6 GREAT Makerspace Practices That You Need to See — from worlds-of-learning.com by Laura Fleming


One of the goals of my newest book, The Kickstart Guide to Making GREAT Makerspaces, was to highlight best practices in makerspaces around the world.  Since the book’s publication, I have continued to see many people creating not just makerspaces, but GREAT makerspaces.  I honestly could write another book based on all of the amazing things I am seeing happening, but wanted to share with you in this post, 6 that recently have stood out to me.






2018 TECH TRENDS REPORT — from the Future Today Institute
Emerging technology trends that will influence business, government, education, media and society in the coming year.


The Future Today Institute’s 11th annual Tech Trends Report identifies 235 tantalizing advancements in emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, biotech, autonomous robots, green energy and space travel—that will begin to enter the mainstream and fundamentally disrupt business, geopolitics and everyday life around the world. Our annual report has garnered more than six million cumulative views, and this edition is our largest to date.

Helping organizations see change early and calculate the impact of new trends is why we publish our annual Emerging Tech Trends Report, which focuses on mid- to late-stage emerging technologies that are on a growth trajectory.

In this edition of the FTI Tech Trends Report, we’ve included several new features and sections:

  • a list and map of the world’s smartest cities
  • a calendar of events that will shape technology this year
  • detailed near-future scenarios for several of the technologies
  • a new framework to help organizations decide when to take action on trends
  • an interactive table of contents, which will allow you to more easily navigate the report from the bookmarks bar in your PDF reader



01 How does this trend impact our industry and all of its parts?
02 How might global events — politics, climate change, economic shifts – impact this trend, and as a result, our organization?
03 What are the second, third, fourth, and fifth-order implications of this trend as it evolves, both in our organization and our industry?
04 What are the consequences if our organization fails to take action on this trend?
05 Does this trend signal emerging disruption to our traditional business practices and cherished beliefs?
06 Does this trend indicate a future disruption to the established roles and responsibilities within our organization? If so, how do we reverse-engineer that disruption and deal with it in the present day?
07 How are the organizations in adjacent spaces addressing this trend? What can we learn from their failures and best practices?
08 How will the wants, needs and expectations of our consumers/ constituents change as a result of this trend?
09 Where does this trend create potential new partners or collaborators for us?
10 How does this trend inspire us to think about the future of our organization?




4 Things Experts Want You to Know About Blockchain in Higher Ed — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
The electronic ledger software holds a lot of potential for university data.


At universities, blockchain is poised to help in aspects of data management, credentialing and research. From boosting security to enhancing access, the e-ledger tool has a lot of possibility.

Here are four ways experts think blockchain has a place in higher education:




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?




Personalized Learning Meets AI With Watson Classroom

Personalized Learning Meets AI With Watson Classroom — from gettingsmart.com by Erin Gohl

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Teaching is truly a Herculean challenge. Even the very best teachers can keep only so many of these insights in their heads and make only so many connections between expectations and circumstances. They can be aware of only a fraction of the research on best practices. They have only so much time to collaborate and communicate with the other adults in a particular student’s life to share information and insights. To be the best of themselves, teachers need to have access to a warehouse of information, a research assistant to mine best practices, note takers to gather and record information on each student, a statistician to gauge effective practices, and someone to collaborate with to distill the next best step with each student. In recent years, a plethora of vendors have developed software solutions that promise to simplify this process and give schools and teachers the answers to understand and address the individual needs of each student. One of the most promising, which I recently had a chance to learn about, is IBM’s Watson Classroom.

IBM is clear about what makes Watson different than existing solutions. First of all, it is a cognitive partner; not a solution. Secondly, it does not require proprietary or additional assessments, curriculum, or content. It uses whatever a district has in place. But it goes beyond the performance of tiering difficulty, pace, and reading level that is now standard fare for the solutions promising individualized, adaptive and personalized learning. Watson takes the stew of data from existing systems (including assessments, attendance records, available accommodations), adds the ability to infer meaning from written reports, and is able to connect the quality of the result to the approach that was taken. And then adjust the next recommendation based on what was learned. It is artificial intelligence (AI) brought to education that goes far beyond the adaptive learning technologies of today.

Watson Classroom is currently being piloted in 12 school districts across the country. In those classrooms, Watson Classroom is utilizing cutting-edge computing power to give teachers a full range of support to be the best versions of themselves. Watson is facilitating the kind of education the great teachers strive for every day–one where learning is truly personalized for each and every student. Bringing the power of big data to the interactions between students and teachers can help assure that every student reaches beyond our expectations to achieve their full potential.




Learn with Google AI: Making ML education available to everyone — from blog.google


To help everyone understand how AI can solve challenging problems, we’ve created a resource called Learn with Google AI. This site provides ways to learn about core ML concepts, develop and hone your ML skills, and apply ML to real-world problems. From deep learning experts looking for advanced tutorials and materials on TensorFlow, to “curious cats” who want to take their first steps with AI, anyone looking for educational content from ML experts at Google can find it here.

Learn with Google AI also features a new, free course called Machine Learning Crash Course (MLCC). The course provides exercises, interactive visualizations, and instructional videos that anyone can use to learn and practice ML concepts.



7 Ways Chatbots and AI are Disrupting HR — from chatbotsmagazine.com
Enterprises are embracing AI for automating human resources


Chatbots and AI have become household names and enterprises are taking notice. According to a recent Forrester survey, roughly “85% of customer interactions within an enterprise will be with software robots in five years’ time” and “87% of CEOs are looking to expand their AI workforce” using AI bots.

In an effort to drive increased labor efficiencies, reduce costs, and deliver better customer/employee experiences enterprises are quickly introducing AI, machine learning, and natural language understanding as core elements of their digital transformation strategy in 2018.

Human resources (HR) is one area ripe for intelligent automation within an enterprise. AI-powered bots for HR are able to streamline and personalize the HR process across seasonal, temporary, part-time, and full-time employees.

There are 7 ways in which enterprises can use HR bots to drive increased labors efficiencies, reduced costs, and better employee experiences:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Onboarding
  3. Company Policy FAQs
  4. Employee Training
  5. Common Questions
  6. Benefits Enrollment
  7. Annual Self-Assessment/Reviews


From DSC:
Again, this article paint a bit too rosy of a picture for me re: the use of AI and HR, especially in regards to recruiting employees.




Implementation of AI into eLearning. Interview with Christopher Pappas — from joomlalms.com by Darya Tarliuk


Every day we hear more and more about the impact that Artificial Intelligence gains in every sphere of our life. In order to discover how AI implementation is going to change the eLearning we decided to ask Christopher Pappas to share his views and find out what he thinks about it. Christopher is an experienced eLearning specialist and the Founder of the eLearning Industry’s Network.

How to get ready preparing course materials now, while considering the future impact of AI?
Christopher: Regardless of whether you plan to adopt an AI system as soon as they’re available to the mass market or you opt to hold off (and let others work out the glitches), infrastructure is key. You can prepare your course materials now by developing course catalogs, microlearning online training repositories, and personalized online training paths that fall into the AI framework. For example, the AI system can easily recommend existing resources based on a learners’ assessment scores or job duties. All of the building blocks are in place, allowing the system to focus on content delivery and data analysis.




Can You Trust Intelligent Virtual Assistants? — from nojitter.com by Gary Audin
From malicious hackers to accidental voice recordings, data processed through virtual assistants may open you to security and privacy risks.


Did you know that with such digital assistants your voice data is sent to the cloud or another remote location for processing? Is it safe to talk in front of your TV remote? Are you putting your business data at risk of being compromised by asking Alexa to start your meeting?





Thanks, Robots! Now These Four Non-Tech Job Skills Are In Demand — from fastcompany.com by Christian Madsbjerg
The more we rely on AI and machine learning, the more work we need social scientists and humanities experts to do.


Automation isn’t a simple struggle between people and technology, with the two sides competing for jobs. The more we rely on robots, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, the clearer it’s become just how much we need social scientists and humanities experts–not the reverse.

These four skills in particular are all unique to us humans, and will arguably rise in value in the coming years, as more and more companies realize they need the best of both worlds to unleash the potential from both humans and machines.






Robo retail: The automated store of the future is heading closer to our doorsteps. — from jwtintelligence.com’


The automated store of the future is heading closer to our doorsteps.

Self-checkout and online delivery services might soon be outmoded. Automated, cashier-less and mobile, doorstep-accessible shopping outlets are popping up globally—these offer not only a quick and seamless shopping experience, but also allow customers to handpick the items they are seeking.

Retail giant Amazon launched its Amazon Go store in Seattle in late January 2018. Amazon Go stocks everyday items, Whole Foods Market goods and Amazon-branded meal kits, but has no cashiers, no check-out lines and no barcode scanners. Shoppers enter by scanning an app, shop and leave—items purchased are automatically charged to their accounts. Dilip Kumar, vice president of technology for Amazon Go, suggests the concept is Amazon’s answer to solving “time poverty,” which he calls people’s “number one problem.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg. While Amazon Go currently only operates in Seattle, two other mobile concepts are hoping to reach a wider audience by physically bringing roving stores directly to the consumer. Robomart, based in the Bay Area, is a prototype tap-to-request grab-and-go food mart. Conventional grocery delivery services like those run by Amazon, FreshDirect or Instacart don’t let customers select products for themselves. If you’re particular about the ripeness of an avocado or conscious about bruises on tomatoes, being able to choose your own produce is essential. An autonomy-focused platform like Robomart puts consumers in the metaphorical driver’s seat, while still maintaining a high level of ease.




From DSC:
Speaking of cashiers, I had some comments regarding the future of cashiers towards the bottom of this posting here.  Another relevant posting is: “Tech companies should stop pretending AI won’t destroy jobs” + 6 other items re: AI, bots, algorithms, & more





Michelle Weise: ‘We Need to Design the Learning Ecosystem of the Future’ — from edsurge.com  by Michelle Weise


These days, education reformers, evangelists and foundations pay a lot of lip service to the notion of lifelong learning, but we do little to invest in the systems, architecture and infrastructure needed to facilitate seamless movements in and out of learning and work.

Talk of lifelong learning doesn’t translate into action. In fact, resources and funding are often geared toward the traditional 17- to 22-year-old college-going population and less often to working adults, our growing new-traditional student population.

We’ll need a different investment thesis: For most adults, taking time off work to attend classes at a local, brick-and-mortar community college or a four-year institution will not be the answer. The opportunity costs will be too high. Our current system of traditional higher education is ill-suited to facilitate flexible, seamless cost-effective learning pathways for these students to keep up with the emergent demands of the workforce.

Many adults may have no interest in coming back to college. Out of the 37 million Americans with some college and no degree, many have already failed one or twice before and will be wholly uninterested in experiencing more educational trauma.We can’t just say, “Here’s a MOOC, or here’s an online degree, or a 6- to 12-week immersive bootcamp.”


We have to do better. Let’s begin seeding the foundational elements of a learning ecosystem of the future—flexible enough for adults to move consistently in and out of learning and work. Enough talk about lifelong learning: Let’s build the foundations of that learning ecosystem of the future.



From DSC:
I couldn’t agree more with Michelle that we need a new learning ecosystem of the future. In fact, I have been calling such an effort “Learning from the Living [Class] Room — and it outlines a next generation learning platform that aims to deliver everything Michelle talks about in her solid article out at edsurge.com.

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


Along these lines…I just saw that Amazon is building out more cashierless stores (and Walmart is also at work on introducing more cashierless stores.) Now, let’s say that you are currently a cashier. 2-5 years from now (depending upon where you’re currently working and which stores are in your community), what are you going to do? The opportunities for such a position will be fewer and fewer. Who can help you do what Michelle mentioned here:

Working learners will also need help articulating their learning goals and envisioning a future for themselves. People don’t know how to translate their skills from one industry to another. How does a student begin to understand that 30% of what they already know could be channeled into a totally different and potentially promising pathway they never even knew was within reach?

And that cashier may have had a tough time with K-12 education and/or with higher education. As Michelle writes:

Many adults may have no interest in coming back to college. Out of the 37 million Americans with some college and no degree, many have already failed one or twice before and will be wholly uninterested in experiencing more educational trauma. We can’t just say, “Here’s a MOOC, or here’s an online degree, or a 6- to 12-week immersive bootcamp.”

And like the cashier in this example…we are quickly approaching an era where, I believe, many of us will need to reinvent ourselves in order to:

  • stay marketable
  • keep bread and butter on the table
  • continue to have a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives

Higher ed, if it wants to remain relevant, must pick up the pace of experimentation and increase the willingness to innovate, and to develop new business models — to develop new “learning channels” so to speak. Such channels need to be:

  • Up-to-date
  • Serving relevant data and information– especially regarding the job market and which jobs appear to be safe for the next 5-10 years
  • Inexpensive/affordable
  • Highly convenient




EdX Quietly Developing ‘MicroBachelors’ Program — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young


EdX, the nonprofit online-education group founded by MIT and Harvard, is quietly developing a “MicroBachelors” degree that is designed to break the undergraduate credential into Lego-like components.

In December, edX won a $700,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation to support the MicroBachelors effort with the organization’s university partners. Officials from edX declined to talk about the project, saying only that it is in the early stages. But at a higher-education innovation summit last month hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, listed the project as part of the group’s long-term vision that began with its MicroMasters program. And the organization has filed a trademark for the term “MicroBachelors” as well.


“Education in five to ten years will become modular, will become omnichannel, and will become lifelong,” Agarwal said at the meeting, later explaining that omnichannel meant offering courses either online or in person.


How would a MicroBachelors be different than, say, a two-year associate’s degree, which is arguably already half a bachelor’s degree? Sarma said that the idea behind both MicroMasters and MicroBachelors is that they are “about putting stuff that can be done online, online.” In other words, the big idea is offering a low-cost, low-risk way for students to start an undergraduate education even if they can’t get to a campus.




Also relevant/see:




Amazon’s Cashier-Less Seattle Grocery Opens To The Public — from npr.org by Scott Neuman


Amazon on Monday [opened] its automated grocery in Seattle to the public, replacing cashiers with a smartphone app and hundreds of small cameras that track purchases. For the past year, the 1,800-square foot mini-mart has been open to the company’s employees. There is no waiting in line for check out at Amazon Go, as the store is called — instead, its computerized system charges customers’ Amazon account as they exit the store.

Amazon has dubbed the technology “Just Walk Out” and, according to CNBC, “it uses computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion — many of the same advances being used to develop autonomous driving.”



Amazon’s automated grocery store [launched] Monday after a year of false starts — from cnbc.com by Deirdre Bosa

  • After nearly a year’s delay, Amazon Go is finally opening to the public on Monday morning.
  • It’s Amazon’s first automated grocery store that promises, “no lines, no checkouts, no registers” – and could be a game-changer for the grocery and retail industry
  • For now, Amazon is testing the concept on a limited basis and has no plans to implement the technology in Whole Foods.




Training today’s learners to be the hired guns of tomorrow — from gettingsmart.com by Michael Niehoff


Freelancer. Free Agent. Independent Contractor. Consultant. Hired Gun. Slice it anyway you like–this is the future of work.

This is the “Gig Economy.” The world where contract work is the new norm. Experts say this already represents 34% of the current American workforce and estimates are that this will increase to 40% – 50% by 2020.

As educators, how do we prepare today’s students for a future employment landscape that is vastly different from what we ourselves have known? Yes, it’s about skills – both technical and interpersonal. But it’s also really a new way of thinking about our operation in the working world.

Our students will need to continually learn about and apply current developments in technology, global collaboration, market opportunities and emerging industries to win in this new economy. How do we give students both the mindset and the skillset to not only survive, but thrive in this 21st-century gig galaxy?

Let’s go beyond the norm and regardless of grade level, program or specific academic content area, help all learners be prepared for the future of work in the new economy. Educators and schools may consider implementing the following six concepts.



Keep That Cheese Moving
We are all creatures of habit. Students, and adult learners too, love to sit in the same space, work with the same people and ultimately follow patterns of daily work. The problem is that our addiction to habit and predictability (schedules, processes, expectation, etc.) runs counter to the nature of work in the future, which will require people to be much more flexible, adaptive and less attached to a norm. Our students will be working in environments that will be constantly disrupted and re-created. Learning to have one’s cheese moved is more important than ever and directly related to developing a startup mindset.




Also see:

Minerva: The Intentional University — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark


Problems to be Solved
Kosslyn and Nelson outline four problems that Minerva addresses:

  • Higher education is not fulfilling its promise: students are leaving unprepared for work and life;
  • Many college students are unengaged and half don’t graduate;
  • Global students don’t have access to first-rate colleges; and
  • College is too expensive.

The innovative Minerva design and the book detailing its startup phase address all of these problems. Stated positively, Kosslyn suggests that higher education should equip young people to succeed in life after college, both professionally and personally. That leads to four goals:

  1. Understanding leadership and working with others: most of the world’s problems are so complex they require people to work together, leveraging each other’s strengths.
  2. Understanding innovation: learn when and how to innovate.
  3. Thinking broadly and adaptively: acquiring broadly useful intellectual tools.
  4. Attaining a global perspective: experiencing different cultures and being comfortable working with people from different backgrounds.





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