Colleges begin to take virtual reality seriously — from by Abi Mandelbaum


Looking to the future, as adoption of VR increases among universities, the technology will be used in more innovative ways.

Currently, universities offer options for distance learners to take online classes; soon, colleges will use VR technology to fully immerse students in the college experience, allowing them to feel present in a classroom discussion or lecture, regardless of distance. Universities can either record these experiences for later use, or use live-streaming virtual reality—a technology that has only recently begun to catch on with major brands and institutions.

The combination of all this technology could result in something like a virtual Rhodes Scholar program, where students can take part in live classes with top professors at universities all over the world, without having to leave their regular school.

The technology will also offer an invaluable means of learning for those in the social sciences and medical fields, which often require “hands-on” experiences. Eventually, VR technology will allow students to be placed in the shoes of patients to give them insight into how they experience the world. Organizations like the Virtual Human Interaction Lab are already studying the psychological effects of VR as related to empathy. This could allow future public policy students to experience first-hand what it means to be a refugee in a third-world country, or optometry students to experience what life is like for the vision-impaired.

Outside of lectures and hands-on learning, VR also offers schools the chance to immerse students in important cultural events. Educators are already using video to enhance lessons; in the near future, VR will be used in a similar manner.


Reflections on “Introducing Coursera for Apple TV: Bringing Online Learning to Your Living Room”

Introducing Coursera for Apple TV: Bringing Online Learning to Your Living Room — from


Apple TV


Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

We’re thrilled to announce that Coursera content will now be available on Apple TV.

Since our beginning, one of our primary goals has been to make learning more accessible for everyone. Our mobile platform brought an on-demand learning experience to people’s busy, on-the-go lifestyles, and now, we’re extending availability to your home. Regardless of where in the world you are located, you’ll now be able to learn from top university professors and renowned experts without the expense of travel or tuition.

TV availability isn’t only a first for Coursera—it marks Apple TV’s first ever introduction of online learning to its platform. Everything you can do online at Coursera, you’ll now be able to do from the comfort of your own living room: browse our entire catalogue of courses, peruse new topics, and watch videos from some of the top academic and industry experts.


From DSC:
Coursera takes us one step closed to a very powerful learning platform — one that in the future will provide a great deal of intelligence behind the scenes.  It’s likely that we will be using personalized, adaptable, digital learning playlists while enjoying some serious levels of interactivity…while also making use of web-based learner profiles (the data from which will either be hosted at places like or will be fed into employers’ and universities’ competency-based databases).  The application development for tvOS should pick up greatly, especially if the collaboration capabilities are there.

For example, can you imagine marrying the functionalities that Bluescape provides with the reach, flexibility, convenience, and affordances that are unfolding with the new Apple TV?

Truly, some mind-blowing possibilities are developing.  In the not too distant future, lifelong learning won’t ever be the same again (not to mention project-related work).

This is why I’m big on the development and use of
team of specialists — as an organization may have
a harder time competing in the future without one.






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




tvOS: The days of developing for a “TV”-based OS are now upon us.

Apple puts out call for Apple TV apps — from by Gina Hall


The company put out the call for app submissions on Wednesday for tvOS. The Apple TV App Store will debut as Apple TV units are shipped out next week.

The main attraction of Apple TV is a remote with a glass touch surface and a Siri button that allows users to search by voice. Apple tvOS is capable of running apps ranging from Airbnb to Zillow and games like Crossy Road. Another major perk of Apple TV will be universal search, which allows users to scan for movies and television shows and see results from multiple sources, instead of having to conduct the same search within multiple apps.

Apple CEO Tim Cook hopes the device will simplify how viewers consume content.




From DSC:
The days of developing for a “TV”-based OS are now upon us:  tvOS is here.  I put “TV” in quotes because what we know of the television in the year 2015 may look entirely different 5-10 years from now.

Once developed, things like lifelong learning, web-based learner profiles, badges and/or certifications, communities of practice, learning hubs, smart classrooms, virtual tutoring, virtual field trips, AI-based digital learning playlists, and more will never be the same again.



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







Also see:




Addendum on 10/26/15:
The article below discusses one piece of the bundle of technologies that I’m trying to get at via my Learning from the Living [Class] Room Vision:

  • No More Pencils, No More Books — from by Will Oremus
    Artificially intelligent software is replacing the textbook—and reshaping American education.
    ALEKS starts everyone at the same point. But from the moment students begin to answer the practice questions that it automatically generates for them, ALEKS’ machine-learning algorithms are analyzing their responses to figure out which concepts they understand and which they don’t. A few wrong answers to a given type of question, and the program may prompt them to read some background materials, watch a short video lecture, or view some hints on what they might be doing wrong. But if they’re breezing through a set of questions on, say, linear inequalities, it may whisk them on to polynomials and factoring. Master that, and ALEKS will ask if they’re ready to take a test. Pass, and they’re on to exponents—unless they’d prefer to take a detour into a different topic, like data analysis and probability. So long as they’ve mastered the prerequisites, which topic comes next is up to them.

Now we’re talking! One step closer! “The future of TV is apps.” — per Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook



From DSC:
We’ll also be seeing the integration of the areas listed below with this type of “TV”-based OS/platform:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Data mining and analytics
  • Learning recommendation engines
  • Digital learning playlists
  • New forms of Human Computer Interfaces (HCI)
  • Intelligent tutoring
  • Social learning / networks
  • Videoconferencing with numerous other learners from across the globe
  • Virtual tutoring, virtual field trips, and virtual schools
  • Online learning to the Nth degree
  • Web-based learner profiles
  • Multimedia (including animations, simulations, and more)
  • Advanced forms of digital storytelling
  • and, most assuredly, more choice & more control.

Competency-based education and much lower cost alternatives could also be possible with this type of learning environment. The key will be to watch — or better yet, to design and create — what becomes of what we’re currently calling the television, and what new affordances/services the “TV” begins to offer us.






From Apple’s website:

Apple Brings Innovation Back to Television with The All-New Apple TV
The App Store, Siri Remote & tvOS are Coming to Your Living Room


SAN FRANCISCO — September 9, 2015 — Apple® today announced the all-new Apple TV®, bringing a revolutionary experience to the living room based on apps built for the television. Apps on Apple TV let you choose what to watch and when you watch it. The new Apple TV’s remote features Siri®, so you can search with your voice for TV shows and movies across multiple content providers simultaneously.

The all-new Apple TV is built from the ground up with a new generation of high-performance hardware and introduces an intuitive and fun user interface using the Siri Remote™. Apple TV runs the all-new tvOS™ operating system, based on Apple’s iOS, enabling millions of iOS developers to create innovative new apps and games specifically for Apple TV and deliver them directly to users through the new Apple TV App Store™.

tvOS is the new operating system for Apple TV, and the tvOS SDK provides tools and APIs for developers to create amazing experiences for the living room the same way they created a global app phenomenon for iPhone® and iPad®. The new, more powerful Apple TV features the Apple-designed A8 chip for even better performance so developers can build engaging games and custom content apps for the TV. tvOS supports key iOS technologies including Metal™, for detailed graphics, complex visual effects and Game Center, to play and share games with friends.


Addendum on 9/11/15:


HBX Intros HBX Live Virtual Classroom — from by Rhea Kelly


Harvard Business School‘s HBX digital learning initiative today launched a virtual classroom designed to reproduce the intimacy and synchronous interaction of the case method in a digital environment. With HBX Live, students from around the world can log in concurrently to participate in an interactive discussion in real time, guided by an HBS professor.

Built to mimic the amphitheater-style seating of an HBS classroom, the HBX Live Studio features a high-resolution video wall that can display up to 60 participants. Additional students can audit sessions via an observer model. An array of stationary and roaming cameras capture the action, allowing viewers to see both the professor and fellow students.


HBX Live

HBX Live’s virtual amphitheater
(PRNewsFoto/Harvard Business School)


Also see HBX Live in Action

I think that this type of setup could also be integrated with a face-to-face classroom as well (given the right facilities). The HBX Live concept fits right into a piece of my vision entitled, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room.”

Several words/phrases comes to mind:

  • Convenience. I don’t have to travel to another city, state, country. That type of convenience and flexibility is the basis of why many learners take online-based courses in the first place.
  • Global — learning from people of different cultures, races, backgrounds, life experiences.
  • The opportunities are there to increase one‘s cultural awareness.
  • HBX Live is innovative; in fact, Harvard is upping it’s innovation game yet again — showing a firm grasp/display of understanding that they realize that the landscape of higher education is changing and that institutions of traditional higher education need to adapt.
  • Harvard is willing to experiment and to identify new ways to leverage technologies — taking advantage of the affordances that various technologies offer.

BTW, note how the use of teams is a requirement here.





Also see:

Harvard Business School really has created the classroom of the future — from by  John A. Byrne


Anand, meantime, faces the images of 60 students portrayed on a curved screen in front of him, a high-resolution video wall composed of more than 6.2 million pixels that mimics the amphitheater-style seating of a class HBS tiered classroom


From the Inter-American Dialogue and the Inter-American Development Bank: A new foresight resource freely available to the public entitled, A Database of Reports on Global Trends and Future Scenarios.

This database includes nearly 800 foresight publications and reports from around the world, and it provides governments, banks, corporations, universities, think tanks, and other institutions continuous access to information and analyses on trends and future scenarios.



From DSC:
Given that the pace of change has changed & given that disruption seems to be upending one industry after another, futurism should be taught throughout K-12 & throughout higher education. (There are some programs out there within higher education, but not many.)

If more of us were trained in looking up to see what’s happening around us — or what’s about to happen around us — the chances of us being broadsided or surprised by something are greatly diminished. Also, we can better plan for — and create — our futures.



White House: Innovation in Higher Education — from by George Siemens

Excerpt from George’s posting (emphasis DSC):

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to the White House. The invitation was somewhat cryptic, but basically stated that the focus on the meeting was on quality and innovation.

2. Higher education generally has no clue about what’s brewing in the marketplace as a whole. The change pressures that exist now are not ones that the existing higher education model can ignore. The trends – competency-based learning, unbundling, startups & capital inflow, new pedagogical models, technology, etc – will change higher education dramatically.

3. No one knows what HE is becoming. Forget the think tanks and the consultants and the keynote speakers. No one knows how these trends will track or what the university will look like in the future. This unknowability stems from HE being a complex systems with many interacting elements. We can’t yet see how these will connect and inter-relate going forward. The best strategy in a time of uncertainty is not to seek or force the way forward, but to enter a cycle of experimentation. The Cynefin Framework provides the best guidance that I’ve seen on how to function in our current context.

7. Expect a future of far greater corporate involvement in HE. VC funds are flowing aggressively and these funders are also targeting policy change at local, state, and national levels. We aren’t used to this level of lobbying and faculty is unprepared to respond to this. Expect it. Your next faculty meeting will involve a new student success system, a personalized learning system, an analytics system, a new integrated bootcamp model, new competency software, new cloud-based computing systems, and so on. Expect it. It’s coming.

8. Expect M & A activities in higher education. I fully anticipate some combination of partnering with companies like General Assembly, creation of in-house bootcamps, or outright acquisitions by innovative universities.


Higher Education is moving from a 4 year relationship to students to a 40 year relationship.


From DSC:

[First of all, if you read this George, thanks for sharing your experiences, reflections, and recommendations from your recent trip to the White House. I/we appreciate it.]

I can’t agree with — and emphasize — George’s second point (above) strongly enough. Too often, I think we have our heads and eyes pointed downward, busy in our work; we fail to look up and see what’s happening all around us. We neglect to see the trends that are occurring and that will likely have an impact on us. If we were doing this, as we should be doing, several of our priorities would instantly change and there would be a much stronger sense of urgency in identifying some new directions/strategic initiatives/experiments within institutions of traditional higher education.

I don’t see our institutions competing with our typical/normal peer groups of the past. More and more, I think that we are competing with the new models, startups, and alternatives to traditional higher education. Yes, traditional institutions of higher education can respond and change — some have been doing so already. But how many of our institutions within the overall learning ecosystems are not experimenting? How many of our institutions have their heads buried in the sand, waiting for the good old days to return? Those days are not going to return. They’re gone. That ride is over. We need to wake up and adapt before the alternatives gain momentum (perhaps even borrowing some strategies from the alternatives, hmm?).

This is why I’m big on experimentation and the implementation of TrimTab Groups within higher education.

Finally, you may not like the word “disruption” and you may think it’s overused. But I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet.

As George warns in his posting, there are dramatic changes to higher education coming down the pike. George is not one to hype things up — he is a level-headed deep thinker. I’d suggest that we listen to what he’s saying to us via his experiences and reflections from participating in his recent meetings/conversations held at the White House.






What might our learning ecosystems look like by 2025? [Christian]

This posting can also be seen out at (where LLL stands for lifelong learning):



From DSC:
What might our learning ecosystems look like by 2025?

In the future, learning “channels” will offer more choice, more control.  They will be far more sophisticated than what we have today.




That said, what the most important aspects of online course design end up being 10 years from now depends upon what types of “channels” I think there will be and what might be offered via those channels. By channels, I mean forms, methods, and avenues of learning that a person could pursue and use. In 2015, some example channels might be:

  • Attending a community college, a college or a university to obtain a degree
  • Obtaining informal learning during an internship
  • Using social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn
  • Reading blogs, books, periodicals, etc.

In 2025, there will likely be new and powerful channels for learning that will be enabled by innovative forms of communications along with new software, hardware, technologies, and other advancements. For examples, one could easily imagine:

  • That the trajectory of deep learning and artificial intelligence will continue, opening up new methods of how we might learn in the future
  • That augmented and virtual reality will allow for mobile learning to the Nth degree
  • That the trend of Competency Based Education (CBE) and microcredentials may be catapulted into the mainstream via the use of big data-related affordances

Due to time and space limitations, I’ll focus here on the more formal learning channels that will likely be available online in 2025. In that environment, I think we’ll continue to see different needs and demands – thus we’ll still need a menu of options. However, the learning menu of 2025 will be more personalized, powerful, responsive, sophisticated, flexible, granular, modularized, and mobile.


Highly responsive, career-focused track

One part of the menu of options will focus on addressing the demand for more career-focused information and learning that is available online (24×7). Even in 2015, with the U.S. government saying that 40% of today’s workers now have ‘contingent’ jobs and others saying that percentage will continue climbing to 50% or more, people will be forced to learn quickly in order to stay marketable.  Also, the 1/2 lives of information may not last very long, especially if we continue on our current trajectory of exponential change (vs. linear change).

However, keeping up with that pace of change is currently proving to be out of reach for most institutions of higher education, especially given the current state of accreditation and governance structures throughout higher education as well as how our current teaching and learning environment is set up (i.e., the use of credit hours, 4 year degrees, etc.).  By 2025, accreditation will have been forced to change to allow for alternative forms of learning and for methods of obtaining credentials. Organizations that offer channels with a more vocational bent to them will need to be extremely responsive, as they attempt to offer up-to-date, highly-relevant information that will immediately help people be more employable and marketable. Being nimble will be the name of the game in this arena. Streams of content will be especially important here. There may not be enough time to merit creating formal, sophisticated courses on many career-focused topics.




With streams of content, the key value provided by institutions will be to curate the most relevant, effective, reliable, up-to-date content…so one doesn’t have to drink from the Internet’s firehose of information. Such streams of content will also offer constant potential, game-changing scenarios and will provide a pulse check on a variety of trends that could affect an industry. Social-based learning will be key here, as learners contribute to each other’s learning. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) will need to be knowledgeable facilitators of learning; but given the pace of change, true experts will be rare indeed.

Microcredentials, nanodegrees, competency-based education, and learning from one’s living room will be standard channels in 2025.  Each person may have a web-based learner profile by then and the use of big data will keep that profile up-to-date regarding what any given individual has been learning about and what skills they have mastered.

For example, even currently in 2015, a company called StackUp creates their StackUp Report to add to one’s resume or grades, asserting that their services can give “employers and schools new metrics to evaluate your passion, interests, and intellectual curiosity.” Stackup captures, categorizes, and scores everything you read and study online. So they can track your engagement on a given website, for example, and then score the time spent doing so. This type of information can then provide insights into the time you spend learning.

Project teams and employers could create digital playlists that prospective employees or contractors will have to advance through; and such teams and employers will be watching to see how the learners perform in proving their competencies.

However, not all learning will be in the fast lane and many people won’t want all of their learning to be constantly in the high gears. In fact, the same learner could be pursuing avenues in multiple tracks, traveling through their learning-related journeys at multiple speeds.


The more traditional liberal arts track

To address these varied learning preferences, another part of the menu will focus on channels that don’t need to change as frequently.  The focus here won’t be on quickly-moving streams of content, but the course designers in this track can take a bit more time to offer far more sophisticated options and activities that people will enjoy going through.

Along these lines, some areas of the liberal arts* will fit in nicely here.

*Speaking of the liberal arts, a brief but important tangent needs to be addressed, for strategic purposes. While the following statement will likely be highly controversial, I’m going to say it anyway.  Online learning could be the very thing that saves the liberal arts.

Why do I say this? Because as the price of higher education continues to increase, the dynamics and expectations of learners continue to change. As the prices continue to increase, so do peoples’ expectations and perspectives. So it may turn out that people are willing to pay a dollar range that ends up being a fraction of today’s prices. But such greatly reduced prices won’t likely be available in face-to-face environments, as offering these types of learning environment is expensive. However, such discounted prices can and could be offered via online-based environments. So, much to the chagrin of many in academia, online learning could be the very thing that provides the type of learning, growth, and some of the experiences that liberal arts programs have been about for centuries. Online learning can offer a lifelong supply of the liberal arts.

But I digress…
By 2025, a Subject Matter Expert (SME) will be able to offer excellent, engaging courses chocked full of the use of:

  • Engaging story/narrative
  • Powerful collaboration and communication tools
  • Sophisticated tracking and reporting
  • Personalized learning, tech-enabled scaffolding, and digital learning playlists
  • Game elements or even, in some cases, multiplayer games
  • Highly interactive digital videos with built-in learning activities
  • Transmedia-based outlets and channels
  • Mobile-based learning using AR, VR, real-world assignments, objects, and events
  • …and more.

However, such courses won’t be able to be created by one person. Their sophistication will require a team of specialists – and likely a list of vendors, algorithms, and/or open source-based tools – to design and deliver this type of learning track.


Final reflections

The marketplaces involving education-related content and technologies will likely look different. There could be marketplaces for algorithms as well as for very granular learning modules. In fact, it could be that modularization will be huge by 2025, allowing digital learning playlists to be built by an SME, a Provost, and/or a Dean (in addition to the aforementioned employer or project team).  Any assistance that may be required by a learner will be provided either via technology (likely via an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled resource) and/or via a SME.

We will likely either have moved away from using Learning Management Systems (LMSs) or those LMSs will allow for access to far larger, integrated learning ecosystems.

Functionality wise, collaboration tools will still be important, but they might be mind-blowing to us living in 2015.  For example, holographic-based communications could easily be commonplace by 2025. Where tools like IBM’s Watson, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Deepmind, and Apple’s Siri end up in our future learning ecosystems is hard to tell, but will likely be there. New forms of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will likely be mainstream by 2025.

While the exact menu of learning options is unclear, what is clear is that change is here today and will likely be here tomorrow. Those willing to experiment, to adapt, and to change have a far greater likelihood of surviving and thriving in our future learning ecosystems.


IRIS.TV Finds Adaptive Video Personalization Increases Consumption by 50% — from by Richard Kastelein

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

IRIS.TV, the leading in-player video recommendation engine, reports that its programmatic video delivery technology, Adaptive StreamTM, has increased video consumption by 50% across all its clients. The results of these findings just further solidifies that consumption of online video is significantly enhanced by a personalized user experience.

By integrating Adaptive StreamTM in their video players and mobile apps, IRIS.TV’s clients are able to deliver the most relevant streams of video to their viewers, just like TV. Yet unlike TV, viewers’ feedback is captured in real-time through interactive buttons, allowing the stream to dynamically adapt to the changing preferences.




Press Release: IRIS.TV Launches Personalized End-screen for Online Video with Kaltura — from
IRIS.TV Partners with Kaltura to offer programmatic content delivery and in-player thumbnail recommendations


Los Angeles, May 4, 2015 – IRIS.TV the leading programmatic content delivery system, today announced a new dynamic, personalized end-screen plugin for Kaltura, provider of the leading video technology platform.

IRIS.TV’s new plugin for Kaltura will offer clients of both a personalized and dynamic stream of video along with a personalized end-screen framework. Publishers can now provide users with both dynamic streams of video – powered by consumption and interaction – along with thumbnail choices specific to their real-time consumption habits. This new integration supplies publishers with additional tools to deliver a more personalized viewing experience in order to maximize viewer retention and video views. The partnership is aimed to help consumers discover relevant and engaging content while viewing across all connected devices.


From DSC:
Now imagine these same concepts of providing recommendation engines and personalized/dynamic/interactive streams of content, but this time apply those same concepts to delivering personalized, digital learning playlists on topics that you want to learn about. With the pace of change and a shrinking 1/2 life for many pieces of information, this could be a powerful way to keep abreast of any given topic. Team these concepts up with the idea of learning hubs — whereby some of the content is delivered electronically and some of the content is discussed/debated in a face-to-face manner — and you have some powerful, up-to-date opportunities for lifelong learning. Web-based learner profiles and services like Stack Up could continually populate one’s resume and list of skills — available to whomever you choose to make it available to.


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






Along these lines, also see:

  • Nearly 1 billion TV sets Internet connected by 2020 — from

    The number of TV sets connected to the Internet will reach 965 million by 2020, up from 103 million at end-2010 and the 339 million expected at end-2014, according to a new report from Digital TV Research.Covering 51 countries, the Connected TV Forecasts report estimates that the proportion of TV sets connected to the Internet will rocket to 30.4% by 2020, up from only 4.2% at end-2010 and the 12.1% expected by end-2014. South Korea (52.7%) will have the highest proportion by 2020, followed by the UK (50.6%), Japan (48.6%) and the US (47.0%). – See more at:


  • McDonnell – HTML5 is the true Second Screen, Social TV winner — from
    After years of evolution, the W3C has finally declared the HTML5 standard complete. When Steve Jobs “declared war on Flash” he gave HTML5 a fighting chance of dominance. In parallel, businesses started to recognise the potential of Social TV or “Second Screen” behaviour to re-invigorate old media and drive revenue to newer social platforms like Twitter. The ensuing debate centred on winners and losers, but with such a diverse global broadcasting market and no social network with dominance in all countries, could the web standard be the ultimate winner? I think it already is.



Oculus Rift technology may improve online learning — from


A professor at Penn State is experimenting with how the immersive virtual reality system Oculus Rift and related technologies can be used to improve online learning.

Assistant professor of engineering design and industrial engineering Conrad Tucker and his students have been designing virtual reality technology with the goal of using it for distance learning that is more effective by introducing a tactile element that previously could only be achieved in an in-person classroom.

Their study has found that it’s working. Using the Oculus Rift goggles and a haptic glove, which allows users to interact with the world as if they were really using their hands, improves student performance compared to a traditional flat screen and traditional keyboard and mouse controls.

54 undergraduate engineering students were given the task of assembling a virtual coffee pot from disparate pieces. Half did this with the virtual reality technology, and the rest used a simple computer program. The median time for the virtual reality group was 23.21 seconds, but those using a keyboard and mouse took a median of 49.04 seconds — more than double the time.


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