How Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther inspired this Black engineer — from fastcompany.com by Karl Zelik
The best superheroes are those that inspire real people to make the world a better place.

Excerpt:

On Twitter, Black in Engineering was launched in the week leading up to Boseman’s passing in August 2020, and Black in Computing was launched two months earlier. The same cathartic experience of seeing Wakandan scientists and engineers on the big screen is how I felt reading all the posts tagged #BiERollCall—Black engineers and scientists across STEM disciplines introduced themselves and their work, their passions, and their expertise.

[Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images]

[Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images]
 

This avocado armchair could be the future of AI — from technologyreview.com by Will Douglas
OpenAI has extended GPT-3 with two new models that combine NLP with image recognition to give its AI a better understanding of everyday concepts.

This avocado armchair could be the future of AI OpenAI has extended GPT-3 with two new models that combine NLP with image recognition to give its AI a better understanding of everyday concepts.

“We live in a visual world,” says Ilya Sutskever, chief scientist at OpenAI. “In the long run, you’re going to have models which understand both text and images. AI will be able to understand language better because it can see what words & sentences mean.”

 

Wonder Tools | The Best Data Viz Tool — from wondertools.substack.com by Jeremy Caplan
How and why to use Flourish to make impressive charts fast and for free

Excerpt:

Flourish is a terrific tool for visualizing data. It’s easy to use and free. Unlike some complex tools aimed at data professionals, Flourish is simple enough for anyone to use. It’s also flexible and polished enough to use in professional newsroom projects. And it comes with a wide range of templates so you can create a strong interactive data visual to embed on any site within a couple of hours.

 
Flourish -- a great data visualization tool that non-professionals can use as well!

 

The AI Roundup – Top 15 Blogs of 2020 — from blog.re-work.co

Excerpt:

Below we have rounded up our 15 most-read blogs of the year, including must-read papers suggestions from AI experts, advice for those starting out in AI, Netflix predictive algorithms and more. See a summary of each blog and link below!

 

Oracle joins Silicon Valley exodus — from linkedin.com by Jake Perez

Excerpt:

Oracle is joining the Silicon Valley exodus and moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas. A spokesperson for the tech giant said the move will “best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work.” As the pandemic has spurred a gradual acceptance of remote work, some major companies are bailing on California’s high taxes and cost of living. Earlier this month, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced it was moving from San Jose, Calif., to Houston, and Tesla founder Elon Musk announced his move to Texas this week.

 

Google Launches Code Next Connect — from thejournal.com by David Nagel

Excerpt:

Google’s free computer science education program, Code Next, is adding a virtual component and expanding into more states. The launch of the virtual component of the program, called Code Next Connect, was announced as part of Google’s Computer Science Education Week activities yesterday.

The Code Next program is aimed at black and Latinx high school students (primarily grades 10 and 11, but open to all high school students), providing training and experience in coding and leadership and offering mentoring and other experiences for participants.

 
 

Eric Schmidt’s Youth Talent Competition, Part of $1B Effort, Kicks Off With Unusual App — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpts:

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has committed $1 billion to finding exceptional young people aged 15 to 17 and offering them financial support and mentorship throughout their lives.

The first questions that the contest asks applicants to address with a short video response is: “In what ways do you consider yourself privileged? In what ways do you consider yourself underprivileged?” The second question: “What’s one problem that you are going to use your life to solve? Why? Show us what steps you’ve taken to solve it already.”

 

The Dice Q3 Tech Job Report | Tech Hiring and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

The Dice Q3 Tech Job Report Tech Hiring and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

The Dice Q3 Tech Job Report: Tech Hiring and COVID-19: What You Need to Know — from techhub.dice.com
The report, issued quarterly by Dice, provides exclusive statistics and analysis on the tech hiring landscape, including top cities and states, top employers and the most sought-after skills and occupations.

From DSC:
One can quickly see how valuable this information would be as a data feed into an AI-based, next-generation learning platform.

The platform would connect the marketable skills with the courses, websites, blogs, RSS feeds/streams of content, etc. that would help a learner quickly and affordably build such in-demand skills. Given the shortening half-lives of many kinds of information, such a service is needed desperately…especially now with the impact of the Coronavirus.

Also relevant: See how ISTE built its upcoming virtual event!

 

“Especially given that these systems replicate and amplify the harms of structural racism and historical discrimination, which fall predominantly on Black, brown, and poor communities.”

From DSC:
Some serious fodder for thought in this article. I’d like to see
#computerscience students and faculty members debate and/or weigh in on this type of topic.

 

The Advantages of Teaching Soft Skills to CS Undergrads Online — from cacm.acm.org by Orit Hazzan; with thanks to Sarah Huibregtse for posting this out on LinkedIn.

Excerpt:

At first, I wondered whether teaching soft skills online is even possible since, unlike theoretical courses, I assumed that close face-to-face (F2F) interaction is required in order to practice such skills. Eventually, I realized that teaching this course online has, in fact, some advantages, that this teaching format opens up new opportunities, and that this medium can even foster several soft skills that I had not previously considered teaching in the F2F format. This blog demonstrates these advantages by focusing on the use of the breakout rooms option available in Zoom, which I used extensively in the course.

 

Soft skills mentioned by CS students

 

The State of AI in Higher Education — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
Both industry and higher ed experts see opportunities and risk, hype and reality with AI for teaching and learning.

Excerpts:

Kurt VanLehn, the chair for effective education in STEM in the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University, knows how challenging it can be people to come up with examples of effective AI in education. Why? “Because learning is complicated.”

Nuno Fernandes, president and CEO of Ilumno, an ed tech company in Latin America, isn’t ready to count adaptive learning out yet, if only because adaptivity has worked in other industries, such as social platforms like Netflix and Amazon, to identify what could work best for the user, based on previous activities and preferred formats of curriculum.

As Ilumno’s Fernandes asserted, AI won’t “substitute for faculty in any of our lifetimes. What it will do is give us tools to work better and to complement what is being done by humans.”

From DSC:
The article is a very balanced one. On one hand, it urges caution and points out that learning is messy and complex. On the other hand, it points out some beneficial applications of AI that already exist in language learning and in matching alumni with students for mentorship-related reasons.

From my perspective, I think AI-based systems will be used to help us scan job descriptions to see what the marketplace needs and is calling for. Such a system would be a major step forward in at least pointing out the existing hiring trends, needed skillsets, job openings, and more — and to do so in REAL-TIME!

Colleges, universities, and alternatives to traditional higher education could use this information to be far more responsive to the needs of the workplace. Then, such systems could match what the workplace needs with courses, microlearning-based feeds, apprenticeships, and other sources of learning that would help people learn those in-demand skills.

That in and of itself is HUGE. Again, HUGE. Given the need for people to reinvent themselves — and to do so quickly and affordably — that is incredibly beneficial.

Also, I do think there will be cloud-based learner profiles…data that each of us control and say who has access to it. Credentials will be stored there, for example. AI-based systems can scan such profiles and our desired career goals and suggest possible matches.

We can change our career goals. We don’t have to be locked into a particular track or tracks. We can reinvent ourselves. In fact, many of us will have to.

 

Many students complain that online-based learning doesn’t engage them. Well, check this idea out! [Christian]


From DSC…by the way, another title for this blog could have been:

WIN-WIN situations all around! The Theatre Departments out there could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging, digitally-based learning experiences! 


The future of drama and the theatre — as well as opera, symphonies, and more — will likely include a significant virtual/digital component to them. While it’s too early to say that theatre needs to completely reinvent itself and move “the stage” completely online, below is an idea that creates a variety of WIN-WIN situations for actors, actresses, stage designers, digital audio/video editors, fine artists, graphic designers, programmers, writers, journalists, web designers, and many others as well — including the relevant faculty members!

A new world of creative, engaging, active learning could open up if those involved with the Theatre Department could work collaboratively with students/faculty members from other disciplines. And in the end, the learning experiences and content developed would be highly engaging — and perhaps even profitable for the institutions themselves!

A WIN-WIN situation all around! The Theatre Department could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging learning experiences!

[DC: I only slightly edited the above image from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Though the integration of acting with online-based learning materials is not a new idea, this post encourages a far more significant interdisciplinary collaboration between the Theatre Department and other departments/disciplines.

Consider a “Dealing with Bias in Journalism” type of topic, per a class in the Digital Media and Journalism Major.

  • Students from the Theatre Department work collaboratively with the students from the most appropriate class(es?) from the Communications Department to write the script, as per the faculty members’ 30,000-foot instructions (not 1000-foot level/detailed instructions)
  • Writing the script would entail skills involved with research, collaboration, persuasion, creativity, communication, writing, and more
  • The Theatre students would ultimately act out the script — backed up by those learning about sound design, stage design, lighting design, costume design, etc.
  • Example scene: A woman is sitting around the kitchen table, eating breakfast and reading a posting — aloud — from a website that includes some serious bias in it that offends the reader. She threatens to cancel her subscription, contact the editor, and more. She calls out to her partner why she’s so mad about the article. 
  • Perhaps there could be two or more before/after scenes, given some changes in the way the article was written.
  • Once the scenes were shot, the digital video editors, programmers, web designers, and more could take that material and work with the faculty members to integrate those materials into an engaging, interactive, branching type of learning experience. 
  • From there, the finished product would be deployed by the relevant faculty members.

Scenes from WMU's Theatre Department

[DC: Above images from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Colleges and universities could share content with each other and/or charge others for their products/content/learning experiences. In the future, I could easily see a marketplace for buying and selling such engaging content. This could create a needed new source of revenue — especially given that those large auditoriums and theaters are likely not bringing in as much revenue as they typically do. 

Colleges and universities could also try to reach out to local acting groups to get them involved and continue to create feeders into the world of work.

Other tags/categories could include:

  • MOOCs
  • Learning from the Living[Class]Room
  • Multimedia / digital literacy — tools from Adobe, Apple, and others.
  • Passions, participation, engagement, attention.
  • XR: Creating immersive, Virtual Reality (VR)-based experiences
  • Learning Experience Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Interface Design
  • …and more

Also see:

What improv taught me about failure: As a teacher and academic — from scholarlyteacher.com by Katharine Hubbard

what improv taught me about failure -as a teacher and academic

In improv, the only way to “fail” is to overthink and not have fun, which reframed what failure was on a grand scale and made me start looking at academia through the same lens. What I learned about failure through improv comes back to those same two core concepts: have fun and stop overthinking.

Students are more engaged when the professor is having fun with the materials (Keller, Hoy, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2016), and teaching is more enjoyable when we are having fun ourselves.

 

From DSC:
Who needs to be discussing/debating “The Social Dilemma” movie? Whether one agrees with the perspectives put forth therein or not, the discussion boards out there should be lighting up in the undergraduate areas of Computer Science (especially Programming), Engineering, Business, Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Philosophy, Religion, Political Science, Sociology, and perhaps other disciplines as well. 

To those starting out the relevant careers here…just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Ask yourself not whether something CAN be developed, but *whether it SHOULD be developed* and what the potential implications of a technology/invention/etc. might be. I’m not aiming to take a position here. Rather, I’m trying to promote some serious reflection for those developing our new, emerging technologies and our new products/services out there.

Who needs to be discussing/debating The Social Dilemna movie?

 

 

Radar trends to watch: October 2020 — from oreilly.com

Excerpt:

This month, the big surprise is that there’s no significant technology news about COVID. And there is more news than ever about legislation and regulation. I suspect that the legal system will be a big driver for technology over the next year. Another trend that doesn’t quite count as technology news but that definitely bears watching is that college enrollment in the US is down. Grad schools are up, 4 year colleges are down slightly; the big hit is in 2 year colleges. COVID is probably the biggest contributing factor, but regardless of the cause, this is an inauspicious trend.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian