From DSC:
There are now more than 12,000+ skills on Amazon’s new platform — Alexa.  I continue to wonder…what will this new platform mean/deliver to societies throughout the globe?


 

From this Alexa Skills Kit page:

What Is an Alexa Skill?
Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices including Amazon Echo. Alexa provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to create a more personalized experience. There are now more than 12,000 skills from companies like Starbucks, Uber, and Capital One as well as innovative designers and developers.

What Is the Alexa Skills Kit?
With the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), designers, developers, and brands can build engaging skills and reach millions of customers. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that makes it fast and easy for you to add skills to Alexa. With ASK, you can leverage Amazon’s knowledge and pioneering work in the field of voice design.

You can build and host most skills for free using Amazon Web Services (AWS).

 

 

 


 

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs [Meghan Bogardus Cortez at edtechmagazine.com]

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
These administrative all-stars, IT gurus, teachers and community experts understand how the latest technology is changing the nature of education.

Excerpt:

With summer break almost here, we’ve got an idea for how you can use some of your spare time. Take a look at the Dean’s List, our compilation of the must-read blogs that seek to make sense of higher education in today’s digital world.

Follow these education trailblazers for not-to-be-missed analyses of the trends, challenges and opportunities that technology can provide.

If you’d like to check out the Must-Read IT blogs from previous years, view our lists from 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

 

 



From DSC:
I would like to thank Tara Buck, Meghan Bogardus Cortez, D. Frank Smith, Meg Conlan, and Jimmy Daly and the rest of the staff at EdTech Magazine for their support of this Learning Ecosystems blog through the years — I really appreciate it. 

Thanks all for your encouragement through the years!



 

 

 

 

What to look for when hiring an entry-level data scientist? — from datasciencecentral.com

Excerpt:

What I look for the most is some signal that the junior data scientist:

  1. Has the drive and determination to be a self-directed learner
  2. They understand the fundamentals of “enough” programming,
  3. They understand how to analyze data when the goals and metrics are not explicit or time boxed.

Let’s put aside the need for some level of formal training, that is a non-negotiable baseline. You have to have enough understanding of mathematics and statistics to know when you are getting yourself into trouble, you have to understand data management practice enough to understand how to access data, and you have to understand enough about machine learning to make the appropriate series of tradeoffs in model development and validation. That is table stakes, however what makes one candidate stand out above the others is everything else surrounding these core concepts.

 

Also see:

Image from Ronald van Loon

 

 

 

 

Brace yourselves: AI is set to explode in higher ed in the next 4 years –from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
As AI grows in the education sector, its impact could be felt in student learning programs, websites and admissions programs

Excerpt:

A new report predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) in the U.S. education sector will grow 47.5 percent through 2021.

The report, Artificial Intelligence Market in the U.S. Education Sector 2017-2021, is based on in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts.

One of the major trends surrounding AI and education is AI-powered educational games. Because games have the potential to engage students while teaching them challenging education concepts in an engaging manner, vendors are incorporating AI features into games to enhance their interactivity.

Educational games that include adaptive learning features give students frequent and timely suggestions for a guided learning experience.

 

From DSC:
I can’t say how many AI-based solutions we’ll see within higher education in the next 4 years…it could be a lot…it could be a little. But it will happen. At some point, it will happen.

The use of AI will likely play a key role in a future organization that I’m calling the Next Amazon.com of Higher Education.  AI will likely serve as a foundational piece of what futurist Thomas Frey claims will be the largest company on the internet: “an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet.” (source)

Web-based learner profiles and blockchain-based technologies should also be on our radars, and are relevant in this discussion.

 

Also see:

Key questions answered in this report

  • What will the market size be in 2021 and what will the growth rate be?
  • What are the key market trends?
  • What is driving this market?
  • What are the challenges to market growth?
  • Who are the key vendors in this market space?
  • What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the key vendors?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the key vendors?

 

 

 

Q&A: Artificial Intelligence Expert Shares His Vision of the Future of Education — from edtechmagazine.com by Amy Burroughs
Artificial intelligence expert Joseph Qualls believes AI can solve some of the biggest challenges facing higher education — and the change is already underway.

Excerpts:

EDTECH: What AI applications might we see in higher education?

QUALLS: You are going to see a massive change in education from K–12 to the university. The thought of having large universities and large faculties teaching students is probably going to go away — not in the short-term, but in the long-term. You will have a student interact with an AI system that will understand him or her and provide an educational path for that particular student. Once you have a personalized education system, education will become much faster and more enriching. You may have a student who can do calculus in the sixth grade because AI realized he had a mathematical sense. That personalized education is going to change everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Home’s assistant can now recognize different voices — from cnbc.com

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s voice-activated assistant can now recognize who’s talking to it on Google’s Home speaker.

An update released Thursday enables Home’s built-in assistant to learn the different voices of up to six people, although they can’t all be talking to the internet-connected speaker at the same time.

Distinguishing voices will allow Home to be more personal in some of its responses, depending on who triggers the assistant with the phrase, “OK Google” or “Hey Google.”

For instance, once Home is trained to recognize a user named Joe, the assistant will automatically be able to tell him what traffic is like on his commute, list events on his daily calendar or even play his favorite songs. Then another user named Jane could get similar information from Home, but customized for her.

 

 

 

Five things to know about Facebook’s huge augmented reality fantasy — from gizmodo.com by Michael Nunez

Excerpt:

One example of how this might work is at a restaurant. Your friend will be able to leave an augmented reality sticky note on the menu, letting you know which menu item is the best or which one’s the worst when you hold your camera up to it.

Another example is if you’re at a celebration, like New Year’s Eve or a birthday party. Facebook could use an augmented reality filter to fill the scene with confetti or morph the bar into an aquarium or any other setting corresponding with the team’s mascot. The basic examples are similar to Snapchat’s geo-filters—but the more sophisticated uses because it will actually let you leave digital objects behind for your friends to discover. Very cool!

 

“We’re going to make the camera the first mainstream AR platform,” said Zuckerberg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Everything Facebook Announced at F8, From VR to Bots — from wired.com

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Facebook kicked off its annual F8 developer conference with a keynote address. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on his executive team made a bunch of announcements aimed at developers, but the implications for Facebook’s users was pretty clear. The apps that billions of us use daily—Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram—are going to be getting new camera tricks, new augmented reality capabilities, and more bots. So many bots!

 

Facebook’s bold and bizarre VR hangout app is now available for the Oculus Rift — from theverge.com by Nick Statt

Excerpt:

Facebook’s most fascinating virtual reality experiment, a VR hangout session where you can interact with friends as if you were sitting next to one another, is now ready for the public. The company is calling the product Facebook Spaces, and it’s being released today in beta form for the Oculus Rift.

 

 

 

From DSC:

Is this a piece of the future of distance education / online learning-based classrooms?

 

 

 

Facebook Launches Local ‘Developer Circles’ To Help Entrepreneurs Collaborate, Build Skills — from forbes.com by Kathleen  Chaykowski

Excerpt:

In 2014, Facebook launched its FbStart program, which has helped several thousand early stage apps build and grow their apps through a set of free tools and mentorship meetings. On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled a new program to reach a broader range of developers, as well as students interested in technology.

The program, called “Developer Circles,” is intended to bring developers in local communities together offline as well as online in Facebook groups to encourage the sharing of technical know-how, discuss ideas and build new projects. The program is also designed to serve students who may not yet be working on an app, but who are interested in building skills to work in computer science.

 

 

Facebook launches augmented reality Camera Effects developer platform — from techcrunch.com by Josh Constine

Excerpt:

Facebook will rely on an army of outside developers to contribute augmented reality image filters and interactive experiences to its new Camera Effects platform. After today’s Facebook F8 conference, the first effects will become available inside Facebook’s Camera feature on smartphones, but the Camera Effects platform is designed to eventually be compatible with future augmented reality hardware, such as eyeglasses.

While critics thought Facebook was just mindlessly copying Snapchat with its recent Stories and Camera features in Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg tells TechCrunch his company was just laying the groundwork for today’s Camera Effects platform launch.

 

 

Mark Zuckerberg Sees Augmented Reality Ecosystem in Facebook — from nytimes.com by Mike Isaac

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg introduced what he positioned as the first mainstream augmented reality platform, a way for people to view and digitally manipulate the physical world around them through the lens of their smartphone cameras.

 

 

Facebook Launches Social VR App ‘Facebook Spaces’ in Beta for Rift — from virtualrealitypulse.com by Ben Lang

 

 

 


Addendums on 4/20/17:


 

 

 

 
 

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

 


 

 

 

 

Samsung’s personal assistant Bixby will take on Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri — from theaustralian.com.au by Chris Griffith

Excerpt:

Samsung has published details of its Bixby personal assistant, which will debut on its Galaxy S8 smartphone in New York next week.

Bixby will go head-to-head with Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Echo and Apple Siri, in a battle to lure you into their artificial intelligence world.

In future, the personal assistant that you like may not only influence which phone you buy, also the home automation system that you adopt.

This is because these personal assistants cross over into home use, which is why Samsung would bother with one of its own.

Given that the S8 will run Android Nougat, which includes Google Assistant, users will have two personal assistants on their phone, unless somehow one is disabled.

 

 

There are a lot of red flags with Samsung’s AI assistant in the new Galaxy S8 — from businessinsider.com by Steve Kovach

Excerpt:

There’s Siri. And Alexa. And Google Assistant. And Cortana. Now add another one of those digital assistants to the mix: Bixby, the new helper that lives inside Samsung’s latest phone, the Galaxy S8. But out of all the assistants that have launched so far, Bixby is the most curious and the most limited.

Samsung’s goal with Bixby was to create an assistant that can mimic all the functions you’re used to performing by tapping on your screen through voice commands. The theory is that phones are too hard to manage, so simply letting users tell their phone what they want to happen will make things a lot easier.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8: Hands on with the world’s most ambitious phone — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

Excerpt:

The S8 will also feature Bixby, Samsung’s new intelligent assistant. The company says Bixby is a bigger deal than Siri or Google Assistant – as well as simply asking for the weather, it will be deeply integrated with the phone’s everyday functions such as taking photos and sending them to people. Samsung has put a dedicated Bixby button on the S8 on the left hand side, but I wasn’t able to try it out because it won’t launch in the UK until later this year.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 launch: Samsung reveals its long-awaited iPhone killer — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

 

 

 


Also see:


 

Recent years have brought some rapid development in the area of artificially intelligent personal assistants. Future iterations of the technology could fully revamp the way we interact with our devices.

 

 

 

21 bot experts make their predictions for 2017 — from venturebeat.com by Adelyn Zhou

Excerpt:

2016 was a huge year for bots, with major platforms like Facebook launching bots for Messenger, and Amazon and Google heavily pushing their digital assistants. Looking forward to 2017, we asked 21 bot experts, entrepreneurs, and executives to share their predictions for how bots will continue to evolve in the coming year.

From Jordi Torras, founder and CEO, Inbenta:
“Chatbots will get increasingly smarter, thanks to the adoption of sophisticated AI algorithms and machine learning. But also they will specialize more in specific tasks, like online purchases, customer support, or online advice. First attempts of chatbot interoperability will start to appear, with generalist chatbots, like Siri or Alexa, connecting to specialized enterprise chatbots to accomplish specific tasks. Functions traditionally performed by search engines will be increasingly performed by chatbots.”

 

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
For those of us working within higher education, chatbots need to be on our radars. Here are 2 slides from my NGLS 2017 presentation.

 

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems