The case for a next generation learning platform [Grush & Christian]

 

The case for a next generation learning platform — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush & Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Grush: Then what are some of the implications you could draw from metrics like that one?

Christian: As we consider all the investment in those emerging technologies, the question many are beginning to ask is, “How will these technologies impact jobs and the makeup of our workforce in the future?”

While there are many thoughts and questions regarding the cumulative impact these technologies will have on our future workforce (e.g., “How many jobs will be displaced?”), the consensus seems to be that there will be massive change.

Whether our jobs are completely displaced or if we will be working alongside robots, chatbots, workbots, or some other forms of AI-backed personal assistants, all of us will need to become lifelong learners — to be constantly reinventing ourselves. This assertion is also made in the aforementioned study from McKinsey: “AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers. The workforce needs to be re-skilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it…”

 

 

A side note from DSC:
I began working on this vision prior to 2010…but I didn’t officially document it until 2012.

 

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

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:

A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • A customizable learning environment that will offer up-to-date streams of regularly curated content (i.e., microlearning) as well as engaging learning experiences
  • Along these lines, a lifelong learner can opt to receive an RSS feed on a particular topic until they master that concept; periodic quizzes (i.e., spaced repetition) determines that mastery. Once mastered, the system will ask the learner whether they still want to receive that particular stream of content or not.
  • A Netflix-like interface to peruse and select plugins to extend the functionality of the core product
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and streams of content that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)
  • (Potentially) Integration with one-on-one tutoring services

Further details here >>

 

 

 



Addendum from DSC (regarding the resource mentioned below):
Note the voice recognition/control mechanisms on Westinghouse’s new product — also note the integration of Amazon’s Alexa into a “TV.”



 

Westinghouse’s Alexa-equipped Fire TV Edition smart TVs are now available — from theverge.com by Chaim Gartenberg

 

The key selling point, of course, is the built-in Amazon Fire TV, which is controlled with the bundled Voice Remote and features Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

 

 

 

Finally…also see:

  • NASA unveils a skill for Amazon’s Alexa that lets you ask questions about Mars — from geekwire.com by Kevin Lisota
  • Holographic storytelling — from jwtintelligence.com
    The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.
    New Dimensions in Testimony is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.  Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), people are able to ask Gutter’s projected image questions that trigger relevant responses.

 

 

 

 

What a future, powerful, global learning platform will look & act like [Christian]


Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A vision for a global, powerful, next generation learning platform

By Daniel Christian

NOTE: Having recently lost my Senior Instructional Designer position due to a staff reduction program, I am looking to help build such a platform as this. So if you are working on such a platform or know of someone who is, please let me know: danielchristian55@gmail.com.

I want to help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively — while providing more choice, more control to lifelong learners. This will become critically important as artificial intelligence, robotics, algorithms, and automation continue to impact the workplace.


 

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

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and “streams of content” that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)

Further details:
While basic courses will be accessible via mobile devices, the optimal learning experience will leverage two or more displays/devices. So while smaller smartphones, laptops, and/or desktop workstations will be used to communicate synchronously or asynchronously with other learners, the larger displays will deliver an excellent learning environment for times when there is:

  • A Subject Matter Expert (SME) giving a talk or making a presentation on any given topic
  • A need to display multiple things going on at once, such as:
  • The SME(s)
  • An application or multiple applications that the SME(s) are using
  • Content/resources that learners are submitting in real-time (think Bluescape, T1V, Prysm, other)
  • The ability to annotate on top of the application(s) and point to things w/in the app(s)
  • Media being used to support the presentation such as pictures, graphics, graphs, videos, simulations, animations, audio, links to other resources, GPS coordinates for an app such as Google Earth, other
  • Other attendees (think Google Hangouts, Skype, Polycom, or other videoconferencing tools)
  • An (optional) representation of the Personal Assistant (such as today’s Alexa, Siri, M, Google Assistant, etc.) that’s being employed via the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This new learning platform will also feature:

  • Voice-based commands to drive the system (via Natural Language Processing (NLP))
  • Language translation (using techs similar to what’s being used in Translate One2One, an earpiece powered by IBM Watson)
  • Speech-to-text capabilities for use w/ chatbots, messaging, inserting discussion board postings
  • Text-to-speech capabilities as an assistive technology and also for everyone to be able to be mobile while listening to what’s been typed
  • Chatbots
    • For learning how to use the system
    • For asking questions of – and addressing any issues with – the organization owning the system (credentials, payments, obtaining technical support, etc.)
    • For asking questions within a course
  • As many profiles as needed per household
  • (Optional) Machine-to-machine-based communications to automatically launch the correct profile when the system is initiated (from one’s smartphone, laptop, workstation, and/or tablet to a receiver for the system)
  • (Optional) Voice recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Facial recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Upon system launch, to immediately return to where the learner previously left off
  • The capability of the webcam to recognize objects and bring up relevant resources for that object
  • A built in RSS feed aggregator – or a similar technology – to enable learners to tap into the relevant “streams of content” that are constantly flowing by them
  • Social media dashboards/portals – providing quick access to multiple sources of content and whereby learners can contribute their own “streams of content”

In the future, new forms of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) will be integrated into this new learning environment – providing entirely new means of collaborating with one another.

Likely players:

  • Amazon – personal assistance via Alexa
  • Apple – personal assistance via Siri
  • Google – personal assistance via Google Assistant; language translation
  • Facebook — personal assistance via M
  • Microsoft – personal assistance via Cortana; language translation
  • IBM Watson – cognitive computing; language translation
  • Polycom – videoconferencing
  • Blackboard – videoconferencing, application sharing, chat, interactive whiteboard
  • T1V, Prsym, and/or Bluescape – submitting content to a digital canvas/workspace
  • Samsung, Sharp, LCD, and others – for large displays with integrated microphones, speakers, webcams, etc.
  • Feedly – RSS aggregator
  • _________ – for providing backchannels
  • _________ – for tools to create videocasts and interactive videos
  • _________ – for blogs, wikis, podcasts, journals
  • _________ – for quizzes/assessments
  • _________ – for discussion boards/forums
  • _________ – for creating AR, MR, and/or VR-based content

 

 

 

Key issues in teaching and learning 2017 — from Educause Learning Initiative (ELI)

Excerpt:

Since 2011, ELI has surveyed the higher education teaching and learning community to identify its key issues. The community is wide in scope: we solicit input from all those participating in the support of the teaching and learning mission, including professionals from the IT organization, the center for teaching and learning, the library, and the dean’s and provost’s offices.

 

 

 

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with AI, NLP, and blockchain-based technologies! [Christian]

From DSC:

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and blockchain-based technologies!

When I saw the article below, I couldn’t help but wonder what (we currently know of as) “TVs” will morph into and what functionalities they will be able to provide to us in the not-too-distant future…?

For example, the article mentions that Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element will be offering TVs that can not only access Alexa — a personal assistant from Amazon which uses artificial intelligence — but will also be able to provide access to over 7,000 apps and games via the Amazon Fire TV Store.

Some of the questions that come to my mind:

  • Why can’t there be more educationally-related games and apps available on this type of platform?
  • Why can’t the results of the assessments taken on these apps get fed into cloud-based learner profiles that capture one’s lifelong learning? (#blockchain)
  • When will potential employers start asking for access to such web-based learner profiles?
  • Will tvOS and similar operating systems expand to provide blockchain-based technologies as well as the types of functionality we get from our current set of CMSs/LMSs?
  • Will this type of setup become a major outlet for competency-based education as well as for corporate training-related programs?
  • Will augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) capabilities come with our near future “TVs”?
  • Will virtual tutoring be one of the available apps/channels?
  • Will the microphone and the wide angle, HD camera on the “TV” be able to be disconnected from the Internet for security reasons? (i.e., to be sure no hacker is eavesdropping in on their private lives)

 

Forget a streaming stick: These 4K TVs come with Amazon Fire TV inside — from techradar.com by Nick Pino

Excerpt:

The TVs will not only have access to Alexa via a microphone-equipped remote but, more importantly, will have access to the over 7,000 apps and games available on the Amazon Fire TV Store – a huge boon considering that most of these Smart TVs usually include, at max, a few dozen apps.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 


Addendums


 

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

.

  • Once thought to be a fad, MOOCs showed staying power in 2016 — from educationdive.com
    Dive Brief:

    • EdSurge profiles the growth of massive online open courses in 2016, which attracted more than 58 million students in over 700 colleges and universities last year.
    • The top three MOOC providers — Coursera, Udacity and EdX — collectively grossed more than $100 million last year, as much of the content provided on these platforms shifted from free to paywall guarded materials.
    • Many MOOCs have moved to offering credentialing programs or nanodegree offerings to increase their value in industrial marketplaces.
 

Some reflections/resources on today’s announcements from Apple

tv-app-apple-10-27-16

 

tv-app2-apple-10-27-16

From DSC:
How long before recommendation engines like this can be filtered/focused down to just display apps, channels, etc. that are educational and/or training related (i.e., a recommendation engine to suggest personalized/customized playlists for learning)?

That is, in the future, will we have personalized/customized playlists for learning on our Apple TVs — as well as on our mobile devices — with the assessment results of our taking the module(s) or course(s) being sent in to:

  • A credentials database on LinkedIn (via blockchain)
    and/or
  • A credentials database at the college(s) or university(ies) that we’re signed up with for lifelong learning (via blockchain)
    and/or
  • To update our cloud-based learning profiles — which can then feed a variety of HR-related systems used to find talent? (via blockchain)

Will participants in MOOCs, virtual K-12 schools, homeschoolers, and more take advantage of learning from home?

Will solid ROI’s from having thousands of participants paying a smaller amount (to take your course virtually) enable higher production values?

Will bots and/or human tutors be instantly accessible from our couches?

Will we be able to meet virtually via our TVs and share our computing devices?

 

bigscreen_rocket_league

 

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

 

 

 


Other items on today’s announcements:


 

 

macbookpro-10-27-16

 

 

All the big announcements from Apple’s Mac event — from amp.imore.com by Joseph Keller

  • MacBook Pro
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Apple TV > new “TV” app
  • Touch Bar

 

Apple is finally unifying the TV streaming experience with new app — from techradar.com by Nick Pino

 

 

How to migrate your old Mac’s data to your new Mac — from amp.imore.com by Lory Gil

 

 

MacBook Pro FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s new laptops — from amp.imore.com by Serenity Caldwell

 

 

Accessibility FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s new accessibility portal — from imore.com by Daniel Bader

 

 

Apple’s New MacBook Pro Has a ‘Touch Bar’ on the Keyboard — from wired.com by Brian Barrett

 

 

Apple’s New TV App Won’t Have Netflix or Amazon Video — from wired.com by Brian Barrett

 

 

 

 

Apple 5th Gen TV To Come With Major Software Updates; Release Date Likely In 2017 — from mobilenapps.com

 

 

 

 

ngls-2017-conference

 

From DSC:
I have attended the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference for the past two years. Both conferences were very solid and they made a significant impact on our campus, as they provided the knowledge, research, data, ideas, contacts, and the catalyst for us to move forward with building a Sandbox Classroom on campus. This new, collaborative space allows us to experiment with different pedagogies as well as technologies. As such, we’ve been able to experiment much more with active learning-based methods of teaching and learning. We’re still in Phase I of this new space, and we’re learning new things all of the time.

For the upcoming conference in February, I will be moderating a New Directions in Learning panel on the use of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). Time permitting, I hope that we can also address other promising, emerging technologies that are heading our way such as chatbots, personal assistants, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, tvOS, blockchain and more.

The goal of this quickly-moving, engaging session will be to provide a smorgasbord of ideas to generate creative, innovative, and big thinking. We need to think about how these topics, trends, and technologies relate to what our next generation learning environments might look like in the near future — and put these things on our radars if they aren’t already there.

Key takeaways for the panel discussion:

  • Reflections regarding the affordances that new developments in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) — such as AR, VR, and MR — might offer for our learning and our learning spaces (or is our concept of what constitutes a learning space about to significantly expand?)
  • An update on the state of the approaching ed tech landscape
  • Creative, new thinking: What might our next generation learning environments look like in 5-10 years?

I’m looking forward to catching up with friends, meeting new people, and to the solid learning that I know will happen at this conference. I encourage you to check out the conference and register soon to take advantage of the early bird discounts.

 

 

Jane’s Top 10 Tools for Learning 2016 — from c4lpt.co.uk by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

On Friday 23rd September, voting closes in the 10th Annual Survey of Learning Tool  – so it’s not too late to vote!

You can find out how to do so HERE – essentially it involves sharing your own Top 10 Tools for Learning – privately or publicly.

Anyway, as we reach the final few days of voting in 2016, I thought it was time to share my personal top 10 tools – so here they are:

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

From DSC:
How much longer before the functionalities that are found in tools like Bluescape & Mural are available via tvOS-based devices? Entrepreneurs and VCs out there, take note. Given:

  • the growth of freelancing and people working from home and/or out on the road
  • the need for people to collaborate over a distance
  • the growth of online learning
  • the growth of active/collaborative learning spaces in K-12 and higher ed
  • the need for lifelong learning

…this could be a lucrative market. Also, it would be meaningful work…knowing that you are helping people learn and earn.

 


 

Mural-Aug-2016

 

 

Bluescape-Aug2016

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sony’s canvas redefines the giant display landscape.

 

Sony-Canvas-HUGE-6-2016

 

 

SonyCanvas-June2016

The bigger your giant display, the more important viewing angle becomes.
In this example, we’re showing an 8K x 2K (7680 x 2160) screen.

 

 

Sony-CanvasForCreativity

 

 

Sony redefines high-end visual display with new canvas for creativity — from blog.sony.com

Excerpt:

The scalable system is made up of multiple display units (each measuring 18 x 16 inches) that can be joined together with no bezels to create a limitless and seamless large-screen display.

 

 

 

Also see:

Excerpt:
Sony is literally blowing people away with their new Crystal LED technology. Sony’s new Canvas display system is a high-end visual display that re-defines the landscape for large-scale visual entertainment. The new technology, Crystal Light Emitting Diode Integrated Structure (CLEDIS), uses Sony’s ultrafine LEDs in a unique surface mounting structure as its light source to deliver a visual experience not possible with even the highest end conventional LED array. This scalable new type of canvas delivers an unmatched viewing experience, offering 99 percent black surface area, for high contrast, high resolution and immersive visuals.

This new type of canvas enables limitless flexibility and creativity in public spaces and high-end visual entertainment.  It is far more advanced when compared to the technologies currently available for large-scale display, offering a leap forward in depth, contrast, color, resolution and impact.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Leveraging the power of the BYOD phenomenon along with the increased usage of active learning-based classrooms, if students could “upload” their content to such enormous screens, one could easily imagine some highly-engaging discussions — providing students with excellent opportunities to create and share their own content.  Numerous windows and applications could be simultaneously displayed on such a video wall, providing/hosting some serious Jigsaw teaching techniques!

 

 

 

 

The SIIA CODiE Awards for 2016 — with thanks to Neha Jaiswal from uCertify for this resource; uCertify, as you will see, did quite well

Since 1986, the SIIA CODiE Awards have recognized more than 1,000 software and information companies for achieving excellence. The CODiE Awards remain the only peer-recognized program in the content, education, and software industries so each CODiE Award win serves as incredible market validation for a product’s innovation, vision, and overall industry impact.

 

SIIA-CODiE-Awards-for-2016

 

 

‘Anyone who walks into these spaces wants to teach in them’ — from ucalgary.ca by Joni Miltenburg
Instructors can apply to teach in the Taylor Institute’s flexible learning space

 

Photos inside The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning before the official launch in April 2016.

Excerpt:

Leighton Wilks noticed a palpable difference when his class moved from a traditional lecture-style classroom to an active learning space. Not only did attendance increase, but students were more engaged and collaborative.

“I see a lot more team cohesion. They’re talking more to each other because they’re sitting with their teams. It’s nice to foster that teamwork throughout the semester.”

Wilks is an instructor in the Haskayne School of Business and teaches a second-year organizational behaviour course in the newly-renovated active learning classroom in Scurfield Hall. He found that the space breaks down the boundary between instructor and student.

“Instead of being up at the front, I’m walking around. I feel I get a lot more questions and get to know the students better, which is important.”

 

 


From DSC:
Also see my notes from this year’s Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference.


 

 

Creating Great Digital Spaces for Learning — from slideshare.net by Phil Vincent
Professor Andrew Harrison, Professor of Practice at University of Wales Trinity St David and Director, Spaces That Work Ltd., from Jisc DigiFest 2016

PwrDigitalChange-JISC-2016-first

 

PwrDigitalChange-JISC-2016-1

PwrDigitalChange-JISC-2016-2nd

 

 

 

21st-century learning environments — from webcpm.com by Kenneth A. Gruskin, Michael Searson

Excerpts:

Pedagogy
Preparation for the 21st-century workforce demands that educators shift the authority for learning to the students. After all, today’s workers are expected to function in collaborative and horizontal environments, as opposed to the “factory” driven, top-down, solitary worker spaces of yesterday. Therefore, contemporary learning environments should lean heavily on collaborative spaces, supported through personalized learning technologies. Good pedagogy encourages student engagement through complex collaborative projects based on real-world problems.

Technology
Innovative learning should incorporate a true BYOD (bring your own device) environment that provides opportunities for student-centered learning, beginning with their own personalized technologies — from laptops and tablets to smartphones and wearable devices. This approach leverages student devices and reduces the need for institutionally provided equipment.

Supporting Distance Learning
Strategies being used within Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions provide the means to support the involvement of remote participants, whether they are present on the WAN or solely connecting via Internet services. Since these solutions are moving to cloud-based topologies, they are mostly services that individuals subscribe to directly or have access to through campus-based subscription services. These features are also beginning to appear in social media environments, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, so the opportunity for use may become as easy as installing another app in the not-toodistant future.

 

 

 

Engaging students with interactive technologies — from webcpm.com by Bill Nattress

 

InteractiveTechnologies300

Excerpt:

Wireless presentation, lecture capture, online collaboration and active-learning methodologies all require the ability for any and all participants to engage the installed resources within the facility while they also access their personal content; whether local to their personal devices or within the cloud. With the video tools now available to the consumer, the use of conferencing apps will continue to rise. The environments that engage students and faculty will need to allow for any user to log in and access his or her content and presentation appliances without hurdles or roadblocks. Access to subject matter experts or other individuals will also need to be supported as well. With the deployment of video tools via social media, users will also rely more on their personal accounts for contact management instead of an address book. These changes in workflow are disruptors to the policies that many institutions have put in place as it relates to the BYOD usage surrounding their networks. Success of these communication and education solutions needs the networks to focus on and easily support three key technologies: wireless presentation, collaboration and participation by remote team members.

 

What Gen Z thinks about ed tech in college — from edtechmagazine.com by D. Frank Smith
A report on digital natives sheds light on their learning preferences.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A survey of the collegiate educational-technology expectations of 1,300 middle and high school students from 49 states was captured by Barnes and Noble. The survey, Getting to Know Gen Z, includes feedback on the students’ expectations for higher education.

“These initial insights are a springboard for colleges and universities to begin understanding the mindset of Gen Z as they prepare for their future, focusing specifically on their aspirations, college expectations and use of educational technology for their academic journey ahead,” states the survey’s introduction.

Like the millennials before them, Generation Z grew up as digital natives, with devices a fixture in the learning experience. According to the survey results, these students want “engaging, interactive learning experiences” and want to be “empowered to make their own decisions.” In addition, the students “expect technology to play an instrumental role in their educational experience.”

 

From DSC:
First of all, I’d like to thank D. Frank Smith for the solid article and for addressing the topic of students’ expectations. These messages were echoed in what I heard a few days ago at the MVU Online Learning Symposium, a conference focused on the K-12 space.

 

MoreChoiceMoreControl-DSC2

 

I want to quote and elaborate on one of the items from the report (as mentioned in the article):

“There is a need for user-friendly tools that empower faculty to design the kinds of compelling resources that will comprise the next wave of instructional resources and materials,” the report states.

Most likely, even if such tools were developed, the end goal from the quote above won’t happen. Why? Because:

  • Most faculty simply don’t have the time — they are being overrun with all sorts of other demands on their time (committees, task forces, advising, special projects, keeping up with the changes in their disciplines, etc.)
  • Even with user-friendly tools, one still needs a variety of skill sets to create engaging, sophisticated content and learning environments. Creating “the next wave of instructional resources and materials” is waaaaaay beyond the skillsets of any one person!!! Numerous skills will be required to create the kinds of learning materials that we can expect to see in the future:
    • Information architecture
    • Instructional design
    • Interaction design
    • Videography and creating/working with multiple kinds of media
    • Programming/coding
    • Responsive web design and knowing how best to design content for multiple kinds of devices
    • User experience design
    • Graphic design
    • Game design
    • Knowledge of copyrights
    • Expertise in accessibility-related items
    • The ability to most effectively write for blended and/or online-based approaches
    • Knowing how to capture and use learning analytics/data
    • Keeping up with advancements in human computer interfaces (HCI)
    • Staying current with learning space design
    • How best to deliver personalized learning
    • and much more!

This is why I continue to assert that we need a much more team-based approach to creating our learning environments. The problem is, very few people are listening to this advice.

How can I say this?

Because I continue to hear people discussing how important professional development is and how much support is needed for faculty members.  I continue to see quotes, like the above one, that puts the onus solely on the backs of our faculty members. Conferences are packed full with this type of approach.

Let’s get rid of that approach — it’s not working!  Or at least not nearly to the degree that students need it to. There may be a small percentage of faculty members who have the time and skills to pull some things off here, but even they will run into some walls eventually (depending upon the level of sophistication being pursued). None of us can do it all.

But for the most part, years have gone by and not much has changed. Rather, we need to figure out how we could use teams to create and deliver content. That would be a much wiser use of our energies and time. This perspective is not meant to dog faculty members — it’s just recognizing realities:

  • One person simply can’t do it all anymore.
  • Tools don’t exist that can pull all of the necessary pieces together.
  • Even if such tools existed, they won’t be able to keep pace w/ the exponential rate of technological changes that we’re currently experiencing — and will likely continue to experience over the next 10-20 years.

If we’re going to insist on faculty members creating the next wave of instructional materials and resources, then faculty members better look out — they don’t know what’s about to hit them.  Forget about having families. Forget about having a life outside of creating/delivering content.  And find a way to create a 50-60 hour work DAY (not week) — cause that’s how much time one will need to achieve any where’s close to mastery in all the prerequisite areas.

 

 

20 awesome BYOD and mobile learning apps — from edutopia.org by Vicki Davis; updated 2/4/16

Excerpt:

We have now been Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for three years, and boy, do the students bring it. They bring it all! We have iPads, Surface, iPhones, Droids, Chromebooks, Macs, and PC laptops. Here’s my current thinking.

 

 

 

7 best Google apps and tools — from interestingengineering.com

  1. Google Keep
  2. Google Scholar
  3. Gmailify
  4. Google Lego
  5. Google Mars
  6. Google Developers
  7. Google Sky

 

GoogleSky-April2016

 

 

 

Chrome Music Lab

Excerpt:

Music is for everyone. So this year for Music In Our Schools month, we wanted to make learning music a bit more accessible to everyone by using technology that’s open to everyone: the web. Chrome Music Lab is a collection of experiments that let anyone, at any age, explore how music works. They’re collaborations between musicians and coders, all built with the freely available Web Audio API. These experiments are just a start. Check out each experiment to find open-source code you can use to build your own.

 

ChromeMusicLab-March2016

 

 

 

My challenge to you – 8 things all teachers should learn about #edtech — from ictevangelist.com by Mark Anderson

Excerpt:

I love the School Report scheme that the BBC run via Newsround. We all remember the Newsrounds of our youth. For me it was John Craven who made me watch it whenever it was on. It was this report I saw recently on eight things teachers should learn, which got me thinking about eight things I thought teachers should learn about edtech.

My work sees me regularly helping teachers learn different things related to the use of technology and so in this post, I’m going to talk about the eight things I think teachers should learn with #edtech to help support their use of technology to enhance learning in the classroom.

Mark mentions: Google, Padlet, Kahoot, Socrative, Camera, Microphone, Twitter, Videoconferencing software

 

 

 

Quiz accommodations for students in Canvas and Moodle — from thejournal.com by Emmett Dulaney03/16/16

Excerpt:

As we move toward interacting more with students who have an individualized education program (IEP) indicating that they need additional time on tests and quizzes or just need to deal with life issues, it is imperative that the learning management system (LMS) depended upon by an instructor and student alike be properly configured for such accommodations. Canvas and Moodle are currently two of the most popular learning management systems, and both offer the ability to make adjustments to quiz functions within the course without compromising the overall structure of the course. In this article, we will examine how to do so and offer some tips on situations where they are relevant.

 

 

 

Use these Chrome apps to unleash students’ creativity — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

[The] Chrome web store is packed full of all kinds of educational apps and extensions some of which are also integrated with Google Drive. For those of you looking for a handy resource of Chrome apps to use with students in class, check out this comprehensive chart. In today’s post we are sharing with you a collection of some practical Chrome extensions to unleash learners creativity. Using these resources, students will be able to engage in a number of creative literacy activities that will allow them to multimodally communicate their thoughts, share their ideas and develop new learning skills.

 

 

 

Integrating technology and literacy — from edutopia.org by Frank Ward

Excerpt:

How do you work technology into the pedagogy, instead of just using something cool? That task can be especially daunting in language arts literacy classrooms where reading and writing skill development is the crux of daily lessons. However, as 1:1 technology initiatives roll out, integrating technology into the classroom is our reality.

With hundreds of sites, apps, Chrome extensions, and platforms available, choosing the right ones can seem overwhelming. As an eighth-grade language arts teacher, I’ve experienced this myself. Following are four tools that can help provide immediate formative assessment data as well as top-of-the-rotation feedback to help students develop personal learning goals.

If, like my school, you’re in a “Chromebook District,” these suggested tools will work well because all integrate perfectly when you sign in with your Google ID, limiting the need for multiple passwords. This saves a lot of student confusion, too.

 

 

 

Teachers are using theater and dance to teach math — and it’s working — from washingtonpost.com by Moriah Balingit

Excerpt:

This giggly play session actually was a serious math lesson about big and small and non-standard measurements. Dreamed up by Richardson and kindergarten teacher Carol Hunt, it aims to get the children to think of animal steps as units of measurement, using them to mark how many it takes each animal to get from a starting line to the target.

Teachers call such melding of art and traditional subjects “art integration,” and it’s a new and increasingly popular way of bringing the arts into the classroom. Instead of art as a stand-alone subject, teachers are using dance, drama and the visual arts to teach a variety of academic subjects in a more engaging way.

 

 

Some older items include:

Tech Tip: Using Nearpod for math instruction — from smartblogs.com

 

Storytelling app a hit; launches a new chapter in transmedia — from blogs.vancouversun.com

Excerpt:

Paul Pattison and Luke Minaker knew they were onto something when they got an email from the mother of a nine-year-old who read the first instalment of their interactive story, Weirdwood Manor.

She wrote that she couldn’t get her son to pick up a book,” said Pattison, technical director of All Play No Work, producer of the iPad app. “She got the app for her son and he went through it in two nights. He finished both books.

And then because we don’t have book 3 out yet, unprompted by her he went over to the bookshelf and pulled off a paperback and started reading chapter books again.

.

 

 

 

 

Active Learning: In Need of Deeper Exploration — from facultyfocus.com by Maryellen Weimer

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The one proposed by Bonwell and Eison in an early (and now classic) active learning monograph is widely referenced: involving “students in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing.” (p. 2)

Those are fine places to start, but as interest in active learning has grown—and with its value now firmly established empirically—what gets labeled as active learning continues to expand. Carr, Palmer, and Hagel recently wrote, “Active learning is a very broad concept that covers or is associated with a wide variety of learning strategies.” (p. 173) They list some strategies now considered to be active learning. I’ve added a few more: experiential learning; learning by doing (hands-on learning); applied learning; service learning; peer teaching (in various contexts); lab work; role plays; case-based learning; group work of various kinds; technology-based strategies such as simulations, games, clickers, and various smart phone applications; and classroom interaction, with participation and discussion probably being the most widely used of all active learning approaches. Beyond strategies are theories such as constructivism that have spun off collections of student-centered approaches that promote student autonomy, self-direction, and self-regulation of learning.

 

 

“It’s Not You, It’s the Room”— Are the High-Tech, Active Learning Classrooms Worth It? [2013] – from cvm.umn.edu by Sehoya Cotner, Jessica Loper, J. D. Walker, and D. Christopher Brooks

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Several institutions have redesigned traditional learning spaces to better realize the potential of active, experiential learning. We compare student performance in traditional and active learning classrooms in a large, introductory biology course using the same syllabus, course goals, exams, and instructor. Using ACT scores as predictive, we found that students in the active learning classroom outperformed expectations, whereas those in the traditional classroom did not. By replicating initial work, our results provide empirical confirmation that new, technology-enhanced learning environments positively and independently affect student learning. Our data suggest that creating space for active learning can improve student performance in science courses. However, we recognize that such a commitment of resources is impractical for many institutions, and we offer recommendations for applying what we have learned to more traditional spaces.

We believe that the investment in ALCs at the University of Minnesota was worth it. Documented increases in student engagement and confirmed average gains of nearly 5 percentage points in final grades are improvements in the student academic experience that few educational interventions could aspire to. However, whether these improvements warrant the capital investment in ALCs is a judgment each educational institution must make for itself, drawing on local priorities and resources.

Instructors may need to think seriously and creatively about changing the manner in which they deliver their courses in spaces such as these —not only for the sake of navigating the challenges of teaching in a decentered space, but also to take advantage of the features of the room that allow us to better realize the benefits of active learning. The classroom architecture is bound to frustrate the efforts of faculty who don’t yield to the rooms’ novel demands. There is no well-identified “stage” from which to deliver a traditional lecture. Half of the students in the class may be facing away from the instructor at any given time. Teachers who view silence as engagement will need to adjust their perceptions, as one goal of decentralized classrooms is increased small-group interaction and this activity can be noisy and difficult to monitor. And, in the case of the ALCs at our institution, there is a learning curve with respect to the technological capabilities of the rooms.

 

 

Excerpt from the University of Minnesota’s Active Learning Classrooms web page:

What Is an Active Learning Classroom (ALC)?
ALC is the term often used to describe the student-centered, technology-rich learning environments at the University of Minnesota. U of M ALCs feature large round tables with places for nine students. Each table supports three laptops, with switching technology that connects them to a fixed flat-panel display projection system, and three microphones. There is a centered teaching station which allows the instructor to select and display table-specific information. Multiple white boards or glass-surface marker boards are distributed around the perimeter of the classrooms.

 

 

 

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