIV) — from biblegateway.com (emphasis DSC)

Excerpt:

10 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”

But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “The people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered them harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.”

From DSC:
The new, younger king didn’t listen to the older, more experienced people (i.e., the elders) who had worked with King Solomon (a king who reigned over a united Israel for 40 years…and a person whom the Bible says was the wisest king of all time). Instead the younger king sought the counsel of his younger peers and went with that advice. This led to Rehoboam’s downfall — at least in terms of keeping a strong, united Israel. He was only a king of a much smaller kingdom due to his decision and actions.

What might the youth of today learn from this? How might entrepreneurs learn from this? What might companies like Google, Facebook, and others learn from this? How might this impact how we go about developing the culture of a company? What’s valued and what’s not valued?

There are probably different lessons one can learn from 2 Chronicles Chapter 10. But here’s one example that comes to my mind…

…just because we can…

just because we can does not mean we should


…doesn’t mean we should.

 

just because we can does not mean we should

 

One wonders what this type of tech will do for online-based learning, &/or hybrid/blended learning, &/or hyflex-based learning in the future [Christian]

From DSC:
It will be interesting to see — post Covid19 — how vendors and their platforms continue to develop to allow for even greater degrees of web-based collaboration. I recently saw this item re: what Google is doing with their Project Starline. Very interesting indeed. Google is trying to make it so that the other person feels like they are in the same space with you.

.
Time will tell what occurs in this space...but one does wonder what this type of technology will do for online-based learning, and/or hybrid/blended learning, and/or hyflex-based learning in the future…?

 

10 takeaways from Big Tech’s big earnings — from protocol.com by David Pierce
What Apple, Facebook, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon earnings say about the state of tech.

 

 

Shhhh, they’re listening: Inside the coming voice-profiling revolution — from fastcompany.com by Josephy Turow
Marketers are on the verge of using AI-powered technology to make decisions about who you are and what you want based purely on the sound of your voice.

Excerpt:

When conducting research for my forthcoming book, The Voice Catchers: How Marketers Listen In to Exploit Your Feelings, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet, I went through over 1,000 trade magazine and news articles on the companies connected to various forms of voice profiling. I examined hundreds of pages of U.S. and EU laws applying to biometric surveillance. I analyzed dozens of patents. And because so much about this industry is evolving, I spoke to 43 people who are working to shape it.

It soon became clear to me that we’re in the early stages of a voice-profiling revolution that companies see as integral to the future of marketing.

From DSC:
Hhhhmmm….

 

Supreme Court sides with Google in Oracle’s API copyright case — from theverge.com by Russell Brandom and Adi Robertson
The ruling overturns a federal circuit decision favoring Oracle

Excerpt:

The court’s opinion concludes that APIs — which let programmers access other code — are significantly different from other kinds of computer programs. “As part of an interface, the copied lines are inherently bound together with uncopyrightable ideas … and the creation of new creative expression,” Justice Stephen Breyer writes in his opinion. Unlike many other computer programs, Breyer wrote, much of the copied lines’ value came from developers being invested in the ecosystem, rather than the actual operations of the program. Google used the API to let Java programmers build Android apps, which the court declared is a fundamentally transformative use.

“Google copied only what was needed to allow programmers to work in a different computing environment without discarding a portion of a familiar programming language. Google’s purpose was to create a different task-related system for a different computing environment (smartphones) and to create a platform — the Android platform — that would help achieve and popularize that objective.”

Also see:

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
Syllabus | GOOGLE LLC v. ORACLE AMERICA, INC. — from supremecourt.gov
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FEDERAL CIRCUIT No. 18–956.
Argued October 7, 2020—Decided April 5, 2021

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Held: Google’s copying of the Java SE API, which included only those lines of code that were needed to allow programmers to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program, was a fair use of that material as a matter of law. Pp. 11–36.

 

More Employers Are Awarding Credentials. Is A Parallel Higher Education System Emerging? — from edsurge.com by Sean Gallagher and Holly Zanville

Excerpt:

As the acceptance of new types of credentials grows, a number of employers have become learning providers in their own right, in a way that could shake up the broader higher education landscape.

A growing number of companies have moved beyond training their own employees or providing tuition assistance programs to send staff members to higher education. Many of these employers are also developing their own curricula and rapidly expanding their publicly-facing credential offerings.

But the current boom in employer-issued credentials is different—and potentially transformational. Unlike the traditional IT certifications of decades past, these new credentials are less focused on proprietary technologies related to a given tech vendor, and are instead more focused on broadly applicable tech skill sets such as IT support, cloud computing and digital marketing.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian