Robot uses AI to personalize teaching of autistic children

TNW | February 28, 2020

Researchers have developed a new personalized learning robot for autistic children that uses machine learning to adapt its lessons to each kid’s changing needs. The University of Southern California team put a “socially assistive robot” called Kiwi in the homes of 17 autistic children and set the two-foot-tall, green-feathered robot to give each child personalized classes. Over the course of a month, the children played space-themed math games on a tablet device while Kiwi provided feedback and instruction, such as congratulating them on a correct answer or giving tips after a wrong one. As the lessons progressed, algorithms adjusted Kiwi’s feedback and the difficulty of the games to the child’s individual needs. By the end of the month, all of the children had improved their math skills, while 92% had also improved their social skills.

Spotlight

The recent fiscal climate and massive funding cuts proposed in the education budgets have hit universities hard. Experts estimate that public university funding has been cut by as much as 20 to 30% over the past decade. Universities are forced to balance their dwindling budgets by reducing faculty and limiting course offerings – inadvertently reducing the quality of education they provide. Most state-run institutions look to source funding from tuition rather than Govt appropriations. The US has witnessed a 96 percent increase in per-student tuition revenue – shifting the burden from states collectively to students and parents individually.

Spotlight

The recent fiscal climate and massive funding cuts proposed in the education budgets have hit universities hard. Experts estimate that public university funding has been cut by as much as 20 to 30% over the past decade. Universities are forced to balance their dwindling budgets by reducing faculty and limiting course offerings – inadvertently reducing the quality of education they provide. Most state-run institutions look to source funding from tuition rather than Govt appropriations. The US has witnessed a 96 percent increase in per-student tuition revenue – shifting the burden from states collectively to students and parents individually.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

DEI Organization Fearless Futures Launches E-learning Tool Available Worldwide

Fearless Futures | November 18, 2022

Today, Fearless Futures, an international diversity, equity and inclusion training and consultancy firm, announces the launch of its premier E-learning program, E-learning: Foundations to Inclusion and Equity, which educates participants on how to build inclusion and equity into their organization. Known for its transformative virtual and in-person trainings, Fearless Futures expands the accessibility of its educational offerings with this E-learning tool, enabling smaller companies, as well as corporations with teams too large to make instructor-led live training for all feasible, to advance their own anti-oppression learning in a cost-effective manner and at their own pace. Through the program, Fearless Futures pushes e-learning to a higher level of effectiveness by keeping participants deeply invested through engaging facilitators and short chapters, while also preserving the gravity of the subject matters. Unlike typical online DEI trainings, which are mainly intended to avoid workplace litigation and therefore set a very low bar in terms of actual education, this program covers the foundational concepts of systemic oppression, intersectionality and equity. The studio-produced experience, which includes interactions, engaging animations and historical footage, is slightly over two hours and structured in 17 bitesize video chapters, interspersed with activities. Foundations to Inclusion and Equity is available globally in English with captions in different languages upon request and accessible on computers and mobile devices. "Making intersectional equity and inclusion education available to a large audience has always been a driving force of our organization and we are thrilled to now offer a tool that expands accessibility as well as affordability,We believe that everyone has a right to this education, which is key to achieving profound change. Now, from the palm of their hands or within their homes, folks can participate in the in-depth analysis required to understand intersecting oppressive systems that exist in our workplaces with our E-learning tool." Hanna Naima McCloskey, founder and CEO of Fearless Futures. Initially developed to support schools' DEI efforts in 2014, Fearless Futures was founded by Hanna Naima McCloskey, now a seasoned facilitator and educator, to give students the tools to engage with the nuance and complexity of oppression. Following the organization's initial success, Hanna expanded Fearless Futures' teachings to cater to leaders in the corporate world in 2016, a demographic in urgent need of anti-oppression training. Since then, Fearless Futures has served employees of all levels, from c-suite leadership to junior staff working in organizations across a variety of industries including technology, finance, media and more. About Fearless Futures Fearless Futures is a diversity, equity and inclusion training and consultancy firm that facilitates transformative learning experiences by actively challenging the root causes and intersections of inequities as well as their lived realities. The firm serves daring companies across sectors including tech, finance, media and more who are unafraid to engage in courageous analysis and actions and are committed to deep change across their organizational ecosystems. Fearless Futures envisions a world in which each person and organization possesses and actively practices the skills and tools to design equity into their everyday lives in service of affording access to freedom, legitimacy, dignity, safety and belonging for those who live with inequity. Founded in the UK in 2014 by Hanna Naima McCloskey, Fearless Futures specializes in globally relevant, robust analyses of inequities in the workplace and how they produce unequal and harmful outcomes for marginalized groups, applying its intersectional methodology to design equitable policies and processes.

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TALENT DEVELOPMENT

USC Law and Social Work Schools Partner to Provide an Educational Opportunity for Students to Focus on Social Justice Advocacy

USC Gould School of Law | September 12, 2022

The Law, Social Justice and Diversity certificate, offered in person at USC’s University Park Campus location in Los Angeles, is designed for those who seek to learn more about law and social justice. This certificate explores the legal framework and regulations around social work and social justice in the United States. The Social Work Administration certificate, offered as an online-only program, provides a working understanding of the laws and regulations that impact social work. This certificate is geared toward leadership-minded professionals in social work and social service agencies. “The interdisciplinary certificates across social work and law will add to students’ existing skills to increase their community impact and help shape social policy,” says Samuel Mistrano, JD, associate teaching professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and faculty lead for both graduate certificate programs with USC Gould. “Students will understand how to drive positive change and address societal inequities using practical applications of their academic lessons.” Students in these specialized programs will gain fundamental knowledge of core concepts, essential laws, and emerging issues that shape current policy and professional practice. “The law has a tremendous impact on social work and social justice,Understanding the legal policies will help strengthen professionals’ advocacy for the individuals they serve.” Deborah Call, associate dean and chief programs officer for the USC Gould School of Law. The on-campus Law, Social Justice and Diversity certificate may be earned as a standalone certificate in as few as three semesters or concurrently with an On-Campus Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree at USC Gould or with the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. The online Social Work Administration certificate may also be earned as a standalone certificate in as few as three semesters or concurrently with the Online MSL degree or Online Master of Laws (LLM) degree programs at USC Gould, or with the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Students in both certificate programs will benefit from dedicated academic advising, professional development and career services support, and networking opportunities available from the University of Southern California. About the USC Gould School of Law The USC Gould School of Law is a private top 20 law school with a reputation for academic excellence and a world-class faculty. USC Gould is known for its diverse and collegial student body, its leadership in clinical education, and its supportive and global alumni network. Located in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s top legal markets and a hub for major law and entertainment firms, the Gould School offers a dynamic laboratory for legal training. For more information, visit gould.usc.edu. About the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is a leader in social work and nursing education and research. The school champions social justice for the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through innovative teaching of evidence-based practice and practice-based skills, pioneering transformative research, and cultivating leadership for social change. The school is a recognized leader in academic innovation, experiential learning, online education, and translational research

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Learning Pool Introduces Global AI-Based Skills Solution

Learning Pool | October 17, 2022

Learning Pool, the award-winning learning technologies company, has announced the launch of a major new product ahead of its 14th annual Learning Pool Live user conference.The release will leverage the know-how of People-Analytix, a Switzerland-based pioneer in AI-powered skills technology that was recently acquired by Learning Pool. The shift to put skills at the center of Learning Pool's technology offering is a wider reflection of the most profound change we've seen in learning technologies in recent times. "Every global enterprise is struggling to attract and retain skilled employees, and the widening skills gaps that are stopping businesses from growing at the pace they desire are apparent in every boardroom conversation,Learning Pool's acquisition of People-Analytix, and the subsequent advancements it will bring to our platform, means that we can now give customers the power to automatically address skills gaps as they appear. It is a tremendously exciting technology and a fundamental component in our wider mission to support talent development in creating extraordinary performers." Ben Betts, Learning Pool CEO Learning Pool notes that analysts and market commentators are keen to point out that the pivot to skills is not a temporary fad but rather a fundamental shift in the way we think about talent and development.According to Gartner, "Skills are fast becoming the main talent-related currency in terms of hiring, workforce planning and optimization, career development, talent marketplaces and learning." The World Economic Forum predicts that, by 2025, as many as 50% of all workers will need reskilling.[2] To address this global issue, skills development can no longer be satisfied by being simply reactive. Fosway research shows that skills are a critical strategic priority for organizations. However, only 20% of learning professionals say they are very effective at upskilling and reskilling," Fiona Leteney, senior analyst at Fosway Group, said. Both organizational agility and resilience are dependent on developing the right skills at pace, Learning Pool's acquisition of People-Analytix significantly strengthens its skills capabilities to address those needs. The latest release will form a key part of the Learning Pool platform; customers will use it to assess the current skills within their organization, plan for the future and close the gap through Learning Pool's platform and content libraries all in a single solution. Our latest release is powered by the incredible AI that People-Analytix and their partners have been developing over the better part of the past decade," Betts said. "The work the team have done has been lauded as one of the smartest 'skill cloud' executions available in the market today, and that's been backed up with real-world success stories. Taking a highly user-centric approach that is unique in the marketplace, the product announcement includes: A unique personal skills profile. From the outset, each user will have a unique and personal skills profile, fully capable of recommending the next best step for their development, based on up-to-date market data summarized into a seamless and automated experience. A market-leading skills ontology, providing a categorization of skills that creates a common language, defining the aspects of a specific job rather than relying on blanket terms and descriptions. Other providers in the industry use more limited methods of taxonomy, essentially hardcoding a hierarchy of jobs or competencies into their products, putting additional pressure on learning and development teams while inevitably becoming an outdated, poor reflection of how people do their jobs. External employment marketplace data updated daily to help both workers and administrators understand the skills that are in highest demand/shortest supply and to keep pace with the rapidly changing demands of global workplaces. A range of new learning experience types, including gig projects, internal mobility, mentorships and social learning opportunities, to broaden the methods by which employees can enhance their skill profiles. Updated and personalized learning recommendations, giving learners the best resources, social interactions and learning experiences to improve the most in-demand skills. Users can reskill or upskill using different pathways and different methods of learning. A comprehensive skills gap analysis tool, allowing managers to view the current skills within their team, plus the potential for staff members to upskill to fill new or emerging needs. In addition to benefiting from People-Analytix technology, Learning Pool will be strengthening its ranks of skills and data experts, led by Christoph Küffer, co-founder and CEO of People-Analytix, who joins the Learning Pool management team. We are excited to take our shared passion for innovation and customer centricity forward to build the future of enterprise learning, Küffer said. Current skills solutions in the market use relatively basic taxonomy not reflecting the current market developments. At the heart of our solution is a unique AI-powered ontology built over 10 years with human guidance. This sets us apart and is why it has the power to revolutionize how organizations manage their approach. Reporting around skills and skills progress can be used for organizational planning and developing and measuring learning and development strategies, making a powerful impact on business goals. Participants at Learning Pool Live will be able to share in the announcement, get hands-on with the technology and speak to the wider team. Last-minute tickets are available to join industry pioneers and hundreds of peers for a day of innovation, idea sharing and best practice. About Learning Pool Learning Pool creates learning experiences that deliver extraordinary outcomes for workplaces investing in the performance and skills of their people. Global organizations across dozens of industries choose Learning Pool for its innovative learning platform, which combines integrated technology and adaptive content to produce actionable insight into every learner's performance readiness. The company's passion for learning and commitment to data-driven outcomes is why they stay.Learning Pool is used in more than 40 languages by learners around the world. Its solutions easily integrate with the most used enterprise technology stacks. And its world-class customer experience ensures that L&D, HR and compliance teams can move beyond discussing learning as a cost center to harnessing its unique ability to produce a highly skilled workforce, new competitive advantages and an organization prepared for whatever the future might bring. Wherever you find ambitious workplaces investing in their people, you'll find Learning Pool.

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