Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from 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.

 

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. 

 

If equity is a priority, UDL is a must — from cultofpedagogy.com by Katie Novak

Once you identify the firm goal, ask yourself, “Based on the variability in my class, what barriers may prevent learners from working toward that goal and how can I eliminate those barriers through design?”

Excerpt:

When we design the same learning pathways for all learners, we might tell ourselves we are being fair, but in fact, single pathways are exclusionary.  Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of the critically acclaimed book, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, challenges us to focus on impact over intentions. It may not be our intent to exclude our learners, but the reality is that many students do not have opportunities to learn at high levels or to access curriculum and instruction that is accessible, engaging, culturally sustaining, and linguistically appropriate.

Luckily, there is a framework that rejects these one-size-fits-all solutions and empowers educators to proactively design learning experiences so all students can increase their brainpower and accelerate and own their learning. The framework is Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

UDL is a framework for designing learning experiences so students have options for how they learn, what materials they use, and how they demonstrate their learning. 

From DSC:
I put together this graphic as I’m working on a Module (for Canvas) to address the topic of accessibility:

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.
By Daniel Christian March 2021
 

From DSC:
This is what we’re up against –> Reskilling 1 billion people by 2030” — from saffroninteractive.com by Jessica Anderson

Excerpts:

According to the World Economic Forum, this statistic is a critical economic imperative.

Does this shock or scare you? Perhaps you’re completely unflappable? Whatever your reaction, this situation will undoubtedly impact your organisation and the way you tackle skills development.

What are the roadblocks?

So, we’ve laid down the gauntlet; an adaptable, agile, multi-skilled workforce. What stands in the way of achieving this? A recent survey of the top 5 challenges facing learning leaders sheds some light:

1. Building a learning culture
2. Learning in the flow of work
3. Digital transformation
4. Learner engagement and ownership
5. Keeping informed of best practices

From DSC:
The article mentions that nations could lose billions in potential GDP growth. And while that is likely very true, I think a far bigger concern is the very peace and fabric of our societies — the way of living that billions of people will either enjoy or have to endure. Civil unrest, increased inequality, warfare, mass incarcerations, etc. are huge concerns.

The need for a next-gen learning platform is now! The time for innovation and real change is now. It can’t come too soon. The private and public sectors need to collaborate to create “an Internet for learning” (in the sense that everyone can contribute items to the platform and that the platform is standards based). Governments, corporations, individuals, etc. need to come together. We’re all in the same boat here. It benefits everyone to come together. 

Learning from the living class room -- a next generation, global learning platform is needed ASAP

 

Look at the choice and control possibilities mentioned in the following except from Immersive Reader in Canvas: Improve Reading Comprehension for All Students

When building courses and creating course content in Canvas, Immersive Reader lets users:

  • Change font size, text spacing, and background color
  • Split up words into syllables
  • Highlight verbs, nouns, adjectives, and sub-clauses
  • Choose between two fonts optimised to help with reading
  • Read text aloud
  • Change the speed of reading
  • Highlight sets of one, three, or five lines for greater focus
  • Select a word to see a related picture and hear the word read aloud as many times as necessary

Also see:

All about the Immersive Reader — from education.microsoft.com

The Microsoft Immersive Reader is a free tool, built into Word, OneNote, Outlook, Office Lens, Microsoft Teams, Forms, Flipgrid, Minecraft Education Edition and the Edge browser, that implement proven techniques to improve reading and writing for people regardless of their age or ability.

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room: Adobe — via Behance — is already doing several pieces of this vision.

From DSC:
Talk about streams of content! Whew!

Streams of content

I received an email from Adobe that was entitled, “This week on Adobe Live: Graphic Design.”  (I subscribe to their Adobe Creative Cloud.) Inside the email, I saw and clicked on the following:

Below are some of the screenshots I took of this incredible service! Wow!

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 


From DSC:
So Abobe — via Behance — is already doing several pieces of the “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” vision. I knew of Behance…but I didn’t realize the magnitude of what they’ve been working on and what they’re currently delivering. Very sharp indeed!

Churches are doing this as well — one device has the presenter/preacher on it (such as a larger “TV”), while a second device is used to communicate with each other in real-time.


 

 

Radio.Garden — with thanks to David Pogue for this resource

From DSC:
This is amazing! Some screenshots:

Radio.garden -- tune into thousands of live radio stations across the globe!

Radio.garden -- tune into thousands of live radio stations across the globe!

Several questions/reflections come to my mind:

  • What could those teachers and professors who are trying to teach someone a language do with this?!
  • If this can be done with radio stations, what can be done with learning-related streams of content?!
  • Talk about “More Choice. More Control.”  Man o’ man!

Streams of content


Addendum on 2/28/21:
Could this type of interface be used to navigate the world of work? Where instead of nations, you would have arenas of work?

 

Public Colleges Are Going After Adult Students Online. Are They Already Too Late? — from chronicle.com by Lee Gardner

Excerpts:

But competing with the established national players in online education presents a tall order. The so-called megauniversities have a huge head start and deep pockets, two advantages public universities are unlikely to overcome easily, if at all.

Mega-universities have spent more than a decade building and honing well-funded and sophisticated operations that function on a scale few start-ups can hope to match. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year marketing themselves nationwide to students.

Mega-universities have also developed recruitment and admissions operations designed to make things as easy as possible for working adults to enroll.

 

 

When the Animated Bunny in the TV Show Listens for Kids’ Answers — and Answers Back — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt:

Yet when this rabbit asks the audience, say, how to make a substance in a bottle less goopy, she’s actually listening for their answers. Or rather, an artificially intelligent tool is listening. And based on what it hears from a viewer, it tailors how the rabbit replies.

“Elinor can understand the child’s response and then make a contingent response to that,” says Mark Warschauer, professor of education at the University of California at Irvine and director of its Digital Learning Lab.

AI is coming to early childhood education. Researchers like Warschauer are studying whether and how conversational agent technology—the kind that powers smart speakers such as Alexa and Siri—can enhance the learning benefits young kids receive from hearing stories read aloud and from watching videos.

From DSC:
Looking at the above excerpt…what does this mean for elearning developers, learning engineers, learning experience designers, instructional designers, trainers, and more? It seems that, for such folks, learning how to use several new tools is showing up on the horizon.

 

Nearly three-quarters of pandemic affected parents feel students should learn subjects they’re passionate about, not those of little interest — from newswire.ca by Unschooling School

Excerpt:

TORONTO, Feb. 1, 2021 /CNW/ – A nation-wide survey of Canadian parents released today finds that nearly three in four of them (73%) believe the education system today would be better for students if it were structured to give them more choice and time to just learn those subjects and topics, they are either excited or passionate about.

Also, more than two-thirds (67%) want a school reset, so students learn more of the subject areas they’re passionate about and not those of little interest to them.

From DSC:
I feel the same way about many K12 systems here in the United States. Our youngest daughter — who has been studying at home this past year — has so much more energy and passion when we give her more agency to do the things that *she* wants to do and to learn about the things that *she* wants to learn about.

Learning channels of the future will provide us with more choice, more control.

And readers of this blog know that I’m all about the love of learning (or even liking it better), seeing as we all need to be lifelong learners these days.

The more we enjoy learning = The better, more fulfilling, enjoyable that our lives will be! (Not to mention how much more productive we’ll be as well.)

 

 

8 Higher Education IT Trends to Watch in 2021 [Stone]

8 Higher Education IT Trends to Watch in 2021 — from edtechmagazine.com by Adam Stone
Keep your eye on these trends as higher education prepares for a post-pandemic future.

Excerpt:

1. Get Used to More Advanced Learning Management Systems
At Virginia Tech, the Canvas learning management system (LMS) was critical for coordinating synchronous and asynchronous learning. Such systems will only become more sophisticated moving forward, says Randy Marchany, the university’s IT security officer. “With COVID, instructors have become more video savvy,” he says. “We’re all getting smarter about how we use these tools.”

2. A Rise in Sophisticated Videoconferencing Platforms
Even after the pandemic, educators might continue lecturing over Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms. However, they’ll be doing it in more sophisticated ways. “People will be making these experiences more collaborative, more authentic — with much richer interactions and conversations,” Grajek says. “We are all becoming more experienced consumers, and we will see a lot of innovation in this area.”

From DSC:
Yet another step closer…

Yet another step closer to the Learning from the Living Class Room vision

 

9 BIG Questions Schools Must Answer to Avoid Going “Back to Normal” (*Because “Normal” Wasn’t That Great to Begin With) — from bigquestions.institute

Excerpt from email/e-newsletter (dated 1/27/21)

As we start to emerge from this dark moment, individuals and institutions need to be asking two important questions Given the trauma of the last 12 months, who are we now? And now that so much has changed about the world, who do we want to become?

Reflecting on those questions is especially important for educators. The “old normal” of schools is not coming back, nor should we want it to. Instead, this is an incredible opportunity to reset, to redefine our work.

To that end, we’ve written a new, free ebook9 Questions Schools Must Answer to Avoid Going Back to Normal (*Because Normal Wasn’t That Great to Begin With). Rather than innovate our way forward, Homa and I believe this is a moment to interrogate deeply the foundations of our work with children. That starts with a willingness to answer some big questions upon which we build our collective futures.

Q1: What is Sacred?  

Q2: What is Learning?  

Q3: Where is the Power?  

Q4: Why do we _________? 

Q5: Who is Unheard?  

Q6: Are we Literate? 

Q7: Are we OK?  

Q8: Are we Connected? 

Q9: What’s Next? 

“Real change will require us to leave many of our old ideas about school behind.”

From DSC:
We must figure out better ways to get away from creating game-players to developing curious, passionate learners instead. Even in law schools, points and grades are still used as the currency to get students to do some things. Holy smokes!  That pull/embedded behavior is a strong undercurrent even for adults learning about new things.

Students need to see their faculty members and/or teachers as people who ARE ON THEIR TEAM. Not an adversarial, controlling relationship. But one wherein the teacher or the professor is trying to help that person develop into a better, ___, ___, or ____.

I love the suggestion mentioned in the “Towards a new normal” on page 23 that says…

“Instead of ‘students’ and ‘teachers,’ refer to everyone in the school as ‘learners.'”


#behaviorism #learning #education #educationreform #K12 #lawschools and more.


Learning channels of the future will offer More choice. More control. Daniel Christian

 

Flipping Virtual Classrooms for More Impact — from techlearning.com by Ray Bendici
Flipping virtual classrooms can help maximize teaching time and resources

Flipping Virtual Classrooms for More Impact

Excerpt:

The mantra of flipped learning is that you can reach every student in every class every day, said Bergman. So if you have less synchronous time, you need to provide more time with your students one-on-one to work on the hard stuff, and flipped mastery learning, in particular, accommodates that.

“Flipped learning teachers have been preparing for the pandemic for the past 10 years,” Bergman said. “It’s really a great way to amplify your reach to teach.”

When the pandemic hit, Bergman and his flipped learning team realized that the most important thing is connections with students and the physical time spent with them. “So what’s the best use of your face-to-face class time?” Bergman said. “I’m going to argue it’s not you standing up and then introducing new content, it’s giving students the new content first and allowing them to apply, analyze, and evaluate it.”

 

Could AI-based techs be used to develop a “table of contents” for the key points within lectures, lessons, training sessions, sermons, & podcasts? [Christian]

From DSC:
As we move into 2021, the blistering pace of emerging technologies will likely continue. Technologies such as:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) — including technologies related to voice recognition
  • Blockchain
  • Augment Reality (AR)/Mixed Reality (MR)/Virtual Reality (VR) and/or other forms of Extended Reality (XR)
  • Robotics
  • Machine-to-Machine Communications (M2M) / The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Drones
  • …and other things will likely make their way into how we do many things (for better or for worse).

Along the positive lines of this topic, I’ve been reflecting upon how we might be able to use AI in our learning experiences.

For example, when teaching in face-to-face-based classrooms — and when a lecture recording app like Panopto is being used — could teachers/professors/trainers audibly “insert” main points along the way? Similar to something like we do with Siri, Alexa, and other personal assistants (“Heh Siri, _____ or “Alexa, _____).

Like an audible version of HTML -- using the spoken word to insert the main points of a presentation or lecture

(Image purchased from iStockphoto)

.

Pretend a lecture, lesson, or a training session is moving right along. Then the professor, teacher, or trainer says:

  • “Heh Smart Classroom, Begin Main Point.”
  • Then speaks one of the main points.
  • Then says, “Heh Smart Classroom, End Main Point.”

Like a verbal version of an HTML tag.

After the recording is done, the AI could locate and call out those “main points” — and create a table of contents for that lecture, lesson, training session, or presentation.

(Alternatively, one could insert a chime/bell/some other sound that the AI scans through later to build the table of contents.)

In the digital realm — say when recording something via Zoom, Cisco Webex, Teams, or another application — the same thing could apply. 

Wouldn’t this be great for quickly scanning podcasts for the main points? Or for quickly scanning presentations and webinars for the main points?

Anyway, interesting times lie ahead!

 

 

The Future of Hybrid Learning — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
HyFlex pioneer Dr. Brian Beatty discusses what’s working and what’s not in hybrid learning, and what’s to come

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

When designing his own classes these days, Beatty tends to think about the asynchronous vs. synchronous experience rather than online vs. in-person. 

Beatty says instructors should attempt to create a reasonably good asynchronous version of a course but don’t need to build the perfect version. Instructors then need to block out time to respond to forum posts and other online components of the class the same way online students need to schedule time to work. He advises a mindset of, “I’m learning how to teach differently, and I’m reserving this time for that. So maybe I’m not going to be part of that committee.”

From DSC:
The teaching toolboxes throughout the continuum (PreK-12, higher ed, vocational programs, other alternatives to higher ed, corporate training & development) have been enhanced and expanded greatly during 2020. The ramifications of these larger toolboxes will benefit many for years to come. They should allows us to pivot and adapt much more quickly — while providing a greater array of teaching techniques/tools to choose from.

Enhancing our teaching toolboxes

 

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian