Google Home’s assistant can now recognize different voices — from cnbc.com

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s voice-activated assistant can now recognize who’s talking to it on Google’s Home speaker.

An update released Thursday enables Home’s built-in assistant to learn the different voices of up to six people, although they can’t all be talking to the internet-connected speaker at the same time.

Distinguishing voices will allow Home to be more personal in some of its responses, depending on who triggers the assistant with the phrase, “OK Google” or “Hey Google.”

For instance, once Home is trained to recognize a user named Joe, the assistant will automatically be able to tell him what traffic is like on his commute, list events on his daily calendar or even play his favorite songs. Then another user named Jane could get similar information from Home, but customized for her.

 

 

 

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:
First of all, let me say again that I’m not suggesting that we replace professors with artificial intelligence, algorithms, and such.

However, given a variety of trends, we need to greatly lower the price of obtaining a degree and these types of technologies will help us do just that — while at the same time significantly increasing the productivity of each professor and/or team of specialists offering an online-based course (something institutions of higher education are currently attempting to do…big time). Not only will these types of technologies find their place in the higher education landscape, I predict that they will usher in a “New Amazon.com of Higher Education” — a new organization that will cause major disruption for traditional institutions of higher education. AI-powered MOOCs will find their place on the higher ed landscape; just how big they become remains to be seen, but this area of the landscape should be on our radars from here on out.

This type of development again points the need for team-based
approaches; s
uch approaches will likely dominate the future.

 

 


 

California State University East Bay partners with Cognii to offer artificial intelligence powered online learning — from prnewswire.com
Cognii’s Virtual Learning Assistant technology will provide intelligent tutoring and assessments to students in a chatbot-style conversation

Excerpt:

HAYWARD, Calif., April 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cal State East Bay, a top-tier public university, and Cognii Inc., a leading provider of artificial intelligence-based educational technologies, today announced a partnership. Cognii will work with Cal State East Bay to develop a new learning and assessment experience, powered by Cognii’s Virtual Learning Assistant technology.

Winner of the 2016 EdTech Innovation of the Year Award from Mass Technology Leadership Council for its unique use of conversational AI and Natural Language Processing technologies in education, Cognii VLA provides automatic grading to students’ open-response answers along with qualitative feedback that guides them towards conceptual mastery. Compared to the multiple choice tests, open-response questions are considered pedagogically superior for measuring students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, essential for 21st century jobs.

Students at Cal State East Bay will use the Cognii-powered interactive tutorials starting in summer as part of the online transfer orientation course. The interactive questions and tutorials will be developed collaboratively by Cognii team and the eLearning specialists from the university’s office of the Online Campus. Students will interact with the questions in a chatbot-style natural language conversation during the formative assessment stage. As students practice the tutorials, Cognii will generate rich learning analytics and proficiency measurements for the course leaders.

 

 

 

 

Looking to build the campus of tomorrow? 5 trends you should know — from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
Today’s trends will bring about a new vision for the traditional college campus.

Excerpt:

“Innovations in physical space must be made to accommodate demands for accessibility, flexibility and affordability,” according to The State of Higher Education in 2017, a report from professional services firm Grant Thornton.

Changes in infrastructure are being driven by a handful of trends, including:

  • Digital technology is decoupling access to the classroom and information from any specific geographic location.
  • Learning is becoming more “modular,” credentialing specific competencies, such as certificates and badges,, rather than the model of four years to a degree via fixed-class schedules. This requires a less broad range of academic buildings on campus.
  • Students will engage with their coursework at their own time and pace, as they do in every other aspect of their lives.
  • Price pressure on colleges will create incentives for cost efficiencies, discouraging the fixed-cost commitment embodied in physical structures.
  • Deferred maintenance is a problem so large that it can’t be solved by most colleges within their available resources; the result may be reducing the physical plant footprint or just letting it deteriorate further.

These developments will prompt physical space transformation that will lead to a new kind of campus.

 

 


The State of Higher Education in 2017 — from grantthornton.com

 

Browse the report articles:

 

 

Innovative thinking will be vital to successfully moving into the future.

 

 

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.

 



 

 

 

The 82 Hottest EdTech Tools of 2017 According to Education Experts — from tutora.co.uk by Giorgio Cassella

Excerpt:

If you work in education, you’ll know there’s a HUGE array of applications, services, products and tools created to serve a multitude of functions in education.

Tools for teaching and learning, parent-teacher communication apps, lesson planning software, home-tutoring websites, revision blogs, SEN education information, professional development qualifications and more.

There are so many companies creating new products for education, though, that it can be difficult to keep up – especially with the massive volumes of planning and marking teachers have to do, never mind finding the time to actually teach!

So how do you know which ones are the best?

Well, as a team of people passionate about education and learning, we decided to do a bit of research to help you out.

We’ve asked some of the best and brightest in education for their opinions on the hottest EdTech of 2017. These guys are the real deal – experts in education, teaching and new tech from all over the world from England to India, to New York and San Francisco.

They’ve given us a list of 82 amazing, tried and tested tools…


From DSC:
The ones that I mentioned that Giorgio included in his excellent article were:

  • AdmitHub – Free, Expert College Admissions Advice
  • Labster – Empowering the Next Generation of Scientists to Change the World
  • Unimersiv – Virtual Reality Educational Experiences
  • Lifeliqe – Interactive 3D Models to Augment Classroom Learning

 


 

 

 

 

From DSC:
The use of virtual reality in industries such as architecture, construction, and real estate is growing. Below are some articles that speak to this trend.

In the future, it’s highly likely we’ll be able to get a nice VR-based tour of a space before building it, or renting it, or moving into it. Schools and universities will benefit from this as well, as they can use VR to refine the vision for a space with the appropriate stakeholders and donors.

 


 

 

Coming Soon: A Virtual Reality Revolution — from builderonline.com by Jennifer Goodman
American consumers will soon expect homes to be viewable before they are built. Are you ready?

Excerpt:

In what ways are builders using VR today?
There are two primary uses of the panoramic style VR that I mentioned above being used: 1) photography based experiences and 2) computer generated (CG) experiences. The former is getting quite a bit of traction right now through technologies like Matterport. They are what I consider a modern version of iPix, using a camera to photograph an existing environment and special software to move through the space. But it is limited to real world environments. The CG experiences don’t require the environments to be built which gives builders a huge advantage to pre-market their properties. And since it is computer generated, there is a tremendous amount of flexibility in what is presented, such as various structural options or cabinet selections. And not only homes! Developers are using the technology to market the amenities of a new master planned community.

 

 

Local builders step further into virtual reality — from richmondbizsense.com by Jonathan Spiers

Excerpt:

While 3D modeling and online virtual tours have become more commonplace in the home design industry, at least one local builder is taking the custom home building and buying process into a new dimension.

At a recent preview event for this year’s Homearama, an annual home design showcase to be held this May at Chesterfield County’s NewMarket Estates, Midlothian-based Lifestyle Home Builders let attendees virtually walk through and look around a completed version of the house it is building – while standing within the same unfinished home under construction.

Participants were invited to wear virtual reality (VR) headsets for a full immersion, 360-degree experience, or they could navigate the finished product via a virtual tour on a computer screen. LifeStyle is using the technology, which it adapted from building information modeling (BIM) and off-the-shelf software, to allow homebuyers a chance to see their custom home before it is built and make any changes prior to construction starting.

 

 

How Virtual Reality Could Revolutionize The Real Estate Industry — from forbes.com by Azad Abbasi

Excerpt:

Consider the top two hurdles of the average real estate agent:

  • Agents have to manage the time it takes to go from one visit to the other, dealing with traffic among other elements out of their control.
  • The most commonly heard phrase in real estate is, “It doesn’t look like the pictures.”

Virtual reality can help immediately resolve both of these issues. It offers the possibility to virtually visit a lot more homes in a lot less time. This will naturally increase sales efficiency, as well as allow the ability to see more potential buyers.

Here are three different options you can explore using virtual reality to heighten real estate experiences:

 

 

From DSC:
After reviewing the article and video (below), it will be interesting to see how machine-to-machine (M2M) communications will be used in combination with augmented reality — and perhaps with virtual reality and mixed reality as well. That is, get to within a certain range of an object, and something automatically happens on your mobile device or your head mounted device. Perhaps that’s the sort of thing Apple is building into their next smart phone. It would sure open up some interesting learning and entertainment-related experiences — as such new affordances could help foster anticipation and curiosity, while grabbing someone’s attention.

This type of thing could easily become a piece of the future of art and creativity.


 

Mini-Mirages Emerge in an Augmented Reality Art Exhibition — from creators.vice.com by Nathaniel Ainley
Adrien M and Claire B’s latest series of installations basically looks like Harry Potter magic come to life.

Excerpt:

Even in its early beta stages, the new live exhibition from digital artists Adrien M and Claire B will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. Throughout their Mirages & Miracles display, the artist duo uses wondrous applications of augmented reality to create an orchestra of new installations, both small and large. Much like their live dance performance work at BAM, the new bundle merges the digital with the material, blurring the lines between what is real and what is fake. The multi-pronged ensemble uses augmented drawings, holographic illusions, virtual-reality headsets, and large-scale projections to create a number of unbelievable scenarios “that take root in both the mirage and the miracle,” according to the duo.

 

 

Mirages & miracles, premier aperçu… from Adrien M & Claire B on Vimeo.

 

 

 

The Hidden Costs of Active Learning — from by Thomas Mennella
Flipped and active learning truly are a better way for students to learn, but they also may be a fast track to instructor burnout.

Excerpt:

The time has come for us to have a discussion about the hidden cost of active learning in higher education. Soon, gone will be the days of instructors arriving to a lecture hall, delivering a 75-minute speech and leaving. Gone will be the days of midterms and finals being the sole forms of assessing student learning. For me, these days have already passed, and good riddance. These are largely ineffective teaching and learning strategies. Today’s college classroom is becoming dynamic, active and student-centered. Additionally, the learning never stops because the dialogue between student and instructor persists endlessly over the internet. Trust me when I say that this can be exhausting. With constant ‘touch-points,’ ‘personalized learning opportunities’ and the like, the notion of a college instructor having 12 contact hours per week that even remotely total 12 hours is beyond unreasonable.

We need to reevaluate how we measure, assign and compensate faculty teaching loads within an active learning framework. We need to recognize that instructors teaching in these innovative ways are doing more, and spending more hours, than their more traditional colleagues. And we must accept that a failure to recognize and remedy these ‘new normals’ risks burning out a generation of dedicated and passionate instructors. Flipped learning works and active learning works, but they’re very challenging ways to teach. I still say I will never teach another way again … I’m just not sure for how much longer that can be.

 

From DSC:
The above article prompted me to revisit the question of how we might move towards using more team-based approaches…? Thomas Mennella seems to be doing an incredible job — but grading 344 assignments each week or 3,784 assignments this semester is most definitely a recipe for burnout.

Then, pondering this situation, an article came to my mind that discusses Thomas Frey’s prediction that the largest internet-based company of 2030 will be focused on education.

I wondered…who will be the Amazon.com of the future of education? 

Such an organization will likely utilize a team-based approach to create and deliver excellent learning experiences — and will also likely leverage the power of artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning as a piece of their strategy.

 

 

 
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