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.


 

More than a sandbox: Augmented reality lets students explore changing landscapes — from schoolnewsnetwork.org by Beth Heinen Bell

Excerpt:

Lowell — Have you ever wanted to make it rain with just a wave of your fingers? Carve a river into an empty field and then make it flood? Topple a mountain with your bare hands and see what happens to the surrounding landscape?

At the augmented reality (AR) sandbox in Jennifer Bolhuis’ fourth-grade classroom, students wield all this power and more. The sandbox is an Eagle Scout project and gift from one of Bolhuis’ former students, Lowell High School sophomore David Johnston.

 

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.)

 

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.

 

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month, May 15 – June 15

Excerpt:

Challenges faced as a result of the condition can be physically and psychologically crippling. Let’s make a difference together this Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month, May 15 – June 15, as we create a more universal understanding of the condition, as well as to share successes to inspire our community and beyond. There are various ways you can get involved and make a lasting difference on a global scale.

But do you want to know a secret of what it really is?

  • It’s the determination from the 7-year-old to focus on an assignment at school even though his hand won’t stop ticcing.
  • It’s the bravery of the 16-year-old with a shoulder-shrugging tic who’s taking her driving test for the first time.
  • It’s the strength of a mother who is confused and scared as her child has just been diagnosed.
  • It’s the candor of a 45-year-old who has just been overlooked for his dream job, or worse – recently let go, because of TS.
  • But above all-it’s the perseverance of every child, teen, and adult who lives with TS on a daily basis.

So the next time Tourette Syndrome is used as a punchline, a quip, or a slur, please don’t laugh. Don’t share it. But instead, remember that there are real people behind the joke who may set them back. (source)

 

 

Utah Supreme Court to extend regulatory sandbox to seven years  — from utahinnovationoffice.org

U.S. Supreme Court Wary About Extending School Authority Over Student Internet Speech— from edweek.org

Excerpt:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday spent nearly two hours wrestling with its first case about schools’ regulation of student speech in the Internet era. The justices seemed to be searching for a way to rule as narrowly as possible while protecting young people’s right of self-expression, yet giving schools leeway to respond to threats and bullying that originate off campus.

“That sharp line … between on campus and off campus, how does that fit with modern technology?” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked during arguments in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. (Case No. 20-255).

Also see:

“The legal industry is experiencing a period of rapid transformation, and legal teams are starting to recognize the robust potential that cloud-based technology has for collaborative litigation to discover the needle-in-a-haystack pieces of information needed to argue and win cases,” said Everlaw CEO AJ Shankar.

 

 

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.

 

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

 

 

Picture of an empty tomb -- so glad the tomb was empty! Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!

 

NJ High School Adds New Recording Studio to Learning Spaces — from spaces4learning.com by Matt Jones

Excerpt:

A career and technical high school in New Jersey has added new professional recording gear to one of its teaching spaces. County Prep High School, part of Hudson County Schools of Technology, added hardware from Solid State Logic (SSL), a UK-based company that manufactures analog and digital audio consoles for music and audio production. Students in the music and audio technology program learn how to write their own songs and produce their own music. The senior project involves putting a label together and releasing songs.

 

The Studio at County Prep High School in New Jersey installed at the front of a teaching space with seating for about 16 students -- it overlooks a tracking room with a piano and two soundproof booths.

The new studio at County Prep High School features professional equipment from Solid State Logic.
Source: Solid State Logic

Also see:

A different view on the console at this New Jersey High School

Addendum on 4/1/21:

  • Control Room 42 ushers in the future of broadcasting — from derivative.ca
    Excerpt:
    Control Room 42 (CR42) a project from RTBF, public broadcaster for the French speaking part of Belgium, gives broadcasting’s traditionally hardware-based control room a radical makeover enabled by TouchDesigner in ways its designer Hugo Ortiz thought impossible a few years ago. Recipient of The European Broadcasting Union’s Technology and Innovation Award 2020, this new software-based control room prototype that also integrates Artisto for audio and Smode for real-time graphics brings game-changing innovation to the broadcasting industry.
 

Self-Assessment (emphasis DSC)

Turn each of your learning outcomes or objectives into a question. Then, ask each student to self-score how confident they feel about being able to demonstrate that outcome or task.

Example:
Learning outcome: Students will be able to compare bacteria vs. viruses.

Change it to a question:  How confident are you in comparing bacteria vs. viruses based on today’s lesson?

Now ask students to score their confidence or ability to do this outcome using a simple scale such as:  “1 = I’m not confident that I can do it” to “5 = I am very confident that I can do it.”

 

How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation — from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

By the time thousands of rioters stormed the US Capitol in January, organized in part on Facebook and fueled by the lies about a stolen election that had fanned out across the platform, it was clear from my conversations that the Responsible AI team had failed to make headway against misinformation and hate speech because it had never made those problems its main focus. More important, I realized, if it tried to, it would be set up for failure.

The reason is simple. Everything the company does and chooses not to do flows from a single motivation: Zuckerberg’s relentless desire for growth. Quiñonero’s AI expertise supercharged that growth. His team got pigeonholed into targeting AI bias, as I learned in my reporting, because preventing such bias helps the company avoid proposed regulation that might, if passed, hamper that growth. Facebook leadership has also repeatedly weakened or halted many initiatives meant to clean up misinformation on the platform because doing so would undermine that growth.

In other words, the Responsible AI team’s work—whatever its merits on the specific problem of tackling AI bias—is essentially irrelevant to fixing the bigger problems of misinformation, extremism, and political polarization. And it’s all of us who pay the price.

Artificial Intelligence In 2021: Five Trends You May (or May Not) Expect — from forbes.com by Nisha Talagala

5 trends for AI in 2021

 

Video Captions Benefit Everyone — from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov by Morton Ann Gernsbacher

Excerpts:

Video captions, also known as same-language subtitles, benefit everyone who watches videos (children, adolescents, college students, and adults). More than 100 empirical studies document that captioning a video improves comprehension of, attention to, and memory for the video. Captions are particularly beneficial for persons watching videos in their non-native language, for children and adults learning to read, and for persons who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. However, despite U.S. laws, which require captioning in most workplace and educational contexts, many video audiences and video creators are naïve about the legal mandate to caption, much less the empirical benefit of captions.

More than 100 empirical studies, listed in the appendix, document the benefits of captions.

With so many studies documenting the benefits of captions, why does everyone not always turn on the captions every time they watch a video? Regrettably, the benefits of captions are not widely known. Some researchers are unaware of the wide-ranging benefits of captions because the empirical evidence is published across separate literatures (deaf education, second-language learning, adult literacy, and reading acquisition). Bringing together these separate literatures is the primary purpose of this article.

 

From DSC:
More changes to the learning ecosystems in the U.S.


Microschools Can Lead to Macro Change — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark and Rebecca Midles

Excerpts:

However, around the edges, the growth of pods and microschools has benefited thousands of learners. New tools and strategies have made it easier to create microschools of 15 to 150 students as a short-term pilot or long-term learning option.

Given their small size, microschools can be opened quickly in alternative spaces. Microschools quickly create new community-connected learning options (themes, careers, and experiences) for students. They can also be used to quickly address underserved student populations (preschool, dropout recovery, and career education).

Microschools make learning personal. With unique themes, links to community, and porous walls, they can ignite learning for students and innovation for districts.

Also see:

The Highly Competitive, Hypocritical, and Altogether Essential World of Pandemic Pods — from by Julia Beck
During the most stressful school year on record, learning bubbles are the one thing saving working parents’ sanity—so long as no one dares to break the rules.

Still, pod life isn’t all good grades and living by the golden rule. Pods have also been the source of criticism and conflict in the Boston area. They have been at the root of strained relationships in some suburban communities, and criticized for accelerating achievement gaps between the podded and the podless. 

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian