So while we may be a few years from plugging into the Matrix, what is becoming clear is that to survive and thrive in the coming decades, colleges and universities will need to focus on creating an online experience as compelling as their on-campus experience.

Ryan Lufkin

 

Will Learning Move into the Metaverse? — from learningsolutionsmag.com by Pamela Hogle

Excerpt:

In its 2022 Tech Trends report, the Future Today Institute predicts that, “The future of work will become more digitally immersive as companies deploy virtual meeting platforms, digital experiences, and mixed reality worlds.”

Learning leaders are likely to spearhead the integration of their organizations’ workers into a metaverse, whether by providing training in using the tools that make a metaverse possible or through developing training and performance support resources that learners will use in an immersive environment.

Advantages of moving some workplace collaboration and learning into a metaverse include ease of scaling and globalization. The Tech Trends report mentions personalization at scale and easy multilingual translation as advantages of “synthetic media”—algorithmically generated digital content, which could proliferate in metaverses.

Also see:

Future Institute Today -- Tech Trends 2022


Also from learningsolutionsmag.com, see:

Manage Diverse Learning Ecosystems with Federated Governance

Excerpt:

So, over time, the L&D departments eventually go back to calling their own shots.

What does this mean for the learning ecosystem? If each L&D team chooses its own learning platforms, maintenance and support will be a nightmare. Each L&D department may be happy with the autonomy but learners have no patience for navigating multiple LMSs or going to several systems to get their training records.

Creating common infrastructure among dispersed groups
Here you have the problem: How can groups that have no accountability to each other share a common infrastructure?

 

Opportunities for Education in the Metaverse -- from downes.ca by Stephen Downes

Opportunities for Education in the Metaverse — from downes.ca by Stephen Downes

Excerpt:

This short presentation introduces major elements of the metaverse, outlines some applications for education, discusses how it may be combined with other technologies for advanced applications, and outlines some issues and concerns.

Also relevant/see:

What Should Higher Ed in the Metaverse Look like? – from linkedin.com by Joe Schaefer

Excerpt:

The Metaverse is coming whether we like it or not, and it is time for educators to think critically about how it can benefit students. As higher education continues to evolve, I believe every learning product and platform working with or within the Metaverse should, at least, have these functionalities:


Addendum on 5/23/22:


 

Technology for HyFlex Classrooms: Major Considerations — from hyflexlearning.org by Brian Beatty

Excerpts:

This post describes four aspects of classroom technology that are very important to address when developing a HyFlex approach that can be effective at scale.

The classroom technology needs can be organized into four areas:

  1. two-way audio stream (connection),
  2. incoming video presentation of remote learners
  3. outgoing video presentation of classroom and learners
  4. interactive technology to support interaction, engagement, and formative assessment

Also re: hyflex teaching — where some students are physically present and some are coming into the class remotely– see:

Part I – Motivating Learners by Building Efficacy (Confidence) through Scaffolding and Support— from hyflexlearning.org by Jeanne Samuel

Excerpts:

HyFlex delivery may be new to many learners. Therefore, it is important to provide them with the supports they need to be successful. Regardless of the delivery mode, learners are motivated by success and by instructor presence. In part one of this topic post, we will write about how instructor support and feedback (a form of guidance) can motivate learners and build learner confidence.

PART II- Feedback for Improving Student Success and Satisfaction — from hyflexlearning.org by Jeanne Samuel

Excerpt:

In part 1 of this post, we focused on how feedback and support promote learner confidence. Learner confidence can lead to improved learner retention, progression, and success regardless of the class delivery mode. In part 2, we focus on feedback strategies.

 

The amazing opportunities of AI in the future of the educational metaverse [Darbinyan]

The amazing opportunities of AI in the future of the educational metaverse — from forbes.com by Rem Darbinyan

Excerpt:

Looking ahead, let’s go over several potential AI-backed applications of the metaverse that can empower the education industry in many ways.

Multilingual Learning Opportunities
Language differences may be a real challenge for students from different cultures as they may not be able to understand and keep up with the materials and assignments. Artificial intelligence, VR and AR technologies can enhance multilingual accessibility for learners no matter where they are in the world. Speech-to-text, text-to-speech and machine translation technologies enrich the learning process and create more immersive learning environments.

AI can process multiple languages simultaneously and provide real-time translations, enabling learners to engage with the materials in the language of their choice. With the ability to instantly transcribe speech across multiple languages, artificial intelligence removes any language barriers for students, enabling them to be potentially involved, learn and communicate in any language.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education Market size exceeded USD 1 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 40% between 2021 and 2027. (source)

Along the lines of innovation within our educational learning ecosystems, see:

3 Questions for Coursera’s Betty Vandenbosch & U-M’s Lauren Atkins Budde on XR — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kiim
How might extended reality shape the future of learning?

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

[Lauren Atkins Budde] “Being able to embed quality, effective extended reality experiences into online courses is exponentially a game-changer. One of the persistent constraints of online learning, especially at scale, is how do learners get hands-on practice? How do they experience specific contexts and situations? How do they learn things that are best experienced? XR provides that opportunity for actively doing different kinds of tasks, in various environments, in ways that would otherwise not be possible. It will open up  Lauren Atkins Buddeboth how we teach online and also what we teach online.”

These courses are really exciting and cover a broad range of disciplines, which is particularly important. To choose the right subjects, we did an extensive review of insights from industry partners, learners and market research on in-demand and emerging future-of-work skills and then paired that with content opportunities where immersive learning is really a value-add and creates what our learning experience designers call “embodied learning.”

Addendum on 5/1/22:
Can the Metaverse Improve Learning? New Research Finds Some Promise — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

“The findings support a deeper understanding of how creating unique educational experiences that feel real (i.e., create a high level of presence) through immersive technology can influence learning through different affective and cognitive processes including enjoyment and interest,” Mayer and his colleagues write.

 

From DSC:
There are many things that are not right here — especially historically speaking. But this is one WE who are currently living can work on resolving.

*******

The Cost of Connection — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan
The internet is a lifeline for students on far-flung tribal campuses. Too often, they’re priced out of learning.

Excerpt:

Affordable and reliable broadband access can be a lifeline for tribal colleges, usually located on or near Native American reservations, often in remote, rural areas across the Southwest and Midwest. Chartered by their respective tribal governments, the country’s 35 accredited tribal colleges operate in more than 75 campus sites across 16 states, serving more than 160,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives each year. They emphasize and help sustain the culture, languages, and traditions of their tribal communities and are often the only higher-education option available for Native students in some of the nation’s poorest rural regions.

Also relevant/see:

Tribal Colleges Will Continue Online, Despite Challenges — from chronicle.com by Taylor Swaak
Other institutions could learn from their calculus.

Excerpt:

Two years after tribal colleges shuttered alongside institutions nationwide, many remain largely, if not fully, online, catering to students who’ve historically faced barriers to attending in person. Adult learners — especially single mothers who may struggle to find child care, or those helping to support multigenerational households — make up the majority of students at more than half of the 32 federally recognized institutions in the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program. These colleges are also often located in low-income, rural areas, where hours of daily commute time (and the cost of gas) can prove untenable for students simultaneously working part- or full-time jobs.

Also relevant/see:

Why Tribal Colleges Struggle to Get Reliable Internet Service — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan and Jacquelyn Elias
For tribal colleges across the country, the pandemic magnified internet-access inequities. Often located on far-flung tribal lands, their campuses are overwhelmingly in areas with few broadband service providers, sometimes leaving them with slow speeds and spotty coverage.

“You can be driving from a nearby town, and as soon as you hit the reservation, the internet and cellphone signals drop off,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president of the American Indian College Fund and a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation. “Students would be in the middle of class and their Wi-Fi access dropped off.”

Worsening matters, many students have been limited by outdated equipment. “We had students who were trying to take classes on their flip phones,” Crazy Bull said. Such stories were cropping up throughout Indian territory.

 

We need to use more tools — that go beyond screen sharing — where we can collaborate regardless of where we’re at. [Christian]

From DSC:
Seeing the functionality in Freehand — it makes me once again think that we need to use more tools where faculty/staff/students can collaborate with each other REGARDLESS of where they’re coming in to partake in a learning experience (i.e., remotely or physically/locally). This is also true for trainers and employees, teachers and students, as well as in virtual tutoring types of situations. We need tools that offer functionalities that go beyond screen sharing in order to collaborate, design, present, discuss, and create things.  (more…)

 

The Digital versus Brick-and-Mortar Balancing Game — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

The blended campus required after two years of upheaval calls for out-of-the box thinking about what to keep and what to discard from both digital and physical work and learning spaces. Technology leaders face critical decisions regarding workplace culture, physical classroom design, and traditional campus spaces.

Making the move from fully in-person instruction to a learning environment that also accommodates remote students (and remote faculty) requires rethinking and redesigning physical learning spaces to provide an equitable experience for all learners. Technology leaders will need to overcome sizable obstacles to create inclusive classrooms that enable faculty and students to reap the many benefits of hybrid [hyflex] learning.

Also see some of the other most urgent issues in higher education here:

The EDUCAUSE showcase series spotlights the most urgent issues in higher education.

 

Zoom Announces New Education Features, Enhancing Hybrid [Hyflex] Learning Experience for Educators & Students — from edtechreview.in by Stephen Soulunii

Excerpt:

According to a news release, the features span Zoom’s Chat and Meeting offerings and are designed to support teachers who need to engage and manage students joining class remotely or submitting homework assignments.

Breakout Rooms Enhancements
Breakout rooms, a popular education feature, also received enhancements in this latest release. Program Audio allows meeting hosts to share content with audio to breakout rooms, adding the ability to share videos with audio. With the LTI Pro integration enhancement, educators can populate breakout rooms from the course roster. This can be used to assign breakout rooms in advance, and then automatically sort students into breakout rooms.

Anywhere Polls
Anywhere Polls will allow polling content to live in a central repository that can be accessed from any meeting on an account, instead of being associated with a particular meeting. This will make it easier for instructors to reuse polls and will also be beneficial for grading. This feature will be available this year.

 

Bridging the digital divide in online learning — from tonybates.ca by Tony Bates

Excerpt:

The problem
At the start of the pandemic, in Oakland, California, 40 miles north of Silicon Valley, only 12 percent of low-income students, and 25 percent of all students, in Oakland’s public schools had devices at home and a strong internet connection.

The outcome
Two years into the pandemic, Oakland has been able to connect 98 percent of the students in the district. As of February, the city had provided nearly 36,000 laptops and more than 11,500 hot spots to low-income public school students.

Also from Tony, see:

Getting into the online learning industry

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post called ‘So you want to be an educational technologist…’ in which gave some advice on how to get into and develop a career as an educational technologist. In that article, I noted that I didn’t have much experience to guide people going into the corporate training area, and this article by Matthew Lynch does exactly that. This article complements nicely what I wrote earlier.

 

Some Colleges Are Ending Hybrid Learning. Students Are Pushing Back. — from chronicle.com by Adrienne Lu
Daily Briefing: Is the End of Hybrid Learning Leaving Disabled and High-Risk Students Behind?

Excerpt:

Some students, though, want their colleges to make hybrid learning permanent. They argue that scaling up remote learning during the pandemic made higher education more accessible — not only for students with disabilities and the immunocompromised, but also commuter students, those balancing schoolwork with jobs, and students with caregiving responsibilities — and helped to protect vulnerable faculty members.

 

Global Pandemics is a cutting-edge, browser-based, digital learning experience—designed to enhance student understanding of the role of pandemics in world history.

Global Pandemics — from historyadventures.co with thanks to Andrea Boros for the resource

Excerpts:

Global Pandemics is “a cutting-edge, browser-based, digital learning experience—designed to enhance student understanding of the role of pandemics in world history. One year in the making, and involving a talented, interdisciplinary team from around the world—the new product features cutting-edge digital learning design, web animation, interaction design, and digital storytelling.”

This browser-based digital learning experience introduces multiple novel technologies, including:

  • 3D Motion Design to Recreate History
  • Advanced Web Animation to Simulate Pathogens
  • Immersive 360 Panoramas of Historical Locations
  • Animated Historical Timeline & Maps
  • Choice-based Narrative Design
  • Interactive Original Historical Documents
  • Media-Rich Adaptive Assessments

Also see:

 

Picturesof learning spaces at KU Leuven, Imperial College London, University of Amsterdam, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Clockwise from top left (KU Leuven, Imperial College London, University of Amsterdam,
Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland

.

A virtual tour of four advanced hybrid learning spaces — from zacwoolfitt.blogspot.com by Zac Woolfitt

Excerpt:

What are the next developments in the Hybrid Virtual Classroom? What kind of spaces might we be teaching in soon?

On March 16th we glimpsed the future. Colleagues from 4 higher education institutes gave virtual tours of their technology rich learning spaces in Belgium, England, Finland and the Netherlands. Media and Learning arranged the session [i]. (Disclosure: Zac is on their advisory panel of Media and Learning).

From DSC:
Here in the U.S., some would promote the use of the word “Hyflex” here instead of hybrid or blended learning — as it sounds like they are simultaneously teaching students in a physical classroom along with online-based learners.

 

One District’s Ongoing Hybrid Success — from by Erik Ofgang
Early in the pandemic, Kyle Berger, chief technology officer for Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District, installed cameras in every classroom for hybrid learning. Those cameras continue to be used in innovative ways.

Excerpt:

In the meantime, the cameras continue to be utilized in a variety of ways, including:

  • For students who are out of school with COVID or for other medical reasons to keep participating in class.
  • To allow a teacher to quickly record an explanation or lesson so students can access it later. “The way they’re mounted on the ceiling, the teachers started taking that to a different level because you could reach up to the webcam if you wanted to and you could turn it to point down, and now in a sense, it’s a document camera,” Berger says.
  • To help with the substitute teacher shortage. “We can bridge two classrooms together through our video solutions, and maybe just have an instructional aide in the second classroom,” Berger says.
  • To allow educators to engage in professional development by watching videos of their own lectures and lessons.

“It’s really allowed us a lot more flexibility to continue to navigate the ever-changing environment and education right now,” Berger says.

From DSC:
I’d probably use the word hyflex here instead of the word hybrid…but you get the point. I would also assert that for the following relevant article as well:

 

Revisiting Camera Use in Live Remote Teaching: Considerations for Learning and Equity — from er.educause.edu by Patricia Turner

Excerpts:

Given the need to balance equity concerns with effective teaching practices, the following suggestions might be helpful in articulating an approach to using cameras in live remote teaching sessions. This list is not exhaustive; these suggestions are offered as a starting point from which to begin thinking about this issue.


Given what we know from research about interaction, active learning, equity, and inclusion, one possible philosophy is this: if we believe that some students are not using a camera because of privacy issues, because they lack a quiet space in which to learn, or because of inequitable circumstances, we can let our students know that we are available if they need help and that, although we can’t solve all problems, we may be able to help students get the support and resources they need.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian