The Ivory Tower Can’t Keep Ignoring Tech — from nytimes.com by Cathy O’Neil

Excerpt:

We need academia to step up to fill in the gaps in our collective understanding about the new role of technology in shaping our lives. We need robust research on hiring algorithms that seem to filter out people with mental health disorders, sentencing algorithms that fail twice as often for black defendants as for white defendants, statistically flawed public teacher assessments or oppressive scheduling algorithms. And we need research to ensure that the same mistakes aren’t made again and again. It’s absolutely within the abilities of academic research to study such examples and to push against the most obvious statistical, ethical or constitutional failures and dedicate serious intellectual energy to finding solutions. And whereas professional technologists working at private companies are not in a position to critique their own work, academics theoretically enjoy much more freedom of inquiry.

 

 

There is essentially no distinct field of academic study that takes seriously the responsibility of understanding and critiquing the role of technology — and specifically, the algorithms that are responsible for so many decisions — in our lives.

 

 

There’s one solution for the short term. We urgently need an academic institute focused on algorithmic accountability. First, it should provide a comprehensive ethical training for future engineers and data scientists at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with case studies taken from real-world algorithms that are choosing the winners from the losers. Lecturers from humanities, social sciences and philosophy departments should weigh in.

 

 

 

Somewhat related:

 

 

 

As Corporate World Moves Toward Curated ‘Microlearning,’ Higher Ed Must Adapt — from edsurge.com by Sean Gallagher

Excerpt:

Just outside the walls of the ivory tower, a transformation is underway in the world of corporate learning, and those of us at colleges and universities should pay attention.

Corporate learning and development, often referred to as L&D, is radically different than just a few years ago. Meanwhile, the education dialogue has shifted to a focus on employment-related themes such as competencies and skills.

“Businesses today have to be more agile and have to be able to pivot—access to content needs to be very rapid,” says Lori Bradley, executive vice president for global talent management at PVH Corp, a publicly- traded fashion and apparel company with 35,000 employees. “Priorities and jobs are changing more quickly, so we need an agile learning environment that anticipates what learning needs will be, and where we can quickly access them.”

The typical employee has one percent of their time available for learning, according to research by Bersin by Deloitte.

When there’s a need for information or new skills, employees today are increasingly turning to instantly accessible sources such as search engines and online course libraries available on their mobile devices. “Before, our only options were to send people to a training, sit in a course, and learn the material–whether from a university or a week-long certification,” says Shelly Holt, vice president of global learning for SAP, a leading enterprise-software company. “Information today is pushed so quickly at people that the landscape has fundamentally changed.”

 

 

We need to think more in terms of providing streams of content -- Daniel Christian

 

 

In a world where content is more commoditized, today’s corporate L&D market is increasingly driven by the curation of external content and learning—rather than investment in formal training programs and traditional course libraries. As Lori Bradley, of PVH, describes, “for our people moving at the speed of business, they need to access the content when they need it. We’re moving toward microlearning — 90 minute or shorter sessions.”

 

 

Second, in this changing landscape, colleges and universities that seek to meet corporate needs must move beyond monolithic programs and think in terms of competencies, unbundling curriculum, modularizing and “microlearning.”

 

 

 

Artificial Intelligence in Education: Where It’s At, Where It’s Headed — from gettingsmart.com by Cameron Paterson

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence is predicted to fundamentally alter the nature of society by 2040. Investment in AI start-ups was estimated at $6-$9 billion in 2016, up from US$415 million four years earlier. While futurist Ray Kurzweil argues that AI will help us to address the grand challenges facing humanity, Elon Musk warns us that artificial intelligence will be our “biggest existential threat.” Others argue that artificial intelligence is the future of growth. Everything depends on how we manage the transition to this AI-era.

In 2016 the Obama administration released a national strategic plan for artificial intelligence and, while we do not all suddenly now need a plan for artificial intelligence, we do need to stay up to date on how AI is being implemented. Much of AI’s potential is yet to be realized, but AI is already running our lives, from Siri to Netflix recommendations to automated air traffic control. We all need to become more aware of how we are algorithmically shaped by our tools.

This Australian discussion paper on the implications of AI, automation and 21st-century skills, shows how AI will not just affect blue-collar truck drivers and cleaners, it will also affect white-collar lawyers and doctors. Automated pharmacy systems with robots dispensing medication exist, Domino’s pizza delivery by drone has already occurred, and a fully automated farm is opening in Japan.

 

Education reformers need to plan for our AI-driven future and its implications for education, both in schools and beyond. The never-ending debate about the sorts of skills needed in the future and the role of schools in teaching and assessing them is becoming a whole lot more urgent and intense.

 

 

 

AI Experts Want to End ‘Black Box’ Algorithms in Government — from wired.com by Tom Simonite

Excerpt:

The right to due process was inscribed into the US constitution with a pen. A new report from leading researchers in artificial intelligence cautions it is now being undermined by computer code.

Public agencies responsible for areas such as criminal justice, health, and welfare increasingly use scoring systems and software to steer or make decisions on life-changing events like granting bail, sentencing, enforcement, and prioritizing services. The report from AI Now, a research institute at NYU that studies the social implications of artificial intelligence, says too many of those systems are opaque to the citizens they hold power over.

The AI Now report calls for agencies to refrain from what it calls “black box” systems opaque to outside scrutiny. Kate Crawford, a researcher at Microsoft and cofounder of AI Now, says citizens should be able to know how systems making decisions about them operate and have been tested or validated. Such systems are expected to get more complex as technologies such as machine learning used by tech companies become more widely available.

“We should have equivalent due-process protections for algorithmic decisions as for human decisions,” Crawford says. She says it can be possible to disclose information about systems and their performance without disclosing their code, which is sometimes protected intellectual property.

 

 

UAE appoints first-ever Minister for Artificial Intelligence — from tribune.com.pk

 

“We announce the appointment of a minister for artificial intelligence. The next global wave is artificial intelligence and we want the UAE to be more prepared for it.”

 

 

Tech Giants Are Paying Huge Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent — from nytimes.com by Cade Metz
Nearly all big tech companies have an artificial intelligence project, and they are willing to pay experts millions of dollars to help get it done.

Excerpt:

Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, banking on things ranging from face-scanning smartphones and conversational coffee-table gadgets to computerized health care and autonomous vehicles. As they chase this future, they are doling out salaries that are startling even in an industry that has never been shy about lavishing a fortune on its top talent.

Typical A.I. specialists, including both Ph.D.s fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock, according to nine people who work for major tech companies or have entertained job offers from them. All of them requested anonymity because they did not want to damage their professional prospects.

With so few A.I. specialists available, big tech companies are also hiring the best and brightest of academia. In the process, they are limiting the number of professors who can teach the technology.

 

 

 

Where will AI play? By Mike Quindazzi.

 

 

 

 

Online Guide Helps Students Learn How to Create Immersive Media — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

Now the two organizations have produced a free online guide that covers tools and resources to help students undertake 360-degree production. Among the topics: how to identify the “big ideas” worth exploring and personalize them; how to do 360-degree recording and handle pre-production, production and post-production; and how to share the film “with the world” and assess its impact. There’s also an educator resource on integrating video production into the curriculum.

 

free online guide for creating 360-degree recordings

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

Freelancers predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing, annual “Freelancing in America” study finds — from globenewswire.com, by Upwork and Freelancers Union
Freelance workforce growth is accelerating and has outpaced overall U.S. workforce growth by 3x since 2014
Work is changing rapidly, FIA finds, due to the impacts of automation, and freelancers are better equipped for the future due to more frequent reskilling

Excerpt:

NEW YORK and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 17, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Upwork and Freelancers Union today released the results of “Freelancing in America: 2017” (FIA), the most comprehensive measure of the U.S. independent workforce. The fourth annual study estimates that 57.3 million Americans are freelancing (36 percent of the U.S. workforce) and contribute approximately $1.4 trillion annually to the economy, an increase of almost 30% since last year. Full study results are available here.

 

Click this image to access a variety of sizes of this image

 

Most notable findings reveal:

  • Freelancers are better prepared for the future – As work changes, 54 percent of the U.S. workforce said they’re not very confident that work they do will exist in 20 years. Reskilling is therefore critical. 55 percent of freelancers participated in skill-related education in the last six months versus only 30 percent of non-freelancers.
  • The majority of the U.S. workforce will soon freelance – At its current growth rate, we will reach this milestone by 2027.
  • People are increasingly freelancing by choice – Asked whether they started freelancing more by choice or necessity, 63 percent of freelancers said by choice — up 10 points (from 53 percent) since 2014.
  • Stability is being redefined – Freelancers increasingly think that having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than one employer (63 percent agree, up 10 points since 2016) and have an average of 4.5 clients per month.
  • While finances are a challenge for all, freelancers experience a unique concern — income predictability. The study found that, with the ebbs and flows of freelancing, full-time freelancers dip into savings more often (63 percent at least once per month versus 20 percent of full-time non-freelancers).

 

 



Also see the study at:



 

 

From DSC:
Seriously folks, what does this mean for our curriculum?

 

 

 

 

A new report from Silicon Schools: All that we've learned: 5 years working on personalized learning -- Cover of report

 

A new report from Silicon Schools: All that we've learned: 5 years working on personalized learning

 

 

 

“Personalized learning seeks to accelerate student learning by tailoring the instructional environment — what, when, how, and where students learn — to address the individual needs, skills, and interests of each student. Students can take ownership of their own learning, while also developing deep, personal connections with each other, their teachers, and other adults.”

 

 

 

A new report from Silicon Schools: All that we've learned: 5 years working on personalized learning

 

WE’VE ALWAYS HAD FOUR STRONG BELIEFS:

  1. Students’ ownership of their learning is critical to long-term success.
  2. When it comes to learning, students should get more of what they need exactly when they need it.
  3. Ensuring equity requires getting each student what he or she needs to succeed.
  4. It is possible to redesign schools to work much better for students and teachers.

 

 

 

 

We do not believe that there is yet definitive proof that personalized learning works better than other models. Ultimately, we hope that personalized learning will improve life outcomes for students, with clear evidence to support its efficacy. In the interim, we look to traditional academic measures (e.g. state assessments or assessments like NWEA MAP), to provide early signs of the efficacy of personalized learning.

Despite the lack of conclusive proof, there are two important data sets that we find compelling. First, RAND conducted a study of 11,000 students and 62 personalized learning schools nationally and found that “students made significant gains in mathematics and reading overall, and in elementary and middle schools [1].” More recently, RAND published the third of its studies of personalized learning. It again found statistically significant gains in math, however, the effect size had decreased notably [2].

 

Technology Moves to the Head of the 21st Century Classroom — from technologyreview.com

 

Tomorrow’s jobs will demand collaborative workers steeped in hands-on problem solving. To that end, digital learning is leveling the playing field for far-flung disadvantaged students who previously would have had no chance to be part of this new workforce, as well as boosting the skills of students and workers closer to home. Cloud, virtualization, and software-defined networking—along with consumer electronic devices—are among the many advanced technologies enabling this development.

 

Excerpt:

The potent combination of globalization and digital transformation is upending the requirements for tomorrow’s workforce, underscoring the need for programs like the VMware-powered curriculum at the LEAP school. Such digital learning initiatives shift emphasis away from rote book- and lecture-style teaching to interactive experiences focused on collaboration, personalized content, and hands-on problem solving. The ability to leverage core IT infrastructure such as virtualized servers, networking, and storage, in concert with mobile technology, enables students in remote communities from Diepsloot to rural America to participate in digital learning experiences to which they previously had no access.

New learning prototypes are critical as the accelerated pace of change disrupts traditional business models and creates new 21st century jobs that demand different skill sets. According to a World Economic report, 35 percent of core workplace skills will change between 2015 and 2020, with complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration in high demand. At the same time, the report found that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t currently exist, underscoring the need for new skills training using hands-on and exploratory learning techniques.

 

 

 

 

Summer 2017 Human++ — fromcambridge.nuvustudio.com
Human-Machine Intelligence, Hacking Drones, Bio Fashion, Augmented Video Games, Aerial Filmmaking, Smart Tools, Soft Robotics and more!

Excerpt:

NuVu is a place where young students grow their spirit of innovation. They use their curiosity and creativity to explore new ideas, and make their concepts come to life through our design process. Our model is based on the architecture studio model, and every Summer we use imaginative themes to frame two-week long Studios in which students dive into hands-on design, engineering, science, technology, art and more!

 

 

ISNS students embrace learning in a world of virtual reality — from by

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

To give students the skills needed to thrive in an ever more tech-centred world, the International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (ISNS) is one of the world’s first educational facilities now making instruction in virtual reality (VR) and related tools a key part of the curriculum.

Building on a successful pilot programme last summer in Virtual Reality, 3D art and animation, the intention is to let students in various age groups experiment with the latest emerging technologies, while at the same time unleashing their creativity, curiosity and passion for learning.

To this end, the school has set up a special VR innovation lab, conceived as a space for exploration, design and interdisciplinary collaboration involving a number of different subject teachers.

Using relevant software and materials, students learn to create high-quality digital content and to design “experiences” for VR platforms. In this “VR Lab makerspace” – a place offering the necessary tools, resources and support – they get to apply concepts and theories learned in the classroom, develop practical skills, document their progress, and share what they have learned with classmates and other members of the tech education community. 

 

 

As a next logical step, she is also looking to develop contacts with a number of the commercial makerspaces which have sprung up in Shenzhen. The hope is that students will then be able to meet engineers working on cutting-edge innovations and understand the latest developments in software, manufacturing, and areas such as laser cutting, and 3D printing, and rapid prototyping.  

 

 

 

The freelance economy: Top trends to watch in 2017 — from blog.linkedin.com

Excerpt:

Freelancers now account for nearly 35% of the U.S. workforce and the trend is only picking up speed with more professionals opting to create their own jobs in lieu of more traditional full-time employment.

As we head into the new year, we want to shed a bit more light on this burgeoning sector of the workforce. What kind of location, industry and demographic trends are surfacing among the freelance professionals of 2016? You might not know, for example, that a whopping 40% of our freelancers are concentrated in just four states: California, Texas, Florida and New York. Or that more senior men are most likely to take the leap into freelancing.

The time is ripe to be a freelancer in America so we’re revealing insider insights like these to help you learn more about this trending profession. Check out the report below – gleaned from a survey of more than 9,500 of our ProFinder professionals – to see what we discovered.

 

From DSC:
Besides the workforce moving towards the increased use of freelancers, the pace of change has moved from being more linear in nature to more of an exponential trajectory.

 

 

 

Some important questions, therefore, to ask are: 

  • Are our students ready to enter this type of workplace? 
  • Can they pivot quickly?
  • Do they know how to learn and are they ready to be lifelong learners? (Do they like learning enough to continue to pursue it? Peoples’ overall quality of life would be much higher if they enjoyed learning, rather than be forced to do so in order to keep the bread and butter on their tables.)
  • Are they able to communicate in a variety of ways?
  • How are their customer service skills coming along?
  • How are their problem-solving skills coming along?
  • Do they know how to maintain their businesses’ books and do their taxes?
  • Are they digitally literate and do they have an appreciation for the pluses and minuses of technology?

I sure hope so…but I have my serious doubts. That said, many institutions/organizations representing K-12 and higher education are not doing a great job of innovating either. Though there certainly exists some strong pockets of innovation in some of our institutions out there — and the ability to pivot — taken as a whole, our institutions and organizations haven’t been as responsive, nimble, and innovative as our students need them to be.

After all, we are trying to prepare students for their futures (with the externality effect being that we, too, will also be better prepared for that future).

 

 

 

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