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.
 

Thursday, 5/20/21, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day!!!

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is this Thursday, May 20, 2021
Help us celebrate the tenth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is is Thursday, May 20th 2021

Also see:

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is Thursday, May 20, 2021

 

 

 

From DSC:
My wife recently told me about The Thrive Learning Center. Though we don’t have any of our kids there, it looks very interesting to me! They offer play, choice, agency, a learning community, a chance to pursue one’s interests, and more! I wish we had seen this several years ago. But maybe it will help someone else out there reenvision what learning could look and be like.


The Thrive Learning Center -- offering a student-centered learning community-- full of choice and agency.


 
 

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:

 

Part I: How do I measure accessibility maturity and compliance? — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

When you ask adults to recall their most memorable and enjoyable learning experiences it nearly always comes back to relationships – a fun teacher, an inspiring lecturer, a lively community. Such human interactions neatly illustrate the difference between maturity and compliance.

A “mature relationship” sounds a lot more attractive than a “compliant” one. Yet many institutions are offering compliance to disabled learners rather than mature relationships.

The lenses we use are:

  1. Main driver – Where is energy being expended and what is measured as success?
  2. Responsibility – Who are the actors. Do they have sufficient authority?
  3. Model of disability – Is the perception “users with issues” or “systems and content with barriers”?
  4. Focus of effort – Is accessibility a “task and finish” project or a long-term quality improvement?
  5. Skills and expertise – What is the focus of training? Who gets it? Is it considered important?
  6. Digital accessibility in policies – Digital accessibility is a vital equality issue. Is it visible in policies?
  7. Culture – Is the focus on minimising risk? Or maximising user experience? Does accessibility straitjacket online learning? Or encourage innovation and experimentation?
  8. User’s digital experience – How consistent is the user experience? How well designed?

Part II: Accessibility maturity in education — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

In this article we explore the “Drivers” lens. What is driving your change? The need to be compliant and tick off the boxes? Or a desire to be digitally inclusive, ensuring every student can be as confident, independent and productive as possible?

Part III: Broaden accessibility responsibility beyond learning teams — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

At the upper levels of maturity, the confidence and competence of a wide body of staff will mean the organisation moves beyond micromanagement of accessibility. Accessibility may be mandatory but a wide range of templates will be available. Even better, many staff will have enough understanding to create their own accessible content and courses without needing a template. At this level, the following lines of evidence will be available:

  • A senior sponsor will be responsible for digital accessibility across the organisation.
  • Any cross-organisation steering group will be hosted by senior staff, meeting regularly and evidencing positive outcomes.
  • Digital accessibility will be a standing item in self-assessment reviews or quality assurance processes, and appropriate training will be in place to make this meaningful (see the later lens in the final blog coming soon in the series, on skills and expertise!).
  • Students will be actively involved in accessibility developments.

Part IV: Coming soon.


Learn about the Accessibility Maturity Model for Higher and Further Education that AbilityNet and McNaught Consultancy have developed based on Alistair McNaught’s existing model. See here and here.

Some example snapshots:

A virtuous circle of digital accessibility -- positively impacts teaching and learningLenses for self-reflection -- 1 Lenses for self-reflection - 2 Lenses for self reflection - 3

 

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

 
 

Learn How To Study Using… Dual Coding — from learningscientists.org by Megan Smith & Yana Weinstein

Excerpt:

This is the final post in a series of six posts designed to help students learn how to study effectively. You can find the other five here:

What is dual coding?

Dual coding is the process of combining verbal materials with visual materials. There are many ways to visually represent material, such as with infographics, timelines, cartoon strips, diagrams, and graphic organizers.

When you have the same information in two formats – words and visuals – it gives you two ways of remembering the information later on. Combining these visuals with words is an effective way to study.

Now, look at only the visuals and explain what they mean in your own words. Then, take the words from your class materials and draw your own visuals to go along with them! 

Now, look at only the visuals and explain what they mean in your own words. Then, take the words from your class materials and draw your own visuals to go along with them!

From DSC:
As the authors comment, this is NOT about learning styles (as research doesn’t back up the hypothesis of learning styles): 

When we discuss verbal and visual materials, it does sound like we could be referring to learning styles. However, it is important to remember that a great deal of research has shown that assessing your learning style and then matching your study to that “style” is not useful, and does not improve learning (2). (For more, read this piece.)

 

What if we could create these kinds of calendars and/or apps for faculty and staff as well as for students? — idea from Daniel Christian. The vehicles could be developed as analog/physical formats or in digital formats and apps. In the digital realm, one could receive a daily notification.

For faculty/staff:

  • Teaching and learning tips; pedagogies (flipped learning, active learning, etc.); ideas that have worked well for others
  • Creative experiments to try (such as digital storytelling or with an emerging technology such as AR, MR, or VR)
  • Tips & tricks re: tools within the learning ecosystem of one’s organization
  • How to make digital content that’s accessible
  • Items re: bias, diversity, equity & inclusion
  • Dates to be aware of (for processes on one’s LMS/CMS as an example)
  • Notes of encouragement and/or humor
  • Links to key resources
  • Other

[The Corporate Training / L&D world could do this as well.] 

An example of what a front cover of a physical flip calendar could look like

An example of what a page might contain within a physical flip calendar

A calendar page that says Memory if the residue of thought.

Example calendar page that states when courses will be published on an LMS

For students

  • Studying tips
  • How to take courses online
  • How people learn
  • Resources, books, people to follow on Twitter, blogs and RSS feeds, etc.
  • Pictures of judges, legislative bodies, law offices, corporate HQs, other
  • Notes of encouragement
  • Ethics
  • Professionalism
  • Other
 

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.

 

How Teaching Robotics Fosters Tech and Soft Skills — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Students who compete in robotics competitions learn STEM skills, but equally important are the social skills they gather

Group of 5 young students with their projects for robotics competition

Excerpt:

Beginning on May 17, Fausto and his teammate’s on the Owlbots 3028x will compete at the first-ever Live Remote VEX Robotics World Championship. The event runs through May 29 and is hosted by The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation and VEX Robotics.

 

Enrich your history and social studies classes with these resources — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Below are three websites we are featuring in our blog for the first time. These are platforms where teachers (and students) can access resources and teaching materials to help them with their history teaching (learning).

Addendum on 5/4/21:

 
 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian