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EdTech News for Friday, February 3, 2023: Eye Tracking Device for Music Making, A.I. Doesn’t Know Subtlety

Technological development is fueled by imagination, intelligence, and information. We like to believe informed intelligence leads our EdTech adventures. Here are the news stories that inspired our team this week.


This week, Michigan Medicine’s Pranger ALS Clinic issued a press release about the work of composer and DJ Jordan Weston, who has ALS and is now paralyzed as a result of the disease. The Tobii Dynavox I-16 is a device controlled by eye-tracking for the iPad. People with ALS, spinal cord injuries, and other conditions that cause paralysis can use it to communicate and pursue their work and interests.


Weston uses a sensor bar and the device to control music software with eye movements. Through these technologies, the 32-year-old can create new songs and continue to pursue the musical interests he started developing as a teen.


“Making music has been something Jordan has done practically since I’ve known him, which was in high school,” said Jordan’s wife, Tiffany Weston. “I’m grateful that he is able to continue to do something to express his creativity. We enjoy hearing the music he makes throughout our home. Even our children hum the tunes while he’s creating.”


Jordan Weston is known as lee j beatz on his Youtube Channel located at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpeck7QizhkpcG9En6xKmnA

Press release: https://www.newswise.com/articles/man-with-als-makes-music-with-only-his-eyes


Classrooms, whether actual or virtual, should be safe spaces where learners can explore knowledge and develop skills. Two concepts instructors must understand to create and support a safe learning environment are microaggressions and microinterventions. Microaggressions, whether they are intentional or not, cause harm to equity-seeking groups by sending subtle messages that disparage differences. Microinterventions are equally subtle messages instructors can use to challenge the aggressions and promote diversity, inclusivity, and equity.


According to a new report, microaggressions on social media will become even more harmful if the AI-based tools that monitor posts are not trained to recognize them more easily.


The current versions of the monitoring tools are too literal to detect the hostile messaging and misinformation behind microaggressions, warned the research report from the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (StratCom COE).


“Subtle microaggressions are dangerous on social media platforms as they can often resonate with people of similar beliefs and help spread toxic or hostile messaging,” said Dr. Alexander Gegov of the University of Portsmouth team that is working on the research for NATO StratCom COE, “Estimating emotions online is challenging, but in this report, we demonstrated that there are many ways we can enhance our conventional pre-processing pipelines. It is time to go beyond simple polar emotions, and teach A.I. to assess the context of a conversation.”


Press release: Subtle Hostile social media messaging is being missed by AI


Integrating mental health supports into every aspect of curriculum development and instructional design is an issue occupying everyone engaged in education. The Los Angeles County Office of Education partnered with L.A. Care Health Plan, Health Net, and the L.A. County Department of Mental Health to offer mental health services for L.A. County’s 1.3 million K to 12 public school students. The service will primarily consist of virtual care delivered by telehealth company Hazel Health.


Local Education Agencies can opt into the program. The LA County Office of Education has allotted $24 million U.S. for the services over two years.


“With unprecedented levels of trauma and stressors facing our students, the need for timely and effective mental health support has never been greater,” said Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “The groundbreaking solutions in virtual care made possible by our partnership with Los Angeles County will dramatically increase our support capacity, ensuring all students are ready for the world.”


Press release: Los Angeles County Addresses Youth Mental Health

Disclosure notice: The EdTech News is compiled and distributed by the Edusity family of companies, including Edusity, The Babb Group, Professor Services, and Cudoo.


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Kate Baggott

Head of Content and Communications at Edusity
Kate Baggott is the Head of Content and Communications for the Edusity family of companies that includes Edusity.com, TheBabbGroup.com, ProfessorServices.com and Cudoo.com

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