5 technologies disrupting the app development industry — from cio.com by Kevin Rands
Developers who want to be at the top of their game will need to roll with the times and constantly innovate, whether they’re playing around with new form factors or whether they’re learning to code in a new language.

Excerpts:

But with so much disruption on the horizon, what does this mean for app developers? Let’s find out.

  1. AI and machine Learning
  2. The Internet of Things
  3. Blockchain
  4. Self-driving tech
  5. AR and VR

 

 

 

How to be an ed tech futurist — from campustechnology.com by Bryan Alexander
While no one can predict the future, these forecasting methods will help you anticipate trends and spur more collaborative thinking.

Excerpts:

Some of the forecasting methods Bryan mentions are:

  • Trend analysis
  • Environmental scanning
  • Scenarios
  • Science fiction

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I greatly appreciate the work that Bryan does — the topics that he chooses to write about, his analyses, comments, and questions are often thought-provoking. I couldn’t agree more with Bryan’s assertion that forecasting needs to become more realized/practiced within higher education. This is especially true given the exponential rate of change that many societies throughout the globe are now experiencing.

We need to be pulse-checking a variety of landscapes out there, to identify and put significant trends, forces, and emerging technologies on our radars. The strategy of identifying potential scenarios – and then developing responses to those potential scenarios — is very wise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

 

 

 

 

MIT issues learner-owned digital diplomas on the blockchain — from ecampusnews.com
MIT joins a thriving community of global institutions issuing and verifying official records using the Blockcerts open standard.

Excerpt:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has issued learner-owned academic credentials on the blockchain. The University’s Digital Diploma Pilot Program allowed a select cohort of students to receive both a paper diploma and a digital diploma anchored to the blockchain. Digital diplomas are encoded using the open-source Blockcerts standard, which was developed by Learning Machine Technologies and the MIT Media Lab.

Speaking to MIT News, Registrar and Senior Associate Mary Callahan said, “From the beginning, one of our primary motivations has been to empower students to be the curators of their own credentials. This pilot makes it possible for them to have ownership of their records and be able to share them in a secure way, with whomever they choose.”

 

 

 

 

Plan now to attend the 2018 Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference — tour USC’s campus!

From DSC:
I am honored to be currently serving on the 2018 Advisory Council for the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference with a great group of people. Missing — at least from my perspective — from the image below is Kristen Tadrous, Senior Program Director with the Corporate Learning Network. Kristen has done a great job these last few years planning and running this conference.

 

The Advisory Board for the 2018 Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference

NOTE:
The above graphic reflects a recent change for me. I am still an Adjunct Faculty Member
at Calvin College, but I am no longer a Senior Instructional Designer there.
My brand is centered around being an Instructional Technologist.

 

This national conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA on February 26-28, 2018. It is designed to help institutions of higher education develop highly-innovative cultures — something that’s needed in many institutions of traditional higher education right now.

I have attended the first 3 conferences and I moderated a panel at the most recent conference out in San Diego back in February/March of this year. I just want to say that this is a great conference and I encourage you to bring a group of people to it from your organization! I say a group of people because a group of 5 of us (from a variety of departments) went one year and the result of attending the NGLS Conference was a brand new Sandbox Classroom — an active-learning based, highly-collaborative learning space where faculty members can experiment with new pedagogies as well as with new technologies. The conference helped us discuss things as a diverse group, think out load, come up with some innovative ideas, and then build the momentum to move forward with some of those key ideas.

If you haven’t already attended this conference, I highly recommend that you check it out. You can obtain the agenda/brochure for the conference by providing some basic contact information here.

 

The 2018 Next Generational Learning Spaces Conference- to be held in Los Angeles on Feb 26-28, 2018

 

Tour the campus at UCLA

Per Kristen Tadrous, here’s why you want to check out USC:

  • A true leader in innovation: USC made it to the Top 20 of Reuter’s 100 Most Innovative Universities in 2017!
  • Detailed guided tour of leading spaces led by the Information Technology Services Learning Environments team
  • Benchmark your own learning environments by getting a ‘behind the scenes’ look at their state-of-the-art spaces
  • There are only 30 spots available for the site tour

 



 

Building Spaces to Inspire a Culture of Innovation — a core theme at the 4th Next Generation Learning Spaces summit, taking place this February 26-28 in Los Angeles. An invaluable opportunity to meet and hear from like-minded peers in higher education, and continue your path toward lifelong learning. #ngls2018 http://bit.ly/2yNkMLL

 



 

 

 

Will blockchain help make Virtual Reality more social? — from thenextweb.com by Alice Bonasio

Excerpt:

Emerging social VR platforms are experimenting with new ways of democratizing access and ownership of content and information.

VR has often been considered something of a solitary experience, but that’s changing fast. Social VR platforms are on the rise, and as the acquisition of AltspaceVR by Microsoft shows, major players in that space are taking notice.

This shows how momentum is building around social VR, and although it’s unlikely that such platforms will replace social media in terms of popularity overnight, the question is certainly being asked about who will emerge as “Facebook of VR.”

“We believe virtual reality will flourish once users have a more prominent role in controlling their creations. Currently, the companies that create the virtual worlds own all of the content built by the users. They are the ones who profit, reap the benefits from the network effects, and have the power to undo, change or censor what happens within the world itself. The true potential of VR might be realized, and certainly surpass what already exists, if this power were put into the hands of the users instead,” believes Ariel Meilich, founder of blockchain-based virtual platform Decentraland.

A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized public ledger of cryptocurrency transactions. Essentially each ‘block’ is like an individual bank statement. Completed ‘blocks’ (the most recent transactions) are added in chronological order allowing market participants to keep track of the transactions without the need for central record keeping. Just as Bitcoin eliminates the need for a third party to process or store payments, and isn’t regulated by a central authority, users in any blockchain structure are responsible for validating transactions whenever one party pays another for goods or services.

 

From DSC:
As this article reminded me, it’s the combination of two or more emerging technologies that will likely bring major innovation our way.  Here’s another example of that same idea/concept.

 

 

 

Warby Parker Uses Face ID in iPhone X to Measure Your Face for Glasses — from mobile-ar.reality.news by Tommy Palladino

Excerpt:

Online glasses retailer Warby Parker built its reputation by selling fashionable yet affordable eyeglasses, so it perhaps a surprise that it’s one of the first developers to take advantage of the technology in the least affordable iPhone yet.

While other developers are making adjusting to their apps to account for the infamous camera notch, Warby Parker decided to update its Glasses app to directly leverage the Face ID facial recognition system. Now, in the updated version of the app, Glasses can measure the user’s face to estimate which frames will fit best.

 

 

 

Apple Is Ramping Up Work on AR Headset to Succeed iPhone — from bloomberg.com by Mark Gurman

Excerpt:

Apple Inc., seeking a breakthrough product to succeed the iPhone, aims to have technology ready for an augmented-reality headset in 2019 and could ship a product as early as 2020.

Unlike the current generation of virtual reality headsets that use a smartphone as the engine and screen, Apple’s device will have its own display and run on a new chip and operating system, according to people familiar with the situation. The development timeline is very aggressive and could still change, said the people, who requested anonymity to speak freely about a private matter.

 

 

“The power is that we can take the user anywhere in the entire universe throughout all of time for historical experiences like this.” (source)

 

 

AR navigation app promises better accuracy than GPS alone — from engadget.com by Jon Fingas
Walk the streets as if you had a local by your side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to Really Teach a Robot? Command It With VR — from wired.com by Matt Simon

Excerpt:

Ask a robot to do the same and you’ll either get a blank stare or a crumpled object in the cold, cold grasp of a machine. Because robots are good at repetitive tasks that require a lot of strength, but they’re still bad at learning how to manipulate novel objects. Which is why today a company called Embodied Intelligence has emerged from stealth mode to fuse the strengths of robots and people into a new system that could make it far easier for regular folk to teach robots new tasks. Think of it like a VR videogame—only you get to control a hulking robot.

 

From DSC:
To remain up-to-date, Engineering Departments within higher ed have their work cut out for them — big time! Those Senior Engineering Teams have many new, innovative pathways and projects to pursue these days.

 

 

 

Daqri ships augmented reality smart glasses for professionals — from venturebeat.com by Dean Takahashi

Excerpt:

Daqri has begun shipping its augmented reality smart glasses for the workplace.

Los Angeles-based Daqri is betting that AR — a technology that overlays digital animations on top of the real world — will take off first in the enterprise, where customers are willing to pay a higher price in order to solve complex problems. The idea is to help people solve real-world problems, like fixing a jet engine or piecing together an assembly. Daqri argues that the gains in productivity and efficiency make up for the initial cost.

At $4,995, the system is not cheap, but it is optimized to present complex workloads and process a lot of data right on the glasses themselves. It is available for direct purchase from Daqri’s web site and through channel partners. Daqri is targeting customers across manufacturing, field services, maintenance and repair, inspections, construction, and others.

 


 

 

 

 

The NBA really wants you to watch games in VR — from cnet.com by Terry Collins
The basketball league has now struck two partnerships to broadcast games in virtual reality. Are fans willing to watch them?

Excerpt:

What’s keeping you from watching NBA games in VR?

Is it the bulky headsets? Is it the slow camera switches that don’t follow the players quickly enough? Is it too expensive?

The NBA is betting that one reason is it just doesn’t have enough partnerships yet. So, the league is teaming up with Turner Sports and Intel TrueVR to air weekly games on TNT in VR starting with the All-Star weekend festivities from Los Angeles in February.
russell-westbrook-alley-oop.jpg

NBA fans will soon be able to see more of MVP Russell Westbrook in virtual reality.
NBAE/Getty Images

This partnership represents a doubling down of NBA’s VR efforts, despite indications it isn’t actually working. Last year, the NBA began airing games with NextVR as part of a multiyear deal.

 

 

 

Microsoft: Here’s how Mixed Reality will aid information workers and boost digital transformation — from techrepublic.com by Alison DeNisco Rayome
At Microsoft Future Decoded, the tech giant explained how mixed reality can help workers and companies achieve more.

Excerpt:

The 3 big takeaways

  1. At the Microsoft Future Decoded conference in London, executives from the tech giant offered a vision for integrating Microsoft 365, Microsoft HoloLens, Windows Mixed Reality, and 3D capabilities into modern workplaces to aid digital transformation.
  2. Firstline workers and information workers will likely be the first to benefit from mixed reality in the workplace, using the technology for collaboration, training, and more.
  3. Microsoft has made a number of moves into the mixed reality space recently, including expanding its HoloLens headset into new European markets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AI and Internet of Things will drive digital transformation through 2020 — from zdnet.com by Courtney Sato
Research study reveals IoT, AI and synchronous ledger tech (blockchain) priorities.

Excerpt:

Businesses are investing heavily in the Internet of Things (IoT) while remaining cautious about investments in artificial intelligence (AI), reveals the Constellation Research 2017 Digital Transformation Study. However, Constellation expects AI to emerge in 2018 as the predominant area of technological experimentation due to the increasing availability of AI development kits and frameworks.

Nearly half of respondents of the Constellation 2017 Digital Transformation Survey said their organization either had an established IoT strategy with applications in production (19 percent) or have pilot projects underway (28 percent). In contrast, just 25 percent of executives said they were investing in AI.

 

Investmet in AI Digital Transformation
 

 

Highlights:

  • Charging ahead with IoT
  • Cautious about AI for now
  • Blockchain remains enigmatic
  • Appetite for cloud and big data grow to support digital transformation
  • Digital transformation goes mainstream
  • Digital transformation focuses on digital business
  • The war for talent intensifies

 

 

 

MIT Pilots Digital Diplomas Based on Bitcoin’s Blockchain — from campustechnology.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpt:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun offering some students the option to receive digital diplomas through an app, in addition to a traditional paper degree.

Based on Bitcoin’s blockchain technology and integrated with the school’s identity provider, the new diplomas are the result of a partnership between MIT and Learning Machine, a local software company. The electronic credentials were rolled out over the summer and offered to 111 students as part of a pilot program.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
In Part I, I looked at the new, exponential pace of change that colleges, community colleges and universities now need to deal with – observing the enormous changes that are starting to occur throughout numerous societies around the globe. If we were to plot out the rate of change, we would see that we are no longer on a slow, steady, incremental type of linear pathway; but, instead, we would observe that we are now on an exponential trajectory (as the below graphic from sparks & honey very nicely illustrates).

 

 

How should colleges and universities deal with this new, exponential pace of change?

1) I suggest that you ensure that someone in your institution is lifting their gaze and peering out into the horizons, to see what’s coming down the pike. That person – or more ideally, persons – should also be looking around them, noticing what’s going on within the current landscapes of higher education. Regardless of how your institution tackles this task, given that we are currently moving at an incredibly fast pace, this trend analysis is very important. The results from this analysis should immediately be integrated into your strategic plan. Don’t wait 3-5 years to integrate these new findings into your plan. The new, exponential pace of change is going to reward those organizations who are nimble and responsive.

2) I recommend that you look at what programs you are offering and consider if you should be developing additional programs such as those that deal with:

  • Artificial Intelligence (Natural Language Processing, deep learning, machine learning, bots)
  • New forms of Human Computer Interaction such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality
  • User Experience Design, User Interface Design, and/or Interaction Design
  • Big data, data science, working with data
  • The Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications, sensors, beacons, etc.
  • Blockchain-based technologies/systems
  • The digital transformation of business
  • Freelancing / owning your own business / entrepreneurship (see this article for the massive changes happening now!)
  • …and more

3) If you are not already doing so, I recommend that you immediately move to offer a robust lineup of online-based programs. Why do I say this? Because:

  • Without them, your institution may pay a heavy price due to its diminishing credibility. Your enrollments could decline if learners (and their families) don’t think they will get solid jobs coming out of your institution. If the public perceives you as a dinosaur/out of touch with what the workplace requires, your enrollment/admissions groups may find meeting their quotas will get a lot harder as the years go on. You need to be sending some cars down the online/digital/virtual learning tracks. (Don’t get me wrong. We still need the liberal arts. However, even those institutions who offer liberal arts lineups will still need to have a healthy offering of online-based programs.)
  • Online-based learning methods can expand the reach of your faculty members while offering chances for individuals throughout the globe to learn from you, and you from them
  • Online-based learning programs can increase your enrollments, create new revenue streams, and develop/reach new markets
  • Online-based learning programs have been proven to offer the same learning gains – and sometimes better learning results than – what’s being achieved in face-to-face based classrooms
  • The majority of pedagogically-related innovations are occurring within the online/digital/virtual realm, and you will want to have built the prior experience, expertise, and foundations in order to leverage and benefit from them
  • Faculty take their learning/experiences from offering online-based courses back into their face-to-face courses
  • Due to the increasing price of obtaining a degree, students often need to work to help get them (at least part of the way) through school; thus, flexibility is becoming increasingly important and necessary for students
  • An increasing number of individuals within the K-12 world as well as the corporate world are learning via online-based means. This is true within higher education as well, as, according to a recent report from Digital Learning Compass states that “the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 now tops six million, about 30% of all enrollments.”
  • Families are looking very closely at their return on investments being made within the world of higher education. They want to see that their learners are being prepared for the ever-changing future that they will encounter. If people in the workforce often learn online, then current students should be getting practice in that area of their learning ecosystems as well.
  • As the (mostly) online-based Amazon.com is thriving and retail institutions such as Sears continue to close, people are in the process of forming more generalized expectations that could easily cross over into the realm of higher education. By the way, here’s how our local Sears building is looking these days…or what’s left of it.

 

 

 

4) I recommend that you move towards offering more opportunities for lifelong learning, as learners need to constantly add to their skillsets and knowledge base in order to remain marketable in today’s workforce. This is where adults greatly appreciate – and need – the greater flexibility offered by online-based means of learning. I’m not just talking about graduate programs or continuing studies types of programs here. Rather, I’m hoping that we can move towards providing streams of up-to-date content that learners can subscribe to at any time (and can drop their subscription to at any time). As a relevant side note here, keep your eyes on blockchain-based technologies here.

5) Consider the role of consortia and pooling resources. How might that fit into your strategic plan?

6) Consider why bootcamps continue to come onto the landscape.  What are traditional institutions of higher education missing here?

7) And lastly, if one doesn’t already exist, form a small, nimble, innovative group within your organization — what I call a TrimTab Group — to help identify what will and won’t work for your institution.

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I know Quentin Schultze from our years working together at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA). I have come to greatly appreciate Quin as a person of faith, as an innovative/entrepreneurial professor, as a mentor to his former students, and as an excellent communicator. 

Quin has written a very concise, wisdom-packed book that I would like to recommend to those people who are seeking to be better communicators, leaders, and servants. But I would especially like to recommend this book to the leadership at Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Nvidia, the major companies developing robots, and other high-tech companies. Why do I list these organizations? Because given the exponential pace of technological change, these organizations — and their leaders — have an enormous responsibility to make sure that the technologies that they are developing result in positive changes for societies throughout the globe. They need wisdom, especially as they are working on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), personal assistants and bots, algorithms, robotics, the Internet of Things, big data, blockchain and more. These technologies continue to exert an increasingly powerful influence on numerous societies throughout the globe today. And we haven’t seen anything yet! Just because we can develop and implement something, doesn’t mean that we should. Again, we need wisdom here.

But as Quin states, it’s not just about knowledge, the mind and our thoughts. It’s about our hearts as well. That is, we need leaders who care about others, who can listen well to others, who can serve others well while avoiding gimmicks, embracing diversity, building trust, fostering compromise and developing/exhibiting many of the other qualities that Quin writes about in his book. Our societies desperately need leaders who care about others and who seek to serve others well.

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Quin’s book. There are few people who can communicate as much in as few words as Quin can. In fact, I wish that more writing on the web and more articles/research coming out of academia would be as concisely and powerfully written as Quin’s book, Communicate Like a True Leader: 30 Days of Life-Changing Wisdom.

 

 

To lead is to accept responsibility and act responsibly.
Quentin Schultze

 

 

 

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