September summary and what lies ahead in October

Hello Program Management Colleagues,

September was a slow month for this group, with few posts and comments; however, I hope that October will soon be very lively. We have a discussion beginning next week in both the Integrating Technology and Program Management groups on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) with an outstanding panel of education experts, including researchers and practitioners. More information about that is copied below, but I want to explain why I believe this discussion may be useful to you as a program manager. Adult basic skills programs, including ESL/ESOL, ABE, HSE and transition to post-secondary education, are shifting -- or have already shifted -- to blended learning models, i.e. those that include both online and face-to-face learning, ideally well integrated. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already changing our field. You may have noticed, for example, that the GED(r) exam is not only primarily taken on computers now, but also that its extended response writing items are automated in their scoring. This automation uses AI. Your blended learning model may already use an online course or curriculum, or computer-based application, that differentiates instruction, providing personalized learning for each student based on his or her performance. This, too, may use AI. You may already be using, or know that other adult basic skills programs have brought into the classroom, intelligent personal assistants such as Alexa, or Google Assistant, and you may be interested in how AI enables this technology or how teachers are using these intelligent personal assistants.  You may be aware that some large companies, such as Walmart, now provide orientation or on-the-job training using virtual reality simulations using goggles, and want your students to be prepared for this experience. Virtual reality is also being used by adult ESL/ESOL teachers to provide stimulating experiences for writing exercises.  Beyond that, we are all entering a world in which augmented reality technology is expanding and some of these applications may be useful for informal, non-formal or perhaps even formal learning.  As you walk about in the world, for example, you may look at something you haven't seen before, or whose name you have forgotten, wonder what it's called, and ask the personal assistant in your ear, attached to your eyeglasses, or on your watch, "Assistant, what is this (flower, tree, building, tool, traffic intersection, etc.) called?" and then ask, "What is it's definition?" Imagine if you are learning a new language how useful for you -- or your students -- this might be in building vocabulary.

I hope you will follow this discussion next week, learn about education applications of AI, VR and AR, and join in with your questions and examples of how you are using these technologies.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Program Management group

AI, VR and AR Week-long Asynchronous Discussion Announcement

During the week of October 14th the LINCS Integrating Technology and Program Management groups will host a week-long asynchronous discussion with a cutting- edge panel of experts in education applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).  An important professional development feature of LINCS is to keep you current with innovations in the adult basic skills field. K-12 education and higher education have been exploring teaching and learning applications of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for several years, although this is relatively new to adult basic skills education practitioners.  This is an opportunity for LINCS members, and others who may be interested, to learn about and discuss examples of innovations in AI, VR and AR that have been specifically designed for adult learners, or that have been designed for K-12 students, and have promise for adult basic skills learners.  Please mark your calendars for the week of October 14th and plan to join us for this great opportunity to explore AI, VR and AR.

I recommend that before the discussion begins participants read "Perspective Artificial Intelligence Applications to Support K-12 Teachers and Teaching A Review of Promising Applications, Opportunities, and Challenges,", a paper by Dr. Robert Murphy, that plainly describes Artificial Intelligence applications in Education. Dr Murphy, as you will see below, is one of the five panelists in this discussion.

Feel free to post questions for our panelists beginning now and throughout next week.

The expert panel includes:

  • Art Graesser, PhD. Department of Psychology and Institute of Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis.  Dr. Graesser is a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Intelligent Systems at the University of Memphis and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Education at the University of Oxford.  Art Graesser and his University of Memphis colleagues, working with the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy at Georgia State University, have developed and tested the use of AutoTutor, an intelligent tutoring system that holds conversations with adult learners in natural language.
  • Susan Gaer. An emeritus professor of English, specializing in ESL at Santa Anna College in Southern California, Susan Gaer has been a subject matter expert and technology integration professional development specialist for OTAN, California’s statewide adult basic skills technology professional development organization. She is a partner of World Education’s Education Technology Center, and is also President Elect of the California Association of Teachers to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL). She has focused on using VR with ESL students from beginning to advanced levels.
  • Cliff Archey.  As Senior Education Program Manager for IBM Corporate Social Responsibility, in his current role Cliff is the Offering Manager for Teacher Advisor With Watson, managing the strategic direction and implementation of this free AI-enhanced planning tool for teachers.Johan
  • Johan E. Uvin, Ph.D. As President, Institute for Educational Leadership, Dr. Uvin’s work in the field of adult basic skills education, including ESOL/ESL includes positions as an ESOL teacher and program administrator in Boston, an associate state director of adult education in Massachusetts, a state director of adult education in Rhode Island, and as Assistant Secretary of Education in the U.S. Department of Education. He first engaged in Virtual Reality work when he represented the federal government on a Virtual and Augmented Reality Summit where he promoted the use of VR for training and development purposes. He subsequently provided oversight to the EdSim Challenge. Most recently, he has been working with Oculus to expand VR applications in the education sector, particularly focused on creating access to hardware and applications in communities where children, youth, and adults never get to access these new emerging technologies due to lack of resources.
  • Robert Murphy, Ph. D. is a Senior Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation. Before joining RAND, Dr. Murphy was the director of evaluation research for SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning where he was the Principle Investigator for the Technologies for Adult Basic Literacies Evaluation (TABLE) study. He was a panelist in the 2016 LINCS Discussion, Recent Research on Technology and Adult Basic Skills. Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on research and evaluation of innovative educational and workforce training programs and technologies. He is author of Artificial Intelligence Applications to Support K–12 Teachers and Teaching, A Review of Promising Applications, Opportunities, and Challenges.

Please share this announcement with colleagues who may be interested.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology and Program Management groups