High-Tech, High Touch: Digital Learning Report and Workbook, 2017 Edition — from Intentional Futures, with thanks to Maria Andersen on Linkedin for her posting therein which was entitled, “Spectrums to Measure Digital Learning
Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Our work uncovered five high-tech strategies employed by institutions that have successfully implemented digital learning at scale across a range of modalities. The strategies that underscore the high-tech, high-touch connection are customizing through technology, leveraging adaptive courseware, adopting cost-efficient resources, centralizing course development and making data-driven decisions.

Although many of the institutions we studied are employing more than one of these strategies, in this report we have grouped the institutional use cases according to the strategy that has been most critical to achieving digital learning at scale. As institutional leaders make their way through this document, they should watch for strategies that target challenges similar to those they hope to solve. Reading the corresponding case studies will unpack how institutions employed these strategies effectively.

Digital learning in higher education is becoming more ubiquitous as institutions realize its ability to support student success and empower faculty. Growing diversity in student demographics has brought related changes in student needs, prompting institutions to look to technology to better serve their students. Digital courseware gives institutions the ability to build personalized, accessible and engaging content. It enables educators to provide relevant content and interventions for individual students, improve instructional techniques based on data and distribute knowledge to a wider audience (MIT Office of Digital Learning, 2017).

PARTICIPATION IN DIGITAL LEARNING IS GROWING
Nationally, the number of students engaged in digital learning is growing rapidly. One driver of this growth is rising demand for distance learning, which often relies on digital learning environments. Distance learning programs saw enrollment increases of approximately 4% between 2015 and 2016, with nearly 30% of higher education students taking at least one digital distance learning course (Allen, 2017). Much of this growth is occurring at the undergraduate level (Allen, 2017). The number of students who take distance learning courses exclusively is growing as well. Between 2012 and 2015, both public and private nonprofit institutions saw an increase in students taking only distance courses, although private, for-profit institutions have seen a decrease (Allen, 2017).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotting the 2017 trends that fuel edtech innovation and investments — from edsurge.com by Chian Gong and Jennifer Carolan

Excerpts:

We’re pleased to share this year’s Edtech Outlook, a data-rich dive into the state of education technology with case studies into emerging-frontier innovations.

Education technology spans a broad category of classroom tools, spanning corporate learning, language learning, digital learning content and more. We focus here on Reach Capital’s sweet spot: school-based education technology.

1:1 (one device per student) is at 60% and growing rapidly.
Driven by online testing mandates, along with federal and state policies, we are moving quickly toward one device per child in our K-12 schools. Last year alone 20 million Chromebooks were used by teachers and students weekly. (There are 50 million students in US public schools).

 

From DSC:
Looking at the graphic from the New York Times below, and with an eye on the exponential pace of change that we are now on, note how quickly Google captured major market share in the edtech market.

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I appreciated hearing the perspectives from Bruce Dixon and Will Richardson this morning, as I listed to a webinar that they recently offered. A few key takeaways for me from that webinar — and with a document that they shared — were:

  • The world has fundamentally changed. (Bruce and Will also mentioned the new pace of change; i.e., that it’s much faster.)
  • We need to have more urgency about the need to reimagine school, not to try to improve the existing model.
  • “Because of the advent of the Web and the technologies we use to access it, learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”
  • There is a newfound capacity to take full control of one’s own learning; self-determined learning should be at the center of students’ and teachers’ work; co-constructed curriculum
  • And today, at a moment when learners of all ages have never had more agency over their own learning, schools must unlearn centuries old mindsets and practices and relearn them in ways that truly will serve every child living in the modern, connected world.
  • Will and Bruce believe that every educator — and district for that matter — should articulate their own “principles of learning”
  • Beliefs about how kids learn (powerfully and deeply) need to be articulated and consistently communicated and lived out
  • Everything we do as educators, administrators, etc. tells a story. What stories are we telling? (For example, what does the signage around your school building say? Is it about compliance? Is is about a love of learning? Wonder? What does the 20′ jumbo tron say about priorities? Etc.)
  • Bruce and Will covered a “story audit” and how to do one

 

“Learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”

Richardson & Dixon

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

These educators have decades worth of experience. They are pulse-checking their environments. They want to see students thrive both now and into the future. For these reasons, at least for me, their perspectives are highly worth reflecting upon.

 

 

 
 

Looking to build the campus of tomorrow? 5 trends you should know — from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
Today’s trends will bring about a new vision for the traditional college campus.

Excerpt:

“Innovations in physical space must be made to accommodate demands for accessibility, flexibility and affordability,” according to The State of Higher Education in 2017, a report from professional services firm Grant Thornton.

Changes in infrastructure are being driven by a handful of trends, including:

  • Digital technology is decoupling access to the classroom and information from any specific geographic location.
  • Learning is becoming more “modular,” credentialing specific competencies, such as certificates and badges,, rather than the model of four years to a degree via fixed-class schedules. This requires a less broad range of academic buildings on campus.
  • Students will engage with their coursework at their own time and pace, as they do in every other aspect of their lives.
  • Price pressure on colleges will create incentives for cost efficiencies, discouraging the fixed-cost commitment embodied in physical structures.
  • Deferred maintenance is a problem so large that it can’t be solved by most colleges within their available resources; the result may be reducing the physical plant footprint or just letting it deteriorate further.

These developments will prompt physical space transformation that will lead to a new kind of campus.

 

 


The State of Higher Education in 2017 — from grantthornton.com

 

Browse the report articles:

 

 

Innovative thinking will be vital to successfully moving into the future.

 

 

A smorgasboard of ideas to put on your organization’s radar! [Christian]

From DSC:
At the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference, held recently in San Diego, CA, I moderated a panel discussion re: AR, VR, and MR.  I started off our panel discussion with some introductory ideas and remarks — meant to make sure that numerous ideas were on the radars at attendees’ organizations. Then Vinay and Carrie did a super job of addressing several topics and questions (Mary was unable to make it that day, as she got stuck in the UK due to transportation-related issues).

That said, I didn’t get a chance to finish the second part of the presentation which I’ve listed below in both 4:3 and 16:9 formats.  So I made a recording of these ideas, and I’m relaying it to you in the hopes that it can help you and your organization.

 


Presentations/recordings:


 

Audio/video recording (187 MB MP4 file)

 

 


Again, I hope you find this information helpful.

Thanks,
Daniel

 

 

 

HarvardX rolls out new adaptive learning feature in online course — from edscoop.com by Corinne Lestch
Students in MOOC adaptive learning experiment scored nearly 20 percent better than students using more traditional learning approaches.

Excerpt:

Online courses at Harvard University are adapting on the fly to students’ needs.

Officials at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution announced a new adaptive learning technology that was recently rolled out in a HarvardX online course. The feature offers tailored course material that directly correlates with student performance while the student is taking the class, as well as tailored assessment algorithms.

HarvardX is an independent university initiative that was launched in parallel with edX, the online learning platform that was created by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both HarvardX and edX run massive open online courses. The new feature has never before been used in a HarvardX course, and has only been deployed in a small number of edX courses, according to officials.

 

 

From DSC:
Given the growth of AI, this is certainly radar worthy — something that’s definitely worth pulse-checking to see where opportunities exist to leverage these types of technologies.  What we now know of as adaptive learning will likely take an enormous step forward in the next decade.

IBM’s assertion rings in my mind:

 

 

I’m cautiously hopeful that these types of technologies can extend beyond K-12 and help us deal with the current need to be lifelong learners, and the need to constantly reinvent ourselves — while providing us with more choice, more control over our learning. I’m hopeful that learners will be able to pursue their passions, and enlist the help of other learners and/or the (human) subject matter experts as needed.

I don’t see these types of technologies replacing any teachers, professors, or trainers. That said, these types of technologies should be able to help do some of the heavy teaching and learning lifting in order to help someone learn about a new topic.

Again, this is one piece of the Learning from the Living [Class] Room that we see developing.

 

 

 

 

IBM to Train 25 Million Africans for Free to Build Workforce — from by Loni Prinsloo
* Tech giant seeking to bring, keep digital jobs in Africa
* Africa to have world’s largest workforce by 2040, IBM projects

Excerpt:

International Business Machines Corp. is ramping up its digital-skills training program to accommodate as many as 25 million Africans in the next five years, looking toward building a future workforce on the continent. The U.S. tech giant plans to make an initial investment of 945 million rand ($70 million) to roll out the training initiative in South Africa…

 

Also see:

IBM Unveils IT Learning Platform for African Youth — from investopedia.com by Tim Brugger

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Responding to concerns that artificial intelligence (A.I.) in the workplace will lead to companies laying off employees and shrinking their work forces, IBM (NYSE: IBM) CEO Ginni Rometty said in an interview with CNBC last month that A.I. wouldn’t replace humans, but rather open the door to “new collar” employment opportunities.

IBM describes new collar jobs as “careers that do not always require a four-year college degree but rather sought-after skills in cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence, cloud, and much more.”

In keeping with IBM’s promise to devote time and resources to preparing tomorrow’s new collar workers for those careers, it has announced a new “Digital-Nation Africa” initiative. IBM has committed $70 million to its cloud-based learning platform that will provide free skills development to as many as 25 million young people in Africa over the next five years.

The platform will include online learning opportunities for everything from basic IT skills to advanced training in social engagement, digital privacy, and cyber protection. IBM added that its A.I. computing wonder Watson will be used to analyze data from the online platform, adapt it, and help direct students to appropriate courses, as well as refine the curriculum to better suit specific needs.

 

 

From DSC:
That last part, about Watson being used to personalize learning and direct students to appropropriate courses, is one of the elements that I see in the Learning from the Living [Class]Room vision that I’ve been pulse-checking for the last several years. AI/cognitive computing will most assuredly be a part of our learning ecosystems in the future.  Amazon is currently building their own platform that adds 100 skills each day — and has 1000 people working on creating skills for Alexa.  This type of thing isn’t going away any time soon. Rather, I’d say that we haven’t seen anything yet!

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

And Amazon has doubled down to develop Alexa’s “skills,” which are discrete voice-based applications that allow the system to carry out specific tasks (like ordering pizza for example). At launch, Alexa had just 20 skills, which has reportedly jumped to 5,200 today with the company adding about 100 skills per day.

In fact, Bezos has said, “We’ve been working behind the scenes for the last four years, we have more than 1,000 people working on Alexa and the Echo ecosystem … It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just last week, it launched a new website to help brands and developers create more skills for Alexa.

Source

 

 

Also see:

 

“We are trying to make education more personalised and cognitive through this partnership by creating a technology-driven personalised learning and tutoring,” Lula Mohanty, Vice President, Services at IBM, told ET. IBM will also use its cognitive technology platform, IBM Watson, as part of the partnership.

“We will use the IBM Watson data cloud as part of the deal, and access Watson education insight services, Watson library, student information insights — these are big data sets that have been created through collaboration and inputs with many universities. On top of this, we apply big data analytics,” Mohanty added.

Source

 

 


 

Also see:

  • Most People in Education are Just Looking for Faster Horses, But the Automobile is Coming — from etale.org by Bernard Bull
    Excerpt:
    Most people in education are looking for faster horses. It is too challenging, troubling, or beyond people’s sense of what is possible to really imagine a completely different way in which education happens in the world. That doesn’t mean, however, that the educational equivalent of the automobile is not on its way. I am confident that it is very much on its way. It might even arrive earlier than even the futurists expect. Consider the following prediction.

 


 

 

 

The 4 Common Characteristics of Personalized Learning — from thejournal.com by Leila Meyer
iNACOL offers ideas for implementing personalized learning in K-12 schools with the support of families and the community.

Excerpt:

According to the report, there are many different approaches to personalized learning, but most of them share these common characteristics:

  • Student ownership of their learning process;
  • Focus on the learning process rather than “big end-of-year tests”;
  • Competency or mastery-based student progression; and
  • Anytime, anywhere learning.

 

See also:

 

 

From DSC:
In the spirit of pulse-checking the landscapes…those of us working in higher education, take heed.  These are your future students.  What expectations from students might you encounter in the (not-too-distant) future?  What are the ramifications for which pedagogies you decide to use?

Further out, for those of you working in the corporate learning & development world or in corporate training/universities, your time may be further out here…but you need to take heed as well.  These are your future employees.  They will come into your organizations with their expectations for how they prefer to learn and grow. Will you meet them where they are at?

We operate in a continuum…we’d be wise to pulse-check what’s happening in the earlier phases of this continuum.

 

 

Your Next Personal Robot Could Be Professor Einstein

 

 

 

From DSC:
By the way, I’m not posting this to suggest that professors/teachers/trainers/etc. are going away due to AI-based technologies.  Humans like to learn with other humans (and we are decades away from a general AI anyway).

That said, I do think there’s a place for technologies to be used as beneficial tools. In this case, such an AI-backed robot could help with some of the heavy lifting of learning about a new subject or topic. This interesting piece — currently out at Kickstarter — is a good example of the combination of a variety of technologies such as AI/speech recognition/natural language processing (NLP), robotics, and other technologies.

Notice that you can download more interactive apps from the cloud with Professor Einstein. In other words, this is like a platform. (Along these lines…developers gave Alexa 4000 new skills last quarterAmazon is creating a platform as well.)

Bottom line: AI needs to be on our radars.

 

 

 

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