VR Is the Fastest-Growing Skill for Online Freelancers — from bloomberg.com by Isabel Gottlieb
Workers who specialize in artificial intelligence also saw big jumps in demand for their expertise.

Excerpt:

Overall, tech-related skills accounted for nearly two-thirds of Upwork’s list of the 20 fastest-growing skills.

 


 

 


Also see:


How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy — from nytimes.com by Claire Miller and Jess Bidgood

Excerpt

MEDFORD, Mass. — Amory Kahan, 7, wanted to know when it would be snack time. Harvey Borisy, 5, complained about a scrape on his elbow. And Declan Lewis, 8, was wondering why the two-wheeled wooden robot he was programming to do the Hokey Pokey wasn’t working. He sighed, “Forward, backward, and it stops.”

Declan tried it again, and this time the robot shook back and forth on the gray rug. “It did it!” he cried. Amanda Sullivan, a camp coordinator and a postdoctoral researcher in early childhood technology, smiled. “They’ve been debugging their Hokey Pokeys,” she said.

The children, at a summer camp last month run by the Developmental Technologies Research Group at Tufts University, were learning typical kid skills: building with blocks, taking turns, persevering through frustration. They were also, researchers say, learning the skills necessary to succeed in an automated economy.

Technological advances have rendered an increasing number of jobs obsolete in the last decade, and researchers say parts of most jobs will eventually be automated. What the labor market will look like when today’s young children are old enough to work is perhaps harder to predict than at any time in recent history. Jobs are likely to be very different, but we don’t know which will still exist, which will be done by machines and which new ones will be created.

 

 

 

Radically open: Tom Friedman on jobs, learning, and the future of work — from dupress.delotte.com by Tom Friedman, Cathy Engelbert, and John Hagel

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Tom Friedman: My thoughts on the future of work are very influenced by my friend, a business strategist, Heather McGowan. She really describes that what’s going on is that work is being disconnected from jobs, and jobs and work are being disconnected from companies, which are increasingly becoming platforms. That’s Heather’s argument, and that is what I definitely see.

[A good] example is what’s happened to the cab business. In Bethesda, we have a [local] cab company that owns cars and has employees who have a job; they drive those cars. They’re competing now with Uber, which owns no cars, has no employees, and just provides a platform of work that brings together ride-needers—myself—and ride-providers. And I do think that the Uber platform model, and the way it is turning a job into work and monetizing work, is the future of work.

And that will have a huge impact on the future of learning. Because if work is being extracted from jobs, and if jobs and work are being extracted from companies—and because, as you and I have both written, we’re now in a world of flows — then learning has to become lifelong. We have to provide both the learning tools and the learning resources for lifelong learning when your job becomes work and your company becomes a platform.

So I’m not sure what the work of the future is, but I know that the future of companies is to be hiring people and constantly training people to be prepared for a job that has not been invented yet. If you, as a company, are not providing both the resources and the opportunity for lifelong learning, [you’re sunk], because you simply cannot be a lifelong employee anymore unless you are a lifelong learner. If you’re training people for a job that’s already been invented, or if you’re going to school in preparation for a job that’s already been invented, I would suggest that you’re going to have problems somewhere down the road.


CE: In a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, some leading labor economists did an analysis of net new employment in the United States between 2005 and 2015, and found that about 94 percent of that net new employment was from alternative work arrangements—everything from gig to freelance and off-balance-sheet kinds of work.

I think that’s why we need to teach filtering, literally, to our students. There should be Filtering 101, Filtering 102, Filtering 103. How do I filter information so I get enough of it to advance, but not so much that I’m overwhelmed? How do I filter news?

 

 

…it seems to me that rule number one is you want to be radically open. And that’s a really hard sell right now, because it feels so counterintuitive, and everyone’s putting up walls right when you want to be, actually, radically open. Why do you want to be radically open? Because you’ll get more flows; you’ll get the signals first, and you will attract more flow-minded people, which I would call high-IQ risk-takers. That’s from a country point of view, but I have to believe that’s also right from a company point of view: that you want to be plugged into as many discussions, as many places, and as many flow generators as possible, because you’ll simply get the signals first in order to understand where the work of the future is coming from.

 

 

[GE] offered $20,000 in prize money — 7,000 to the winner, and the rest split up among the other finalists. Well, within six weeks, they got over 600 responses. The 10 finalists were all tested by GE engineers, and they picked the winner. None of the 10 finalists was an American, and none was an aeronautical engineer, and the winner was a 21-year-old from Indonesia who was not an aeronautical engineer, and he took more than 80 percent of the weight out of this fastener.

No, let’s actually create jump balls and access all the talent wherever it is.

 

 

And what did the best artisans do? They brought so much personal value-add, so much unique extra, to what they did that they carved their initials into their work at the end of the day. So always do your job [in a way that] you bring so much empathy to it, so much unique, personal value-add, that it cannot be automated, digitized, or outsourced, and that you want to carve your initials into it at the end of the day.

 

 



From DSC:
If what Tom, Cathy, and John discuss here is true, think of what that means for our students. Our students need to be digitally literate, online, adaptable, lifelong learners, and they need to be highly comfortable with change. They need to be tapped into the “flows” that the authors describe (what they refer to as flows, I call “streams of content” — if I’m understanding their perspective correctly). They need to think entrepreneurially, as Friedman asserts.

Also, they discuss three new social contracts that need to evolve:

There are three new social contracts that have to evolve here. Government has to incentivize companies to create these lifelong learning opportunities. Companies have to create the platforms for employees to afford to be able to take these courses. And the employee has to have a new social contract with themselves: “I have to do this on my own time; I have to be more self-motivated.” More is on you.

…and thus enters my vision that I call Learning from the Living [Class] Room. A global, powerful, next generation learning platform — meant to help people reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, conveniently, & consistently.

 

 

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

 

 

But there is no more important survival skill than learning to love learning.

 

 

…because you simply cannot be a lifelong employee anymore unless you are a lifelong learner.

 

 

Always think of yourself as if you need to be reengineered, retooled, relearned, retaught constantly. Never think of yourself as “finished”; otherwise you really will be finished.

 

 



 

 

 

Getting students ready for the gig economy — from gettingsmart.com by Emily Liebtag

Excerpt:

1) Finding a Passion and Making an Impact
Exploring passions, interests and causes that matter should be a part of every student’s education. Projects or several short-term gigs are a great way to help students reveal (or discover) their personal passions and to facilitate their interest explorations (all while still covering core content and standards). There are many students who already have opportunities to explore their passions during the regular school day through projects and are thriving as a result.

We’ve seen students at High Tech High create business plans and sell self-designed t-shirts, students at Thrive Public Schools engage in projects around kindness and empathy in their communities, and students at One Stone work with clients on advertising and marketing gigs, exploring their passions one project at a time.

Need ideas? Engage students in projects around the Sustainable Development Goals, snag an idea from the the PBL Q & A blog or simply ask students what they are curious about exploring in their community.

 

 

Everyday Life in the Future — from hpmegatrends.com by Andrew Bolwell

 

Technology will play an increasingly vital role in our lives as we move into the future. Four major Megatrends — Rapid Urbanization, Changing Demographics, Hyper Globalization, and Accelerated Innovation — will have a sustained and transformative impact on businesses, societies, economies, cultures, and our personal lives.

 

 

 
 

A smorgasboard of ideas to put on your organization’s radar! [Christian]

From DSC:
At the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference, held recently in San Diego, CA, I moderated a panel discussion re: AR, VR, and MR.  I started off our panel discussion with some introductory ideas and remarks — meant to make sure that numerous ideas were on the radars at attendees’ organizations. Then Vinay and Carrie did a super job of addressing several topics and questions (Mary was unable to make it that day, as she got stuck in the UK due to transportation-related issues).

That said, I didn’t get a chance to finish the second part of the presentation which I’ve listed below in both 4:3 and 16:9 formats.  So I made a recording of these ideas, and I’m relaying it to you in the hopes that it can help you and your organization.

 


Presentations/recordings:


 

Audio/video recording (187 MB MP4 file)

 

 


Again, I hope you find this information helpful.

Thanks,
Daniel

 

 

 

From DSC:
At the recent
Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference, in my introductory piece for our panel discussion, I relayed several ideas/areas that should be on our institutions’ radars. That is, at least someone at each of our institutions of higher education should be aware of these things and be pulse-checking them as time goes by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of these ideas/areas involved the use of blockchain technologies:

 

 

If #blockchain technologies are successful within the financial/banking world, then it’s highly likely that other use cases will be developed as well (i.e., the trust in blockchain-enabled applications will be there already).

Along those lines, if that occurs, then colleges and universities are likely to become only 1 of the feeds into someone’s cloud-based, lifelong learning profile. I’ve listed several more sources of credentials below:

 

 

Given the trend towards more competency-based education (CBE) and the increased experimentation with badges, blockchain could increasingly move onto the scene.

In fact, I could see a day when an individual learner will be able to establish who can and can’t access their learner profile, and who can and can’t feed information and updates into it.

Artificial intelligence and big data also come to mind here…and I put Microsoft on my radar a while back in this regard; as Microsoft (via LinkedIn and Lynda.com) could easily create online-based marketplaces matching employers with employees/freelancers.

 

 

 


Along these lines, see:


 

  • The Mainstreaming of Alternative Credentials in Postsecondary Education — from by Deborah Keyek-Franssen
    Excerpt:

    • The Context of Alternative Credentials
      The past few years have seen a proliferation of new learning credentials ranging from badges and bootcamp certifications to micro-degrees and MOOC certificates. Although alternative credentials have been part of the fabric of postsecondary education and professional development for decades—think prior learning assessments like Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams, or industry certifications—postsecondary institutions are increasingly unbundling their degrees and validating smaller chunks of skills and learning to provide workplace value to traditional and non-traditional students alike.
      Many are experimenting with alternative credentials to counter the typical binary nature of a degree. Certifications of learning or skills are conferred after the completion of a course or a few short courses in a related field. Students do not have to wait until all requirements for a degree are met before receiving a certificate of learning, but instead can receive one after a much shorter period of study. “Stackable” credentials are combined to be the equivalent of an undergraduate or graduate certificate (a micro-degree), or even a degree.
    • The National Discussion of Alternative Credentials
      Discussions of alternative credentials are often responses to a persistent and growing critique of traditional higher educational institutions’ ability to meet workforce needs, especially because the cost to students for a four-year degree has grown dramatically over the past several decades. The increasing attention paid to alternative credentials brings to the fore questions such as what constitutes a postsecondary education, what role universities in particular should play vis-à-vis workforce development, and how we can assess learning and mastery.

 

 


Addendums added on 3/4/17, that show that this topic isn’t just for higher education, but could involve K-12 as well:


 

 

 

 

 

With Uber Freight, it’s not just truck drivers whose jobs are at risk — from linkedin.com by John McDermott
The bane of taxi drivers everywhere is now taking on logistics

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

At the end of December Uber debuted Uber Freight, its foray into the un-sexy yet lucrative world of logistics. Many saw Uber’s entry into freight as a death knell for trucking companies, as Uber is looking to build a fleet of driverless trucks.

And while the threat to trucking is real, Uber Freight poses a more immediate risk to the thousands of mid-level, white-collar support staff jobs in the industry.

Uber is uniquely positioned to streamline the industry, though. Much like the company’s ride-hailing app cuts out the taxi dispatcher and allows people to hail rides directly from drivers, Uber Freight can create a platform where shippers and truckers broker shipping orders directly with one another, effectively rendering obsolete thousands of 3PL (third party logistics) workers. It replaces people with software, and configures a labor-intensive industry into a SaaS business.

Famed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen is fond of the phrase “software is eating the world,” meaning that it’s replacing many of the post-industrial, pre-internet jobs once thought to be essential. Problem is, one man’s efficiency is another’s unemployment.

 

Problem is, one man’s efficiency is another’s unemployment.

 

 

 

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with AI, NLP, and blockchain-based technologies! [Christian]

From DSC:

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and blockchain-based technologies!

When I saw the article below, I couldn’t help but wonder what (we currently know of as) “TVs” will morph into and what functionalities they will be able to provide to us in the not-too-distant future…?

For example, the article mentions that Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element will be offering TVs that can not only access Alexa — a personal assistant from Amazon which uses artificial intelligence — but will also be able to provide access to over 7,000 apps and games via the Amazon Fire TV Store.

Some of the questions that come to my mind:

  • Why can’t there be more educationally-related games and apps available on this type of platform?
  • Why can’t the results of the assessments taken on these apps get fed into cloud-based learner profiles that capture one’s lifelong learning? (#blockchain)
  • When will potential employers start asking for access to such web-based learner profiles?
  • Will tvOS and similar operating systems expand to provide blockchain-based technologies as well as the types of functionality we get from our current set of CMSs/LMSs?
  • Will this type of setup become a major outlet for competency-based education as well as for corporate training-related programs?
  • Will augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) capabilities come with our near future “TVs”?
  • Will virtual tutoring be one of the available apps/channels?
  • Will the microphone and the wide angle, HD camera on the “TV” be able to be disconnected from the Internet for security reasons? (i.e., to be sure no hacker is eavesdropping in on their private lives)

 

Forget a streaming stick: These 4K TVs come with Amazon Fire TV inside — from techradar.com by Nick Pino

Excerpt:

The TVs will not only have access to Alexa via a microphone-equipped remote but, more importantly, will have access to the over 7,000 apps and games available on the Amazon Fire TV Store – a huge boon considering that most of these Smart TVs usually include, at max, a few dozen apps.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 


Addendums


 

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

.

  • Once thought to be a fad, MOOCs showed staying power in 2016 — from educationdive.com
    Dive Brief:

    • EdSurge profiles the growth of massive online open courses in 2016, which attracted more than 58 million students in over 700 colleges and universities last year.
    • The top three MOOC providers — Coursera, Udacity and EdX — collectively grossed more than $100 million last year, as much of the content provided on these platforms shifted from free to paywall guarded materials.
    • Many MOOCs have moved to offering credentialing programs or nanodegree offerings to increase their value in industrial marketplaces.
 

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).

 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian