From DSC:
There are now more than 12,000+ skills on Amazon’s new platform — Alexa.  I continue to wonder…what will this new platform mean/deliver to societies throughout the globe?


 

From this Alexa Skills Kit page:

What Is an Alexa Skill?
Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices including Amazon Echo. Alexa provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to create a more personalized experience. There are now more than 12,000 skills from companies like Starbucks, Uber, and Capital One as well as innovative designers and developers.

What Is the Alexa Skills Kit?
With the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), designers, developers, and brands can build engaging skills and reach millions of customers. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that makes it fast and easy for you to add skills to Alexa. With ASK, you can leverage Amazon’s knowledge and pioneering work in the field of voice design.

You can build and host most skills for free using Amazon Web Services (AWS).

 

 

 


 

 

From DSC:
Though slightly older, this article has some solid advice that I think we in higher education need to heed as well.


 

The Importance of Continuing Education for Digital Leaders — from strategy-business.com by Chris Curran — with thanks to tweets by Cathryn Marsh and G Athanasakopoulos

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Whether you’re a newly minted MBA or an experienced leader, you’re always honing your skills and navigating change. And technology is one discipline in which you really can’t afford to stagnate. With digital transformation so central to strategy for most companies, all executives — especially CEOs — must embrace a learning mind-set. Gone are the days you can delegate the job of keeping up with technology to the IT staff.

Chief information officers (CIOs), of course, should regularly brief the management team and the board on new developments, demoing exciting new technology, bringing in external speakers and vendors, and using other tactics that promote tech learning and engagement. But keeping up on technology trends is also the responsibility of every executive. And while that can be daunting given the vast tech landscape and seemingly limitless avenues for learning, it’s also incredibly exciting.

 

 

Indeed, the art of continuous learning itself may be the most sought-after skill for tomorrow’s workforce as well as the key to solving tomorrow’s problems. 

 

 


From DSC:
Tapping into streams of content (via RSS feeds and/or with tools like Google Alerts) is key here. Developing your personal learning networks and your communities of practice are key here. The article also mentions MOOCs and online learning. which I would also add to the list of helpful tools/avenues to pursue.


 

 
 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs [Meghan Bogardus Cortez at edtechmagazine.com]

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
These administrative all-stars, IT gurus, teachers and community experts understand how the latest technology is changing the nature of education.

Excerpt:

With summer break almost here, we’ve got an idea for how you can use some of your spare time. Take a look at the Dean’s List, our compilation of the must-read blogs that seek to make sense of higher education in today’s digital world.

Follow these education trailblazers for not-to-be-missed analyses of the trends, challenges and opportunities that technology can provide.

If you’d like to check out the Must-Read IT blogs from previous years, view our lists from 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

 

 



From DSC:
I would like to thank Tara Buck, Meghan Bogardus Cortez, D. Frank Smith, Meg Conlan, and Jimmy Daly and the rest of the staff at EdTech Magazine for their support of this Learning Ecosystems blog through the years — I really appreciate it. 

Thanks all for your encouragement through the years!



 

 

 

 

The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training — from by Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson
As robots, automation and artificial intelligence perform more tasks and there is massive disruption of jobs, experts say a wider array of education and skills-building programs will be created to meet new demands. There are two uncertainties: Will well-prepared workers be able to keep up in the race with AI tools? And will market capitalism survive?

Excerpt:

Machines are eating humans’ jobs talents. And it’s not just about jobs that are repetitive and low-skill. Automation, robotics, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) in recent times have shown they can do equal or sometimes even better work than humans who are dermatologists, insurance claims adjusters, lawyers, seismic testers in oil fields, sports journalists and financial reporters, crew members on guided-missile destroyers, hiring managers, psychological testers, retail salespeople, and border patrol agents. Moreover, there is growing anxiety that technology developments on the near horizon will crush the jobs of the millions who drive cars and trucks, analyze medical tests and data, perform middle management chores, dispense medicine, trade stocks and evaluate markets, fight on battlefields, perform government functions, and even replace those who program software – that is, the creators of algorithms.

Several policy and market-based solutions have been promoted to address the loss of employment and wages forecast by technologists and economists. A key idea emerging from many conversations, including one of the lynchpin discussions at the World Economic Forum in 2016, is that changes in educational and learning environments are necessary to help people stay employable in the labor force of the future. Among the six overall findings in a new 184-page report from the National Academies of Sciences, the experts recommended: “The education system will need to adapt to prepare individuals for the changing labor market. At the same time, recent IT advances offer new and potentially more widely accessible ways to access education.”

 

 

In the next 10 years, do you think we will see the emergence of new educational and training programs that can successfully train large numbers of workers in the skills they will need to perform the jobs of the future?

 

 

 

 



From DSC:
The following questions (from the article) might be fodder for initial conversations regarding what changes need to immediately occur within higher education. Those changes might be to establish teams/task forces/etc. charged with answering these kinds of questions.

  • What are the most important skills needed to succeed in the workforce of the future?
  • Which of these skills can be taught effectively via online systems – especially those that are self-directed – and other nontraditional settings?
  • Which skills will be most difficult to teach at scale?
  • Will employers be accepting of applicants who rely on new types of credentialing systems, or will they be viewed as less qualified than those who have attended traditional four-year and graduate programs?

The following section further supports a vision that I’ve been tracking entitled, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” — where I see the “New Amazon.com of Higher Education” unfolding. Blockchain-based technologies will likely be involved here.

A diversifying education and credentialing ecosystem: Most of these experts expect the education marketplace – especially online learning platforms – to continue to change in an effort to accommodate the widespread needs.  Some predict employers will step up their own efforts to train and retrain workers. Many foresee a significant number of self-teaching  efforts by jobholders themselves as they take advantage of proliferating online opportunities.

Respondents see a new education and training ecosystem emerging in which some job preparation functions are performed by formal educational institutions in fairly traditional classroom settings, some elements are offered online, some are created by for-profit firms, some are free, some exploit augmented and virtual reality elements and gaming sensibilities, and a lot of real-time learning takes place in formats that job seekers pursue on their own.

A considerable number of respondents to this canvassing focused on the likelihood that the best education programs will teach people how to be lifelong learners. Accordingly, some say alternative credentialing mechanisms will arise to assess and vouch for the skills people acquire along the way.

 

 

DC: Many societies around the globe are looking at massive change coming at them. What changes should those of us working in higher education begin to make — immediately? In the longer term?

 



 

 

These respondents suggest that workers of the future will learn to deeply cultivate and exploit creativity, collaborative activity, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication, and the ability to thrive in diverse environments.

 

 



 

Addendum on 5/6/17:

  • How to Prepare for an Automated Future — from nytimes.com by Claire Cain Miller
    Excerpt:
    We don’t know how quickly machines will displace people’s jobs, or how many they’ll take, but we know it’s happening — not just to factory workers but also to money managers, dermatologists and retail workers. The logical response seems to be to educate people differently, so they’re prepared to work alongside the robots or do the jobs that machines can’t. But how to do that, and whether training can outpace automation, are open questions.

 

 

 

Purdue University to Acquire Kaplan University — from wsj.com by Douglas Belkin and Melissa Korn
Purdue President Mitch Daniels calls deal major push into online education

Excerpt:

Purdue University, a flagship public institution in Indiana, is jumping into online education by buying for-profit Kaplan University with the aim of creating a new, public online university.

 

Also see:

Purdue Buys For-Profit Kaplan University for $1 to Create New Kind of Public University — from edsurge.com b

The sale price for Kaplan University’s 15 campuses was $1, though with one important catch: The new nonprofit university operated by Purdue promised to give a percentage of its revenue back to its former owner, Kaplan, Inc., for the next 30 years.

 

 



Addendum on 5/3/17:

 



 

 

Credentials, Reputation, and the Blockchain — from er.educause.edu by J. Philipp Schmidt

Using the blockchain and strong cryptography permits creating certifications that put us in control of the full record of our achievements. Recipients can share a digital degree with an employer while providing trustworthy proof that the degree was in fact issued to the person presenting it. This raises interesting questions about the nature of recognizing and accrediting achievements.

 

Excerpt:

The trail of credentials and achievements that we generate throughout our lives says something about who we are, and it can open doors that allow us to become who we want to be. Some credentials, such as university degrees, count more than others. But all of these credentials represent experiences that are part of our lives, signals of our achievements, and markers of communities we belong to.

Our current, mostly analog system for managing credentials is slow, complicated, and relatively unreliable. Creating a digital infrastructure for certificates has many advantages, and new technologies like the blockchain offer exciting opportunities. The stakes are high, however, because such a system could grow to represent our professional reputations as well, creating or limiting opportunities. We need to be thoughtful about its design and the type of institutions we trust to govern it.

 



From DSC:
This is one of the topics I was trying to relay back in February in
our presentation at the 2017 NGLS Conference:

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

From DSC:
In terms of learning, having to be in the same physical place as others continues to not be a requirement nearly as much as it used to be. But I’m not just talking about online learning here. I’m talking about a new type of learning environment that involves both hardware and software to facilitate collaboration (and it was designed that way from day 1). These new types of setups can provide us with new opportunities and affordances that we should begin experimenting with immediately.

Check out the following products — all of which allow a person to contribute to a discussion or conversation from anywhere they can get Internet access:

When you go to those sites, you will see words and phrase such as:

  • Visual collaboration software
  • Virtual workspace
  • Develop
  • Share
  • Inspire
  • Design
  • Global teams
  • A visual collaboration solution that links locations, teams, content, and devices in an immersive, shared workspace
  • Teamwork
  • Create and brainstorm with others
  • Digital workplace platform
  • Eliminate the distance between in-office and remote employees
  • Jumpstart spontaneous brainstorms and working sessions

So using these types of software and hardware setups, I can contribute regardless of where I’m located. Remote learning — from anywhere in the world — being combined with our face-to-face based classrooms.

Also, the push for Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) continues across higher education. Such hands-on, project-learning based, student-centered approaches fit extremely well with the collaboration setups mentioned above.

Then, there’s the insight from Simon Dudley in this article:

“…video conferencing is increasingly an application within in a larger workflow…”

Lastly, if colleges and universities don’t have the funds to maintain their physical plants, look for higher education to move increasingly online — and these types of solutions could play a significant role in that environment. Plus, for working adults who need to reinvent themselves, this is an extremely efficient means of picking up some new skills and competencies.

So the growth of these types of setups — where the software and hardware work together to support worldwide collaboration — will likely create a powerful, new, emerging piece of our learning ecosystems.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Remote learning — from anywhere in the world — being combined with our face-to-face based classrooms.

 



 

 

From DSC:
The recent pieces below made me once again reflect on the massive changes that are quickly approaching — and in some cases are already here — for a variety of nations throughout the world.

They caused me to reflect on:

  • What the potential ramifications for higher education might be regarding these changes that are just starting to take place in the workplace due to artificial intelligence (i.e., the increasing use of algorithms, machine learning, and deep learning, etc.), automation, & robotics?
  • The need for people to reinvent themselves quickly throughout their careers (if we can still call them careers)
  • How should we, as a nation, prepare for these massive changes so that there isn’t civil unrest due to soaring inequality and unemployment?

As found in the April 9th, 2017 edition of our local newspaper here:

When even our local newspaper is picking up on this trend, you know it is real and has some significance to it.

 

Then, as I was listening to the radio a day or two after seeing the above article, I heard of another related piece on NPR.  NPR is having a journalist travel across the country, trying to identify “robot-safe” jobs.  Here’s the feature on this from MarketPlace.org

 

 

What changes do institutions of traditional higher education
immediately need to begin planning for? Initiating?

What changes should be planned for and begin to be initiated
in the way(s) that we accredit new programs?

 

 

Keywords/ideas that come to my mind:

  • Change — to society, to people, to higher ed, to the workplace
  • Pace of technological change — no longer linear, but exponential
  • Career development
  • Staying relevant — as institutions, as individuals in the workplace
  • Reinventing ourselves over time — and having to do so quickly
  • Adapting, being nimble, willing to innovate — as institutions, as individuals
  • Game-changing environment
  • Lifelong learning — higher ed needs to put more emphasis on microlearning, heutagogy, and delivering constant/up-to-date streams of content and learning experiences. This could happen via the addition/use of smaller learning hubs, some even makeshift learning hubs that are taking place at locations that these institutions don’t even own…like your local Starbucks.
  • If we don’t get this right, there could be major civil unrest as inequality and unemployment soar
  • Traditional institutions of higher education have not been nearly as responsive to change as they have needed to be; this opens the door to alternatives. There’s a limited (and closing) window of time left to become more nimble and responsive before these alternatives majorly disrupt the current world of higher education.

 

 

 



Addendum from the corporate world (emphasis DSC):



 

From The Impact 2017 Conference:

The Role of HR in the Future of Work – A Town Hall

  • Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Nicola Vogel, Global Senior HR Director, Danfoss
  • Frank Møllerop, Chief Executive Officer, Questback
  • David Mallon, Head of Research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Massive changes spurred by new technologies such as artificial intelligence, mobile platforms, sensors and social collaboration have revolutionized the way we live, work and communicate – and the pace is only accelerating. Robots and cognitive technologies are making steady advances, particularly in jobs and tasks that follow set, standardized rules and logic. This reinforces a critical challenge for business and HR leaders—namely, the need to design, source, and manage the future of work.

In this Town Hall, we will discuss the role HR can play in leading the digital transformation that is shaping the future of work in organizations worldwide. We will explore the changes we see taking place in three areas:

  • Digital workforce: How can organizations drive new management practices, a culture of innovation and sharing, and a set of talent practices that facilitate a new network-based organization?
  • Digital workplace: How can organizations design a working environment that enables productivity; uses modern communication tools (such as Slack, Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams, and many others); and promotes engagement, wellness, and a sense of purpose?
  • Digital HR: How can organizations change the HR function itself to operate in a digital way, use digital tools and apps to deliver solutions, and continuously experiment and innovate?
 

Retailers cut tens of thousands of jobs. Again. — from money.cnn.com by Paul R. La Monica
The dramatic reshaping of the American retail industry has, unfortunately, led to massive job losses in the sector.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The federal government said Friday that retailers shed nearly 30,000 jobs in March. That follows a more than 30,000 decline in the number of retail jobs in the previous month.

So-called general merchandise stores are hurting the most.

That part of the sector, which includes struggling companies like Macy’s, Sears, and J.C. Penney, lost 35,000 jobs last month. Nearly 90,000 jobs have been eliminated since last October.

“There is no question that the Amazon effect is overwhelming,” said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist of private banking for BBH. “There has been a shift in the way we buy things as opposed to a shift in the amount of money spent.”

To that end, Amazon just announced plans to hire 30,000 part-time workers.

 

From DSC:
One of the reasons that I’m posting this item is for those who say disruption isn’t real…it’s only a buzz word…

A second reason that I’m posting this item is because those of us working within higher education should take note of the changes in the world of retail and learn the lesson now before the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education*” comes on the scene. Though this organization has yet to materialize, the pieces of its foundation are beginning to come together — such as the ingredients, trends, and developments that I’ve been tracking in my “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” vision.

This new organization will be highly disruptive to institutions of traditional higher education.

If you were in an influential position at Macy’s, Sears, and/or at J.C. Penney today, and you could travel back in time…what would you do?

We in higher education have the luxury of learning from what’s been happening in the retail business. Let’s be sure to learn our lesson.

 



 

* Effective today, what I used to call the “Forthcoming Walmart of Education — which has already been occurring to some degree with things such as MOOCs and collaborations/partnerships such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Udacity, and AT&T — I now call the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education.”

Cost. Convenience. Selection. Offering a service on-demand (i.e., being quick, responsive, and available 24×7). <– These all are powerful forces.

 



 

P.S. Some will say you can’t possibly compare the worlds of retail and higher education — and that may be true as of 2017. However, if:

  • the costs of higher education keep going up and we continue to turn a deaf ear to the struggling families/students/adult learners/etc. out there
  • alternatives to traditional higher education continue to come on the landscape
  • the Federal Government continues to be more open to financially supporting such alternatives
  • technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning continue to get better and more powerful — to the point that they can effectively deliver a personalized education (one that is likely to be fully online and that utilizes a team of specialists to create and deliver the learning experiences)
  • people lose their jobs to artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation and need to quickly reinvent themselves

…I can assure you that people will find other ways to make ends meet. The Next Amazon.com of Education will be just what they are looking for.

 



 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems