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.

 

21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, Part 1 — from facultyfocus.com by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux
*This is a five-part series. Each Monday, we will be publishing the next consecutive part of the article series.  

Excerpt:

I searched for ways to structure online discussions, and my findings are described in this series of five articles. This first article explores ways to structure a discussion to encourage learners to apply the concepts they have learned. Articles two and three describe discussion structures that help learners explore concepts in greater depth. Article four looks at ways to use discussions for reflection, evaluation, and critique of concepts. The final article investigates ways to foster a greater sense of community by using multimedia and proposes resources for developing new discussion structures.

Below are five ideas where learners search for, recognize, and share concrete examples of a concept, or where they create examples to illustrate a concept. I am sure there are more ways to do it, and I welcome your additions in the comments below.

21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, Part Two — from facultyfocus.com by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux

Excerpt:

In this and the next article, I will describe ideas for structuring an online discussion when the goal is for learners to further explore a concept studied in class. I subdivided the ideas into two categories: Some are useful when the goal is for learners to engage in divergent thinking, in other words, when they are generating ideas and expanding the range of solutions or brainstorming (this article).

21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, Part Three — from facultyfocus.com by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux

Excerpt:

In this third article, we will explore structures to help learners explore concepts when the goal is convergent thinking, so each learner gains a deeper, richer understanding of a concept and aligns with a common understanding.

In this article, the ideas for structuring an online discussion when the goal is for learners to explore a concept through convergent thinking are:

 

Nearly Half of Faculty Say Pandemic Changes to Teaching Are Here to Stay — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Among the findings:

  • Fifty-one percent of faculty said they feel more positive about online learning today than pre-pandemic. Faculty were most satisfied with how efficiently they were able to communicate with students — but across the board, a majority of faculty were also satisfied with how efficiently the technology worked, how well students learned and how well students engaged in class.
  • Fifty-seven percent of faculty said they feel more positive about digital learning materials than pre-pandemic.
  • Seventy-one percent of faculty reported they make considerable use of digital materials today, compared to 25 percent pre-pandemic. And 81 percent said they expect digital material use to remain the same or increase post-pandemic.
  • Fifty-eight percent reported considerable use of online homework and courseware systems, more than doubling the pre-pandemic share of 22 percent. Seventy-four percent expected the use of those systems to remain the same or increase post-pandemic.
  • Only 8 percent of faculty said they would revert to their pre-pandemic teaching practices after the pandemic is over.

Also see:

Two-thirds of people in the education sector expect to see a continuation of remote work post-pandemic. Sixty-five percent of respondents in education agreed that due to the success of remote collaboration, facilitated by videoconferencing, their organizations are considering a flexible remote working model.

 

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. 

 

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.

 

eLearning has improved in the last 7 years… — from elearningindustry.com by Mary Burns
A student in 2014 and a student in 2021 would probably have the same fundamental online learning experience. Yet online learning has changed dramatically in the last 7 years. In my 50th article, I look back at online learning and enumerate 5 drivers that have led to its improvement.

Excerpt:

COVID/remote learning has expanded our understanding of online learning. Teachers are far more adept at using technology and designing with technology to help students learn online. They know which online learning modalities—synchronous or asynchronous—work best with which eLearning platform. Students too have had a year-long internship in online learning—its tools and pedagogies.

COVID has diversified our understanding of online learning. In 2014, when I began writing for eLearning Industry, eLearning meant one thing—a class held in a virtual learning environment or Learning Management System. In 2021, online learning is any learning we do online, whether via free or fee-based subscription services (like Khan Academy and DreamBox, respectively), web conferencing, or Web 2.0 platforms (Edmodo, YouTube channels)—another overlooked candidate for this list.

And COVID has constrained our understanding of online learning. In 2014, when I began writing for eLearning Industry, eLearning was largely asynchronous and done in an LMS. In 2021, for a plurality of teachers and students across the globe, eLearning means one thing: Zoom and it means learning that is live and synchronous.

 

 

Improved Student Engagement in Higher Education’s Next Normal — from er.educause.edu by Ed Glantz, Chris Gamrat, Lisa Lenze and Jeffrey Bardzell
Five pandemic-introduced innovative teaching adaptations can improve student engagement in the next normal for higher education.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The five teaching enhancements/adaptations discussed above—collaborative technologies for sense-making, student experts in learning and technology, back channels, digital breakout rooms, and supplemental recording—are well positioned to expand the definition of “student engagement” beyond traditional roll call and attendance tracking. Opportunities to include students at a distance have permitted inclusion of students who are reticent to speak publicly, students whose first language is not English, students with disabilities, and students less engaged through “traditional” channels. With these new conceptions of engagement in mind, we are prepared to be more inclusive of all students in the next normal of higher education.

 

Are virtual public meetings here to stay? — from jdsupra.com by Michael Maurer & William Shepherd

From DSC:
I just thought this was an interesting question/idea…

 

Chrome now instantly captions audio and video on the web — from theverge.com by Ian Carlos Campbell
The accessibility feature was previously exclusive to some Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones

Excerpt:

Google is expanding its real-time caption feature, Live Captions, from Pixel phones to anyone using a Chrome browser, as first spotted by XDA Developers. Live Captions uses machine learning to spontaneously create captions for videos or audio where none existed before, and making the web that much more accessible for anyone who’s deaf or hard of hearing.

Chrome’s Live Captions worked on YouTube videos, Twitch streams, podcast players, and even music streaming services like SoundCloud in early tests run by a few of us here at The Verge. Google also says Live Captions will work with audio and video files stored on your hard drive if they’re opened in Chrome. However, Live Captions in Chrome only work in English, which is also the case on mobile.

 

Chrome now instantly captions audio and video on the web -- this is a screen capture showing the words being said in a digital audio-based file

 

ARHT Media Inc.
Access The Power Of HoloPresence | Hologram Technology | Holographic Displays | Hologram Events

Excerpt:

ARHT Media mounted a holographic display at the event in Vancouver and had Sunlife’s executive captured and transmitted live as a hologram to the event from our Toronto studio. He was able to see the audience and interact with them in realtime as if he was attending the event and present in the room.

ARHT Media Inc. launches the Holopod | A holograph of the head of global sales appears on stage. Access The Power Of HoloPresence | Hologram Technology | Holographic Displays | Hologram Events

From DSC:

  • Will holographic displays change what we mean by web-based collaboration?
  • Will this be a part of the future learning ecosystems inside of higher education? Inside of the corporate training world? Inside the world of events and webinars?
  • How will this type of emerging technology impact our communications? Levels of engagement?
  • Will this type of thing impact telehealth? Telelegal?
  • How will this impact storytelling? Media? Drama/acting? Games?
  • Will the price come down to where online and blended learning will use this type of thing?
  • Will streams of content be offered by holographic displays?

 

 

Moving Online Learning from Challenge to Opportunity — from campustechnology.com by Dr. Mark Lombardi
The future of higher education means breaking down classroom walls, embracing digital tools and engaging students with creativity and innovation.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Similarly, Maryville criminology professor Geri Brandt, working in concert with our learning designers and on-site production studio, used 360-degree camera technology to stage a virtual, explorable, interactive crime scene. Extending this online experience further, the criminology department created a “choose your own adventure” virtual experience, where each student response or choice in an investigation leads to a different outcome.

Creativity and innovation on this scale are only possible when faculty work with a talented team of learning design professionals who can translate a vision of interactive and immersive learning into a new student experience. Designing and delivering this active learning ecosystem integrated in online and on-ground learning takes a team of committed professionals and the courage to make it happen.

What if students could choose to learn in environments that are fully immersive, deeply enriching and profoundly meaningful to their courses of study? We encourage our students to explore the world beyond the campus, but what happens when the world is your campus?

 

The excerpt below is from The 7 best online whiteboards in 2021 — from zapier.com by Maria Myre

  • Miro for turning ideas into tasks
  • Stormboard for creating multiple whiteboards in a single brainstorming session
  • MURAL for remote, multi-member team meetings
  • Limnu for teaching students remotely
  • InVision Freehand for annotating design files with a team
  • Conceptboard for turning a brainstorming session into a formal presentation
  • Explain Everything for creating whiteboard videos

From DSC:
Other potentially-relevant tools/vendors here include:

Woman using the Cisco Webex Desk Pro

 

Travel from home: 13 virtual museums and galleries to tour — from millionmilesecrets.com by Cynthia Paez Bowman; with thanks to Tatiana Rosado Vidal for this resource


Many museums are offering virtual tours. This image portrays people walking down a long hallway, perusing various works of art.


Excerpt:

Museums, movie theaters, concerts and other events have all taken a hit since COVID-19 emerged. Luckily, the creative world has gotten — creative — and found new, alternative ways to provide virtual cultural and educational experiences during these challenging times. If you’re hankering for a little art immersion, there are a variety of virtual museum tours you can take, all from the comfort of your home. Best of all, you won’t have to navigate a sea of crowds and selfie sticks to get a closer look at a Van Gogh or Monet.

The following list of virtual museums and galleries are organized based on interest:

Virtual Art Museums
Virtual Tour for Kids
Virtual Natural History and Science
Weird Virtual Museums

 

Student Builds Volumetric 3D TV To Complete Bachelor’s Program — from vrscout.com by Bobby Carlton

In the end, they ended up building a volumetric 3D closed-circuit TV system capable of producing live holographic imager; I’d say that’s pretty noteworthy.

From DSC:
If we can imagine it…

A picture of the Jedi Council from Star Wars

Addendum on 3/12/21:

The future of telepresence article out at Inavate EMEA -- March 2021

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian