NEW: The Top Tools for Learning 2018 [Jane Hart]

The Top Tools for Learning 2018 from the 12th Annual Digital Learning Tools Survey -- by Jane Hart

 

The above was from Jane’s posting 10 Trends for Digital Learning in 2018 — from modernworkplacelearning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

[On 9/24/18],  I released the Top Tools for Learning 2018 , which I compiled from the results of the 12th Annual Digital Learning Tools Survey.

I have also categorised the tools into 30 different areas, and produced 3 sub-lists that provide some context to how the tools are being used:

  • Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning 2018 (PPL100): the digital tools used by individuals for their own self-improvement, learning and development – both inside and outside the workplace.
  • Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning (WPL100): the digital tools used to design, deliver, enable and/or support learning in the workplace.
  • Top 100 Tools for Education (EDU100): the digital tools used by educators and students in schools, colleges, universities, adult education etc.

 

3 – Web courses are increasing in popularity.
Although Coursera is still the most popular web course platform, there are, in fact, now 12 web course platforms on the list. New additions this year include Udacity and Highbrow (the latter provides daily micro-lessons). It is clear that people like these platforms because they can chose what they want to study as well as how they want to study, ie. they can dip in and out if they want to and no-one is going to tell them off – which is unlike most corporate online courses which have a prescribed path through them and their use is heavily monitored.

 

 

5 – Learning at work is becoming personal and continuous.
The most significant feature of the list this year is the huge leap up the list that Degreed has made – up 86 places to 47th place – the biggest increase by any tool this year. Degreed is a lifelong learning platform and provides the opportunity for individuals to own their expertise and development through a continuous learning approach. And, interestingly, Degreed appears both on the PPL100 (at  30) and WPL100 (at 52). This suggests that some organisations are beginning to see the importance of personal, continuous learning at work. Indeed, another platform that underpins this, has also moved up the list significantly this year, too. Anders Pink is a smart curation platform available for both individuals and teams which delivers daily curated resources on specified topics. Non-traditional learning platforms are therefore coming to the forefront, as the next point further shows.

 

 

From DSC:
Perhaps some foreshadowing of the presence of a powerful, online-based, next generation learning platform…?

 

 

 

The Mobile AR Leaders of 2018 — from next.reality.news

Excerpt:

This time last year, we were getting our first taste of what mobile app developers could do in augmented reality with Apple’s ARKit, and most people had never heard of Animojis. Google’s AR platform was still Tango. Snapchat had just introduced its World Lens AR experiences. Most mobile AR experiences existing in the wild were marker-based offerings from the likes of Blippar and Zappar, or generic Pokémon GO knock-offs.

In last year’s NR50, published before the introduction of ARKit, only two of the top 10 professionals worked directly with mobile AR, and Apple CEO Tim Cook was ranked number 26, based primarily on his forward-looking statements about AR.

This year, Cook comes in at number one, with five others categorized under mobile AR in the overall top 10 of the NR30.

What a difference a year makes.

In just 12 months, we’ve seen mobile AR grow at a breakneck pace. Since Apple launched its AR toolkit, users have downloaded more than 13 million ARKit apps from the App Store, not including existing apps updated with ARKit capabilities. Apple has already updated its platform and will introduce even more new features to the public with the release of ARKit 2.0 this fall. Last year’s iPhone X also introduced a depth-sensing camera and AR Animojis that captured the imaginations of its users.

 

 

The Weather Channel forecasts more augmented reality for its live broadcasts with Unreal Engine — from next.reality.news by Tommy Palladino

Excerpt:

Augmented reality made its live broadcast debut for The Weather Channel in 2015. The technology helps on-air talent at the network to explain the science behind weather phenomena and tell more immersive stories. Powered by Unreal Engine, The Future Group’s Frontier platform will enable The Weather Channel to be able to show even more realistic AR content, such as accurately rendered storms and detailed cityscapes, all in real time.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Imagine this type of thing in online-based learning, MOOCs, and/or even in blended learning based learning environments (i.e., in situations where learning materials are designed/created by teams of specialists). If that were the case, who needs to be trained to create these pieces? Will students be creating these types of pieces in the future? Hmmm….

 

 

Winners announced of the 2018 Journalism 360 Challenge — from vrfocus.com
The question of “How might we experiment with immersive storytelling to advance the field of journalism?” looks to be answered by 11 projects.

Excerpt:

The eleven winners were announced on 9/11/18 of a contest being held by the Google News Initiative, Knight Foundation and Online News Association. The 2018 Journalism 360 Challenge asked people the question “How might we experiment with immersive storytelling to advance the field of journalism?” and it generated over 400 responses.

 

 

 

 

 



 

Addendum:

Educause Explores Future of Extended Reality on Campus — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Among the findings:

  • VR makes people feel like they’re really there. The “intellectual and physiological reactions” to constructs and events in VR are the same — “and sometimes identical” — to a person’s reactions in the real world;
  • 3D technologies facilitate active and experiential learning. AR, for example, lets users interact with an object in ways that aren’t possible in the physical world — such as seeing through surfaces or viewing data about underlying objects. And with 3D printing, learners can create “physical objects that might otherwise exist only simulations”; and
  • Simulations allow for scaling up of “high-touch, high-cost learning experiences.” Students may be able to go through virtual lab activities, for instance, even when a physical lab isn’t available.

Common challenges included implementation learning curves, instructional design, data storage of 3D images and effective cross-departmental collaboration.

“One significant result from this research is that it shows that these extended reality technologies are applicable across a wide spectrum of academic disciplines,” said Malcolm Brown, director of learning initiatives at Educause, in a statement. “In addition to the scientific disciplines, students in the humanities, for example, can re-construct cities and structures that no longer exist. I think this study will go a long way in encouraging faculty, instructional designers and educational technologists across higher education to further experiment with these technologies to vivify learning experiences in nearly all courses of study.”

 



 

 

Why one London university is now offering degrees in VR — from techrepublic.com by Conner Forrest
London College of Communication, UAL is launching a master’s degree in virtual reality for the 2018-19 academic year.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • London College of Communication, UAL is launching a Master of Arts in VR degree for the 2018-19 academic year.
  • The demand for VR professionals is growing in the film and media industries, where these technologies are being used most frequently.

 

From DSC:
Collaboration/videoconferencing tools like Webex, Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc. are being used in a variety of scenarios. That platform has been well established. It will be interesting to see how VR might play into web-based collaboration, training, and learning.

 

 

Adobe Announces the 2019 Release of Adobe Captivate, Introducing Virtual Reality for eLearning Design — from theblog.adobe.com

Excerpt:

  • Immersive learning with VR experiences: Design learning scenarios that your learners can experience in Virtual Reality using VR headsets. Import 360° media assets and add hotspots, quizzes and other interactive elements to engage your learners with near real-life scenarios
  • Interactive videos: Liven up demos and training videos by making them interactive with the new Adobe Captivate. Create your own or bring in existing YouTube videos, add questions at specific points and conduct knowledge checks to aid learner remediation
  • Fluid Boxes 2.0: Explore the building blocks of Smart eLearning design with intelligent containers that use white space optimally. Objects placed in Fluid Boxes get aligned automatically so that learners always get fully responsive experience regardless of their device or browser.
  • 360° learning experiences: Augment the learning landscape with 360° images and videos and convert them into interactive eLearning material with customizable overlay items such as information blurbs, audio content & quizzes.

 

 

Blippar unveils indoor visual positioning system to anchor AR — from martechtoday.com by Barry Levine
Employing machine vision to recognize mapped objects, the company says it can determine which way a user is looking and can calculate positioning down to a centimeter.

A Blippar visualization of AR using its new indoor visual positioning system

 

The Storyteller’s Guide to the Virtual Reality Audience — from medium.com by Katy Newton

Excerpt:

To even scratch the surface of these questions, we need to better understand the audience’s experience in VR — not just their experience of the technology, but the way that they understand story and their role within it.

 

 

Hospital introducing HoloLens augmented reality into the operating room — from medgadget.com

Excerpt:

HoloLens technology is being paired with Microsoft’s Surface Hub, a kind of digital whiteboard. The idea is that the surgical team can gather together around a Surface Hub to review patient information, discuss the details of a procedure, and select what information should be readily accessible during surgery. During the procedure, a surgeon wearing a HoloLens would be able to review a CT or MRI scan, access other data in the electronic medical records, and to be able to manipulate these so as to get a clear picture of what is being worked on and what needs to be done.

 

 

Raleigh Fire Department invests in virtual reality to enrich training — from vrfocus.com by Nikholai Koolon
New system allows department personnel to learn new skills through immersive experiences.

Excerpt:

The VR solution allows emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to dive into a rich and detailed environment which allows them to pinpoint portions of the body to dissect. This then allows them then see each part of the body in great detail along with viewing it from any angle. The goal is to allow for users to gain the experience to diagnose injuries from a variety of vantage points all where working within an virtual environment capable of displaying countless scenarios.

 

 

For another emerging technology, see:

Someday this tiny spider bot could perform surgery inside your body — from fastcompany.com by Jesus Diaz
The experimental robots could also fix airplane engines and find disaster victims.

Excerpt:

A team of Harvard University researchers recently achieved a major breakthrough in robotics, engineering a tiny spider robot using tech that could one day work inside your body to repair tissues or destroy tumors. Their work could not only change medicine–by eliminating invasive surgeries–but could also have an impact on everything from how industrial machines are maintained to how disaster victims are rescued.

Until now, most advanced, small-scale robots followed a certain model: They tend to be built at the centimeter scale and have only one degree of freedom, which means they can only perform one movement. Not so with this new ‘bot, developed by scientists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Boston University. It’s built at the millimeter scale, and because it’s made of flexible materials–easily moved by pneumatic and hydraulic power–the critter has an unprecedented 18 degrees of freedom.

 


Plus some items from a few weeks ago


 

After almost a decade and billions in outside investment, Magic Leap’s first product is finally on sale for $2,295. Here’s what it’s like. — from

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

I liked that it gave a new perspective to the video clip I’d watched: It threw the actual game up on the wall alongside the kind of information a basketball fan would want, including 3-D renderings and stats. Today, you might turn to your phone for that information. With Magic Leap, you wouldn’t have to.

Abovitz also said that intelligent assistants will play a big role in Magic Leap’s future. I didn’t get to test one, but Abovitz says he’s working with a team in Los Angeles that’s developing high-definition people that will appear to Magic Leap users and assist with tasks. Think Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant, but instead of speaking to your phone, you’d be speaking to a realistic-looking human through Magic Leap. Or you might be speaking to an avatar of someone real.

“You might need a doctor who can come to you,” Abovitz said. “AI that appears in front of you can give you eye contact and empathy.”

 

And I loved the idea of being able to place a digital TV screen anywhere I wanted.

 

 

Magic Leap One Available For Purchase, Starting At $2,295 — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt:

December of last year U.S. startup Magic Leap unveiled its long-awaited mixed reality headset, a secretive device five years and $2.44B USD in the making.

This morning that same headset, now referred to as the Magic Leap One Creator Edition, became available for purchase in the U.S. On sale to creators at a hefty starting price of $2,275, the computer spatial device utilizes synthetic lightfields to capture natural lightwaves and superimpose interactive, 3D content over the real-world.

 

 

 

Magic Leap One First Hands-On Impressions for HoloLens Developers — from magic-leap.reality.news

Excerpt:

After spending about an hour with the headset running through set up and poking around its UI and a couple of the launch day apps, I thought it would be helpful to share a quick list of some of my first impressions as someone who’s spent a lot of time with a HoloLens over the past couple years and try to start answering many of the burning questions I’ve had about the device.

 

 

World Campus researches effectiveness of VR headsets and video in online classes — from news.psu.edu

Excerpt:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State instructional designers are researching whether using virtual reality and 360-degree video can help students in online classes learn more effectively.

Designers worked with professors in the College of Nursing to incorporate 360-degree video into Nursing 352, a class on Advanced Health Assessment. Students in the class, offered online through Penn State World Campus, were offered free VR headsets to use with their smartphones to create a more immersive experience while watching the video, which shows safety and health hazards in a patient’s home.

Bill Egan, the lead designer for the Penn State World Campus RN to BSN nursing program, said students in the class were surveyed as part of a study approved by the Institutional Review Board and overwhelmingly said that they enjoyed the videos and thought they provided educational value. Eighty percent of the students said they would like to see more immersive content such as 360-degree videos in their online courses, he said.

 

 

7 Practical Problems with VR for eLearning — from learnupon.com

Excerpt:

In this post, we run through some practical stumbling blocks that prevent VR training from being feasible for most.

There are quite a number of practical considerations which prevent VR from totally overhauling the corporate training world. Some are obvious, whilst others only become apparent after using the technology a number of times. It’s important to be made aware of these limitations so that a large investment isn’t made in tech that isn’t really practical for corporate training.

 

Augmented reality – the next big thing for HR? — from hrdconnect.com
Augmented reality (AR) could have a huge impact on HR, transforming long-established processes into engaging and exciting something. What will this look like? How can we shape this into our everyday working lives?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

AR also has the potential to revolutionise our work lives, changing the way we think about office spaces and equipment forever.

Most of us still commute to an office every day, which can be a time-consuming and stressful experience. AR has the potential to turn any space into your own customisable workspace, complete with digital notes, folders and files – even a digital photo of your loved ones. This would give you access to all the information and tools that you would typically find in an office, but wherever and whenever you need them.

And instead of working on a flat, stationary, two-dimensional screen, your workspace would be a customisable three-dimensional space, where objects and information are manipulated with gestures rather than hardware. All you would need is an AR headset.

AR could also transform the way we advertise brands and share information. Imagine if your organisation had an AR stand at a conference – how engaging would that be for potential customers? How much more interesting and fun would meetings be if we used AR to present information instead of slides on a projector?

AR could transform the on-boarding experience into something fun and interactive – imagine taking an AR tour of your office, where information about key places, company history or your new colleagues pops into view as you go from place to place. 

 

 

RETINA Are Bringing Augmented Reality To Air Traffic Control Towers — from vrfocus.com by Nikholai Koolonavi

Excerpt:

A new project is aiming to make it easier for staff in airport control towers to visualize information to help make their job easier by leveraging augmented reality (AR) technology. The project, dubbed RETINA, is looking to modernise Europe’s air traffic management for safer, smarter and even smoother air travel.

 

 

 

The title of this article being linked to is: Augmented and virtual reality mean business: Everything you need to know

 

Augmented and virtual reality mean business: Everything you need to know — from zdnet by Greg Nichols
An executive guide to the technology and market drivers behind the hype in AR, VR, and MR.

Excerpt:

Overhyped by some, drastically underestimated by others, few emerging technologies have generated the digital ink like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR).  Still lumbering through the novelty phase and roller coaster-like hype cycles, the technologies are only just beginning to show signs of real world usefulness with a new generation of hardware and software applications aimed at the enterprise and at end users like you. On the line is what could grow to be a $108 billion AR/VR industry as soon as 2021. Here’s what you need to know.

 

The reason is that VR environments by nature demand a user’s full attention, which make the technology poorly suited to real-life social interaction outside a digital world. AR, on the other hand, has the potential to act as an on-call co-pilot to everyday life, seamlessly integrating into daily real-world interactions. This will become increasingly true with the development of the AR Cloud.

The AR Cloud
Described by some as the world’s digital twin, the AR Cloud is essentially a digital copy of the real world that can be accessed by any user at any time.

For example, it won’t be long before whatever device I have on me at a given time (a smartphone or wearable, for example) will be equipped to tell me all I need to know about a building just by training a camera at it (GPS is operating as a poor-man’s AR Cloud at the moment).

What the internet is for textual information, the AR Cloud will be for the visible world. Whether it will be open source or controlled by a company like Google is a hotly contested issue.

 

Augmented reality will have a bigger impact on the market and our daily lives than virtual reality — and by a long shot. That’s the consensus of just about every informed commentator on the subject.

 

 

 

Mixed reality will transform learning (and Magic Leap joins act one) — from edsurge.com by Maya Georgieva

Excerpt:

Despite all the hype in recent years about the potential for virtual reality in education, an emerging technology known as mixed reality has far greater promise in and beyond the classroom.

Unlike experiences in virtual reality, mixed reality interacts with the real world that surrounds us. Digital objects become part of the real world. They’re not just digital overlays, but interact with us and the surrounding environment.

If all that sounds like science fiction, a much-hyped device promises some of those features later this year. The device is by a company called Magic Leap, and it uses a pair of goggles to project what the company calls a “lightfield” in front of the user’s face to make it look like digital elements are part of the real world. The expectation is that Magic Leap will bring digital objects in a much more vivid, dynamic and fluid way compared to other mixed-reality devices such as Microsoft’s Hololens.

 

The title of the article being linked to here is Mixed reality will transform learning (and Magic Leap joins act one)

 

Now think about all the other things you wished you had learned this way and imagine a dynamic digital display that transforms your environment and even your living room or classroom into an immersive learning lab. It is learning within a highly dynamic and visual context infused with spatial audio cues reacting to your gaze, gestures, gait, voice and even your heartbeat, all referenced with your geo-location in the world. Unlike what happens with VR, where our brain is tricked into believing the world and the objects in it are real, MR recognizes and builds a map of your actual environment.

 

 

 

Also see:

virtualiteach.com
Exploring The Potential for the Vive Focus in Education

 

virtualiteach.com

 

 

 

Digital Twins Doing Real World Work — from stambol.com

Excerpt:

On the big screen it’s become commonplace to see a 3D rendering or holographic projection of an industrial floor plan or a mechanical schematic. Casual viewers might take for granted that the technology is science fiction and many years away from reality. But today we’re going to outline where these sophisticated virtual replicas – Digital Twins – are found in the real world, here and now. Essentially, we’re talking about a responsive simulated duplicate of a physical object or system. When we first wrote about Digital Twin technology, we mainly covered industrial applications and urban infrastructure like transit and sewers. However, the full scope of their presence is much broader, so now we’re going to break it up into categories.

 

The title of the article being linked to here is Digital twins doing real world work

 

Digital twin — from Wikipedia

Digital twin refers to a digital replica of physical assets (physical twin), processes and systems that can be used for various purposes.[1] The digital representation provides both the elements and the dynamics of how an Internet of Things device operates and lives throughout its life cycle.[2]

Digital twins integrate artificial intelligence, machine learning and software analytics with data to create living digital simulation models that update and change as their physical counterparts change. A digital twin continuously learns and updates itself from multiple sources to represent its near real-time status, working condition or position. This learning system, learns from itself, using sensor data that conveys various aspects of its operating condition; from human experts, such as engineers with deep and relevant industry domain knowledge; from other similar machines; from other similar fleets of machines; and from the larger systems and environment in which it may be a part of. A digital twin also integrates historical data from past machine usage to factor into its digital model.

In various industrial sectors, twins are being used to optimize the operation and maintenance of physical assets, systems and manufacturing processes.[3] They are a formative technology for the Industrial Internet of Things, where physical objects can live and interact with other machines and people virtually.[4]

 

 

Disney to debut its first VR short next month — from techcrunch.com by Sarah Wells

Excerpt:

Walt Disney Animation Studio is set to debut its first VR short film, Cycles, this August in Vancouver, the Association for Computing Machinery announced today. The plan is for it to be a headliner at the ACM’s computer graphics conference (SIGGRAPH), joining other forms of VR, AR and MR entertainment in the conference’s designated Immersive Pavilion.

This film is a first for both Disney and its director, Jeff Gipson, who joined the animation team in 2013 to work as a lighting artist on films like Frozen, Zootopia and Moana. The objective of this film, Gipson said in the statement released by ACM, is to inspire a deep emotional connection with the story.

“We hope more and more people begin to see the emotional weight of VR films, and with Cycles in particular, we hope they will feel the emotions we aimed to convey with our story,” said Gipson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Predictions 2018: Technology, Media, and Telecommunications –from deloitte.com

The technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications ecosystem remains as fascinating as ever in 2018. Will augmented reality become mainstream? How will machine learning affect the enterprise? What’s the future of the smartphone? Deloitte Global invites you to read the latest Predictions report, designed to provide insight into transformation and growth opportunities over the next one to five years.

 

 

 

 

 

2018 TECH TRENDS REPORT — from the Future Today Institute
Emerging technology trends that will influence business, government, education, media and society in the coming year.

Description:

The Future Today Institute’s 11th annual Tech Trends Report identifies 235 tantalizing advancements in emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, biotech, autonomous robots, green energy and space travel—that will begin to enter the mainstream and fundamentally disrupt business, geopolitics and everyday life around the world. Our annual report has garnered more than six million cumulative views, and this edition is our largest to date.

Helping organizations see change early and calculate the impact of new trends is why we publish our annual Emerging Tech Trends Report, which focuses on mid- to late-stage emerging technologies that are on a growth trajectory.

In this edition of the FTI Tech Trends Report, we’ve included several new features and sections:

  • a list and map of the world’s smartest cities
  • a calendar of events that will shape technology this year
  • detailed near-future scenarios for several of the technologies
  • a new framework to help organizations decide when to take action on trends
  • an interactive table of contents, which will allow you to more easily navigate the report from the bookmarks bar in your PDF reader

 


 

01 How does this trend impact our industry and all of its parts?
02 How might global events — politics, climate change, economic shifts – impact this trend, and as a result, our organization?
03 What are the second, third, fourth, and fifth-order implications of this trend as it evolves, both in our organization and our industry?
04 What are the consequences if our organization fails to take action on this trend?
05 Does this trend signal emerging disruption to our traditional business practices and cherished beliefs?
06 Does this trend indicate a future disruption to the established roles and responsibilities within our organization? If so, how do we reverse-engineer that disruption and deal with it in the present day?
07 How are the organizations in adjacent spaces addressing this trend? What can we learn from their failures and best practices?
08 How will the wants, needs and expectations of our consumers/ constituents change as a result of this trend?
09 Where does this trend create potential new partners or collaborators for us?
10 How does this trend inspire us to think about the future of our organization?

 


 

 

With great tech success, comes even greater responsibility — from techcrunch.com by Ron Miller

Excerpts:

As we watch major tech platforms evolve over time, it’s clear that companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon (among others) have created businesses that are having a huge impact on humanity — sometimes positive and other times not so much.

That suggests that these platforms have to understand how people are using them and when they are trying to manipulate them or use them for nefarious purposes — or the companies themselves are. We can apply that same responsibility filter to individual technologies like artificial intelligence and indeed any advanced technologies and the impact they could possibly have on society over time.

We can be sure that Twitter’s creators never imagined a world where bots would be launched to influence an election when they created the company more than a decade ago. Over time though, it becomes crystal clear that Twitter, and indeed all large platforms, can be used for a variety of motivations, and the platforms have to react when they think there are certain parties who are using their networks to manipulate parts of the populace.

 

 

But it’s up to the companies who are developing the tech to recognize the responsibility that comes with great economic success or simply the impact of whatever they are creating could have on society.

 

 

 

 

Why the Public Overlooks and Undervalues Tech’s Power — from morningconsult.com by Joanna Piacenza
Some experts say the tech industry is rapidly nearing a day of reckoning

Excerpts:

  • 5% picked tech when asked which industry had the most power and influence, well behind the U.S. government, Wall Street and Hollywood.
  • Respondents were much more likely to say sexual harassment was a major issue in Hollywood (49%) and government (35%) than in Silicon Valley (17%).

It is difficult for Americans to escape the technology industry’s influence in everyday life. Facebook Inc. reports that more than 184 million people in the United States log on to the social network daily, or roughly 56 percent of the population. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of all Americans and 94 percent of Americans ages 18-24 use YouTube. Amazon.com Inc.’s market value is now nearly three times that of Walmart Inc.

But when asked which geographic center holds the most power and influence in America, respondents in a recent Morning Consult survey ranked the tech industry in Silicon Valley far behind politics and government in Washington, finance on Wall Street and the entertainment industry in Hollywood.

 

 

 

 

How a Flipped Syllabus, Twitter and YouTube Made This Professor Teacher of the Year — from edsurge.com by Bruce Anderson

Excerpt:

A few years after John Boyer began teaching world geography at Virginia Tech, a survey revealed that 58 percent of college-aged Americans could not locate Japan on a map. Sixty-nine percent could not find the United Kingdom.

Boyer raced ahead undaunted. He loved the scope and implications of his subject. “The great thing about geography is . . . everything happens somewhere,” he explains. “Geography is the somewhere.”

Boyer is now a senior instructor and researcher at Virginia Tech. He took over World Regions, an entry-level geography class, while he was working on a master’s degree nearly 20 years ago. The class then had 50 students. Now the course is offered each semester and a whopping 3,000 students take it in any given school year.

What has made it so popular? Innovative pedagogy, for starters. Boyer uses a “flipped syllabus” in which students’ final grades are based on the points they’ve earned—not lost—throughout the semester. His legendary assignments range from reviewing films to tweeting on behalf of world leaders (more on that below). Mostly, Boyer himself has made the class a rite of passage for undergraduates, who typically find him funny, passionate, and consummately engaging. Boyer even created a comic alter ego called the Plaid Avenger, who has narrated textbooks and podcasts but is now largely retired—though Boyer still sports his famous plaid jackets and drives a plaid Scion.

 

 

Given the disparity in knowledge levels as well as the disparity in what they like to do in terms of work, whether that be watching international film or writing papers, I wanted to increase the flexibility of what the students could do to achieve a grade in this class.

 

 

Tell us about the Twitter World Leaders.
You can choose to be a true, real world leader. Of course, they’re fake accounts and we make sure everyone knows you’re the fake Donald Trump or the fake Angela Merkel of Germany. Once you take on that role, you will tweet as the world leader for the entire semester, and you have to tweet two to three times a day. And it’s not silly stuff. What is the chancellor of Germany working on right now? What other world leaders is Angela Merkel meeting with? What’s going on in Germany or the EEU?

 

 

 

2018 Tech Trends for Journalism & Media Report + the 2017 Tech Trends Annual Report that I missed from the Future Today Institute

 

2018 Tech Trends For Journalism Report — from the Future Today Institute

Key Takeaways

  • 2018 marks the beginning of the end of smartphones in the world’s largest economies. What’s coming next are conversational interfaces with zero-UIs. This will radically change the media landscape, and now is the best time to start thinking through future scenarios.
  • In 2018, a critical mass of emerging technologies will converge finding advanced uses beyond initial testing and applied research. That’s a signal worth paying attention to. News organizations should devote attention to emerging trends in voice interfaces, the decentralization of content, mixed reality, new types of search, and hardware (such as CubeSats and smart cameras).
  • Journalists need to understand what artificial intelligence is, what it is not, and what it means for the future of news. AI research has advanced enough that it is now a core component of our work at FTI. You will see the AI ecosystem represented in many of the trends in this report, and it is vitally important that all decision-makers within news organizations familiarize themselves with the current and emerging AI landscapes. We have included an AI Primer For Journalists in our Trend Report this year to aid in that effort.
  • Decentralization emerged as a key theme for 2018. Among the companies and organizations FTI covers, we discovered a new emphasis on restricted peer-to-peer networks to detect harassment, share resources and connect with sources. There is also a push by some democratic governments around the world to divide internet access and to restrict certain content, effectively creating dozens of “splinternets.”
  • Consolidation is also a key theme for 2018. News brands, broadcast spectrum, and artificial intelligence startups will continue to be merged with and acquired by relatively few corporations. Pending legislation and policy in the U.S., E.U. and in parts of Asia could further concentrate the power among a small cadre of information and technology organizations in the year ahead.
  • To understand the future of news, you must pay attention to the future of many industries and research areas in the coming year. When journalists think about the future, they should broaden the usual scope to consider developments from myriad other fields also participating in the knowledge economy. Technology begets technology. We are witnessing an explosion in slow motion.

Those in the news ecosystem should factor the trends in this report into their strategic thinking for the coming year, and adjust their planning, operations and business models accordingly.

 



 

 

2017 Tech Trends Annual Report — from the Future Today Institute; this is the first I’ve seen this solid report

Excerpts:

This year’s report has 159 trends.
This is mostly due to the fact that 2016 was the year that many areas of science and technology finally started to converge. As a result we’re seeing a sort of slow-motion explosion––we will undoubtedly look back on the last part of this decade as a pivotal moment in our history on this planet.

Our 2017 Trend Report reveals strategic opportunities and challenges for your organization in the coming year. The Future Today Institute’s annual Trend Report prepares leaders and organizations for the year ahead, so that you are better positioned to see emerging technology and adjust your strategy accordingly. Use our report to identify near-future business disruption and competitive threats while simultaneously finding new collaborators and partners. Most importantly, use our report as a jumping off point for deeper strategic planning.

 

 



 

Also see:

Emerging eLearning Tools and Platforms Improve Results — from learningsolutionsmag.com

  • Augmented and virtual reality offer ways to immerse learners in experiences that can aid training in processes and procedures, provide realistic simulations to deepen empathy and build communication skills, or provide in-the-workflow support for skilled technicians performing complex procedures.
  • Badges and other digital credentials provide new ways to assess and validate employees’ skills and mark their eLearning achievements, even if their learning takes place informally or outside of the corporate framework.
  • Chatbots are proving an excellent tool for spaced learning, review of course materials, guiding new hires through onboarding, and supporting new managers with coaching and tips.
  • Content curation enables L&D professionals to provide information and educational materials from trusted sources that can deepen learners’ knowledge and help them build skills.
  • eBooks, a relative newcomer to the eLearning arena, offer rich features for portable on-demand content that learners can explore, review, and revisit as needed.
  • Interactive videos provide branching scenarios, quiz learners on newly introduced concepts and terms, offer prompts for small-group discussions, and do much more to engage learners.
  • Podcasts can turn drive time into productive time, allowing learners to enjoy a story built around eLearning content.
  • Smartphone apps, available wherever learners take their phones or tablets, can be designed to offer product support, info for sales personnel, up-to-date information for repair technicians, and games and drills for teaching and reviewing content; the possibilities are limited only by designers’ imagination.
  • Social platforms like Slack, Yammer, or Instagram facilitate collaboration, sharing of ideas, networking, and social learning. Adopting social learning platforms encourages learners to develop their skills and contribute to their communities of practice, whether inside their companies or more broadly.
  • xAPI turns any experience into a learning experience. Adding xAPI capability to any suitable tool or platform means you can record learner activity and progress in a learning record store (LRS) and track it.

 



 

DevLearn Attendees Learn How to ‘Think Like a Futurist’ — from learningsolutionsmag.com

Excerpt:

How does all of this relate to eLearning? Again, Webb anticipated the question. Her response gave hope to some—and terrified others. She presented three possible future scenarios:

  • Everyone in the learning arena learns to recognize weak signals; they work with technologists to refine artificial intelligence to instill values. Future machines learn not only to identify correct and incorrect answers; they also learn right and wrong. Webb said that she gives this optimistic scenario a 25 percent chance of occurring.
  • Everyone present is inspired by her talk but they, and the rest of the learning world, do nothing. Artificial intelligence continues to develop as it has in the past, learning to identify correct answers but lacking values. Webb’s prediction is that this pragmatic optimistic scenario has a 50 percent chance of occurring.
  • Learning and artificial intelligence continue to develop on separate tracks. Future artificial intelligence and machine learning projects incorporate real biases that affect what and how people learn and how knowledge is transferred. Webb said that she gives this catastrophic scenario a 25 percent chance of occurring.

In an attempt to end on a strong positive note, Webb said that “the future hasn’t happened yet—we think” and encouraged attendees to take action. “To build the future of learning that you want, listen to weak signals now.”

 



 

 

 

 

 

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