Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

 

 

Expert Dive: Active Learning in STEM Courses — from teachinginhighered.com by Bonni Stachowiak

 

 


As part of ACUE’s Expert Dive series and collaboration with the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, Paul Blowers sat down with TiHE’s Bonni Stachowiak to discuss the active learning strategies—and practices to increase student persistence—he uses in his chemical engineering courses at the University of Arizona. One of his practices includes showing students the first exam on which he received a failing grade, explaining the steps he took to master the subject to illustrate how failure can lead to success and mastery of the material.

Listen to Paul share the active learning practices that are the cornerstone of his teaching on the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, and read Paul’s post, Three Misconceptions About Using Active Learning in STEM, on The Q Blog.

 


 

Also see:

Top 10 Recommended Podcasts
If you’re new to the TiHE podcast, check out our top 10 recommended episodes with a number of experts whose work is explored in detail in ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices.

1. Teaching Lessons from the Road with Penny MacCormack, ACUE

2. Motivating Students in Large Classes with Brenda Gunderson, a senior lecturer at the University of Michigan, whose practices to engage and motivate students are featured in multiple ACUE modules, such as Using Active Learning Techniques in Large Classes, and on ACUE’s community site, where you can see exclusive footage of Dr. Gunderson doing a cartwheel during class

3. Teaching Naked Techniques with José Bowen, president of Goucher College; ACUE subject matter expert for the modules Engaging Underprepared Students, Embracing Diversity in Your Classroom, and Using Student Achievement and Feedback to Improve Your Teaching; and an ACUE community site contributor

4. Teach Students How to Learn with Saundra McGuire, author of Teach Students How to Learn, who shares strategies in ACUE’s course for supporting unprepared students

5. Engage the Heart and Mind Through the Connected Classroom with Ken Bauer from the Tecnológico de Monterrey

6. Radical Hope – A Teaching Manifesto with Kevin Gannon, regular contributor to the Teaching United States History blog

7. Engaging Learners with TEDx Speaker and Professor of English Gardner Campbell

8. Small Teaching with James Lang, author of Small Teaching

9. The Skillful Teacher with our friend Stephen Brookfield, featured in numerous ACUE modules, including Planning an Effective Class Session, Delivering an Effective Lecture, and Developing Self-Directed Learners, and on the community with advice on teaching from the back row

10. Flipped Out with Derek Bruff, who discusses using concept maps and other visualization tools in ACUE’s course

 

 

25 Reasons to Give Thanks for Teachers — from gettingsmart.com by Mary Ryerse

 

 

 

From DSC:
Personally speaking, I am very grateful for teachers! They are amazing people who have to put up with a lot of different challenges/things.  I appreciate their knowledge, expertise, hard work, caring, and willingness to serve our youth.

 

 

 

 

 

Online learning in Michigan, as delivered by Michigan Virtual and others, has exploded in recent years.

  • The number of K-12 students taking at least 1 virtually delivered course jumped from just over 36,000 in 2010-11 to ~91,000 in 2015-16 | page 9
  • Total # of virtual courses taken by Michigan K-12 students soared from ~90,000 in 2010-11 to 453,000+ in ’15-16 | page 9
  • In 2011, approximately 650 schools had at least one student take a virtual course. By 2015-16, more than 1,000 Michigan schools had at least one student enroll in an online course. | page 9
  • This growth highlights the success that Michigan Virtual and others have had in promoting online learning across Michigan, yet underscores the work that still needs to be done. Thirty-seven percent of Michigan districts did not have a single student take a virtual class in 2015-16, and only 6% of all K-12 students in the state took a virtual course. The statewide completion rate for all virtual enrollments has dropped from 66% in 2010-11 to 58% in 2015-16. So while online course participation has increased, it is still a small share of the overall market. Further, educational outcomes have declined, leaving opportunity for improvements in quality and online learning program implementation. This, combined with statewide efforts to make Michigan a leading education state, provides new opportunities for Michigan Virtual to advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships.

 



This strategic plan began with an extensive research and stakeholder outreach effort. This was designed to enhance our understanding of demographic and economic conditions, education policies and priorities, competitors and technology trends, stakeholder wants and needs, and views and perceptions of Michigan Virtual.

We interviewed or surveyed more than 425 individual stakeholders, including Michigan Virtual teachers, staff, students, and board members; the leadership and membership of leading educational organizations such as the Education Alliance of Michigan, the Virtual School Leadership Alliance, MASA, MAISA, MEMPSA, MASSP; and other leaders in education across Michigan. We also consulted research and data on technology trends, K-12 enrollment projections, state and national economic forecasts, education policies and priorities, and the competitive landscape.

KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE (emphasis DSC):

  • It is expected that the Michigan economy will see modest growth in coming years. This will help state  revenues remain relatively stable, but it is not expected that there will be significant growth in tax revenues available for increased spending on programs including K-12 education.
  • The Michigan Department of Education’s Top 10 in 10 strategic plan was developed with input from a broad group of stakeholders and is expected to remain a guiding document, along with the state’s ESSA plan and the 21st Century Education Commission’s report “The Best Education System for Michigan’s Success,” in coming years. Education priorities at the federal level are not as clear, though we expect an expanded focus on choice and options for parents and their students.
  • Technology infrastructure is built out to extend high-speed Internet access to the majority of schools and citizens in Michigan, though in-home access is still not fully available in some lower income or rural areas.
  • Users of online programs and websites have come to expect instant access and user-friendly designs and interfaces that they can access on any device.
  • There is growing acceptance and use of online courses across Michigan, though there remains a need to identify and demonstrate best practices, communicate benefits, and ensure quality standards are adopted to improve student outcomes.
  • There is growing competition among online course providers, with many focusing on low-cost solutions that are appealing to budget-constrained schools, but that may not adhere to best practices and quality standards that are demonstrated to improve student outcomes.
  • The false perception persists among some that Michigan Virtual is a for-profit organization that competes with traditional schools.
  • Poverty and related issues, including mental health and behavior, were cited by educators from across the state as being the most significant student-related issues facing their schools. (*insert DSC)
  • The need for, and adoption of, online and blended professional development will increase as educators increasingly see the value of integrating digital resources into their traditional classrooms.
  • While educators see the value of integrating digital resources into their traditional classrooms, many do not know how or where to start. Most schools and districts also lack the expertise to develop and implement blended learning programs on their own.

Today’s digital-learning landscape could not have been predicted when Michigan Virtual was founded in 1998, or even when our last strategic plan was developed in 2014. Some areas of digital learning have been frustratingly slow to advance, while others have perhaps grown too quickly at the expense of effectiveness and student outcomes.

This plan was intentionally designed with an unpredictable landscape in mind. The plan printed here is static, but the actions to implement the plan are dynamic. Tactics for each strategy and goal will be evaluated at least annually to stay aligned with ever-evolving challenges and opportunities. However, the goals, when taken together, provide a formula for success regardless of how the landscape evolves. We will provide an awesome experience for internal and external stakeholders alike, build partnerships to scale and grow our success, and operate efficiently and as good stewards of our resources to ensure our financial viability. Doing this, in alignment with our mission to advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships will bring us to a point where our vision (every person can use digital learning to reach his or her full potential) is a reality.

 



* In teaching, “You can’t do the Bloom stuff until you take care of the Maslow stuff.” [Beck]



 

 

 

The Trillion Dollar 3D Telepresence Gold Mine — from forbes.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpt:

Similarly, messaging and social media are the killer apps of smartphones. Our need to connect with other people follows us, no matter where technology takes us. New technology succeeds when it makes what we are already doing better, cheaper, and faster. It naturally follows that Telepresence should likewise be one of the killer apps for both AR and VR. A video of Microsoft Research’s 2016 Holoportation experiment suggests Microsoft must have been working on this internally for some time, maybe even before the launch of the HoloLens itself.

Telepresence, meaning to be electronically present elsewhere, is not a new idea. As a result, the term describes a broad range of approaches to virtual presence.  It breaks down into six main types:

 

Our need to connect with other people follows us, no matter where technology takes us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technology from “Harry Potter” Movies Brings Magic of Brain into Focus — from scientificamerican.com by Bahar Gholipour
Software lets scientists explore the brain in 3-D and perform “virtual dissections”

Excerpt:

The same techniques that generate images of smoke, clouds and fantastic beasts in movies can render neurons and brain structures in fine-grained detail.

Two projects presented yesterday at the 2017 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C., gave attendees a sampling of what these powerful technologies can do.

“These are the same rendering techniques that are used to make graphics for ‘Harry Potter’ movies,” says Tyler Ard, a neuroscientist in Arthur Toga’s lab at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Ard presented the results of applying these techniques to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

The methods can turn massive amounts of data into images, making them ideally suited to generate brain scans. Ard and his colleagues develop code that enables them to easily enter data into the software. They plan to make the code freely available to other researchers.

 

 

 

 

 

Expo: Towards Rapid VR Prototyping — from medium.com by Jon Wade

Excerpt:

After several cycles of development, it became clear that getting our process into VR as early as possible was essential. This was difficult to do within the landscape of VR tooling. So, at the beginning of 2017, we began developing features for early-stage VR prototyping in a tool named “Expo.”


Start Prototyping in VR Now
We developed Expo because the tools for collaborative prototyping did not exist at the start of this year. Since then, the landscape has dramatically improved and there are many tools providing prototyping workflows with no requirement to do your own development:

  • Facebook Spaces and SteamVR Home allow teams to create quick doodles and play with props together.
  • MasterpieceVR has professional-grade sculpting tools and the critical feature of multi-user interaction.
  • Mindshow allows a single user to pantomime and record avatars and objects interacting to create shareable vignettes.

 

 

 

 

Google’s new ‘Poly’ service makes it easier to build VR and AR apps — from mashable.com by Karissa Bell

Excerpt:

It’s no secret that one of the biggest issues holding back virtual and augmented reality is the lack of content.

Even as bigger studios and companies are sinking more and more money into VR and AR development, it’s still difficult for smaller, independent, developers to get started. A big part of the problem is that AR and VR apps require developers to create a ton of 3D objects, often an overwhelming and time-consuming process.

Google is hoping to fix that, though, with its new service called Poly, an online library of 3D objects developers can use in their own apps.

The model is a bit like Flickr, but for VR and AR developers rather than photographers. Anyone can upload their own 3D creations to the service and make them available to others via a Creative Commons license, and any developer can search and download objects for their own apps and games.

 

 

 

How Augmented Reality is Reshaping the B2B Landscape — from appreal-vr.com by Yariv Levski

Excerpt:

The definition of business-to-business (B2B) is rapidly changing. While B2B used to refer to commercial transactions between businesses, the power of augmented reality (AR) is transforming B2B by changing how businesses interact with one another. B2B is becoming more than business-to-business marketing; even more than B2B sales. AR is expanding businesses’ ability to connect with each other across multiple channels, and it is increasing the reasons they do so.

In this article, we will examine how augmented reality can help businesses promote their products and services to other enterprises. More exciting for some, we will also explore new ways businesses can use AR to connect with corporate customers, vendors, and partners.

Augmented Reality B2B Product Support
Companies not only buy products from other companies; they also need customer service for many of the products they purchase. From poorly-written user manuals to poorly-written online self-help portals, product support hasn’t changed very much. But augmented reality is changing all that.

By layering how-to information over a product image as viewed on a mobile device or AR viewer, augmented reality can display interactive text and images that instruct the user how to setup, configure, troubleshoot and repair a wide variety of products.

AR-based customer support has barely broken ground in the consumer market, but opportunities are also great for developers who can target B2B industries with AR solutions.

 

 

Using AR apps, a carpet company can show an office manager what various carpet designs would look like installed in their office. A manufacturing engineer can see how a new production line would fit on the production floor. A physician can see how powerful AR medical applications can help her better diagnose her patients. And an architect can show a client how a new room addition will look from the outside when completed.

 

 

 

 

 

How Blockchain Could Help Emerging Markets Leap Ahead — from hbr.org by Vinay Gupta and Rob Knight

Excerpt:

Much has been made of the potential for blockchain technologies to open up new vistas for business and society. But is there a way for this revolutionary technology to empower the rich and poor alike? We argue that, like previous revolutionary ideas, blockchain has the potential to help developing nations leapfrog more-developed economies.

Leapfrogging — using the lack of existing infrastructure as an opportunity to adopt the most advanced methods — has been a highly effective strategy for developing nations over the last few decades. The most visible example of leapfrogging today is in nations like Kenya and South Africa, which have rolled out near-universal telephone access using 3G networks instead of laying down copper cables, and provided internet access by smartphone rather than with desktop PCs. But it’s not just physical infrastructure that can be leapfrogged.

One of the 20th century’s most celebrated examples of leapfrogging happened in Japan, when the country recovered from the ravages of World War II by embracing sophisticated new manufacturing techniques.

 

Blockchains can also address the most pressing needs of developing-world governments: the modernization and digitization of government functions. The current world leader in blockchain adoption is Dubai, and there is much in Dubai’s approach that could be adopted by developing world nations. The Dubai Blockchain Strategy (disclosure: Vinay is the designer) envisions moving all government documents — more than 100 million documents per year — onto a blockchain by 2020, creating a new platform for innovation and huge cost savings.

 

Because it was explicitly designed to function in an environment where participants cannot necessarily trust each other, blockchain technology is extremely secure. Records held on a blockchain database are immune to being tampered with by third parties, and can thus be authoritative. Smart contracts can provide automatic and predictable execution, again removing the ability for third parties to subvert agreed-upon processes. The benefits for a developing economy are clear: There’s less potential for fraud and corruption, trade becomes more efficient and less costly, government becomes more effective, and local technology hubs can form to build out the infrastructure and export the knowledge gained.

 

Educational records, business histories, health care information, and credit ratings could all be made usable the world over, helping those who want to trade or travel to prove their credentials. Anybody who has ever paid too much for a college transcript or tried to clear a shadow on their credit score can see how systems like this would be helpful in our daily lives.

 

Also see:

Dubai Blockchain Strategy — from smartdubai.ae

Excerpt:

Required documentation, such as visa applications, bill payments and license renewals, which account for over 100 million documents each year, will be transacted digitally under the new strategy. Blockchain technology would contribute savings of up to 114 MTons CO2 emissions from trip reductions, and redistribute up to 25.1 million hours of economic productivity in saved document processing time.

 

 

 



And from another perspective — from Forrester’s 2018 predictions document
Blockchain is a story of rational exuberance. Blockchain promises to fully enable bold platform and ecosystem strategies while defending against increasing cybersecurity threats. And that extraordinary promise is, in part, the problem. The exuberance for blockchain hindered progress in 2017:

  1. Marketers oversold blockchain.
  2. Teams ran narrow tests that delivered underwhelming results against high expectations.
  3. Teams applied blockchain-like approaches to problems that they could have solved with existing technologies.

Eighty percent of projects failed to meet expectations.

In 2018, the combination of rhetoric and enthusiasm will continue to limit blockchain gains. However, 30% of proofs of concept will accelerate blockchain for those companies able to consider its operational impact.

 



 

Addendum on 11/21/17:

 

 

 

 

Creative voice tech — from jwtintelligence.com by Ella Britton
New programs from Google and the BBC use voice to steer storytelling with digital assistants.

Exceprt:

BBC Radio’s newest program, The Inspection Chamber, uses smart home devices to allow listeners to interact with and control the plot. Amid a rise in choose-your-own-adventure style programming, The Inspection Chamber opens up creative new possibilities for brands hoping to make use of voice assistants.

The Inspection Chamber tells the story of an alien stranded on earth, who is being interrogated by scientists and an AI robot called Dave. In this interactive drama, Amazon Echo and Google Home users play the part of the alien, answering questions and interacting with other characters to determine the story’s course. The experience takes around 20 minutes, with questions like “Cruel or Kind?” and “Do you like puzzles?” that help the scientists categorize a user.

“Voice is going to be a key way we interact with media, search for content, and find what we want,” said BBC director general Tony Hall. As describedin the Innovation Group’s Speak Easy report, the opportunities for brands to connect with consumers via smart speakers are substantial, particularly when it comes to education and entertainment. Brands can also harness these opportunities by creating entertaining and engaging content that consumers can interact with, creating what feels like a two-way dialogue.

 

From DSC:
More and more, our voices will drive the way we interact with computing devices/applications. This item was an especially interesting item to me, as it involves the use of our voice — at home — to steer the storytelling that’s taking place. Talk about a new form of interactivity!

 

 

 

 

 

 

…which reminds me of Psalm 40:5 (NIV)

Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

 

 

 

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