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.

 

Also relevant/see:

 

From DSC:
Let’s put together a nationwide campaign that would provide a website — or a series of websites if an agreement can’t be reached amongst the individual states — about learning how to learn. In business, there’s a “direct-to-consumer” approach. Well, we could provide a “direct-to-learner” approach — from cradle to grave. Seeing as how everyone is now required to be a lifelong learner, such a campaign would have enormous benefits to all of the United States. This campaign would be located in airports, subway stations, train stations, on billboards along major highways, in libraries, and in many more locations.

We could focus on things such as:

  • Quizzing yourself / retrieval practice
  • Spaced retrieval
  • Interleaving
  • Elaboration
  • Chunking
  • Cognitive load
  • Learning by doing (active learning)
  • Journaling
  • The growth mindset
  • Metacognition (thinking about one’s thinking)
  • Highlighting doesn’t equal learning
  • There is deeper learning in the struggle
  • …and more.

A learn how to learn campaign covering airports, billboards, subways, train stations, highways, and more

 

A learn how to learn campaign covering airports, billboards, subways, train stations, highways, and more

 

A learn how to learn campaign covering airports, billboards, subways, train stations, highways, and more

 

A learn how to learn campaign covering airports, billboards, subways, train stations, highways, and more


NOTE:
The URL I’m using above doesn’t exist, at least not at the time of this posting.
But I’m proposing that it should exist.


A group of institutions, organizations, and individuals could contribute to this. For example The Learning Scientists, Daniel Willingham, Donald Clark, James Lang, Derek Bruff, The Learning Agency Lab, Robert Talbert, Pooja Agarwal and Patrice Bain, Eva Keffenheim, Benedict Carey, Ken Bain, and many others.

Perhaps there could be:

  • discussion forums to provide for social interaction/learning
  • scheduled/upcoming webinars
  • how to apply the latest evidence-based research in the classroom
  • link(s) to learning-related platforms and/or resources
 

Some example components of a learning ecosystem [Christian]

A learning ecosystem is composed of people, tools, technologies, content, processes, culture, strategies, and any other resource that helps one learn. Learning ecosystems can be at an individual level as well as at an organizational level.

Some example components:

  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) such as faculty, staff, teachers, trainers, parents, coaches, directors, and others
  • Fellow employees
  • L&D/Training professionals
  • Managers
  • Instructional Designers
  • Librarians
  • Consultants
  • Types of learning
    • Active learning
    • Adult learning
    • PreK-12 education
    • Training/corporate learning
    • Vocational learning
    • Experiential learning
    • Competency-based learning
    • Self-directed learning (i.e., heutagogy)
    • Mobile learning
    • Online learning
    • Face-to-face-based learning
    • Hybrid/blended learning
    • Hyflex-based learning
    • Game-based learning
    • XR-based learning (AR, MR, and VR)
    • Informal learning
    • Formal learning
    • Lifelong learning
    • Microlearning
    • Personalized/customized learning
    • Play-based learning
  • Cloud-based learning apps
  • Coaching & mentoring
  • Peer feedback
  • Job aids/performance tools and other on-demand content
  • Websites
  • Conferences
  • Professional development
  • Professional organizations
  • Social networking
  • Social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook/Meta, other
  • Communities of practice
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) — including ChatGPT, learning agents, learner profiles, 
  • LMS/CMS/Learning Experience Platforms
  • Tutorials
  • Videos — including on YouTube, Vimeo, other
  • Job-aids
  • E-learning-based resources
  • Books, digital textbooks, journals, and manuals
  • Enterprise social networks/tools
  • RSS feeds and blogging
  • Podcasts/vodcasts
  • Videoconferencing/audio-conferencing/virtual meetings
  • Capturing and sharing content
  • Tagging/rating/curating content
  • Decision support tools
  • Getting feedback
  • Webinars
  • In-person workshops
  • Discussion boards/forums
  • Chat/IM
  • VOIP
  • Online-based resources (periodicals, journals, magazines, newspapers, and others)
  • Learning spaces
  • Learning hubs
  • Learning preferences
  • Learning theories
  • Microschools
  • MOOCs
  • Open courseware
  • Portals
  • Wikis
  • Wikipedia
  • Slideshare
  • TED talks
  • …and many more components.

These people, tools, technologies, etc. are constantly morphing — as well as coming and going in and out of our lives.

 

 

College Guide for Students with Disabilities and Their Parents — from ivypanda.com; with thanks to Yvonne McQuarrie for this resource

Excerpt:

According to recent statistics, 18% of undergraduate and 12% of graduate students have temporary, relapsing, or long-term disabilities. Students might have noticeable disabilities, but many disorders are “hidden.” Luckily, modern colleges have many resources that allow people with disabilities to attend classes and thrive in their academic life. This guide will focus on the advice that can help students with disabilities successfully navigate their higher education.

 

A New Generation Of Mastery-Based Learning Platforms Has Arrived — from joshbersin.com by Josh Bersin

Excerpt:

The $330 billion corporate training market is enormous, fragmented, and complex. For years it was dominated by Learning Management Systems (LMS) and content providers, each pioneered in the early 2000s. These systems served well, but the needs of employees and organizations moved ahead.

Today companies want not only a place to find and administer learning, they want a “Learning Platform” that creates mastery. And this market, that of “Learning Delivery Platforms,” is far more complex than you think. Let me put it straight: video-based chapter by chapter courses don’t teach you much. Companies want a solution that is expert-led, engaging, includes assignments and coaching, and connects employees to experts and peers.

Well there’s a new breed of platforms focused in this area, and I call them Capability Academy systems.

These are platforms explicitly to bring together expert teachers, AI-enabled collaboration, assignments, and coaching to drive mastery. They can train thousands of people in small cohorts, offering hands-on support for technical or PowerSkills topics. And the results are striking: these vendors achieve 90% completion rates and netPromoter scores above 60 (far above traditional content libraries).

6 Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2023 — from cultofpedagogy.com by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpt:

The guide is packed with tools that can meet so many of your needs as a teacher, and many of them are already well established and widely used. But every January, we like to choose six that we think deserve a little extra attention. Most are not actually brand-new to the world, but each one has something special about it. So here we go!

6 Google Scholar Tips From Its Co-Creator — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Google Scholar can be a great tool for teachers and their students. Here’s how to get the most out of it.

Excerpt:

Anurag Acharya co-created Google Scholar in 2004. The Google engineer and former professor of computer science at the University of California at Santa Barbara was inspired to create the free search tool after being frustrated by being unable to access research articles as a student at the Kharagpur campus of the Indian Institute of Technology.

Today, Acharya is head of Google Scholar and an authority on how the scholarly search engine can best be used by teachers and their students. He offers these tips and best practices for teachers to use and share with their students.

Instructional Designer: Tools of the Trade Webinar 3/8 (from Teaching: A Path to L&D) and tools of the trade

Teaching: A Path to L&D aims to provide free guidance to teachers looking to move into the world of Learning and Development, specifically Instructional Design. Check out our website at www.teachlearndev.org for free coaching, webinars, and resources to help you on your journey!

 

ChatGPT Creator Is Talking to Investors About Selling Shares at $29 Billion Valuation — from wsj.com by Berber Jin and Miles Kruppa
Tender offer at that valuation would make OpenAI one of the most valuable U.S. startups

Here’s how Microsoft could use ChatGPT — from The Algorithm by Melissa Heikkilä

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Microsoft is reportedly eyeing a $10 billion investment in OpenAI, the startup that created the viral chatbot ChatGPT, and is planning to integrate it into Office products and Bing search. The tech giant has already invested at least $1 billion into OpenAI. Some of these features might be rolling out as early as March, according to The Information.

This is a big deal. If successful, it will bring powerful AI tools to the masses. So what would ChatGPT-powered Microsoft products look like? We asked Microsoft and OpenAI. Neither was willing to answer our questions on how they plan to integrate AI-powered products into Microsoft’s tools, even though work must be well underway to do so. However, we do know enough to make some informed, intelligent guesses. Hint: it’s probably good news if, like me, you find creating PowerPoint presentations and answering emails boring.

And speaking of Microsoft and AI, also see:

I have maintained for several years, including a book ‘AI for Learning’, that AI is the technology of the age and will change everything. This is unfolding as we speak but it is interesting to ask who the winners are likely to be.

Donald Clark

The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI — from maggieappleton.com by
Proving you’re a human on a web flooded with generative AI content

Assumed audience:

People who have heard of GPT-3 / ChatGPT, and are vaguely following the advances in machine learning, large language models, and image generators. Also people who care about making the web a flourishing social and intellectual space.

That dark forest is about to expand. Large Language Models (LLMs) that can instantly generate coherent swaths of human-like text have just joined the party.

 

DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis Urges Caution on AI — from time.com by Billy Perrigo

It is in this uncertain climate that Hassabis agrees to a rare interview, to issue a stark warning about his growing concerns. “I would advocate not moving fast and breaking things.”

“When it comes to very powerful technologies—and obviously AI is going to be one of the most powerful ever—we need to be careful,” he says. “Not everybody is thinking about those things. It’s like experimentalists, many of whom don’t realize they’re holding dangerous material.” Worse still, Hassabis points out, we are the guinea pigs.

Demis Hassabis 

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Hassabis says these efforts are just the beginning. He and his colleagues have been working toward a much grander ambition: creating artificial general intelligence, or AGI, by building machines that can think, learn, and be set to solve humanity’s toughest problems. Today’s AI is narrow, brittle, and often not very intelligent at all. But AGI, Hassabis believes, will be an “epoch-defining” technology—like the harnessing of electricity—that will change the very fabric of human life. If he’s right, it could earn him a place in history that would relegate the namesakes of his meeting rooms to mere footnotes.

But with AI’s promise also comes peril. In recent months, researchers building an AI system to design new drugs revealed that their tool could be easily repurposed to make deadly new chemicals. A separate AI model trained to spew out toxic hate speech went viral, exemplifying the risk to vulnerable communities online. And inside AI labs around the world, policy experts were grappling with near-term questions like what to do when an AI has the potential to be commandeered by rogue states to mount widespread hacking campaigns or infer state-level nuclear secrets.

AI-assisted plagiarism? ChatGPT bot says it has an answer for that — from theguardian.com by Alex Hern
Silicon Valley firm insists its new text generator, which writes human-sounding essays, can overcome fears over cheating

Excerpt:

Headteachers and university lecturers have expressed concerns that ChatGPT, which can provide convincing human-sounding answers to exam questions, could spark a wave of cheating in homework and exam coursework.

Now, the bot’s makers, San Francisco-based OpenAI, are trying to counter the risk by “watermarking” the bot’s output and making plagiarism easier to spot.

Schools Shouldn’t Ban Access to ChatGPT — from time.com by Joanne Lipman and Rebecca Distler

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Students need now, more than ever, to understand how to navigate a world in which artificial intelligence is increasingly woven into everyday life. It’s a world that they, ultimately, will shape.

We hail from two professional fields that have an outsize interest in this debate. Joanne is a veteran journalist and editor deeply concerned about the potential for plagiarism and misinformation. Rebecca is a public health expert focused on artificial intelligence, who champions equitable adoption of new technologies.

We are also mother and daughter. Our dinner-table conversations have become a microcosm of the argument around ChatGPT, weighing its very real dangers against its equally real promise. Yet we both firmly believe that a blanket ban is a missed opportunity.

ChatGPT: Threat or Menace? — from insidehighered.com by Steven Mintz
Are fears about generative AI warranted?

And see Joshua Kim’s A Friendly Attempt to Balance Steve Mintz’s Piece on Higher Ed Hard Truths out at nsidehighered.com | Comparing the health care and higher ed systems.

 



What Leaders Should Know About Emerging Technologies — from forbes.com by Benjamin Laker

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The rapid pace of change is driven by a “perfect storm” of factors, including the falling cost of computing power, the rise of data-driven decision-making, and the increasing availability of new technologies. “The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent,” concluded Andrew Doxsey, co-founder of Libra Incentix, in an interview. “Unlike previous technological revolutions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is evolving exponentially rather than linearly. Furthermore, it disrupts almost every industry worldwide.”

I asked ChatGPT to write my cover letters. 2 hiring managers said they would have given me an interview but the letters lacked personality. — from businessinsider.com by Beatrice Nolan

Key points:

  • An updated version of the AI chatbot ChatGPT was recently released to the public.
  • I got the chatbot to write cover letters for real jobs and asked hiring managers what they thought.
  • The managers said they would’ve given me a call but that the letters lacked personality.

.



 

The 2023 Report on the State of the Legal Market — Yup It’s Bad — from legaltechmonitor.com by Jean O’Grady

Here are the three key take aways:

  • Multiple factors threaten profitability, including falling demand and productivity, rising expenses, shifting client outlooks, and inflation
  • Midsize firms show strength amidst market demand shifts
  • Profits-per-equity partner down for the first time since 2009

2023 Report on the State of the Legal Market: Mixed results and growing uncertainty — from thomsonreuters.com 
The new “2023 Report on the State of the Legal Market” shows that as legal demand falters and other key metrics remain mixed, uncertainty in 2023 may cloud law firms leaders’ thinking

Excerpt:

In the latter part of 2022 and continuing into the new year, multiple challenges have emerged to threaten law firm profitability, including falling demand and productivity, rising expenses, changing client preferences, and economic turmoil.

Indeed, one key metric — profits-per-equity partner (PPEP) — is down for the first time since 2009, which occurred during the last global financial crisis.

 

What factors help active learning classrooms succeed? — from rtalbert.org Robert Talbert

Excerpt:

The idea that the space in which you do something, affects the thing you do is the basic premise behind active learning classrooms (ALCs).

The biggest message I get from this study is that in order to have success with active learning classrooms, you can’t just build them — they have to be introduced as part of an ecosystem that touches almost all parts of the daily function of a university: faculty teaching, faculty development and support, facilities, and the Registrar’s Office to name a few. Without that ecosystem before you build an ALC, it seems hard to have success with students after it’s built. You’re more likely to have an expensive showcase that looks good but ultimately does not fulfill its main purpose: Promoting and amplifying active learning, and moving the culture of a campus toward active engagement in the classroom.

From DSC:
Thank you Robert for your article/posting here! And thank you for being one of the few faculty members who:

  • Regularly share information out on LinkedIn, Twitter, and your blog (something that is all too rare for faculty members throughout higher education)
  • Took a sabbatical to go work at a company that designs and develops numerous options for implementing active learning setups throughout the worlds of higher education, K12 education, and the corporate world as well. You are taking your skills to help contribute to the corporate world, while learning things out in the corporate world, and then  taking these learnings back into the world of higher education.

This presupposes something controversial: That the institution will take a stand on the issue that there is a preferred way to teach, namely active learning, and that the institution will be moving toward making active learning the default pedagogy at the institution. Putting this stake in the ground, and then investing not only in facilities but in professional development and faculty incentives to make it happen, again calls for vigorous, sustained leadership — at the top, and especially by the teaching/learning center director.

Robert Talbert


 

The legal industry is struggling to find enough work for its lawyers – and layoffs are beginning to bite — from fortune.com by Eleanor Pringle

Excerpt:

He said: “This is not simply a U.S. issue or a legal services issue. It is a global one.

“Any economic downturn will inevitably also hit the legal services sector. However many international law firms have practice areas that are both cyclical and counter-cyclical, so those differing components of the practice become busier to support that which is less so.

“We all hope that any downturn is short lived. Everyone has been through a lot these past few years, no business wants to have to restructure at this stage.”

Speaking of legal-related items, also see:

 

The Difference Between ‘Playtime’ + ‘Production’ for AI + Legal Tech — from by Jim Wagner, CEO, Lean Law Labs.

Excerpt:

It’s fascinating to see what GPT-3 can do and the possibilities are in some cases nothing short of mind blowing. But before you plan your early 2023 implementation, you may want to exercise a bit of caution.  When it comes to using AI in a production environment – i.e., serving real customers with real expectations – you need solutions that deliver reliable results that you can explain to your clients … and potentially to a lot of other stakeholders, including courts and regulatory authorities.

Maybe in 2023 you can also try this line: ‘Dear client / court / regulator, we know it’s hard to believe, but a lot of the time you can rely on what we tell you.’

NOTE: Artificial Lawyer and its Founder are
now on sabbatical during 2023, returning in 2024.

From DSC:
My guess is that they are pursuing some serious, new opportunities involving using AI within the legaltech realm. Time will tell.

 

Will Law Schools Respond to ‘U.S. News’ Changes? — from .insidehighered.com by Scott Jaschik
Reactions were muted or critical to a series of ways the magazine said it would improve its rankings.

Excerpt:

U.S. News & World Report announced Monday that it would change how it ranks law schools in response to the decision by many top law schools to no longer participate in the ranking process. However, it is unclear whether the changes will lead law schools to accept (or even participate in) the new process.

 

AI legal assistant will help defendant fight a speeding case in court —  from newscientist.com by Matthew Sparkes (behind paywall)
In February, an AI from DoNotPay is set to tell a defendant exactly what to say and when during an entire court case. It is likely to be the first ever case defended by an artificial intelligence

Picture of an empty courtroom


Also relevant/see:


Also relevant/see:

ChatGPT Can Negotiate Comcast Bills Down For You
“That’s the future of bureaucracy: bots negotiating with each other,” said Joshua Browder, CEO of DoNotPay, which is rolling out the service.

Excerpt:

Joshua Browder, founder and chief executive of “robot lawyer” app DoNotPay, revealed last week he had created a bot based on the large language model to help people save money on their internet bill.


 

 

From DSC:
Check out the items below. As with most technologies, there are likely going to be plusses & minuses regarding the use of AI in digital video, communications, arts, and music.



Also see:


Also somewhat relevant, see:

 

The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) is committed to advancing teaching excellence, social justice and diversity. SALT is a community of progressive law teachers, law school administrators, librarians, academic support experts, students and affiliates. SALT has been working for more than 40 years to improve the legal profession, the law academy and expand the power of law to under-served communities.  SALT engages in work within and beyond the law school to advance social justice.

 

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian