Category Archives: Technology

Researchers Are Finding New Ways to Enter Our Dreams

“Scientists are figuring out how to communicate with people while they’re dreaming. What will be discovered on the other side?” V.  Greenwood, The Boston Globe, July 20, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Illustration- Gregori Saavedra. The Guardian

Excerpt: A passageway is opening into the world of dreams, By Veronique Greenwood, The Boston Globe, July 20, 2021

“Lucid dreamers can control their surroundings and the narrative of their dreams. Near the corner of the small, dark room, there is a narrow folding bed. Every now and then, a speaker on a nearby table emits an eerie violin riff. A line of red lights near the ceiling flashes, then flashes again, bathing the room in a lurid glow. In the bed someone who is fitted with a series of scalp and face electrodes is sleeping.

Sleep Lab -Boston Medical Center

This surreal tableau is part of scientists’ effort to breach the wall between the waking world and wherever it is we are when we’re dreaming. The researchers who control the speaker and flashing lights in the lab of Ken Paller, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill., have been asking questions of people who are dreaming and hoping to get answers.

The Netherlands Institut

The dreamers have talked back in a handful of cases. Or rather, signaled back, swiveling their closed eyes back and forth or making little muscle twitches to answer arithmetic problems asked by an experimenter…It’s not quite on the level of “Inception,” the 2010 movie in which Leonardo DiCaprio enters people’s dreams to steal their secrets, but it could be a way to learn more about the peculiar places we inhabit, built by our brains without our knowledge, when we lie down to sleep.

Poster from film: Inception

Researchers have found that lucid dreamers can move their closed eyes voluntarily while asleep and can signal using a prearranged rapid movement — left-right-left-right — that they’ve become lucid. The sleeper may then perform another prearranged task, like singing a song or practicing a workout in the dream and then signal again when they’ve completed it. This has allowed researchers to ask big questions. Do activities take the same amount of time in a dream as in waking life? (Yes, it appears.)”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Scientists are figuring out how to communicate with people while they’re dreaming.
  2. Lucid dreamers can control their surroundings and the narrative of their dreams.
  3. Every now and then, a speaker on a nearby table emits an eerie violin riff.
  4. In the bed someone is fitted with a series of scalp and face electrodes.
  5. This surreal tableau is an effort to breach the wall between the waking world and when we’re dreaming.
  6. Some dreamers  can signal back by making little muscle twitches.
  7. It’s not quite on the level of “Inception,” the 2010 movie.
  8. Some believe that we enter an alternate life while sleeping.
  9. A phenomenon called lucid dreaming offers the possibility of communication in real time.
  10. Some experimenters spoke these questions, some used Morse code.

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Scientists are figuring out how to communicate with people while they’re dreaming.
  2. What will be discover on the other side?
  3. The researchers control the speaker and flashing lights in the lab.

II

  1. The dreamers have talked back on a handful of cases.
  2. Two-way communication with dreamers is possible.
  3. But there is a delay between a dream and when scientists can try to learn about it.

III

  1. Lucid dreaming offers an possibility of communication in real time.
  2. It is possible for some people to train themselves to dream this way.
  3. Researchers have found that lucid dreamers can move their closed eyes voluntarily while asleep.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes and descriptions  from (and of)  the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. This scientist is part of the group of researchers who control the people  who are dreaming.
  2. “One of the main challenges of doing dream research is that you only have access to the dream experience, the dream report, after the fact.”
  3. This sleep researcher helped bring the subject of Lucid dreamers to the mainstream.
  4. He and his colleagues have found that when lucid dreamers trace a line with their eyes they move with a smoothness they don’t have when awake and imagining the same experience.
  5. “It is not clear why some people perceived the questions and others did not…But staying lucid is like balancing on a knife’s edge…On the one hand, you may get so excited you’ve achieved lucidity that you wake up. On the other, you can fall back into the deep, languid waters of regular dreaming, losing the ability to participate in experiments.
  6. However, the method will always be really difficult and impractical, in the sense that you have to test dozens of participants before getting one instance of really convincing, successful communication.”

 

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Do you dream often? Can you remember your dreams when you wake up?
  2. According to the article have dreamers ever spoken (or signaled) back to the scientists?  How?
  3. What are some of the positive advantages of learning about our dreams?
  4. What type of  experiments did the researchers ask the sleepers to perform?
  5. At the present,  what’s the best way to get information about  what we dream about?
  6. Explain what Lucid Dreaming means.
  7. What are some of the things that  lucid dreamers can do?
  8. What are some questions researchers ask about lucid dreamers?
  9. In the 2010 movie ‘Inception,’ Leonardo DiCaprio enters people’s dreams to steal their secrets. In your opinion, do you believe this could actually happen with further dream research?
  10. Why are researchers cautious about future research in dreaming?
  11. In your opinion, are these experiments useful or harmful? Please provide reasons for your answers.

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

 

Extra Activities

Have each group research different institutions (in the U.S. and other countries)that have dream experimentation labs and write a report about the results. Each group will share their results with the class.

Have each member write about a dream they had and try to interpret the dream.

ANSWER KEY

Category: People, Psychology, Technology | Tags:

“How Children Read Differently From Books vs. Screens”

“Scrolling may work for social media, but experts say that for school assignments, kids learn better if they slow down their reading.” P. Klass, M.D., The New York Times, March 16, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Cristina Spanò, The New York Times

 

Excerpt: ByPerri Klass, M.D. The New York Times, March 16, 2021

“In this pandemic year, parents have been watching — often anxiously — their children’s increasing reliance on screens for every aspect of their education. It can feel as if there’s no turning back to the time when learning involved hitting the actual books. But the format children read in can make a difference in terms of how they absorb information.

Naomi Baron, who is professor emerita of linguistics at American University and author of a new book,“How We Read Now: Strategic Choices for Print, Screen and Audio,” said, ‘there are two components, the physical medium and the mind-set we bring to reading on that medium — and everything else sort of follows from that.’

Because we use screens for social purposes and for amusement, we all — adults and children — get used to absorbing online material, much of which was designed to be read quickly and casually, without much effort.

And then we tend to use that same approach to on-screen reading with harder material that we need to learn from, to slow down with, to absorb more carefully. A result can be that we don’t give that material the right kind of attention…Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental behavioral pediatrician who is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, said that apps designed to teach reading in the early years of school rely on ‘gamification meant to keep children engaged.’ And though they do successfully teach core skills, she said, ‘what has been missing in remote schooling is the classroom context, the teacher as meaning maker, to tie it all together, helping it be more meaningful to you, not just a bunch of curricular components you’ve mastered.’

Any time that parents are able to engage with family reading time is good, using whatever medium works best for them, said Dr. Tiffany Munzer, also a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Mott Children’s Hospital, who has studied how young children use e-books.

However, Dr. Munzer was the lead author on a 2019 study that found that parents and toddlers spoke less overall, and also spoke less about the story when they were looking at electronic books compared with print books, and another study that showed less social back-and-forth — the toddlers were more likely to be using the screens by themselves…Dr. Radesky, who was involved in the research projects with Dr. Munzer, talked about the importance of helping children master reading that goes beyond specific remembered details — words or characters or events — so a child is ‘able to integrate knowledge gained from the story with life experience.’ And again, she said, that isn’t what is stressed in digital design. ‘Stuff that makes you think, makes you slow down and process things deeply, doesn’t sell, doesn’t get the most clicks,’ she said…Parents can help with this when their children are young, Dr. Radesky said, by discussing the story and asking the questions that help children draw those connections.”

Top 30 Free Printable Mother’s Day Coloring Pages

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Compare/Contrast Chart

Directions: Have students list the similarities and differences between two things or ideas. Have students share their ideas with the class. The chart is from ReadWriteThink.org

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Scrolling works for social media.
  2. The format children read in can make a difference in terms of how they absorb information.
  3. We use screens mainly for social purposes and for amusement.
  4. Many educators believe fervently in the value of reading print books to young children.
  5. Many apps and e-books have too many distractions.
  6. Reading apps are just a bunch of curricular components children have mastered.
  7. Apps have all these visually salient features which distracts from the core content.
  8. It should be the job of the software developers to design electronic books that encourage language and interactions.
  9. When kids enter digital spaces, they have access to an infinite number of platforms and websites.
  10. Professor Baron said that in an ideal world, children would learn how to read contiguous text for enjoyment.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

In/On elementary school their/there’s an/and opportunity to/too start a/an conversation about the advantage/advantages of the different media: It goes/go for print, gone/goes for an/a digital screen, goes for audio, goes for video, they all have/had their/there uses — we need two/to make kids aware/awareness that knot/not all media are best suited to/too all purposes.

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “there are two components, the physical medium and the mind-set we bring to reading on that medium — and everything else sort of follows from that.”
  2. “…apps designed to teach reading in the early years of school rely on gamification meant to keep children engaged.”
  3. “What has been missing in remote schooling is the classroom context, the teacher as meaning maker, to tie it all together, helping it be more meaningful to you, not just a bunch of curricular components you’ve mastered.”
  4. “In an ideal world, children would learn “how to read contiguous text for enjoyment, how to stop, how to reflect.”
  5. “Any time that parents are able to engage with family reading time is good, using whatever medium works best for them.”
  6. “With younger children it makes sense to stick with print to the extent that it is possible.”

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Do you  prefer reading online or reading actual books? Why?
  2. In your opinion, which is better for young children, reading books or reading online? Why?
  3. According to the article what are the two main purposes for online reading?
  4. Why are print books better for parents and children?
  5. What is  dialogic reading?
  6. What is missing in online schooling for children?
  7. According to a 2019 study, what happens when parents and children read electronic books compared to reading print books?
  8. According to Dr. Radesky why is metacognition important for children to develop?
  9. After reading this article write down three new ideas you have learned about this  topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing that you would like to know that the article did not mention.

ANSWER KEY

Beware of Deepfakes: Digital Impersonations That Can Deceive Us

“To those fearful of a future in which videos of real people are indistinguishable from computer-generated forgeries, two recent developments that attracted an audience of millions might have seemed alarming.” D. Victor, The New York Times, March 10, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Lesson Plan

A video of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died last year, was created using MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia tool.

Excerpt: Your Loved Ones, and Eerie Tom Cruise Videos, Reanimate Unease With Deepfakes,By Daniel Victor, The New York Times, March 10, 2021

“First, a visual effects artist worked with a Tom Cruise impersonator to create startlingly accurate videos imitating the actor. The videos, created with the help of machine-learning techniques and known as deepfakes, gained millions of views on TikTok, Twitter and other social networks in late February.

A looping video of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was created using a photograph and a tool on the MyHeritage genealogy site.

Then, days later, MyHeritage, a genealogy website best known for its role in tracking down the identity of the Golden State Killer, offered a tool to digitally animate old photographs of loved ones, creating a short, looping video in which people can be seen moving their heads and even smiling. More than 26 million images had been animated using the tool, called Deep Nostalgia, as of Monday, the company said.

The videos renewed attention to the potential of synthetic media, which could lead to significant improvements in the advertising and entertainment industries. But the technology could also be used — and has been — to raise doubts about legitimate videos and to insert people, including children, into pornographic images.

The creators of the viral Tom Cruise TikToks said the expertise required to use the technology makes abusing it much harder, and the company behind the photo-animating tool said it put in place safeguards to prevent misuse…‘Although Deep Nostalgia itself is innocuous, it’s part of this set of tools that are potentially very threatening,’ said Sam Gregory, the program director of Witness, a nonprofit organization focused on the ethical use of video, and an expert on artificial intelligence…The Deep Nostalgia tool was created for MyHeritage by D-ID, an artificial intelligence company based in Tel Aviv. Gil Perry, the chief executive of D-ID, said that the company works only with partners it can trust not to abuse the technology, and that it had a four-year relationship with MyHeritage.

Videos created using the tool have watermarks to indicate that they aren’t real, and the videos do not include audio, a decision that Mr. Perry said makes it harder to use them for unsavory purposes…The effects could also be used in Hollywood to better age or de-age actors, or to improve the dubbing of films and TV shows in different languages, closely aligning lip movements with the language onscreen… Of course, people who have died can’t consent to being featured in videos. And that matters if dead people — especially celebrities — can be digitally resurrected, as the artist Bob Ross was to sell Mountain Dew…Henry Ajder, a deepfakes researcher, imagined a future in which our own voices could be used with assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, allowing us to stay connected with loved ones after our deaths.”

STAY SAFE — KEEP LOVED ONES SAFE

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

LESSON PLAN

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities KWL Chart

The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about Digital Impersonations.Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

Advanced K-W-L chart.Intervention for Reading — Michigan State University

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Videos of real people are indistinguishable from computer-generated forgeries.
  2. A visual effects artist worked with a Tom Cruise impersonator to make the forgeries.
  3. MyHeritage is  a genealogy website.
  4. The website offered a tool to digitally animate old photographs of loved ones.
  5. The tool is called Deep Nostalgia.
  6. The videos renewed attention to the potential of synthetic media.
  7. Although Deep Nostalgia itself is innocuous, it’s part of this set of tools that are potentially very threatening.
  8. Many people are focused on the ethical use of the videos.
  9. The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat.
  10. Creating these videos required extensive expertise and time.

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. More than 26 million image had been animated.
  2. The videos renewed attention to the potential of synthetic media.
  3. Experts say the two examples are not overly alarming.

II

  1. The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat.
  2. Most of what you sea in the videos is the body and voice of Miles Fisher.
  3. Videos like this would require extensive manual work.

III

  1. A nongovernmental organization created a videos of a Mexican journalist.
  2. As the technology advances, it will be used more broadly.
  3. People are always trying to think about the perfect deepfake.

 

While Reading: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “Although Deep Nostalgia itself is innocuous, it’s part of this set of tools that are potentially very threatening.”
  2. “The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat. they required extensive expertise and time…It’s like a small Hollywood studio with the two of us. It’s not something you can do at a home computer, pressing a button.”
  3. “The technology could also have a destabilizing effect on global affairs, as politicians claim that videos, including genuine ones, are fake in order to gain an advantage that they have called “the liar’s dividend.”
  4. “Imagine a future in which our own voices could be used with assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, allowing us to stay connected with loved ones after our deaths…In what cases do we need consent of the deceased to resurrect them?”

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. What is the purpose of the tool Deep Nostalgia? What safeguards has D-ID, the company behind the tool, created to prevent its misuse?
  2. What are some benefits to using ‘synthetic media’? What are some dangers in using this type of media?
  3. Name two ways that people can tell which videos were created using the The Deep Nostalgia tool.
  4. Who was Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas? Joaquin Oliver? Why are they important to this article?
  5. What are some other ways this technology be used?
  6. (e.g., In the movies/TV shows–in Politics)
  7. How can this technology  have a destabilizing effect on global affairs?
  8. Have you ever seen a deepfake video? If so, where did you see it? Did you think it was real or could you tell it was fake?  If Yes, explain how you knew.
  9. The article concludes with a discussion of consent from people both living and dead. In your opinion, in the future, will we need the consent of dead people to reanimate them? Explain your answer.
  10. Write down three new ideas that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that  you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review all  responses as a class.

Extra Activity:

Main Idea / Debate

Directions: Divide students into two teams for this debate. Both teams can use information from the article and additional articles from various newspapers including the New York Times to support their arguments.

Team A will list reasons that support arguments for Deepfake technology.

Team B will list reasons that support arguments against Deepfake technology.

Each team will have time to state their points of view,  and the teacher decides which team made their points.  

For organization, have students use Pros and Cons Scale organizer  from Freeology

Pros and Cons Scale

Additional Articles on Deepfakes:

Facebook Says It Will Ban ‘Deepfakes’ (New York Times)

Internet Companies Prepare to Fight the ‘Deepfake’ Future‘ (New York Times)

Deepfakes Are Going To Wreak Havoc On Society. We Are Not Prepared.” (Forbes)

Deepfakes and the New AI-Generated Fake Media Creation-Detection Arms Race” (Scientific American)

What Are Deepfakes — and How Can You Spot Them?” (The Guardian)

ANSWER KEY

New Remote Learning Classes For Older Adults

“New online tools and an array of remote classes and programs are ramping up education and training for adults.” K. Hannon, The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2021

Image- James Yang-The New York Times

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt:  Remote Learning Isn’t Just for Kids, By Kerry Hannon, The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2021

“Deb Livingston, a former business consultant, was always curious and eager to learn just about anything. ‘When the pandemic hit, I was confined at home and found myself diving into online exploration,’ said Ms. Livingston, 61. She discovered GetSetUp, an interactive website that delivers virtual education to older adults. Even former chief executives like Jeff Mihm, a Miami resident who led Noven Pharmaceuticals, sometimes need a new life direction… The internet has empowered adult learners by providing new online tools to ramp up education and training. ‘The need for workers to keep pace with fast-moving economic, cultural and technological changes, combined with longer careers, will add up to great swaths of adults who need to learn more than generations past — and faster than ever,’ said Luke Yoquinto, a research associate at the M.I.T. AgeLab… By 2034, the number of adults age 65 and older will outnumber those under the age of 18, according to the Census Bureau. ‘That growth of older age demographics will translate to new demand for enrichment in the form of digital education,’ Mr. Yoquinto said… Virtual learning has become “the great equalizer,” said Gene O’Neill, the chief executive of the North American Veterinary Community, which provides continuing education for veterinarians around the world. ‘Because of virtual learning, veterinary professionals everywhere, even in remote, undeveloped countries, can learn from the world’s most renowned leaders and virtually participate in conferences,’ he said…Ms. Livingston’s goal was to improve her skills so she could become a paid teacher on the GetSetUp platform, which offers classes — all taught via Zoom by teachers older than 50 — on skills from professional development to technology, health, wellness and hobbies like photography…There are three membership levels, starting at free and topping out at $20 a month for unlimited access.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Deb Livingston was a former business consultant.
  2. When the pandemic hit, she  was confined at home.
  3. She discovered GetSetUp, an interactive website.
  4. Mr. Mihm decided to return to school empowered because of the pandemic.
  5. Ms. Livingston’s goal was to improve her skills.
  6. A nonpartisan group supporting entrepreneurship, found that more than 25 percent of new entrepreneurs were ages 55 to 64.
  7. GetSetUp, for example, offers courses on running an e-commerce marketplace.
  8. The good news, is the level of sophistication of online education.
  9. I love that I can help others keep their zest for life and help myself in the process.”
  10. After resigning from his corporate post, Mr. Mihm, 55, decided to go back to school.

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

“The good news, though/tho, is/are the level of sophistication  on/of online education is increasing and/an more access is coming/come to rural communities,” Mr. Kamber said. It’s a breve/brave new world of learning/learn for people, an/and that gives/give me hop/hope. For Ms. Livingston, that means continuing to take/took and/an teach classes at/ate GetSetUp.

“Learning at/on any stage of life is/are what stimulates creativity and joy,” she said. “So much energy emerges/emerge from connecting the dots, having ‘aha’ moments and gaining skill/skills. I love that I can help other/others keep their zest/rest for life and help myself in the process.”

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “When the pandemic hit, I was at home and found myself diving into online exploration.”
  2. I have a love of learning, and it was an opportunity to step back, study and explore.”
  3. “The need for workers to keep pace with fast-moving economic, cultural and technological changes, combined with longer careers, will add up to great swaths of adults who need to learn more than generations past — and faster than ever.”
  4. “Virtual learning has become “the great equalizer.”
  5. “The traditional way of designing training and reskilling is a long, drawn-out program where you get a certificate or a degree. By the time you get that certificate, the skill is already outdated. We’re changing that model.”
  6. “I really wanted to create a program that would be able to get older adults to use technology and give them the kinds of training and support in environments where they could succeed.”

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Why did Ms. Livingston begin  exploring online education courses?
  2. What new information did Ms. Livingston learn from her online classes?
  3. According to the article, how has the internet empowered adult learners?
  4. According to the Census Bureau, what will happen to the number of people 65 and older in 2034?
  5. Why is adult education referred to as ‘the Wild West’ of education technology?
  6. According to Mr. Yoquinto, what are two reasons older adults are taking more online classes?
  7. Why is virtual learning considered to be ‘the great equalizer’?
  8. Describe the ‘GetSetUp’ platform.
  9. What does the acronym OATS stand for?
  10. In addition to learning new skills, what are older adults doing with new  the new information they have learned?

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that  you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Students and Faculty Say ‘NO’ to Exam Surveillance Tools

“Algorithmic proctoring software has been around for several years, but its use exploded as the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to quickly transition to remote learning… Invasive test-taking software has become mandatory in many places, and some companies are retaliating against those who speak out.”T. Feathers and J. Rose, vicemagazine (9/2020)

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image- 9to5mac.com

EXCERPT: Students Are Rebelling Against Eye-Tracking Exam Surveillance Tools, By Todd Feathers/Janus Rose.

“As a privacy-minded computer science student preparing to start his first year at Miami University, Erik Johnson was concerned this fall when he learned that two of his professors would require him to use the digital proctoring software Proctorio for their classes. The software turns students’ computers into powerful invigilators—webcams monitor eye and head movements, microphones record noise in the room, and algorithms log how often a test taker moves their mouse, scrolls up and down on a page, and pushes keys. The software flags any behavior its algorithm deems suspicious for later viewing by the class instructor.In the end, Johnson never had to use Proctorio. Not long after he began airing his concerns on Twitter and posted a simple analysis of the software’s code on Pastebin, he discovered that his IP address was banned from accessing the company’s services.

image- edsurge.com

He also received a direct message from Proctorio’s CEO, Mike Olsen, who demanded that he take the Pastebin posts down, according to a copy of the message Johnson shared with Motherboard. Johnson refused to do so, and is now waiting to see if Proctorio will follow up with more concrete legal action, as it has done to other critics in recent weeks.

His case is just one example of how college campuses are revolting against the use of digital proctoring software, and the aggressive tactics employed by proctoring companies in response to those efforts.

In recent weeks, students have started online petitions calling for universities across the world to abandon the tools, and faculty on some campuses, like the University of California Santa Barbara, have led similar campaigns, arguing that universities should explore new forms of assessment rather than subjecting students to surveillance…Proctoring companies cite studies estimating that between 50 and 70 percent of college students will attempt some form of cheating, and warn that cheating will be rampant if students are left unmonitored in their own homes….’Any plan that calls for schools to just ‘stop using’ proctoring will make cheating more common than it already is, escalating a severe threat to all higher education,’ Scott MacFarland, the CEO of ProctorU, another proctoring vendor, wrote in an email to Motherboard…Students’ and educators’ objections to exam proctoring software go beyond the privacy concerns around being watched and listened to in their bedrooms while they take a test.

As more evidence emerges about how the programs work, and fail to work, critics say the tools are bound to hurt low-income students, students with disabilities, students with children or other dependents, and other groups who already face barriers in higher education…’They aren’t taking into consideration people from underprivileged communities,’Alamri said. ‘This sort of online exam is really measuring a person’s generationalwealth and not their knowledge of the law.’

 

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ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine the photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be helpful.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The software turns students’ computers into powerful invigilators.
  2. Webcams monitor eye and head movements and algorithms log how often a test taker moves their mouse.
  3. The software flags any behavior its algorithm deems suspicious.
  4. Johnson  discovered that his IP address was banned from accessing the company’s services.
  5. In recent weeks, students have started online petitions.
  6. Algorithmic proctoring software has been around for several years.
  7. Proctoring companies cite studies estimating that between 50 and 70 percent of college students will attempt some form of cheating.
  8. Some believe cheating on college exams is escalating.
  9. The system measures suspicion levels as students take exams.
  10.   Other proctoring companies have also been litigious when faced with criticism. 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Students and educator object to exam proctoring software.
  2. Law students around the country are organizing to fight against the use of any kind of digital proctoring.
  3. Oregon, and Wisconsin have already scrapped their upcoming bar exams as a result of student pressure.

II

  1. Other states, including New York, are fumbling for solutions as deadlines for the exams quickly approach.
  2. In their petition, the students say the used of ExamSoft discriminates against people of color.
  3. The California bar exam would require test takers to verify their identity with facial recognition checks.

III

  1. They aren’t taking into consideration people from underprivileged communities.
  2. If a student looks away from the screen more than their peers they are flagged for an abnormality.
  3. in general, students and faculty are worried about the spread of proctoring tools on campuses.

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1.  “If my professors weren’t flexible, I’d be completely unable to take exams.”
  2. “We’re supposed to be protecting our students.”
  3.  “Any plan that calls for schools to just ‘stop using’ proctoring will make cheating more common than it already is, escalating a severe threat to all higher education.”
  4.  “It just seems to me that this mock exam is reading the poor lighting as my skin color.”
  5.  “These coders are defining, mathematically, the ideal student body: how often it does, or doesn’t do, these certain attributes, and anything outside of that ideal is treated with suspicion.”
  6.  “Each academic department has almost complete agency to design their curriculum as far as I know, and each professor has the freedom to design their own exams and use whatever monitoring they see fit.”
  7. After this person began sharing Proctorio training videos and documents that explained the company’s abnormality methodology on Twitter, the videos were removed from YouTube, and Proctorio filed for a court injunction to prevent  this person from sharing its training material.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. . Why was Erik Johnson against using  the digital proctoring software Proctorio for their classes?
  2. On which media site did Johnson air his concerns?
  3. In general, how do the faculty feel about using forcing students to endure surveillance during exams?
  4. Algorithmic proctoring software has been around for several years, so what caused this sudden explosive need to use it now?
  5. According to the proctoring companies, what percentage of college students will attempt to cheat?
  6. What is the concern about allowing students take exams in their homes? Do you agree with this statement? Why are why not?
  7. According to Scott MacFarland, “Any plan that calls for schools to just ‘stop using’ proctoring will make cheating more common than it already is, escalating a severe threat to all higher education.”  Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Please provide a reason for your answer.
  8. According to the article, some programs hurt certain groups of people. Who are these groups and how are they hurt by Surveillance Tools during exams?
  9. Have you ever had to take an exam that used digital proctoring? If yes, what was it like? If no, would you be comfortable taking an exam with digital proctoring?

Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading. They can write about something they did not understand. In addition, have students write something that they would have liked to see in the article.

.ANSWER KEY