What is Book Creator and How Can Educators Use It? — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang

 Excerpt:

Book Creator is a free tool that allows educators and their students to create multimedia ebooks based off of class assignments and topics.

Available on Apple and Android tablets and phones, and on Google Chrome for desktop use, Book Creator is a digital resource that helps students explore their creative sides while learning.

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

Book Creator gives students the ability to upload images, vidoes, audio, and more within the ebooks they create. It also empowers them to draw, take notes, and collaborate in real-time with their classmates and instructor.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Book Creator.

Also see the Book Creator’s website:

Clicking here will take you to the Book Creator website, where they are offering SEL template books that you can use today.

Addendum on 5/21/21:

  • Sketch, draw, and doodle — apps to unleash students’ creativity — from educatorstechnology.com
    How about using arts-based approaches to engage students in meaningful learning experiences? Drawing, sketching, doodling, and painting are three expressive forms of art with huge educational potential that students can use to unleash their creativity. They can be applied in writing, reading, speaking, and in storytelling activities. Finished products can also be included in students’ portfolios to document and showcase their learning. To this end, the selection below features some good apps students can use in this regard. Check them out and share with us your feedback.

Addendums on 5/24/21:

As with all of Book Creator we have made the image search fully accessible to screen readers and keyboard navigation. But we thought we could go a bit further with the image search and make it accessible to younger kids or ELL students who aren’t super confident with their spelling by introducing a voice search.

Addendum on 6/7/21:

  • A rubric for Book Creator — from bookcreator.com
    Sam Kary talks about helping his students elevate their work by introducing a rubric for their digital book projects, helping them focus on design and multimedia.
 

Coursera Conference 2021: Highlights and Takeaways — from blog.coursera.org by Betty Vandenbosch

Excerpt:

The Coursera Product Innovation session was another conference favorite, as we shared learner stories and offered a glimpse into some of the key innovations we worked on over the past year to support learners, educators, and institutions:

  • Individual learners now benefit from personalized course recommendations, hands-on projects, improved accessibility options, and AI-powered support to help motivate and encourage them on their learning journey.
  • Educators and instructors can import videos, quizzes, and other assets to re-use across courses. They can also connect Coursera to their institution’s learning management system and repackage content to create new, stackable credentials such as Specializations and Professional Certificates.
  • Businesses, governments, and universities can help employees and learners develop in-demand skills to stay competitive in the workplace with smart solutions like SkillSets and Academies, which are designed to offer targeted skills development in every part of an organization.

Also see:

 

Reimagining Online Culture: Project-Based Learning, Inclusion, and Reach in Online Education — from er.educause.edu by Christian Schneider
The pandemic created a unique opportunity for educators to rethink their approach to online learning and explore how this educational environment can expand access while increasing and building on diversity.

Excerpt:

The move to online education during the pandemic has been one of the greatest experiments ever conducted. It was initially met with reluctance and fatigue, but once we moved beyond the attempts to replicate what we do in real life, it brought to light important innovations.

We cut out constraints, categorizations, and biases while concentrating on our faces, voices, and work, and we extended the reach of geographical, cultural, and social access.

During the pandemic, however, when most students were in their home countries, they seemed to be more comfortable as their authentic selves, working on projects that related to their local environments.

Teaching online can not only make education available to more people around the globe but also open a space where students can share “a piece of themselves,” where different perspectives can interact, where we can learn from each other and our local environments and opportunities. This creates an enormous opportunity for equity and inclusion.

 

Elevating Your Streaming Production Quality — from avnetwork.com by Cindy Davis

Excerpt:

The instructional studios started with a mobile standing desk, which serves as the command center for instruction. The desk has a room controller, document camera, and an interactive display with an adapter for laptop content sharing. Behind the desk is a whiteboard with a whiteboard camera. In front of the desk, we designed an AV cart that includes a shotgun mic pair, LED light panels, two large displays, one off-lens teleprompter, and PTZ camera.

The studios put the instructor in control of the meeting using a Zoom Rooms controller— allowing them to easily switch between and share multiple types of content simultaneously: main camera, document camera, laptop content, digital annotations, and whiteboard writing.

Picture of a mobile streaming studio's setup

 
 

Reimagining the Future of Accessible Education with AI (Part I) — from blogs.microsoft.com by Heather Dowdy

Reimagining the Future of Accessible Education with AI (Part 2) — from blogs.microsoft.com by Heather Dowdy
[During Feb 2021], the Microsoft AI for Accessibility program [called] for project proposals that advance AI-powered innovations in education that will empower people with disabilities. Through a two-part series, we are highlighting projects we are supporting.

And an excerpt from Brad Smith’s (4/28/21) posting:

That’s why today we’re announcing the next phase of our accessibility journey, a new technology-led five-year commitment to create and open doors to bigger opportunities for people with disabilities. This new initiative will bring together every corner of Microsoft’s business with a focus on three priorities: Spurring the development of more accessible technology across our industry and the economy; using this technology to create opportunities for more people with disabilities to enter the workforce; and building a workplace that is more inclusive for people with disabilities.

 

A lack of devices but a heroic effort by teachers — from global-edtech.com by Dorothy Lepkowska
EDUCATE webinar hears how countries coped with the Covid school shutdown

Excerpts:

As in many countries, including the UK, schools and students in Portugal were hindered by a lack of devices, Huge Fonseca, an EdTech innovator, told the webinar.  He said teachers were “superheroes” and did what they could to connect with pupils, including distributing work on bicycles.

He said: “In Portugal there is a lack of devices and a lack of teacher training. The profession is among the oldest in Europe, and half of teachers are more than 50 years old. There is no government support to develop them, and if you leave teachers without learning new skills for 20 years or more then it is hard for them to adapt. We need more young people to go into teaching.”

In Uruguay, more coherence was needed between the distribution of technology and teacher training.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, there was a roll-out of technology but little training for teachers.

In Zambia, however, the pandemic offered an opportunity for project-based learning to address some of the problems faced by communities.

She said the pandemic had shone a light on the heroic work of teachers and there was a “shift in perceptions about teachers, and the importance of face-to-face teaching as a valued part of civil society”.

Also see:

 

2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

 
This report profiles key trends and emerging technologies and practices shaping the future of teaching and learning and envisions a number of scenarios and implications for that future. It is based on the perspectives and expertise of a global panel of leaders from across the higher education landscape.

 

3 Tech Trends Shaping the Future of Post-Pandemic Teaching and Learning — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
The landscape of higher education has been transformed by COVID-19, and that impact is a major factor in the 2021 Educause Horizon Report. Here are three key technology trends to watch as the lasting effects of the pandemic play out.

Excerpt:

What’s in store for higher education’s post-pandemic future? The latest Educause Horizon Report has identified the trends, technologies and practices shaping teaching and learning in the wake of COVID-19. The potential lasting effects of the pandemic “loomed large” in the trend selection this year, the report stated, emphasizing that although it remains to be seen whether the transformations of the past year will persist into the future, “it isn’t hard to imagine that higher education may never be the same in some important ways (good or bad).”

In the realm of technology in particular, it’s clear that the pandemic-induced shift to remote learning has dominated the trend landscape. The top three technological trends identified by the report are…

From 2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

This image relays some of the key technologies and practices such as AI, blended learning, learning analystics, OER, and others

Also see:

Jessica Rowland Williams, director of Every Learner Everywhere, agreed. “The pandemic has given us the unique opportunity to pause and listen to each other, and we are beginning to discover all the ways our experiences overlap,” she said.

 

How to Design a Hybrid Workplace — from nytimes.com

Excerpt:

But many companies have hatched a postpandemic plan in which employees return to the office for some of the time while mixing in more work from home than before. The appeal of this compromise is clear: Employers hope to give employees the flexibility and focus that come from working at home without sacrificing the in-person connections of the office.

From DSC:
There has been — and likely will continue to be — huge pressure and incentives put on companies like Cisco, Zoom, Microsoft, and others that develop the products and platforms to help people collaborate and communicate over a distance. It will be very interesting to see where these (and other) vendors, products, and platforms are 2-3 years from now! How far will we be down the XR-related routes?

How will those new ways of doing things impact telehealth? Telelegal? Virtual courts? Other?

 

Making VR a Reality in the Classroom — from er.educause.edu by Cat Flynn and Peter Frost
Faculty and staff at Southern New Hampshire University piloted virtual reality in an undergraduate psychology course to see if it can be an effective pedagogical tool.

Excerpt:

Meeting the Learning Needs of Gen Z and Beyond
While this study was conducted with current SNHU undergraduates, our team aimed to understand the implications of immersive learning for both today’s students and future learners.

Given Gen Z’s documented love for gaming and their desire for higher education to equip them with problem-solving and practical skills, VR provides a confluence of experiential learning and engagement.

From DSC:
Cost and COVID-19 are major issues here, but this is an interesting article nonetheless.

I think Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Augmented Reality (AR) will play a significant role in the future of how we learn. It may take us some time to get there, but I believe that we will.

 

Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from inclusionhub.com by Meredith Kreisa
Learning disabilities must be taken into account during the digital design process to ensure digital inclusion and accessibility for the community. This comprehensive guide outlines common learning disabilities, associated difficulties, accessibility barriers and best practices, and more.

“Learning shouldn’t be something only those without disabilities get to do,” explains Seren Davies, a full stack software engineer and accessibility advocate who is dyslexic. “It should be for everyone. By thinking about digital accessibility, we are making sure that everyone who wants to learn can.”

“Learning disability” is a broad term used to describe several specific diagnoses. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorder, and oral/written language disorder and specific reading comprehension deficit are among the most prevalent.

An image of a barrier being torn down -- revealing a human mind behind it. This signifies the need to tear down any existing barriers that might hinder someone's learning experience.

 

Flipped Learning Can Be a Key to Transforming Teaching and Learning Post-Pandemic — from edsurge.com by Robert Talbert

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

What is flipped learning? A common and oversimplified answer is that it is an approach that asks students to watch lecture videos at home before class so that class time can be used for more interactive activities.

But the best way to describe it is to contrast it with traditional teaching frameworks. In the traditional framework, students get first contact with new concepts in class (the “group space” as I call it in my book on flipped learning) and then higher-level interactions are all on the student side through homework and so on (in the “individual space”). Flipped learning puts first contact with new ideas before group space activities, then uses the group space for active learning on mid- and upper-level tasks.

It’s worthwhile to compare flipped and traditional frameworks by contrasting the assumptions that each framework makes…

We can no longer assume that a pure lecture pedagogy is an acceptable teaching model or that banning technology is an acceptable practice.

 

DC: Yet another reason for Universal Design for Learning’s multiple means of presentation/media:

Encourage faculty to presume students are under-connected. Asynchronous, low-bandwidth approaches help give students more flexibility in accessing course content in the face of connectivity challenges.

— as excerpted from campustechnology.com’s article entitled, “4 Ways Institutions Can Meet Students’ Connectivity and Technology Needs

 

 

Reimagining Higher Education: The Post-Covid Classroom — from er.educause.edu by Rob Curtin
As we prepare to return to campus, many of the technologies that helped us simply survive and sustain classroom continuity will become permanently embedded in our educational methods and play a pivotal role in the refinement of practices consistent with an ongoing shift to more student-centered learning.

Videoconferencing -- a professor teaching a class of virtual students

Credit: as-artmedia / Shutterstock.com © 2021

As learning practices continue to evolve, new remote learning and collaboration technologies, in concert with pedagogy, will be critical to enabling inclusive, personalized, and engaging hybrid learning experiences to bring students together beyond simple videoconferencing and recording of lectures. 

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian