VR and AR: Transforming Learning and Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences — from er.educause.edu b

What if a text or work of art is no longer read, but instead, experienced? What new questions are raised when it’s possible to visit an author’s home or stroll through the streets of an ancient city? How will our interpretations of literature, art, history and archaeology change when we are no longer passive recipients but co-constructors and actors in immersive experiences? How will this challenge us to think outside our current learning paradigms? These and other questions arise when we examine the impact of immersive technologies on the humanities and the social sciences.

 

Some examples mentioned there include:

 

 

 

Microsoft joins the VR battle with Windows Mixed Reality [on 10/17/17] — from theverge.com by Tom Warren

Excerpt:

Microsoft is launching its own answer to virtual reality today, taking on HTC and Oculus in the process. Windows Mixed Reality will be available in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and headsets are now available to buy. Here’s everything you need to know about Windows Mixed Reality.

Microsoft is offering movement tracking (six degrees of freedom) without the need for traditional external sensors placed throughout a room. Windows Mixed Reality headsets have cameras and sensors to track the motion controllers.

Walmart looks to see if virtual shopping is better than the real thing — from washingtonpost.com by Abha Bhattarai

Excerpts:

…Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is setting its sights on virtual reality.  Imagine this, says Katie Finnegan, who heads Walmart’s tech incubator: You need a tent for your next camping trip. If all goes to plan, you could one day virtually swoop in to your campsite and see any given tent in action. “You could unzip it, lay down, look left and right and say, ‘Oh, this is supposed to be a two-person tent? It’s kind of tight,’ ” she said. And then you could move on to the next tent — without leaving your couch.

Here are the five ideas the Bentonville, Ark.-based company says could be making their way online:

  1. 3-D holograms at Bonobos.com, the male clothing site Walmart acquired this year for $310 million, that would make it possible for shoppers to try on virtual clothing for fit and style.
  2. At ModCloth, the women’s clothing site Walmart took over in March, customers may one day be able to take 3-D photos of themselves using their smartphones, and use those images to get an idea of how something might look on.
  3. An “interactive virtual store” for designer Rebecca Minkoff, whose items are sold at Walmart.com, would allow customers to sit in on fashion shows and shop directly from the runway.
  4. Tired of shopping online alone? If Walmart gets its way, you may soon be interacting with other shoppers and experts as you pick out items for your virtual cart.
  5. Electric outlets, stove tops and door handles can all be child safety hazards — and soon, an online tool could peek inside your home and tell you where the biggest risks are lurking.

 

 

 

Explore the surface of Mars from the comfort of your living room — from haptical.com
Google’s new project allows viewers to explore the discoveries of NASA’s Curiosity rover.

Excerpt:

NASA and Google have teamed up to build a new virtual experience that lets space enthusiasts explore the red planet without having to leave their homes. Dubbed as “Access Mars”, the new project virtually transports users, wherever they are, to Earth’s neighboring planet in the solar system.

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese School Opens Full-Function VR Classrooms — from vrfocus.com by Rebecca Hills-Duty
HTC Vive have created a system which allows 50 VR units to work together with no cross-interference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
In Part I, I looked at the new, exponential pace of change that colleges, community colleges and universities now need to deal with – observing the enormous changes that are starting to occur throughout numerous societies around the globe. If we were to plot out the rate of change, we would see that we are no longer on a slow, steady, incremental type of linear pathway; but, instead, we would observe that we are now on an exponential trajectory (as the below graphic from sparks & honey very nicely illustrates).

 

 

How should colleges and universities deal with this new, exponential pace of change?

1) I suggest that you ensure that someone in your institution is lifting their gaze and peering out into the horizons, to see what’s coming down the pike. That person – or more ideally, persons – should also be looking around them, noticing what’s going on within the current landscapes of higher education. Regardless of how your institution tackles this task, given that we are currently moving at an incredibly fast pace, this trend analysis is very important. The results from this analysis should immediately be integrated into your strategic plan. Don’t wait 3-5 years to integrate these new findings into your plan. The new, exponential pace of change is going to reward those organizations who are nimble and responsive.

2) I recommend that you look at what programs you are offering and consider if you should be developing additional programs such as those that deal with:

  • Artificial Intelligence (Natural Language Processing, deep learning, machine learning, bots)
  • New forms of Human Computer Interaction such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality
  • User Experience Design, User Interface Design, and/or Interaction Design
  • Big data, data science, working with data
  • The Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications, sensors, beacons, etc.
  • Blockchain-based technologies/systems
  • The digital transformation of business
  • Freelancing / owning your own business / entrepreneurship (see this article for the massive changes happening now!)
  • …and more

3) If you are not already doing so, I recommend that you immediately move to offer a robust lineup of online-based programs. Why do I say this? Because:

  • Without them, your institution may pay a heavy price due to its diminishing credibility. Your enrollments could decline if learners (and their families) don’t think they will get solid jobs coming out of your institution. If the public perceives you as a dinosaur/out of touch with what the workplace requires, your enrollment/admissions groups may find meeting their quotas will get a lot harder as the years go on. You need to be sending some cars down the online/digital/virtual learning tracks. (Don’t get me wrong. We still need the liberal arts. However, even those institutions who offer liberal arts lineups will still need to have a healthy offering of online-based programs.)
  • Online-based learning methods can expand the reach of your faculty members while offering chances for individuals throughout the globe to learn from you, and you from them
  • Online-based learning programs can increase your enrollments, create new revenue streams, and develop/reach new markets
  • Online-based learning programs have been proven to offer the same learning gains – and sometimes better learning results than – what’s being achieved in face-to-face based classrooms
  • The majority of pedagogically-related innovations are occurring within the online/digital/virtual realm, and you will want to have built the prior experience, expertise, and foundations in order to leverage and benefit from them
  • Faculty take their learning/experiences from offering online-based courses back into their face-to-face courses
  • Due to the increasing price of obtaining a degree, students often need to work to help get them (at least part of the way) through school; thus, flexibility is becoming increasingly important and necessary for students
  • An increasing number of individuals within the K-12 world as well as the corporate world are learning via online-based means. This is true within higher education as well, as, according to a recent report from Digital Learning Compass states that “the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 now tops six million, about 30% of all enrollments.”
  • Families are looking very closely at their return on investments being made within the world of higher education. They want to see that their learners are being prepared for the ever-changing future that they will encounter. If people in the workforce often learn online, then current students should be getting practice in that area of their learning ecosystems as well.
  • As the (mostly) online-based Amazon.com is thriving and retail institutions such as Sears continue to close, people are in the process of forming more generalized expectations that could easily cross over into the realm of higher education. By the way, here’s how our local Sears building is looking these days…or what’s left of it.

 

 

 

4) I recommend that you move towards offering more opportunities for lifelong learning, as learners need to constantly add to their skillsets and knowledge base in order to remain marketable in today’s workforce. This is where adults greatly appreciate – and need – the greater flexibility offered by online-based means of learning. I’m not just talking about graduate programs or continuing studies types of programs here. Rather, I’m hoping that we can move towards providing streams of up-to-date content that learners can subscribe to at any time (and can drop their subscription to at any time). As a relevant side note here, keep your eyes on blockchain-based technologies here.

5) Consider the role of consortia and pooling resources. How might that fit into your strategic plan?

6) Consider why bootcamps continue to come onto the landscape.  What are traditional institutions of higher education missing here?

7) And lastly, if one doesn’t already exist, form a small, nimble, innovative group within your organization — what I call a TrimTab Group — to help identify what will and won’t work for your institution.

 

 

 

 

 

Faculty Predict Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality Will Be Key to Ed Tech in 10 Years — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
Faculty in our 2017 Teaching with Technology Survey believe tech will play a positive role in the future of higher education — but some technologies will be more important than others.

Excerpt:

What technologies do faculty think will be important in education over the next decade? The most popular answer to that question by far was virtual/augmented/mixed reality, garnering 81 percent of responses (it topped the list last year as well). Mobile devices and apps, 3D modeling/scanning/printing, adaptive/personalized learning and video/streaming all rounded out the top five.

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Great to see several of these items made the list. I would also add:

  • The use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to allow more voice-enabled and voice-driven applications
  • Learning agents/bots (for example, a learning-related bot could go find out the top 50-100 jobs that employers are hiring for and present a list of potential digital playlists from a variety of providers that would help potential employees be able to do the work in those positions)
  • Blockchain and the use of web-based learner profiles
  • Artificial Intelligence / cognitive computing (which could be argued is already mentioned in the item re: adaptive, personalized learning)
  • Moving towards providing up-to-date streams of content (for purposes of lifelong learning and microlearning)

 Finally, it was great to see #9 on the list as I, too, believe that a next gen learning platform is needed:

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Getting employees to make time for L&D needs to be based upon “what’s in it for them” — i.e., the main role of the L&D Team/Department should be to create the platforms and means by which employees can learn whatever they need to learn in order to do their jobs well (as well as to learn the skills necessary to move into those new areas that they’ve been wanting to move into). They’re going to find ways to do this anyway, why not give them the tools/knowledge of the tools and the platforms in order to better facilitate that learning to happen at a quicker pace?

An L&D Team could provide content curation services themselves and/or they could connect the employees with knowledgeable people. For example, give employees the key people to connect with who are doing their jobs really well.

For example, the L&D Team could maintain and provide a list of the top 10*:

  • Internal Sales employees to connect with and learn from, as well as the top 10 external Sales people to connect with and learn from (these people may or may not be in the same industry).
  • Internal Customer Service employees to connect with and learn from, as well as the top 10 external Customer Service people to connect with and learn from (these people may or may not be in the same industry).
  • Internal Marketing employees to connect with and learn from, as well as the top 10 external Marketing people to connect with and learn from (these people may or may not be in the same industry).
  • Etc.

 

* Or top 5, or top 50, or top whatever # that the L&D Team
thinks
would be most beneficial to the organization

 

I think each employee in the workforce needs to know about the power of RSS feeds and feed aggregators such as Feedly. In fact, I advocate that same approach for most every student in middle school, high school, and college as well. We need to be able to connect with others and tap into streams of content being produced — as well as contribute to those streams of content as well. Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, CMSs/LMSs, etc. can provide beneficial streams of content.

 

“And learners are evolving at a quicker pace than the learning programs that support them.”

 

Also, based upon the above image, I find it interesting that the corporate L&D teams are struggling with what higher education has been struggling with as well — i.e., predicting which skills will be needed and responding as quickly as possible in order to develop the necessary learning modules/RSS feeds/content/etc. to remain up-to-date. Actually, I suspect that it’s not that the learners are evolving at a quicker pace than the learning programs that support them, rather its the required skills and needs of the positions that are evolving at a quicker pace than the learning programs that support them.

Our institutions and our L&D Departments are simply not used to this pace of change. No one is.

We need better mechanisms of dealing with this new pace of change.

One last random thought here…perhaps a portion of the L&D department will morph into creating bots for internal employees, helping answer questions at the point of need.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Google’s jobs AI service hits private beta, now works in 100 languages — from venturebeat.com by Blair Hanley Frank

Excerpt:

Google today announced the beta release of its Cloud Job Discovery service, which uses artificial intelligence to help customers connect job vacancies with the people who can fill them.

Formerly known as the Cloud Jobs API, the system is designed to take information about open positions and help job seekers take better advantage of it. For example, Cloud Job Discovery can take a plain language query and help translate that to the specific jargon employers use to describe their positions, something that can be hard for potential employees to navigate.

As part of this beta release, Google announced that Cloud Job Discovery is now designed to work with applicant-tracking systems and staffing agencies, in addition to job boards and career site providers like CareerBuilder.

It also now works in 100 languages. While the service is still primarily aimed at customers in the U.S., some of Google’s existing clients need support for multiple languages. In the future, the company plans to expand the Cloud Job Discovery service internationally, so investing in language support now makes sense going forward.

 



From DSC:
Now tie this type of job discovery feature into a next generation learning platform, helping people identify which skills they need to get jobs in their local area(s). Provide a list of courses/modules/RSS feeds to get them started. Allow folks to subscribe to constant streams of content and unsubscribe to them at any time as well.

 

 

We MUST move to lifelong, constant learning via means that are highly accessible, available 24×7, and extremely cost effective. Blockchain-based technologies will feed web-based learner profiles, which each of us will determine who can write to our learning profile and who can review it as well.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 



Addendum on 9/29/17:



  • Facebook partners with ZipRecruiter and more aggregators as it ramps up in jobs — from techcrunch.com by Ingrid Lunden
    Excerpt:
    Facebook has made no secret of its wish to do more in the online recruitment market — encroaching on territory today dominated by LinkedIn, the leader in tapping social networking graphs to boost job-hunting. Today, Facebook is taking the next step in that process.
    Facebook will now integrate with ZipRecruiter — an aggregator that allows those looking to fill jobs to post ads to many traditional job boards, as well as sites like LinkedIn, Google and Twitter — to boost the number of job ads available on its platform targeting its 2 billion monthly active users.
    The move follows Facebook launching its first job ads earlier this year, and later appearing to be interested in augmenting that with more career-focused features, such as a platform to connect people looking for mentors with those looking to offer mentorship.

 

 

 

Six reasons why disruption is coming to learning departments — from feathercap.net, with thanks to Mr. Tim Seager for this resource

Excerpts:

  1. Training materials and interactions will not just be pre-built courses but any structured or unstructured content available to the organization.
  2. Curation of all learning, employee or any useful organizational content will become a whole lot easier.
  3. The learning department won’t have to build it all themselves.
  4. Learning bots and voice enabled learning.
  5. Current workplace learning systems and LMSs will go through a big transition or they will lose relevancy.
  6. Learning departments will go beyond onboarding, compliance training and leadership training and move to training everyone in the company on all job skills.

 

A successful example of this is Amazon.com. As a shopper on their site we have access to millions of  book and product SKUs. Amazon uses a combination of all three techniques to position the right book or product based on our behavior, peer experiences as well as having a semantic understanding of the product page we’re viewing. There’s no reason we can’t have the same experience on workplace learning systems where all viable learning content/ company content could be organized and disseminated to each learner for the right time and circumstance.

 

 



From DSC:
Several items of what Feathercap is saying in their solid posting remind me of a vision of a next generation learning platform:

  • Contributing to — and tapping into — streams of content
  • Lifelong learning and reinventing oneself
  • Artificial intelligence, including Natural Language Processing (NLP) and the use of voice to drive systems/functionality
  • Learning agents/bots
  • 24×7 access
  • Structured and unstructured learning
  • Socially-based means of learning
  • …and more

 

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

 



 

 

Udacity adds a new ‘Intro to Self-Driving Cars’ Nanodegree — from techcrunch.com by Darrell Etherington

Excerpt:

You likely won’t be surprised when I tell you that building a self-driving car is difficult and complex. Udacity has tried to help address that difficulty with flexible, online education for self-driving engineers through its Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree program, and now it’s expanding its offerings with a new Intro to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree being introduced at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 that’s designed to help funnel more talent into the intermediate-level course, and from there into the workforce, where demand is incredibly strong and growing.

Udacity’s Nanodegrees are designed from the start to help democratize education in areas of tech where there’s a strong appetite from the employer side, and not nearly enough talent to go around. But what the company found with its self-driving material was that it was actually quite advanced compared to the skill level of interested students, so it set out to create a kind of fundamentals introductory program to help make sure more could enter the main course with a better foundation.

Also new to this program, and again in the spirit of increasing access to education for these very high demand skills, Udacity is teaming up with Lyft, which will be providing 400 full scholarships (covering the total $800 value) for the Intro program. Applications for those open today, too.

 

 

 

The End of Typing: The Next Billion Mobile Users Will Rely on Video and Voice — from wsj.com by Eric Bellman
Tech companies are rethinking products for the developing world, creating new winners and losers

Excerpt:

The internet’s global expansion is entering a new phase, and it looks decidedly unlike the last one.

Instead of typing searches and emails, a wave of newcomers—“the next billion,” the tech industry calls them—is avoiding text, using voice activation and communicating with images.

 

 

From DSC:
The above article reminds me that our future learning platforms will be largely driven by our voices. That’s why I put it into my vision of a next generation learning platform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Hood: Learning Design Behind Georgia Tech’s Degrees at Scale — from evolllution.com by Shabana Figueroa and Yakut Gazi

Excerpt:

Rolling out the MM program in May and the degree program in August meant design coordination and creation of eight new online courses in less than a year. We needed a new approach that employed strategies for efficiency and effectiveness.

The Learning Design Team
GTPE’s learning design team partners with faculty members to develop their online courses from start to end, providing the heavy lifting for course production. A director of learning design oversees both the instructional design and production aspects of the course production across the entire program. This cross-functional team approach eliminates the silos created by independent instructional design and studio production teams, which in turn, minimizes hand-off points, decreases friction among teams, allows for long-term thinking that leads to smarter course design and development decisions, provides fluidity of talent and roles within the team, and fuels productivity.

…the paradigm shift to a learner-focused, team-based approach to course production and delivery, and collaboration of campus partners and groups…

 

 

From DSC:
Note the use of a team-based approach here. I think that the team-based approach will be the most beneficial to the world at large. Those teams will be able to deliver a high-quality learning experience, with high production values and carefully planned/crafted instructional designs. 

 



Also see:

Learning How to Learn: Anatomy of a good MOOC — from linkedin.com by Bill Ferster

Excerpts:

Barbara Oakley’s MOOC, Learning How to Learn [2] is the exception to this trend. It is well-produced, informative, and fully embraces the new medium. With over 2 million registered students and completion rates of over 20% [3], (the average MOOC completion rate is 5%), Learning How to Learn is clearly resonating with its audience.

The question is why is it so popular? Intrigued, I enrolled the short MOOC to understand why it was so popular, and what lessons it might have for other MOOC authors to make their offerings more effective their “filmed plays.”

Oakley has clearly bucked the overall MOOC trend and has made good use of the inexpensive technologies with well-lit scenes that are clearly edited and make use of the green screen overlay technologies found in her Adobe Premiere video editor. She used a large teleprompter to ensure a fluid delivery of her message and high-quality audio.

Learning to Learn is effective because Oakley put a significant amount of effort making it effective. Good content, coupled with high production values, and sound pedagogy take time to produce and clearly pays off in the final product.

 



 

 

Future Forward: The Next Twenty Years of Higher Education — from Blackboard with a variety of contributors

Excerpts:

As you read their reflections you’ll find several themes emerge over and over:

  • Our current system is unsustainable and ill-suited for a globally connected world that is constantly changing.
  • Colleges and universities will have to change their current business model to continue to thrive, boost revenue and drive enrollment.
  • The “sage on the stage” and the “doc in the box” aren’t sustainable; new technologies will allow faculty to shift their focus on the application of learning rather than the acquisition of knowledge.
  • Data and the ability to transform that data into action will be the new lifeblood of the institution.
  • Finally, the heart and soul of any institution are its people. Adopting new technologies is only a small piece of the puzzle; institutions must also work with faculty and staff to change institutional culture.

Some quotes are listed below.

 

“What’s more, next-generation digital learning environments must bridge the divide between the faculty-directed instructivist model our colleges and universities have always favored and the learner-centric constructivist paradigm their students have come to expect and the economy now demands.”

It will be at least 10 years before systems such as this become the standard rather than the exception. Yet to achieve this timeline, we will have to begin fostering a very different campus culture that embraces technology for its experiential value rather than its transactional expediency, while viewing education as a lifelong pursuit rather than a degree-driven activity.

Susan Aldridge

 

 

 

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing higher education right now?

A: I think it is a difficult time for decisionmakers to know how to move boldly forward. It’s almost funny, nobody’s doing five-year strategic plans anymore. We used to do ten-year plans, but now it’s “What’s our guiding set of principles and then let’s sort of generally go towards that.” I think it’s really hard to move an entire institution, to know how to keep it sustainable and serving your core student population. Trying to figure out how to keep moving forward is not as simple as it used to be when you hired faculty and they showed up in the classroom. It’s time for a whole new leadership model. I’m not sure what that is, but we have to start reimagining our organizations and our institutions and even our leadership.

Marie Cini

 

 

 

One of the things that is frustrating to me is the argument that online learning is just another modality. Online learning is much more than that. It’s arguably the most transformative development since the G.I. Bill and, before that, the establishment of land-grant universities. 

I don’t think we should underestimate the profound impact online education has had and will continue to have on higher education. It’s not just another modality; it’s an entirely new industry.

Robert Hansen

 

 

From DSC:
And I would add (to Robert’s quote above) that not since the printing press was invented close to 500 years ago have we seen such an enormously powerful invention as the Internet. To bypass the Internet and the online-based learning opportunities that it can deliver is to move into a risky, potentially dangerous future. If your institution is doing that, your institution’s days could be numbered. As we move into the future — where numerous societies throughout the globe will be full of artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, algorithms, business’ digital transformations, and more — your institutions’ credibility could easily be at stake in a new, increasingly impactful way. Parents and students will want to know that there’s a solid ROI for them. They will want to know that a particular college or university has the foundational/core competencies and skills to prepare the learner for the future that the learner will encounter.

 

 

 

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing higher education right now?

A: I think the biggest challenge is the stubborn refusal of institutions to acknowledge that the 20th century university paradigm no longer works, or at least it doesn’t work anymore for the majority of our institutions. I’m not speaking on behalf of our members, but I think it’s fair to say that institutions are still almost entirely faculty-centered and not market-driven. Faculty, like so many university leaders today who come from faculty ranks, are so often ill-equipped to compete in the Wild West that we’re seeing today, and it’s not their fault. They’re trained to be biologists and historians and philosophers and musicians and English professors, and in the past there was very little need to be entrepreneurial. What’s required of university leadership now looks very much like what’s required in the fastpaced world of private industry.

If you are tuition dependent and you haven’t figured out how to serve the adult market yet, you’re in trouble.

Robert Hansen

 

 

 

It’s not just enough to put something online for autodidacts who already have the time, energy, and prior skills to be able to learn on their own. You really need to figure out how to embed all the supports that a student will need to be successful, and I don’t know if we’ve cracked that yet.

Amy Laitinen

 

 

 

The other company is Amazon. Their recent purchase of Whole Foods really surprised everybody. Now you have a massive digital retailer that has made billions staying in the online world going backwards into brick-and-mortar. I think if you look at what you can do on Amazon now, who’s to say in three years or five years, you won’t say, “You know what, I want to take this class. I want to purchase it through Amazon,” and it’s done through Amazon with their own LMS? Who’s to say they’re not already working on it?

Justin Louder

 

 

 

 

We are focused on four at Laureate. Probably in an increasing order of excitement to me are game-based learning (or gamification), adaptive learning, augmented and virtual reality, and cognitive tutoring.

Darrell Luzzo

 

 

 

 

I would wave my hand and have people lose their fear of change and recognize that you can innovate and do new things and still stay true to the core mission and values. My hope is that we harness our collective energy to help our students succeed and become fully engaged citizens.

Felice Nudelman

 

 

 

 

 

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