Are smaller class sizes without the pitfalls possible? Pandemic pods make the case — from crpe.org by Ashley Jochim and Travis Pillow

Excerpt:

Pandemic pods were borne by necessity as families faced urgent needs for childcare and remote learning support. But they also offer fresh solutions to an age-old education problem: how to dramatically lower class sizes without diluting teacher quality and falling into traps that have snared traditional class size reduction efforts.

By leveraging pandemic innovations in student support, school systems recovering from the COVID-19 crisis may be able to recreate the high level of individual attention students saw in successful pandemic pods.

As one pod educator told us: “This is probably the most professionally satisfied I’ve been in my entire career. . . . Being able to be one-on-one and form relationships with kids. I can tell you every single one of their strengths, I can tell you their weaknesses. . . . I’ve never been able to do that before in my life, except with my own child, and that’s super powerful.” 

From DSC:
I really appreciated this part too: “Learning pods brought new adults—including families and community-based organizations who hosted pods—into the process of supporting student learning.” It’s even more of a community-based effort…a new meaning to the use of teams.  🙂 

 

The Future of Career Technical Education (CTE): What Educators Need to Know — from techlearning.com by Ray Bendici
Career technical education is gaining expanded interest and funding support in the wake of the pandemic

Excerpt:

Career technical education (CTE) is currently receiving increased attention as it is expected to play a key role in the recovery from the pandemic. New skills, approaches, and funding introduced over the past year are helping to drive expansion of programs as many employers continue to struggle to find qualified workers.

Shortly after his confirmation, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona posted an open letter to U.S. students and their families in regard to his plan for education. In it, he suggests that a heavy focus on CTE will be an essential part of what’s next in education.

 

 

Move over, blue- and white-collar jobs: The workforce color spectrum is expanding — from chieflearningofficer.com by Frank F. Britt
Here’s how gray-, green- and pink-collar jobs will define the post-COVID future of work.

Excerpt:

In 2015, a report from Burning Glass and General Assembly called attention to the rise of a new type of occupation. These roles combine technology skills with positions that haven’t historically required them, like analysis, design or marketing. Burning Glass called those positions “hybrid jobs.” Today, in a rapidly digitizing labor market where tech skills are fast becoming table stakes, we might just call them “jobs.”

Back when that report came out, so-called hybrid jobs were largely a white-collar phenomenon. But today, we’re witnessing a rise in demand for digital skills that is transcending desk work — and, in fact, may be transforming the entire “color spectrum” of the American workforce.

None of these are really white- or blue-collar jobs. We might think of them, instead, as gray-collar (at the intersection of manufacturing and technology), pink-collar (allied health and the care economy) and green-collar (clean energy). These are the jobs that will define the future of work. And they’ll be the majority of jobs in the U.S. before we know it.

 

 

Technology Made Special Education Parents Better Advocates During the Pandemic — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

Excerpt:

Those are lessons that should stay in place long after our current era of remote learning, says research analyst Lane McKittrick, who focuses on special education and families at the Center on Reinventing Public Education. She recently co-authored a report on how charter schools effectively supported students with disabilities during the pandemic and is blogging about the topic.

McKittrick’s disappointment didn’t just come from her role as a researcher. She’s also a mom to four children, three of whom are deafblind.

The schools that most successfully served their special education groups were those that prioritized communication and learning about families’ needs, McKittrick found in her own analysis.

 

 

The best advice I can give you: Become a student of your child — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

One of the best pieces of advice I give a parent is to become a student of their child. To really pay attention and discover what your child is interested in, passionate about, or wants to explore further so you can use that information to design the best homeschool ever. In today’s episode, we revisit a conversation with Andrew Peterson all about how to practically become students of our children. You will also find all of our best resources for becoming a student of your child…

A young girl looking at some artwork.

 

Why Tech Companies View the Job Search As Big Business — from edsurge.com by Ayesha Khan

Excerpt:

A pre-pandemic study shows that more than 4 in 10 college degree holders are underemployed and are likely to remain that way for decades to come. This coupled with the astronomical cost of college and mounting student loan debt raises a need for alternative pathways into America’s workforce. The current college system is not putting all Americans to work.
Jobtech has the potential to be more effective for job seekers by aligning their aspirations more directly with the needs of employers. Unlike higher education institutions, a jobtech company’s profit and survival depend on people getting placed in good jobs.

The success of these businesses hinges on securing opportunities for job seekers. This guarantees customer satisfaction, repeat business, positive margins and a healthy, sustainable business model.

 

 

 

Virtual IEPs should stay — from crpe.org by Katy Bateman and Lanya McKittrick

Excerpt:

When the pandemic hit last spring, schools across the country shifted out of sheer necessity to virtual meetings to discuss students’ Individual Education Plans (IEP). But the move has had some unanticipated benefits, with some educators and parents praising them for their convenience and for empowering family members to be more active participants in discussing their educational needs.

The virtual IEP meetings should stay—at least as an option—even after the pandemic abates.

Virtual IEP meetings can make scheduling and attendance easier for parents and teachers alike. One parent noted the benefits to her as a busy working mom:

“I think one thing [my family] is seeing is there’s a lot of things we could just do that didn’t require us to have to go in [the school building]. . . . I don’t mind coming in, but [virtual is] easier.”

 

This is an abstract picture of a person's head made of connections peering sideways -- it links to Artificial intelligence and the future of national security from ASU

Artificial intelligence and the future of national security — from news.asu.edu

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence is a “world-altering” technology that represents “the most powerful tools in generations for expanding knowledge, increasing prosperity and enriching the human experience” and will be a source of enormous power for the companies and countries that harness them, according to the recently released Final Report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

This is not hyperbole or a fantastical version of AI’s potential impact. This is the assessment of a group of leading technologists and national security professionals charged with offering recommendations to Congress on how to ensure American leadership in AI for national security and defense. Concerningly, the group concluded that the U.S. is not currently prepared to defend American interests or compete in the era of AI.

Also see:

EU Set to Ban Surveillance, Start Fines Under New AI Rules — from bloomberg.com by Natalia Drozdiak

Excerpt:

The European Union is poised to ban artificial intelligence systems used for mass surveillance or for ranking social behavior, while companies developing AI could face fines as high as 4% of global revenue if they fail to comply with new rules governing the software applications.

Also see:

Wrongfully arrested man sues Detroit police over false facial recognition match — from washingtonpost.com by Drew Harwell
The case could fuel criticism of police investigators’ use of a controversial technology that has been shown to perform worse on people of color

Excerpts:

A Michigan man has sued Detroit police after he was wrongfully arrested and falsely identified as a shoplifting suspect by the department’s facial recognition software in one of the first lawsuits of its kind to call into question the controversial technology’s risk of throwing innocent people in jail.

Robert Williams, a 43-year-old father in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, was arrested last year on charges he’d taken watches from a Shinola store after police investigators used a facial recognition search of the store’s surveillance-camera footage that identified him as the thief.

Prosecutors dropped the case less than two weeks later, arguing that officers had relied on insufficient evidence. Police Chief James Craig later apologized for what he called “shoddy” investigative work. Williams, who said he had been driving home from work when the 2018 theft had occurred, was interrogated by detectives and held in custody for 30 hours before his release.

Williams’s attorneys did not make him available for comment Tuesday. But Williams wrote in The Washington Post last year that the episode had left him deeply shaken, in part because his young daughters had watched him get handcuffed in his driveway and put into a police car after returning home from work.

“How does one explain to two little girls that a computer got it wrong, but the police listened to it anyway?” he wrote. “As any other black man would be, I had to consider what could happen if I asked too many questions or displayed my anger openly — even though I knew I had done nothing wrong.”

Addendum on 4/20/21:

 

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.

 

Harvard and its peers should be embarrassed about how few students they educate — from washingtonpost.com by Jeff Selingo
Their minuscule admissions rates are a sign of failure, not success.

Excerpt:

Harvard’s announcement this past week that its acceptance rate fell to an all-time low of just 3.4 percent will be viewed by some alumni as a triumph — a sign of their alma mater’s popularity and prestige among high school grads. And some alumni of elite institutions like Yale (4.6 percent), Brown (5.4 percent) and Princeton (4 percent) may feel the same glow of pride. In actuality, these numbers are signs of institutional failure.

That some 55,000 applicants were denied the chance to attend Harvard — which, with its $42 billion endowment, is fully capable of serving more than 1,640 students in an incoming class — is no cause for celebration. Instead, the ever-declining proportion of applicants accepted at such top-ranked universities should spur them to consider making their freshman classes substantially larger. Such a move would be especially appropriate — and, perhaps, more imaginable — after a pandemic year when universities across the country have had to reconceive education in a multitude of ways.

From DSC:
I couldn’t agree more. These types of schools should pursue a much more noble goal and seek to educate the masses. Make far larger contributions in order to make the world a better place to live in. Open up the doors. Stop recreating the caste system we have in the U.S. 

Also see:

The Endless Sensation of Application Inflation — from chronicle.com by Eric Hoover

Excerpt:

The numbers get bigger each year. Now they’ve reached a mesospheric level of madness.

Yes, we’re talking about application totals at highly selective colleges, a fixation for a jittery subset of the planet. In the 2020-21 admissions cycle, many of the final tallies broke records — and, surely, record numbers of hearts. The more applicants that apply to a hyper-competitive college, the more rejections it must deliver.

But what do such metrics really tell us? What, if anything, does the annual OMG-ing over these statistics add to up to? Let’s pause here and remember that application inflation isn’t new: Acceptance rates at many institutions have been plummeting for years. Also, a 35-percent increase like the one Tufts University just saw didn’t mean there was a 35-percent increase in highly qualified applicants with a prayer of getting in, or a 35-percent increase in applicants who meet each of the institution’s many needs.

 

 

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

 

 

How to Mitigate Accessibility & Digital Inclusion Obstacles for the d/Deaf Community — from inclusionhub.com by Christina Claus
To mitigate accessibility and digital inclusion obstacles for the d/Deaf and hard of hearing, developers must conduct critical research to understand these ongoing hurdles. This guide outlines the many challenges facing this community, shares useful insights, and provides meaningful inclusion solutions.

Excerpt:

Several commonly accepted characterizations include:

  • Deaf: When using the capital D, the individual conveys they communicate with sign language and have either been deaf since birth or shortly after.
  • deaf: The lowercase d is often utilized by those who do not identify as part of Deaf culture and typically become deaf later in life.
  • Hard of Hearing (HoH): Individuals who don’t experience total hearing loss or deafness often identify as hard of hearing.
  • Late-Deafened: This indicates the individual became deaf later in life.
  • Deaf-Blind: In addition to being deaf or hard of hearing, this individual also has a degree of vision loss.

These diversities can impact the individual’s ability to experience digital and online services. To create an inclusive experience for the entire community, developers must understand the obstacles each faces.

 

It’s Time to Rethink Higher Education: What if our goal was creating social impact, not preserving the status quo? — from chronicle.com by Brian Rosenberg (president emeritus of Macalester College and president in residence of the Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Higher education should in its ideal form lead to more economic security for more people, a more equitable and innovative society, and a well-functioning democracy. Add whatever goals you would like, but these seem like a reasonable starting point and, given the present state of the country, more than a little aspirational.

But if we fail to explore — if we fail to go beyond superficial change and interrogate our most fundamental assumptions about how and what we teach, how and why we organize ourselves in the current way — we will have no one but ourselves to blame if the system as we know it shrivels to the point where it collapses from within or is painfully disrupted from without.

Also see:

The Pandemic May Have Permanently Altered Campuses. Here’s How. — from chronicle.com by Francie Diep
Trends accelerated by Covid-19 may make more sense than ever in the future, experts say.

Excerpt:

The Covid-19 crisis has transformed all aspects of higher education, and the physical campus is no exception. The Chronicle recently released a special report, Rethinking Campus Spaces, that offers strategies for doing more with less space, to save money and prepare for an uncertain future. Here is an adapted excerpt from the report.

The Chronicle asked more than 40 architects, campus planners, and leaders in student life and housing about how several categories of campus spaces might look different in the future. As colleges navigate difficult financial straits, many interviewees predicted more public-private partnerships, and renovations instead of new construction — which can be less costly and more environmentally friendly. Overall, their answers paint a picture of future campuses that are more adaptable, perhaps smaller, and focused on what’s most valuable about seeing one’s peers in person.

 

From DSC:
The items below are from Sam DeBrule’s Machine Learnings e-Newsletter.


By clicking this image, you will go to Sam DeBrule's Machine Learning e-Newsletter -- which deals with all topics regarding Artificial Intelligence

#Awesome

“Sonoma County is adding artificial intelligence to its wildfire-fighting arsenal. The county has entered into an agreement with the South Korean firm Alchera to outfit its network of fire-spotting cameras with software that detects wildfire activity and then alerts authorities. The technology sifts through past and current images of terrain and searches for certain changes, such as flames burning in darkness, or a smoky haze obscuring a tree-lined hillside, according to Chris Godley, the county’s director of emergency management…The software will use feedback from humans to refine its algorithm and will eventually be able to detect fires on its own — or at least that’s what county officials hope.” – Alex Wigglesworth Learn More from Los Angeles Times >

#Not Awesome

Hacked Surveillance Camera Firm Shows Staggering Scale of Facial Recognition — from
A hacked customer list shows that facial recognition company Verkada is deployed in tens of thousands of schools, bars, stores, jails, and other businesses around the country.

Excerpt:

Hackers have broken into Verkada, a popular surveillance and facial recognition camera company, and managed to access live feeds of thousands of cameras across the world, as well as siphon a Verkada customer list. The breach shows the astonishing reach of facial recognition-enabled cameras in ordinary workplaces, bars, parking lots, schools, stores, and more.

The staggering list includes K-12 schools, seemingly private residences marked as “condos,” shopping malls, credit unions, multiple universities across America and Canada, pharmaceutical companies, marketing agencies, pubs and bars, breweries, a Salvation Army center, churches, the Professional Golfers Association, museums, a newspaper’s office, airports, and more.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian