The 82 Hottest EdTech Tools of 2017 According to Education Experts — from tutora.co.uk by Giorgio Cassella

Excerpt:

If you work in education, you’ll know there’s a HUGE array of applications, services, products and tools created to serve a multitude of functions in education.

Tools for teaching and learning, parent-teacher communication apps, lesson planning software, home-tutoring websites, revision blogs, SEN education information, professional development qualifications and more.

There are so many companies creating new products for education, though, that it can be difficult to keep up – especially with the massive volumes of planning and marking teachers have to do, never mind finding the time to actually teach!

So how do you know which ones are the best?

Well, as a team of people passionate about education and learning, we decided to do a bit of research to help you out.

We’ve asked some of the best and brightest in education for their opinions on the hottest EdTech of 2017. These guys are the real deal – experts in education, teaching and new tech from all over the world from England to India, to New York and San Francisco.

They’ve given us a list of 82 amazing, tried and tested tools…


From DSC:
The ones that I mentioned that Giorgio included in his excellent article were:

  • AdmitHub – Free, Expert College Admissions Advice
  • Labster – Empowering the Next Generation of Scientists to Change the World
  • Unimersiv – Virtual Reality Educational Experiences
  • Lifeliqe – Interactive 3D Models to Augment Classroom Learning

 


 

 

 

 

The Hidden Costs of Active Learning — from by Thomas Mennella
Flipped and active learning truly are a better way for students to learn, but they also may be a fast track to instructor burnout.

Excerpt:

The time has come for us to have a discussion about the hidden cost of active learning in higher education. Soon, gone will be the days of instructors arriving to a lecture hall, delivering a 75-minute speech and leaving. Gone will be the days of midterms and finals being the sole forms of assessing student learning. For me, these days have already passed, and good riddance. These are largely ineffective teaching and learning strategies. Today’s college classroom is becoming dynamic, active and student-centered. Additionally, the learning never stops because the dialogue between student and instructor persists endlessly over the internet. Trust me when I say that this can be exhausting. With constant ‘touch-points,’ ‘personalized learning opportunities’ and the like, the notion of a college instructor having 12 contact hours per week that even remotely total 12 hours is beyond unreasonable.

We need to reevaluate how we measure, assign and compensate faculty teaching loads within an active learning framework. We need to recognize that instructors teaching in these innovative ways are doing more, and spending more hours, than their more traditional colleagues. And we must accept that a failure to recognize and remedy these ‘new normals’ risks burning out a generation of dedicated and passionate instructors. Flipped learning works and active learning works, but they’re very challenging ways to teach. I still say I will never teach another way again … I’m just not sure for how much longer that can be.

 

From DSC:
The above article prompted me to revisit the question of how we might move towards using more team-based approaches…? Thomas Mennella seems to be doing an incredible job — but grading 344 assignments each week or 3,784 assignments this semester is most definitely a recipe for burnout.

Then, pondering this situation, an article came to my mind that discusses Thomas Frey’s prediction that the largest internet-based company of 2030 will be focused on education.

I wondered…who will be the Amazon.com of the future of education? 

Such an organization will likely utilize a team-based approach to create and deliver excellent learning experiences — and will also likely leverage the power of artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning as a piece of their strategy.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Savannah College of Art & Design Publishes First College Catalog with AR Capabilities — from by Tommy Palladino

Excerpt:

When it published its 2016-2017 catalog last year, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) became the first college to leverage augmented reality technology for a college catalog.

By hovering their smartphones over the catalog’s pages, prospective students are able to view videos of student creative sessions, play video games designed by students, take tours of residence halls, and more using the SCAD mobile app, which is available from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

 

Powered by Layar augmented reality technology, the catalog contains more than 150 digital assets, 200 micro-interactions, and 85 trackable pages, including the cover.

 

 

 

From DSC:
At the recent
Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference, in my introductory piece for our panel discussion, I relayed several ideas/areas that should be on our institutions’ radars. That is, at least someone at each of our institutions of higher education should be aware of these things and be pulse-checking them as time goes by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of these ideas/areas involved the use of blockchain technologies:

 

 

If #blockchain technologies are successful within the financial/banking world, then it’s highly likely that other use cases will be developed as well (i.e., the trust in blockchain-enabled applications will be there already).

Along those lines, if that occurs, then colleges and universities are likely to become only 1 of the feeds into someone’s cloud-based, lifelong learning profile. I’ve listed several more sources of credentials below:

 

 

Given the trend towards more competency-based education (CBE) and the increased experimentation with badges, blockchain could increasingly move onto the scene.

In fact, I could see a day when an individual learner will be able to establish who can and can’t access their learner profile, and who can and can’t feed information and updates into it.

Artificial intelligence and big data also come to mind here…and I put Microsoft on my radar a while back in this regard; as Microsoft (via LinkedIn and Lynda.com) could easily create online-based marketplaces matching employers with employees/freelancers.

 

 

 


Along these lines, see:


 

  • The Mainstreaming of Alternative Credentials in Postsecondary Education — from by Deborah Keyek-Franssen
    Excerpt:

    • The Context of Alternative Credentials
      The past few years have seen a proliferation of new learning credentials ranging from badges and bootcamp certifications to micro-degrees and MOOC certificates. Although alternative credentials have been part of the fabric of postsecondary education and professional development for decades—think prior learning assessments like Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams, or industry certifications—postsecondary institutions are increasingly unbundling their degrees and validating smaller chunks of skills and learning to provide workplace value to traditional and non-traditional students alike.
      Many are experimenting with alternative credentials to counter the typical binary nature of a degree. Certifications of learning or skills are conferred after the completion of a course or a few short courses in a related field. Students do not have to wait until all requirements for a degree are met before receiving a certificate of learning, but instead can receive one after a much shorter period of study. “Stackable” credentials are combined to be the equivalent of an undergraduate or graduate certificate (a micro-degree), or even a degree.
    • The National Discussion of Alternative Credentials
      Discussions of alternative credentials are often responses to a persistent and growing critique of traditional higher educational institutions’ ability to meet workforce needs, especially because the cost to students for a four-year degree has grown dramatically over the past several decades. The increasing attention paid to alternative credentials brings to the fore questions such as what constitutes a postsecondary education, what role universities in particular should play vis-à-vis workforce development, and how we can assess learning and mastery.

 

 


Addendums added on 3/4/17, that show that this topic isn’t just for higher education, but could involve K-12 as well:


 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

KPMG & Microsoft Announce New “Blockchain Nodes” — from finance.yahoo.com

Excerpt:

NEW YORK, Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — KPMG International and Microsoft Corp. have announced the launch of joint Blockchain Nodes, which are designed to create and demonstrate use cases that apply blockchain technology to business propositions and processes.  The first joint Blockchain Nodes are in Frankfurt and Singapore, with future plans for a location in New York.

The KPMG and Microsoft Blockchain Nodes –innovation workspaces– will expand on a global alliance, which combines Microsoft’s technical expertise with KPMG’s deep industry and blockchain application knowledge, together with strong connections to the start-up and developer communities.

“The Blockchain Nodes will play a critical role in identifying new applications and use cases that blockchain can address,” said Eamonn Maguire, global and US leader for KPMG’s Digital Ledger Services. “They will enable us to work directly with clients to discover and test ideas based on market insights, creating and implementing prototype solutions that use this innovative technology.”

 

 

IBM Brings Machine Learning to the Private Cloud — from finance.yahoo.com
First to automate creation and training of learning analytic models at the source of high value corporate data, starting with IBM z System Mainframe

Excerpt:

ARMONK, N.Y., Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced IBM Machine Learning, the first cognitive platform for continuously creating, training and deploying a high volume of analytic models in the private cloud at the source of vast corporate data stores.  Even using the most advanced techniques, data scientists – in shortest supply among today’s IT skills1 – might spend days or weeks developing, testing and retooling even a single analytic model one step at a time.

IBM has extracted the core machine learning technology from IBM Watson and will initially make it available where much of the world’s enterprise data resides: the z System mainframe, the operational core of global organizations where billions of daily transactions are processed by banks, retailers, insurers, transportation firms and governments.

IBM Machine Learning allows data scientists to automate the creation, training and deployment of operational analytic models that will support…

 

 

Amazon Echo and Google Home may soon be able to make voice calls — from financye.yahoo.com and Business Insider by Jeff Dunn

Excerpt:

The Amazon Echo and Google Home could be used to make and receive phone calls later this year, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal’s Ryan Knutson and Laura Stevens. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the report says that both Amazon and Google are looking to activate the feature, but that their attempts have been slowed by privacy and regulatory concerns. Amazon has reportedly been working on Echo-specific voice calls since 2015, but has been held up by “employee turnover” as well.

 

 

Amazon unveils Chime, looks to reinvent the conference call with new Skype and GoToMeeting competitor — from geekwire.com by John Cook

Excerpt:

Amazon is looking to transform just about every industry.

Now, the Seattle tech juggernaut wants to reinvent how you conduct meetings and conference calls.

Amazon Web Services today unveiled Chime, a new service that it says takes the “frustration out of meetings” by delivering video, voice, chat, and screen sharing. Instead of forcing participants to call one another on a dedicated line, Amazon Chime automatically calls all participants at the start of a meeting, so “joining a meeting is as easy as clicking a button in the app, no PIN required,” the company said in a press release. Chime also shows a visual roster of participants, and allows participants to pinpoint who exactly on the call is creating annoying background noise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 


 

 

 

Chatbots: The next big thing — from dw.com
Excerpt:

More and more European developers are discovering the potential of chatbots. These mini-programs interact automatically with users and could be particularly useful in areas like online shopping and news delivery. The potential of chatbots is diverse. These tiny programs can do everything from recognizing customers’ tastes to relaying the latest weather forecast. Berlin start-up Spectrm is currently devising bots that deliver customized news. Users can contact the bot via Facebook Messenger, and receive updates on topics that interest them within just a few seconds.

 

 

MyPrivateTutor releases chatbot for finding tutors — from digitaljournal.com
MyPrivateTutor, based in Kolkata, matches tutors to students using proprietary machine learning algorithms

Excerpt:

Using artificial intelligence, the chatbot helps us reach a wider segment of users who are still not comfortable navigating websites and apps but are quite savvy with messaging apps”, said Sandip Kar, co-founder & CEO of MyPrivateTutor (www.myprivatetutor.com), an online marketplace for tutors, has released a chatbot for helping students and parents find tutors, trainers, coaching classes and training institutes near them.

 

 

Story idea: Covering the world of chatbots — from businessjournalism.org by Susan Johnston Taylor

Excerpt:

Chatbots, computer programs designed to converse with humans, can perform all sorts of activities. They can help users book a vacation, order a pizza, negotiate with Comcast or even communicate with POTUS. Instead of calling or emailing a representative at the company, consumers chat with a robot that uses artificial intelligence to simulate natural conversation. A growing number of startups and more established companies now use them to interact with users via Facebook Messenger, SMS, chat-specific apps such as Kik or the company’s own site.

To cover this emerging business story, reporters can seek out companies in their area that use chatbots, or find local tech firms that are building them. Local universities may have professors or other experts available who can provide big-picture context, too. (Expertise Finder can help you identify professors and their specific areas of study.)

 

 

How chatbots are addressing summer melt for colleges — from ecampusnews.com

Excerpt:

AdmitHub, an edtech startup which builds conversational artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots to guide students on the path to and through college, has raised $2.95 million in seed funding.

 

 

Why higher education chatbots will take over university mobile apps — from blog.admithub.com by Kirk Daulerio

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Chatbots are the new apps and websites combined
Chatbots are simple, easy to use, and present zero friction. They exist on the channels that people are most familiar with like Messenger, Twitter, SMS text message, Kik, and expanding onto other messaging applications. Unlike apps, bots don’t take up space, users don’t have to take time to get familiar with a new user interface, and bots will give you an instant reply. The biggest difference with chatbots compared to apps and websites is that they use language as the main interface. Websites and apps have to be searched and clicked, while bots and people use language, the most natural interface, to communicate and inform.

 

 


From DSC:
I think messaging-based chatbots will definitely continue to grow in usage — in numerous industries, including higher education. But I also think that the human voice — working in conjunction with technologies that provide natural language processing (NLP) capabilities — will play an increasingly larger role in how we interface with our devices. Whether it’s via a typed/textual message or whether it’s via a command or a query relayed by the human voice, working with bots needs to be on our radars. These conversational messaging agents are likely to be around for a while.

 


 

Addendum:

 

 

 

From DSC:
Hmmm…this is interesting! I ran into a company based out of Canada called Sightline Innovation — and they offer Machine Learning as a Service!

 

Here’s an excerpt from their site:

MLaaS: AI for everyone
Sightline’s Machine Learning as a Service (MLaaS) is the AI solution for Enterprise. With MLaaS, you provide the data and the desired outcome, and Sightline provides the Machine Learning capacity. By analyzing data sets, MLaaS generates strategic insights that allow companies to optimize their business processes and maximize efficiency. Discover new approaches to time management, teamwork and collaboration, client service and business forecasting.

Mine troves of inert customer data to reveal sales pipeline bottlenecks, build more in-depth personas and discover opportunities for upsales.
MLaaS empowers Enterprise to capitalize on opportunities that were previously undiscovered. MLaaS.net is the only system that brings together a full spectrum of AI algorithms including:

  • Convolutional Neural Networks
  • Deep Nets
  • Restricted Boltzman Machines
  • Probabilistic Graphical Models; and
  • Bayesian Networks

I wonder if Machine Learning as a Service (MLaaS) is the way that many businesses in the future will tap into the power of AI-based solutions – especially smaller and mid-size companies who can’t afford to build an internal team focused on AI…?

 

 
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