An AI Bot for the Teacher — with thanks to Karthik Reddy for this resource

Artificial intelligence is the stuff of science fiction – if you are old enough, you will remember those Terminator movies a good few years ago, where mankind was systematically being wiped out by computers.

The truth is that AI, though not quite at Terminator level yet, is already a fact and something that most of us have encountered already. If you have ever used the virtual assistant on your phone or the Ask Google feature, you have used AI.

Some companies are using it as part of their sales and marketing strategies. An interesting example is Lowe’s Home Improvement that, instead of chatbots, uses actual robots into their physical stores. These robots are capable of helping customers locate products that they’re interested in, taking a lot of the guesswork out of the entire shopping experience.

Of course, there are a lot of different potential applications for AI that are very interesting. Imagine an AI teaching assistant, for example. They could help grade papers, fact check and assist with lesson planning, etc., all to make our harassed teachers’ lives a little easier.

Chatbots could be programmed as tutors to help kids better understand core topics if they are struggling with them, ensuring that they don’t hold the rest of the class up. And, for kids who have a real affinity with the subject, help them learn more about what they are interested in.

It could also help enhance long distance training.  Imagine if your students could get instant answers to basic questions through a simple chatbot. Sure, if they were still not getting it, they would come through to you – the chatbot cannot replace a real, live, teacher after all. But it could save you a lot of time and frustration.

Here, of course, we have only skimmed the surface of what artificial intelligence is capable of. Why not look through this infographic to see how different brands have been using this tech, and see what possible applications of it we might expect.

 

Brands that use AI to enhance marketing (infographic) 2018
From 16best.net with thanks to Karthik Reddy for this resource

 

 

 

Transforming the Postsecondary Professional Education Experience — from by Mary Grush & Thomas Finholt

Excerpt:

So, among other factors currently influencing change, those are the predominate ones. I’ll sum it up this way: The tried-and-true residential model has worked so far, but a number of factors are forcing transformation: emerging technologies, new expectations about when learning will occur in a student’s lifespan, and the introduction of a whole new population of students that had never been imagined before.

Grush: What are your latest efforts or experiments in new professional education offerings that you see as part of this transformation? When did you make a start and what impacts do you see so far?
Finholt: The biggest transformation for us to date has been our entry into the MOOC space. That movement began with a few small trials, but it’s now rapidly expanding and may include, ultimately, full degree offerings. I would describe our period of experimentation with MOOCs to have started in 2013, gaining especially significant momentum in the past two years. Over the next couple of years, our efforts will expand even more dramatically, if we elect to offer fully online degrees. As a measure of the magnitude of impact of MOOCs so far, one of our MOOC specializations in the Python programming language is among the most popular offerings on Coursera — I believe that it has reached more than a million learners at this point. A significant fraction of those learners have opted to sit for an exam to get a certificate in Python programming.

 

 

One is, as announced at the March 6th Coursera meeting, that we have joined in a partnership with Coursera and the University of Michigan’s Office of Academic Innovation to design and get approved, a brand-new online master’s degree in Applied Data Science. 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Mary and Thomas’ solid article reminds me of a graphic I put together a while back:

 

 

 

 

“The process of obtaining postgraduate credentials is becoming something that one works on over the entire span of one’s career… Working professionals will have an array of punctuated intervals, if you will — periods of time when they work intensively to update their credentials.” (source)

 

 

 

 

VR Lab! — from thejournal.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

When Tampa Preparatory School launched decided to turn a closet into a virtual reality lab, they had no idea how far their students would run with the tools, but that’s exactly what they did, sitting down to build their own educational apps to help visualize concepts in astronomy, chemistry and physics. In addition to the educational apps, built by students on their own initiative, the VR lab is also used for art classes and more.

Chad Lewis, director of technology at Tampa Prep, recently sat down with THE Journal to talk about the school’s experience with VR as an educational tool.

Tell me a little about having students design their own VR apps. Are there any benefits to it that surprised you?

Chad Lewis: Some surprising benefits included branching out beyond computer science into areas like chemistry and physics. This is an example of the amazing things students can do if given the opportunity to pursue their passions. They need time, space and resources as well as support and encouragement. 

 

 

The main thing is that they’re learning coding, 3D modeling, game development, collaboration, design thinking, etc.

 

 

 

 

In the process, one of our computer science students came up to me and said, “Mr. Lewis do you mind if I try to create some virtual reality apps using Unity?” and it really took off from there. The lab was a student-driven initiative.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Check out the 2 items below regarding the use of voice as it pertains to using virtual assistants: 1 involves healthcare and the other involves education (Canvas).


1) Using Alexa to go get information from Canvas:

“Alexa Ask Canvas…”

Example questions as a student:

  • What grades am I getting in my courses?
  • What am I missing?

Example question as a teacher:

  • How many submissions do I need to grade?

See the section on asking Alexa questions…roughly between http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-30ixK63zE &t=38m18s through http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-30ixK63zE &t=46m42s

 

 

 

 


 

2) Why voice assistants are gaining traction in healthcare — from samsungnext.com by Pragati Verma

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The majority of intelligent voice assistant platforms today are built around smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. But that might change soon, as several specialized devices focused on the health market are slated to be released this year.

One example is ElliQ, an elder care assistant robot from Samsung NEXT portfolio company Intuition Robotics. Powered by AI cognitive technology, it encourages an active and engaged lifestyle. Aimed at older adults aging in place, it can recognizing their activity level and suggest activities, while also making it easier to connect with loved ones.

Pillo is an example of another such device. It is a robot that combines machine learning, facial recognition, video conferencing, and automation to work as a personal health assistant. It can dispense vitamins and medication, answer health and wellness questions in a conversational manner, securely sync with a smartphone and wearables, and allow users to video conference with health care professionals.

“It is much more than a smart speaker. It is HIPAA compliant and it recognizes the user; acknowledges them and delivers care plans,” said Rogers, whose company created the voice interface for the platform.

Orbita is now working with toSense’s remote monitoring necklace to track vitals and cardiac fluids as a way to help physicians monitor patients remotely. Many more seem to be on their way.

“Be prepared for several more devices like these to hit the market soon,” Rogers predicted.

 

 


From DSC:

I see the piece about Canvas and Alexa as a great example of where a piece of our future learning ecosystems are heading towards — in fact, it’s been a piece of my Learning from the Living [Class] Room vision for a while now. The use of voice recognition/NLP is only picking up steam; look for more of this kind of functionality in the future. 

 

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

 


 

 

 

Microsoft now offers AI courses as a skill for your CV — from theverge.com by James Vincent

Excerpt:

Here’s something every tech company agrees on: the world needs more AI engineers. Microsoft is the latest firm to try to answer this demand, and this week, it launched a new course on its tech accreditation scheme (known as the Microsoft Professional Program) dedicated to artificial intelligence.

The course has 10 modules, each taking between eight and 16 hours to complete online. They cover a range of sub-disciplines, including computer vision, data analysis, speech recognition, and natural language processing. Interestingly, there’s also an ethics course (a topic Microsoft is paying close attention as it pivots to focus on AI) as well as a module on machine learning in Azure, the company’s cloud platform.

 

Amazon Pumping $50 Million into CS Education — from steamuniverse.com by David Nagel

Excerpt:

Amazon is committing $50 million to computer science education in the United States with new programs supporting high school and early undergraduate students, including financial aid to help schools bring AP CS courses to their students.

As part of the new Amazon Future Engineer (AFE) Pathway, Amazon will support schools and individual students needing access to Advanced Placement courses in CS. For the AP courses, Amazon’s AWS Educate is partnering with Edhesive to provide access to the AP CS Java and AP CS Principles courses. (AP CS Principles has proved to be the most successful AP course launch to date.) Teachers, administrators and students themselves can apply to bring the courses to their schools. Amazon will then, according to the company, “select the eligible schools and students who will receive financial aid to access the Edhesive AP courses. Edhesive will engage with the selected schools and students in the spring of 2018 to onboard and launch for the fall 2018 school year.”

 

 

 

Experience Virtual Reality on the web with Chrome — from blog.google

Excerpt:

Virtual reality (VR) lets you tour the Turkish palace featured in “Die Another Day,” learn about life in a Syrian refugee camp firsthand, and walk through your dream home right from your living room. With the latest version of Chrome, we’re bringing VR to the web—making it as easy to step inside Air Force One as it is to access your favorite webpage.

For a fully immersive experience, use Chrome with your Daydream-ready phone and Daydream View—just browse to a VR experience you want to view, choose to enter VR, and put the phone in your Daydream View headset. If you don’t have a headset you can view VR content on any phone or desktop computer and interact using your finger or mouse.

You can already try out some great VR-enabled sites, with more coming soon. For example, explore the intersection of humans, nature and technology in the interactive documentary Bear 71. Questioning how we see the world through the lens of technology, this story blurs the lines between the wild world and the wired one.

 

 

Learn A New Language With Your Mobile Using MondlyAR — from vrfocus.com by
Start learn a new language today on your Android device.

Excerpt:

MondlyAR features an avatar “teacher” who brings virtual objects – planets, animals, musical instruments and more – into the room as teaching tools, engages the user in conversations and gives instant feedback on pronunciation thanks to chatbot technology. By incorporating these lifelike elements in the lessons, students are more likely to understand, process, and retain what they are taught.

Users will have seven languages to chose from, American English, British English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German with the studio expecting to be able to offer no less than 30 languages in AR by the next update in August 2018.

 

 

Augmented Reality takes 3-D printing to next level — from rtoz.org

Excerpt:

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work. To use the Robotic Modeling Assistant (RoMA), a designer wears an AR headset with hand controllers. As soon as a design feature is completed, the robotic arm prints the new feature.

 

 

 

The Legal Hazards of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Apps — from by Tam Harbert
Liability and intellectual property issues are just two areas developers need to know about

Excerpt:

As virtual- and augmented-reality technologies mature, legal questions are emerging that could trip up VR and AR developers. One of the first lawyers to explore these questions is Robyn Chatwood, of the international law firm Dentons. “VR and AR are areas where the law is just not keeping up with [technology] developments,” she says. IEEE Spectrum contributing editor Tam Harbert talked with Chatwood about the legal challenges.

 

 

Why VR has a bright future in the elearning world — elearninglearning.com by Origin Learning

Excerpt:

The Benefits of Using Virtual Reality in eLearning

  • It offers a visual approach – According to numerous studies, people retain what they have read better when they are able to see it or experience it somehow. VR in eLearning makes this possible and creates a completely new visual experience to improve learners’ retention capacity and their understanding of the material.
  • It lowers the risk factor – VR in eLearning can simulate dangerous and risky situations in an environment that is controllable, so that it removes the risk factor usually associated with such situations. This lets learners alleviate their fear of making a mistake.
  • It facilitates complex data – Like the visual approach, when learners can really experience complex situations, they are more likely to handle them with ease. VR simplifies the complexity of those situations, allowing learners to actually experience everything themselves, rather than just reading about it.
  • It offers remote access – VR in eLearning doesn’t require an actual classroom so that learning can be conducted remotely, which can help you save a lot of time and money that would normally have to be spent on planning a complete learning program.
  • It provides real-life scenarios – As mentioned, one of the greatest things about VR in the context of eLearning is that it allows learners to really immerse themselves in various virtual scenarios. For instance, if the learning program involves some real situation that a certain business has faced before, an employee will be able to handle such a situation more efficiently after experiencing it virtually.
  • It is fun and innovative – People love to try out new things. VR offers a completely innovative and interactive approach to learning and makes learning become an entertaining, rather than an everyday dull process.

 

5 reasons to use augmented reality in education — from kitaboo.com

Excerpt:

[AR] is making it possible to add a layer of enhanced reality to a context-sensitive virtual world. This gives educators and trainers numerous possibilities to enhance the learning experience, making it lively, significant and circumstantial to the learner.

According to the investment company, Goldman Sachs, Augmented Reality “has the potential to become a standard tool in education and could revolutionize the way in which students are taught, for both the K-12 segment and higher education.” The company further projects that by 2025, there would be 15 million users of educational AR worldwide, representing a $700 million market.

Let’s have a look at 5 main reasons to use Augmented Reality in education.

 

 

 

The Difference Between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality And Mixed Reality — from forbes.com

 

 

 

 

 

In Move Towards More Online Degrees, Coursera Introduces Its First Bachelor’s — from edsurger.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

These days, though, many MOOC platforms are courting the traditional higher-ed market they once rebuked, often by hosting fully-online masters degrees for colleges and universities. And today, one of the largest MOOC providers, Coursera, announced it’s going one step further in that direction, with its first fully online bachelor’s degree.

“We are realizing that the vast reach of MOOCs makes them a powerful gateway to degrees,” Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said in a statement.

The new degree will be a bachelor of science in computer science from the University of London. The entire program will cost between £9,600 and £17,000 (approximately $13,300 to $23,500), depending on a student’s geographic location. According to a spokesperson for Coursera, the program’s “cost is adjusted based on whether a student is in a developed or developing economy.”

 

 

From DSC:
At least a couple of questions come to mind here:

  • What might the future hold if the U.S. Department of Education / the Federal Government begins funding these types of alternatives to traditional higher education?
  • Will Coursera be successful here and begin adding more degrees? If so, a major game-changer could be on our doorsteps.

 

 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the article entitled, “Scientists Are Turning Alexa into an Automated Lab Helper,” I began to wonder…might Alexa be a tool to periodically schedule & provide practice tests & distributed practice on content? In the future, will there be “learning bots” that a learner can employ to do such self-testing and/or distributed practice?

 

 

From page 45 of the PDF available here:

 

Might Alexa be a tool to periodically schedule/provide practice tests & distributed practice on content?

 

 

 

Scientists Are Turning Alexa into an Automated Lab Helper — from technologyreview.com by Jamie Condliffe
Amazon’s voice-activated assistant follows a rich tradition of researchers using consumer tech in unintended ways to further their work.

Excerpt:

Alexa, what’s the next step in my titration?

Probably not the first question you ask your smart assistant in the morning, but potentially the kind of query that scientists may soon be leveling at Amazon’s AI helper. Chemical & Engineering News reports that software developer James Rhodes—whose wife, DeLacy Rhodes, is a microbiologist—has created a skill for Alexa called Helix that lends a helping hand around the laboratory.

It makes sense. While most people might ask Alexa to check the news headlines, play music, or set a timer because our hands are a mess from cooking, scientists could look up melting points, pose simple calculations, or ask for an experimental procedure to be read aloud while their hands are gloved and in use.

For now, Helix is still a proof-of-concept. But you can sign up to try an early working version, and Rhodes has plans to extend its abilities…

 

Also see:

Helix

 

 

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