From DSC:
I ran across this animation that I saw over 7 years ago (and recorded some audio/thoughts about it at that time).  I did so because I thought it was a great illustration of a Learning Ecosystem. I thought I’d re-post it here — because I still think that’s the case.




The first truly awesome chatbot is a talking T. Rex — from by John Brownlee
National Geographic uses a virtual Tyrannosaur to teach kids about dinosaurs—and succeeds where other chatbots fail.




As some have declared chatbots to be the “next webpage,” brands have scrambled to develop their own talkative bots, letting you do everything from order a pizza to rewrite your resume. The truth is, though, that a lot of these chatbots are actually quite stupid, and tend to have a hard time understanding natural human language. Sooner or later, users get frustrated bashing their heads up against the wall of a dim-witted bot’s AI.

So how do you design around a chatbot’s walnut-sized brain? If you’re National Geographic Kids UK, you set your chatbot to the task of pretending to be a Tyrannosaurus rex, a Cretaceous-era apex predator that really had a walnut-sized brain (at least comparatively speaking).


She’s called Tina the T. rex, and by making it fun to learn about dinosaurs, she suggests that education — rather than advertising or shopping — might be the real calling of chatbots.




Also relevant/see:



Education Technology And Artificial Intelligence: How Education Chatbots [could] Revolutionize Personalized Learning — from by Kristine Walker

From DSC:
I inserted a [could] in the title, as I don’t think we’re there yet. That said, I don’t see chatbots, personal assistants, and the use of AI going away any time soon. This should be on our radars from here on out.  Chatbots could easily be assigned some heavy lifting duties within K-20 education as well as in the corporate world; but even then, we’ll still need excellent teachers, professors, and trainers/subject matter experts out there. I don’t see anyone being replaced at this point.


As the equity gap in American education continues, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been urging educators, investors and tech companies to be more open in investing time and money in artificial intelligence-driven education technology programs. The reason? Gates believed that these AI-based EdTech platforms could personalize and revolutionize school learning experience while eliminating the equity gap.


Also see:

Are ‘Motivation Bots’ Part of the Future of Education? — from




The Motivation, Revision and Announcement bots each perform respective functions that are intended to help students master exams.

The Motivation bot, for instance, “keeps students motivated with reminders, social support, and other means,” while the Revision bot “helps students to best understand ways to improve their work” and the Announcement bot “tells students how much studying they need to do based on the amount of time available.”





Somewhat related:

Deep Learning Is Still A No-Show In Gartner 2016 Hype Cycle For Emerging Technologies — from by Gil Press


Machine learning is best defined as the transition from feeding the computer with programs containing specific instructions in the forms of step-by-step rules or algorithms to feeding the computer with algorithms that can “learn” from data and can make inferences “on their own.” The computer is “trained” by data which is labeled or classified based on previous outcomes, and its software algorithms “learn” how to predict the classification of new data that is not labeled or classified. For example, after a period of training in which the computer is presented with spam and non-spam email messages, a good machine learning program will successfully identify, (i.e., predict,) which email message is spam and which is not without human intervention. In addition to spam filtering, machine learning has been applied successfully to problems such as hand-writing recognition, machine translation, fraud detection, and product recommendations.





Take a step inside the classroom of tomorrow — from by Nicholas Fearn
Making learning fun




But the classroom of tomorrow will look very different. The latest advancements in technology and innovation are paving the way for an educational space that’s interactive, engaging and fun.

The conventions of learning are changing. It’s becoming normal for youngsters to use games like Minecraft to develop skills such as team working and problem solving, and for teachers to turn to artificial intelligence to get a better understanding of how their pupils are progressing in lessons.

Virtual reality is also introducing new possibilities in the classroom. Gone are the days of imagining what an Ancient Egyptian tomb might look like – now you can just strap on a headset and transport yourself there in a heartbeat.

The potential for using VR to teach history, geography and other subjects is incredible when you really think about it – and it’s not the only tech that’s going to shake things up.

Artificial intelligence is already doing groundbreaking things in areas like robotics, computer science, neuroscience and linguistics, but now they’re now entering the world of education too.

London-based edtech firm Digital Assess has been working on an AI app that has the potential to revolutionise the way youngsters learn.

With the backing of the UK Government, the company has been trialing its web-based application Formative Assess in schools in England.

Using semantic indexing and natural language processing in a similar way to social networking sites, an on-screen avatar – which can be a rubber duck or robot – quizzes students on their knowledge and provides them with individual feedback on their work.




Will “class be in session” soon on tools like Prysm & Bluescape? If so, there will be some serious global interaction, collaboration, & participation here! [Christian]

From DSC:
Below are some questions and thoughts that are going through my mind:

  • Will “class be in session” soon on tools like Prysm & Bluescape?
  • Will this type of setup be the next platform that we’ll use to meet our need to be lifelong learners? That is, will what we know of today as Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Content Management Systems (CMS) morph into this type of setup?
  • Via platforms/operating systems like tvOS, will our connected TVs turn into much more collaborative devices, allowing us to contribute content with learners from all over the globe?
  • Prysm is already available on mobile devices and what we consider a television continues to morph
  • Will second and third screens be used in such setups? What functionality will be assigned to the main/larger screens? To the mobile devices?
  • Will colleges and universities innovate into such setups?  Or will organizations like lead in this space? Or will it be a bit of both?
  • How will training, learning and development groups leverage these tools/technologies?
  • Are there some opportunities for homeschoolers here?

Along these lines, are are some videos/images/links for you:


















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



Also see:







Also see:


Prysm Adds Enterprise-Wide Collaboration with Microsoft Applications — from by Gary Kayye


To enhance the Prysm Visual Workplace, Prysm today announced an integration with Microsoft OneDrive for Business and Office 365. Using the OneDrive for Business API from Microsoft, Prysm has made it easy for customers to connect Prysm to their existing OneDrive for Business environments to make it a seamless experience for end users to access, search for, and sync with content from OneDrive for Business. Within a Prysm Visual Workplace project, users may now access, work within and download content from Office 365 using Prysm’s built-in web capabilities.





What are micro-credentials? — from; with thanks to Arabella Bronson for the resource


What Are Micro-credentials?

Also see:


Why can’t the “One Day University” come directly into your living room — 24×7? [Christian]

  • An idea/question from DSC:
    Looking at the article below, I wonder…“Why can’t the ‘One Day University‘ come directly into your living room — 24×7?”


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


This is why I’m so excited about the “The Living [Class] Room” vision. Because it is through that vision that people of all ages — and from all over the world — will be able to constantly learn, grow, and reinvent themselves (if need be) throughout their lifetimes. They’ll be able to access and share content, communicate and discuss/debate with one another, form communities of practice, go through digital learning playlists (like’s Learning Paths) and more.  All from devices that represent the convergence of the television, the telephone, and the computer (and likely converging with the types of devices that are only now coming into view, such as Microsoft’s Hololens).




You won’t just be limited to going back to college for a day — you’ll be able to do that 24×7 for as many days of the year as you want to.

Then when some sophisticated technologies are integrated into this type of platform — such as artificial intelligence, cloud-based learner profiles, algorithms, and the ability to setup exchanges for learning materials — we’ll get some things that will blow our minds in the not too distant future! Heutagogy on steroids!





Want to go back to college? You can, for a day. — from by Valerie Strauss


Have you ever thought about how nice it would be if you could go back to college, just for the sake of learning something new, in a field you don’t know much about, with no tests, homework or studying to worry about? And you won’t need to take the SAT or the ACT to be accepted? You can, at least for a day, with something called One Day University, the brainchild of a man named Steve Schragis, who about a decade ago brought his daughter to Bard College as a freshman and thought that he wanted to stay.

One Day University now financially partners with dozens of newspapers — including The Washington Post — and a few other organizations to bring lectures to people around the country. The vast majority of the attendees are over the age 50 and interested in continuing education, and One Day University offers them only those professors identified by college students as fascinating. As Schragis says, it doesn’t matter if you are famous; you have to be a great teacher. For example, Schragis says that since Bill Gates has never shown to be one, he can’t teach at One Day University.

We bring together these professors, usually four at at a time, to cities across the country to create “The Perfect Day of College.” Of course we leave out the homework, exams, and studying! Best if there’s real variety, both male and female profs, four different schools, four different subjects, four different styles, etc. There’s no one single way to be a great professor. We like to show multiple ways to our students.

Most popular classes are history, psychology, music, politics, and film. Least favorite are math and science.



See also:














We know the shelf-life of skills are getting shorter and shorter. So whether it’s to brush up on new skills or it’s to stay on top of evolving ones, can help you stay ahead of the latest technologies.





Collaborative classrooms mark wave of the future in higher ed — from by Tara García Mathewson
Student-centered models turn instructors into guides as students investigate for themselves


The designs put students at the center of instruction, shifting the faculty role to one of tutor or guide.

“This changes the whole way we teach,” Benavides said.

Some colleges and universities are designing these spaces in new, modern buildings, while others are remodeling existing classrooms and making them work for this next generation of teaching and learning.


From DSC:
This sort of change may be uncomfortable to students and to faculty members alike. However, to shift the ownership of the learning to the student is a positive move. Why? Because we all need to be lifelong learners now.  The learning rests with each one of us now, or we could be broadsided and have a very difficult time getting back up. So to come out of college knowing how to learn…that’s a huge plus in my mind.






Also see:




  • What do we want our learners to become?
  • What kind of learning experiences enable that becoming? 
  • What kind of learning spaces enable such experiences? 
  • How do we know? 







The teacher is not the most important factor when it comes to learning — from by Lisa Nielsen


If we were honest about the reality — that the student is the most important factor when it comes to learning — we could actually improve student learning.  Here’s how.



From DSC:
There are some solid, insightful comments here — especially when one agrees with Daniel Willingham that “memory is the residue of thought” (i.e., we remember what we think about.) 

Regular readers of this blog will  know that I’m a big fan of providing students with “more choice, more control.” Giving students more choice so that they can pursue items of interest to them will likely invite deeper levels of thought and ultimately better, more lasting learning.  That said, I realize that some base layers of knowledge need to be built.  I’d just like to see us really question when we can begin turning over more choice, more control to the students. I would like us to apply more scrutiny and justification for the courses/subjects that we require. Do most students really need to take this course?  Why? And are there other courses that students might like to take in light of the workplace that they will be dealing with?

Finally, I’d vote for including a new ingredient of how we assess our own courses; and that is, “Did the students enjoy their learning?  Were they engaged in the learning?”  Why do I say this? Because we all need to be lifelong learners now. It’s easier to do that if we like to learn and have a positive perspective on it.





The future of education demands more questions, not answers — from by Jay Silver; with thanks to EDTECH@UTRGV for their Scoop on this resource

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Technology alone can’t educate students. It’s not some mystical, magical ingredient one sprinkles over core curricula like salt on a meal. The magic is inside the child.

A Pedagogy of Answers
Too many schools apply a paint-by-numbers approach to tech: “Let’s cover this fixed information, in this exact way, in this set amount of time, and judge ourselves as educators and students based on standardized test results.”

A Pedagogy of Questions
Our national teaching model has for too long been a pedagogy of answers. In its place I’d like to suggest a new pedagogy of questions—one that prizes interest-driven, project-based, exploratory studies. Personal gardens of learning with no single pathway through them. More open play and less rote memorization. More learning by discovery than following set instructions.

As an inventor and father, my advice to those looking to make digital in-roads into our nation’s schools is this: promote learning that encourages kids to choose their own problems and solutions rather than a single, siloed system.

Tech isn’t the answer, but it can help us create a new pedagogy of questions.


From DSC:
I can relate to Jay’s thoughts and perspectives here — we need to provide our young learners with more choice, more control. More play. More time for experimentation. More project-based learning that’s based upon what students want to learn about.

How many parents wouldn’t give their left leg (well…almost) to hear their kids say, “I can’t wait to go to school — I love going to school! I love learning about new things that I want to know about!”?  To see such excitement, engagement, and a love for learning would be mind-blowing, right? If your son or daughter has that perspective, I’d guess that you value that attitude and that learning situation a great deal.

This morning a faculty member said something that’s relevant here. [Paraphrasing what he said:] “There’s a paradigm shift occurring these days in how to get information. We need our students to understand and react to this paradigm shift and we need to help them make that shift. They need to be more proactive in how they get information; and not go along with the “Feed me! Feed me!” approach.”

A final comment here…my kids balk at having to learn so many things that they have little interest in; it’s force-fed learning surrounded by — and shaped by — standardized tests. The list of things they actually want to learn about is either very short or non-existent (depending upon their grade levels).  I understand that they are at different stages in their ability to make judgments about what they need to learn about; they need foundational skills to build upon…and that they don’t know what they don’t know.  That said, it would be an interesting experiment for each of them indeed, for them to be able to self-select/choose some more topics, projects, and assignments and then pursue them on their own or with other small groups of other students. How might that impact their engagement levels? How might that improve their views of learning? Perhaps I’m off here..and too Hallmarkish, too Pollyannaish; but I’m tired of hearing the moaning and groaning again about having to do this or that piece of homework.



Addendums on 9/16/15:
I just ran across this item from Larry Ferlazzo out at that has a section in it —
Autonomy — that addresses ways that more choice, more control can be introduced.

The idea of asking better questions doesn’t just belong in K-12. Check out Jack Uldrich’s posting, A Framework for Questioning the Future.


In today’s era of accelerating change, “answers” about the future are becoming more scarce. As a result, a premium is being placed on asking better questions about the future.

Unfortunately, because most business leaders, CEO’s and senior executives view themselves as action-oriented “problem-solvers,” they have a bias for “answers” instead of “questions.” As such, they don’t really know how to ask better questions.

In an effort to help individuals and organizations overcome this bias–and in the firm belief that it is better to have an imprecise answer to the right question than an exact answer to the wrong question,–I have put together a simple framework to help companies, businesses and organizations begin asking better questions about the future.

The eleven questions posted below are design to jumpstart the thinking–and questioning–process:


© 2016 Learning Ecosystems