What one college discovered when it stopped accepting SAT/ACT scores — from by Valerie Strauss

Excerpt:

We completely dropped standardized tests from our application as part of our new mission-driven admissions strategy, distinct from the “test-optional” policy that hundreds of colleges now follow. If we reduce education to the outcomes of a test, the only incentive for schools and students to innovate is in the form of improving test-taking and scores. Teaching to a test becomes stifling for teachers and students, far from the inspiring, adaptive education which most benefits students. Our greatly accelerating world needs graduates who are trained to address tough situations with innovation, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and a capacity for mobilizing collaboration and cooperation.

We weighed other factors in our decision:

  • Standardized test scores do not predict a student’s success at our college.
  • SATs/ACTs are strongly biased against low-income students and students of color, at a time when diversity is critical to our mission.
  • We surveyed our students and learned not one of them had considered rankings when choosing to apply to colleges; instead they most cared about a college’s mission.
  • Some good students are bad test takers, particularly under stress, such as when a test may grant or deny college entry. Multiple-choice tests don’t reveal much about a student.
  • We’ve developed much better, fairer ways to assess students who will thrive at our college.

Our shift to a mission-driven approach to admissions is right for Hampshire College and the right thing to do. We fail students if we reduce them to a standardized test number tied more to their financial status than achievement. We fail students by perpetuating the myth that high standardized test scores signal “better” students. We are in the top one percent of colleges nationwide in the percentage of our undergraduate alumni who go on to earn advanced degrees – this on the strength of an education where we assess their capabilities narratively, and where we never, not once, subject them to a numerical or letter grade on a test or course.

 

From DSC:
I haven’t tried this app myself, but I was intrigued by the concept behind it. Machine learning/deep learning is very much at play here, as the app can recognize a particular problem and then present some potential assistance/answers to you. “Take a photo. Get instant help.”

 



 

Description
Take a PHOTO of your homework question and get explanations, videos, and step-by-step help instantly. Supports Math, Science, History, English, Econ and more. Completely free, NO in-app purchases. “This app is a lifesaver”

  • Fast – Take a photo, get instant results, no waiting
  • Explainers – Teaches you exactly what you need to learn
  • Videos – The best Youtube videos for your question
  • Powerful – Better than Google for homework help
  • Free – Free to use and always will be

~~ How it works ~~
Socratic is a homework app that combines cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) with amazing learning content to make learning on your phone easy.

Take a picture of a homework question and our AI instantly figures out which concepts you need to learn in order to answer it, and shows you simple, high-quality content designed to make learning easy.

Socratic’s AI combines cutting-edge computer vision technologies, which read questions from images, with machine learning classifiers built using millions of sample homework questions, to accurately predict which concepts will help you solve your question.

Socratic’s team of educators is creating highly-visual, jargon-free content to teach every important high school curriculum concept, and is curating the best online videos from sources like Khan Academy, Crash Course, and others.

Together, the Socratic app represents a huge improvement in how students learn on the Internet.

 



 

From DSC:
Again, this is the type of service that I could see the New Amazon.com of Higher Education featuring in their courses and/or microlearning-based offerings.

Also see:

 



 

 

 

Making sure the machines don’t take over — from raconteur.net by Mark Frary
Preparing economic players for the impact of artificial intelligence is a work in progress which requires careful handling

 

From DSC:
This short article presents a balanced approach, as it relays both the advantages and disadvantages of AI in our world.

Perhaps it will be one of higher education’s new tasks — to determine the best jobs to go into that will survive the next 5-10+ years and help you get up-to-speed in those areas. The liberal arts are very important here, as they lay a solid foundation that one can use to adapt to changing conditions and move into multiple areas. If the C-suite only sees the savings to the bottom line — and to *&^# with humanity (that’s their problem, not mine!) — then our society could be in trouble.

 

Also see:

 

 

 

 

Google Home’s assistant can now recognize different voices — from cnbc.com

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s voice-activated assistant can now recognize who’s talking to it on Google’s Home speaker.

An update released Thursday enables Home’s built-in assistant to learn the different voices of up to six people, although they can’t all be talking to the internet-connected speaker at the same time.

Distinguishing voices will allow Home to be more personal in some of its responses, depending on who triggers the assistant with the phrase, “OK Google” or “Hey Google.”

For instance, once Home is trained to recognize a user named Joe, the assistant will automatically be able to tell him what traffic is like on his commute, list events on his daily calendar or even play his favorite songs. Then another user named Jane could get similar information from Home, but customized for her.

 

 

 

What’s New for Video and Audio (April 2017) | Adobe Creative Cloud

 

 

 

Adobe Creative Cloud Propels Video Forward at NAB 2017 — from news.adobe.com
Latest Release Features New Capabilities in AI, VR, Motion Graphics, Live Animation and Audio

Excerpt:

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ahead of the National Association of Broadcasting (NAB) conference, Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced a major update for video in Adobe Creative Cloud to help filmmakers and video producers collaborate and streamline video workflows. The Creative Cloud release, available today, delivers new features for graphics and titling, animation, polishing audio and sharing assets; support for the latest video formats, such as HDR, VR and 4K; new integrations with Adobe Stock; and advanced artificial intelligence capabilities powered by Adobe Sensei. Announced at Adobe Summit 2017, Adobe Experience Cloud also allows brands to deliver connected video experiences across any screen at massive scale, while analyzing performance and monetizing ads.

Technology advancements and exploding consumer demand for impactful and personalized content require video producers to create, deliver and monetize their video assets faster than ever before. From the largest studio to next generation YouTubers, a scalable, end-to-end solution is required to create, collaborate and streamline video workflows with robust analytics and advertising tools to optimize content and drive more value.

 

 

Adobe Makes Big Leaps in Video, Just in Time for NAB — from blogs.adobe.com

Excerpt:

Next week, thousands of broadcasters, video producers and digital content lovers will gather for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual conference. Just in time for the event, Adobe is unveiling big updates to our video tools for graphics and titling, animation, and sharing assets; support for the latest formats including HDR, VR and 4K; lots of improvements to video workflows; and more power from Adobe Sensei, our artificial intelligence technology. It’s all part of a major Adobe CC product update available today.

“The newest Creative Cloud video release integrates the advanced science of Adobe Sensei to make common tasks faster and easier. All video producers – whether they’re part of the major media companies or up and coming YouTubers – can now bring their creative vision to life without having to be motion graphics or audio experts,” says Steven Warner, vice president of digital media at Adobe.

 

 

 

These are the latest features in After Effects CC 2017, available now — from provideocoalition.com by Mark Christiansen
Get up to date and up to speed with these additions & changes

[For a detailed overview, check back during NAB when the course After Effects CC 2017: New Features from LinkedIn Learning (otherwise known as Lynda.com) will be updated with everything that’s brand new as of today. This course will feature the examples depicted here in step-by-step detail.]

 

 

Adobe updates Premiere Pro CC for April 2017 — from provideocoalition.com by Scott Simmons
And instead of waiting months for the new CC versions they should be available soon, as in probably today

 

 

 

After Effects NAB 2017 Update — from provideocoalition.com by Chris and Trish Meyer
How to play nice(r) with Premiere Pro editors, as well as other updates

 

 



 Also see:



 

 

 

Has cutting your way to greatness ever worked? — from insidehighered.com by Matt Reed
 I can’t think of a time that it has, yet it remains a common default mode.  

Excerpt:

Has cutting your way to greatness ever worked?

I can’t think of a time that it has, yet it remains a common default mode.

In places with declining enrollments and without generous external benefactors, it’s easy to fall into the trap of constant cutting. Each year is a fresh emergency, bringing another round of short-term patches and “temporary” workarounds that quickly become new baselines.

Over time, though, the cuts do damage that starts to show up in enrollments. Too many classes cancelled or calls unreturned lead to attrition, which leads to calls for still more cuts. Cut an off-campus location to save money, and whoops, you lose its enrollments, leading to a need for more cutting. Add an inexorably rising underlying cost — say, just hypothetically, health insurance — and you have the makings of a death spiral.

The task for the emerging generation of leadership isn’t just fiscal; it’s narrative.

 

 

From DSC:
In terms of learning, having to be in the same physical place as others continues to not be a requirement nearly as much as it used to be. But I’m not just talking about online learning here. I’m talking about a new type of learning environment that involves both hardware and software to facilitate collaboration (and it was designed that way from day 1). These new types of setups can provide us with new opportunities and affordances that we should begin experimenting with immediately.

Check out the following products — all of which allow a person to contribute to a discussion or conversation from anywhere they can get Internet access:

When you go to those sites, you will see words and phrase such as:

  • Visual collaboration software
  • Virtual workspace
  • Develop
  • Share
  • Inspire
  • Design
  • Global teams
  • A visual collaboration solution that links locations, teams, content, and devices in an immersive, shared workspace
  • Teamwork
  • Create and brainstorm with others
  • Digital workplace platform
  • Eliminate the distance between in-office and remote employees
  • Jumpstart spontaneous brainstorms and working sessions

So using these types of software and hardware setups, I can contribute regardless of where I’m located. Remote learning — from anywhere in the world — being combined with our face-to-face based classrooms.

Also, the push for Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) continues across higher education. Such hands-on, project-learning based, student-centered approaches fit extremely well with the collaboration setups mentioned above.

Then, there’s the insight from Simon Dudley in this article:

“…video conferencing is increasingly an application within in a larger workflow…”

Lastly, if colleges and universities don’t have the funds to maintain their physical plants, look for higher education to move increasingly online — and these types of solutions could play a significant role in that environment. Plus, for working adults who need to reinvent themselves, this is an extremely efficient means of picking up some new skills and competencies.

So the growth of these types of setups — where the software and hardware work together to support worldwide collaboration — will likely create a powerful, new, emerging piece of our learning ecosystems.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Remote learning — from anywhere in the world — being combined with our face-to-face based classrooms.

 



 

 

Five things to know about Facebook’s huge augmented reality fantasy — from gizmodo.com by Michael Nunez

Excerpt:

One example of how this might work is at a restaurant. Your friend will be able to leave an augmented reality sticky note on the menu, letting you know which menu item is the best or which one’s the worst when you hold your camera up to it.

Another example is if you’re at a celebration, like New Year’s Eve or a birthday party. Facebook could use an augmented reality filter to fill the scene with confetti or morph the bar into an aquarium or any other setting corresponding with the team’s mascot. The basic examples are similar to Snapchat’s geo-filters—but the more sophisticated uses because it will actually let you leave digital objects behind for your friends to discover. Very cool!

 

“We’re going to make the camera the first mainstream AR platform,” said Zuckerberg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Everything Facebook Announced at F8, From VR to Bots — from wired.com

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Facebook kicked off its annual F8 developer conference with a keynote address. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on his executive team made a bunch of announcements aimed at developers, but the implications for Facebook’s users was pretty clear. The apps that billions of us use daily—Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram—are going to be getting new camera tricks, new augmented reality capabilities, and more bots. So many bots!

 

Facebook’s bold and bizarre VR hangout app is now available for the Oculus Rift — from theverge.com by Nick Statt

Excerpt:

Facebook’s most fascinating virtual reality experiment, a VR hangout session where you can interact with friends as if you were sitting next to one another, is now ready for the public. The company is calling the product Facebook Spaces, and it’s being released today in beta form for the Oculus Rift.

 

 

 

From DSC:

Is this a piece of the future of distance education / online learning-based classrooms?

 

 

 

Facebook Launches Local ‘Developer Circles’ To Help Entrepreneurs Collaborate, Build Skills — from forbes.com by Kathleen  Chaykowski

Excerpt:

In 2014, Facebook launched its FbStart program, which has helped several thousand early stage apps build and grow their apps through a set of free tools and mentorship meetings. On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled a new program to reach a broader range of developers, as well as students interested in technology.

The program, called “Developer Circles,” is intended to bring developers in local communities together offline as well as online in Facebook groups to encourage the sharing of technical know-how, discuss ideas and build new projects. The program is also designed to serve students who may not yet be working on an app, but who are interested in building skills to work in computer science.

 

 

Facebook launches augmented reality Camera Effects developer platform — from techcrunch.com by Josh Constine

Excerpt:

Facebook will rely on an army of outside developers to contribute augmented reality image filters and interactive experiences to its new Camera Effects platform. After today’s Facebook F8 conference, the first effects will become available inside Facebook’s Camera feature on smartphones, but the Camera Effects platform is designed to eventually be compatible with future augmented reality hardware, such as eyeglasses.

While critics thought Facebook was just mindlessly copying Snapchat with its recent Stories and Camera features in Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg tells TechCrunch his company was just laying the groundwork for today’s Camera Effects platform launch.

 

 

Mark Zuckerberg Sees Augmented Reality Ecosystem in Facebook — from nytimes.com by Mike Isaac

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg introduced what he positioned as the first mainstream augmented reality platform, a way for people to view and digitally manipulate the physical world around them through the lens of their smartphone cameras.

 

 

Facebook Launches Social VR App ‘Facebook Spaces’ in Beta for Rift — from virtualrealitypulse.com by Ben Lang

 

 

 


Addendums on 4/20/17:


 

 

 

 
 

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI — from technologyreview.com by Will Knight
No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.

Excerpt:

The mysterious mind of this vehicle points to a looming issue with artificial intelligence. The car’s underlying AI technology, known as deep learning, has proved very powerful at solving problems in recent years, and it has been widely deployed for tasks like image captioning, voice recognition, and language translation. There is now hope that the same techniques will be able to diagnose deadly diseases, make million-dollar trading decisions, and do countless other things to transform whole industries.

But this won’t happen—or shouldn’t happen—unless we find ways of making techniques like deep learning more understandable to their creators and accountable to their users. Otherwise it will be hard to predict when failures might occur—and it’s inevitable they will. That’s one reason Nvidia’s car is still experimental.

 

“Whether it’s an investment decision, a medical decision, or maybe a military decision, you don’t want to just rely on a ‘black box’ method.”

 


This raises mind-boggling questions. As the technology advances, we might soon cross some threshold beyond which using AI requires a leap of faith. Sure, we humans can’t always truly explain our thought processes either—but we find ways to intuitively trust and gauge people. Will that also be possible with machines that think and make decisions differently from the way a human would? We’ve never before built machines that operate in ways their creators don’t understand. How well can we expect to communicate—and get along with—intelligent machines that could be unpredictable and inscrutable? These questions took me on a journey to the bleeding edge of research on AI algorithms, from Google to Apple and many places in between, including a meeting with one of the great philosophers of our time.

 

 

 
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