Alexa creepily recorded a family’s private conversations, sent them to business associate — from usatoday.com by Elizabeth Weise

Excerpt:

In this instance, a random series of disconnected conversations got interpreted by Alexa as a specific and connected series of commands.

It doesn’t appear that the family members actually heard Alexa asking who it should send a message to, or confirming that it should be sent.

That’s probably a function of how good the Echo’s far field voice recognition is. Each speaker has seven microphones which are arrayed so the cylindrical speaker can pick up voice commands from far away or even in noisy rooms with lots of conversations going on.

Amazon says it is evaluating options to make cases such as happened to the Portland family less likely.

But given that Forrester predicts by 2020 almost 50% of American households will contain a smart speaker, expect more such confusions in the future.

 

 

 

 

The scary amount that college will cost in the future — from cnbc.com by Annie Nova

Excerpt:

Think college is expensive now? Then new parents will probably want to take a seat for this news.

In 2036, just 18 years from now, four years at a private university will be around $303,000, up from $167,000 today.

To get a degree at a public university you’ll need about $184,000, compared with $101,000 now.

These forecasts were provided by Wealthfront, an automated investment platform that offers college saving options. It uses Department of Education data on the current cost of schools along with expected annual inflation to come up with its projections.

 

Excerpted graphic:

 

From DSC:
We had better be at the end of the line of thinking that says these tuition hikes can continue. It’s not ok. More and more people will be shut out by this kind of societal gatekeeper. The ever-increasing cost of obtaining a degree has become a matter of social justice for me. Other solutions are needed. The 800 pound gorilla of debt that’s already being loaded onto more and more of our graduates will impact them for years…even for decades in many of our graduates’ cases.

It’s my hope that a variety of technologies will make learning more affordable, yet still provide a high quality of education. In fact, I’m hopeful that the personalization/customization of learning will take some major steps forward in the very near future. We will still need and want solid teachers, professors, and trainers, but I’m hopeful that those folks will be aided by the heavy lifting that will be done by some powerful tools/technologies that will be aimed at helping people learn and grow…providing lifelong learners with more choice, more control.

I love the physical campus as much as anyone, and I hope that all students can have that experience if they want it. But I’ve seen and worked with the high costs of building and maintaining physical spaces — maintaining our learning spaces, dorms, libraries, gyms, etc. is very expensive.

I see streams of content becoming more prevalent in the future — especially for lifelong learners who need to reinvent themselves in order to stay marketable. We will be able to subscribe and unsubscribe to curated streams of content that we want to learn more about. For example, today, that could involve RSS feeds and Feedly (to aggregate those feeds). I see us using micro-learning to help us encode information and then practice recalling it (i.e., spaced practice), to help us stop or lessen the forgetting curves we all experience, to help us sort information into things we know and things that we need more assistance on (while providing links to resources that will help us obtain better mastery of the subject(s)).

 

 

Educause Releases 2018 Horizon Report Preview — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpt:

After acquiring the rights to the New Media Consortium’s Horizon project earlier this year, Educause has now published a preview of the 2018 Higher Education Edition of the Horizon Report — research that was in progress at the time of NMC’s sudden dissolution. The report covers the key technology trends, challenges and developments expected to impact higher ed in the short-, mid- and long-term future.

 

Also see:

 

 

 

Immersive VR Education showcases the power of learning through virtual reality — from vrfocus.com by Nina Salomons
Pixar co-founder Loren Carpenter was ‘teleported’ live into a virtual classroom in the UK.

Excerpt:

Virtual reality (VR) has often been mentioned as the empathy machine, however it has many use cases. When it comes to memory and retention it looks like VR is not only useful for simulation but for education as well. Immersive VR Education teamed up with HTC Vive and Windsor Forest Colleges Group to create a memorable experience of virtual teaching.

On the April 25th ten students from Windsor Forest Colleges Group in the UK put on an HTC Vive headset and guided by David Whelan CEO & Founder of Immersive VR Education and Mike Armstrong, Senior/Lead Developer of Immersive VR Education using the free VR social education and presentation platform ENGAGE. ENGAGE allows users to hold meetings, classes, private lessons and presentations. Users can record, create their own lessons and presentations as well as allow users to interact with virtual objects.

 

 

 

 

 

The difference between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality — from forbes.com Julia Tokareva

 

 

 


Addendum on 5/5/18


 

Oculus Go Has Arrived and It’s a Big Deal — from vrscout.com by Jonathan Nafarrete

Excerpt:

The $200 Oculus Go is the most accessible VR headset today.

Up until now, one of the biggest barriers to entry for VR has been price. Headset adoption has taken a conservative growth path, mostly due in part to high prices of PC-required systems or just requiring consumers to own a specific line of VR compatible phones to pair with mobile headsets.

But now the Oculus Go is finally here and it’s a big deal, especially for the millions of iPhone users out there who up until today have had limited options to get into VR.

Starting today, the Oculus Go standalone VR headset is available for purchase for $199. Available for sale on Oculus.com in 23 countries, you can also pick up one online from Amazon or in Best Buy Stores in the U.S. The Oculus companion app used for initial setup is available for both iPhone or Android devices.

 

 
 

 

From DSC:
This application looks to be very well done and thought out! Wow!

Check out the video entitled “Interactive Ink – Enables digital handwriting — and you may also wonder whether this could be a great medium/method of having to “write things down” for better information processing in our minds, while also producing digital work for easier distribution and sharing!

Wow!  Talk about solid user experience design and interface design! Nicely done.

 

 

Below is an excerpt of the information from Bella Pietsch from anthonyBarnum Public Relations

Imagine a world where users interact with their digital devices seamlessly, and don’t suffer from lag and delayed response time. I work with MyScript, a company whose Interactive Ink tech creates that world of seamless handwritten interactivity by combining the flexibility of pen and paper with the power and productivity of digital processing.

According to a recent forecast, the global handwriting recognition market is valued at a trillion-plus dollars and is expected to grow at an almost 16 percent compound annual growth rate by 2025. To add additional context, the new affordable iPad with stylus support was just released, allowing users to work with the $99 Apple Pencil, which was previously only supported by the iPad Pro.

Check out the demo of Interactive Ink using an Apple Pencil, Microsoft Surface Pen, Samsung S Pen or Google Pixelbook Pen here.

Interactive Ink’s proficiencies are the future of writing and equating. Developed by MyScript Labs, Interactive Ink is a form of digital ink technology which allows ink editing via simple gestures and providing device reflow flexibility. Interactive Ink relies on real-time predictive handwriting recognition, driven by artificial intelligence and neural network architectures.

 

 

 

 

Apple Special Event. March 27, 2018.
From Lane Tech College Prep High School, Chicago.

 

 

 

From DSC:
While it was great to see more Augmented Reality (AR) apps in education and to see Apple putting more emphasis again on educational-related endeavors, I’m doubtful that the iPad is going to be able to dethrone the Chromebooks. Apple might have better results with a system that can be both a tablet device and a laptop and let students decide which device to use and when. 

 


Also see:


 

Here are the biggest announcements from Apple’s education event — from engadget.com by Chris Velazco
The new iPad was only the beginning.

 

 

Apple’s Education-Focused iPad Event Pushes Augmented Reality Further into the Classroom — from next.reality.news by Tommy Palladino

Excerpt:

At Apple’s education event in Chicago on Tuesday, augmented reality stood at the head of the class among the tech giant’s new offerings for the classroom.

The company showcased a number of ARKit-enabled apps that promise to make learning more immersive. For example, the AR mode for Froggipedia, expected to launch on March 30 for $3.99 on the App Store, will allow students to view and dissect a virtual frog’s anatomy. And a new update to the GeoGebra app brings ARKit support to math lessons.

Meanwhile, the Free Rivers app from the World Wildlife Federation enables students to explore miniature landscapes and learn about various ecosystems around the world.

In addition, as part of its Everyone Can Code program, Apple has also updated its Swift Playgrounds coding app with ARKit support, enabling students to begin learning to code via an ARKit module, according to a report from The Verge.

 

 

 

 

 

Apple’s Education Page…which covers what was announced (at least as of 3/30/18)

 

 

Comparing Apple, Google and Microsoft’s education plays — from techcrunch.com by Brian Heater

Excerpt:

[The 3/27/18] Apple event in Chicago was about more than just showing off new hardware and software in the classroom — the company was reasserting itself as a major player in education. The category has long been a lynchpin in Apple’s strategy — something that Steve Jobs held near and dear.

Any ’80s kid will tell you that Apple was a force to be reckoned with — Apple computers were mainstays in computer labs across the country. It’s always been a good fit for a company focused on serving creators, bringing that extra bit of pizzazz to the classroom. In recent years, however, there’s been a major shift. The Chromebook has become the king of the classroom, thanks in no small part to the inexpensive hardware and limited spec requirements.

Based on Google’s early positioning of the category, it appears that the Chromebook’s classroom success even managed to catch its creators off-guard. The company has since happily embraced that success — while Microsoft appears to have shifted its own approach in response to Chrome OS’s success.

Apple’s own responses have been less direct, and today’s event was a reconfirmation of the company’s commitment to the iPad as the centerpiece of its educational play. If Apple can be seen as reacting, it’s in the price of the product. Gone are the days that schools’ entire digital strategy revolved around a bunch of stationary desktops in a dusty old computer lab.

 

 

Apple Should Have Cut iPad Price Further For Schools, Say Analysts
Apple announced another affordable iPad and some cool new educational software today, but it might be too pricey to unseat Chromebooks in many classrooms.

 

 

Apple’s New Low-End iPad For Students Looks To Thwart Google, Microsoft

 

 

What educators think about Apple’s new iPad
Can a bunch of new apps make up for the high price?

 

 

Apple needs more than apps to win over educators
Apple used to be in a lot of classrooms, but are new iPads enough to woo educators?

 

 

 

 

 

 

SXSW 2018: Key trends — from jwtintelligence.com by Marie Stafford w/ contributions by Sarah Holbrook

Excerpt:

Ethics & the Big Tech Backlash
What a difference a week makes. As the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke last weekend, the curtain was already coming down on SXSW. Even without this latest bombshell, the discussion around ethics in technology was animated, with more than 10 panels devoted to the theme. From misinformation to surveillance, from algorithmic bias to the perils of artificial intelligence (hi Elon!) speakers grappled with the weighty issue of how to ensure technology works for the good of humanity.

The Human Connection
When technology provokes this much concern, it’s perhaps natural that people should seek respite in human qualities like empathy, understanding and emotional connection.

In a standout keynote, couples therapist Esther Perel gently berated the SXSW audience for neglecting to focus on human relationships. “The quality of your relationships,” she said, “is what determines the quality of your life.

 

 

 

 

In Move Towards More Online Degrees, Coursera Introduces Its First Bachelor’s — from edsurger.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

These days, though, many MOOC platforms are courting the traditional higher-ed market they once rebuked, often by hosting fully-online masters degrees for colleges and universities. And today, one of the largest MOOC providers, Coursera, announced it’s going one step further in that direction, with its first fully online bachelor’s degree.

“We are realizing that the vast reach of MOOCs makes them a powerful gateway to degrees,” Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said in a statement.

The new degree will be a bachelor of science in computer science from the University of London. The entire program will cost between £9,600 and £17,000 (approximately $13,300 to $23,500), depending on a student’s geographic location. According to a spokesperson for Coursera, the program’s “cost is adjusted based on whether a student is in a developed or developing economy.”

 

 

From DSC:
At least a couple of questions come to mind here:

  • What might the future hold if the U.S. Department of Education / the Federal Government begins funding these types of alternatives to traditional higher education?
  • Will Coursera be successful here and begin adding more degrees? If so, a major game-changer could be on our doorsteps.

 

 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the article entitled, “Scientists Are Turning Alexa into an Automated Lab Helper,” I began to wonder…might Alexa be a tool to periodically schedule & provide practice tests & distributed practice on content? In the future, will there be “learning bots” that a learner can employ to do such self-testing and/or distributed practice?

 

 

From page 45 of the PDF available here:

 

Might Alexa be a tool to periodically schedule/provide practice tests & distributed practice on content?

 

 

 

 

Michelle Weise: ‘We Need to Design the Learning Ecosystem of the Future’ — from edsurge.com  by Michelle Weise

Excerpts:

These days, education reformers, evangelists and foundations pay a lot of lip service to the notion of lifelong learning, but we do little to invest in the systems, architecture and infrastructure needed to facilitate seamless movements in and out of learning and work.

Talk of lifelong learning doesn’t translate into action. In fact, resources and funding are often geared toward the traditional 17- to 22-year-old college-going population and less often to working adults, our growing new-traditional student population.

We’ll need a different investment thesis: For most adults, taking time off work to attend classes at a local, brick-and-mortar community college or a four-year institution will not be the answer. The opportunity costs will be too high. Our current system of traditional higher education is ill-suited to facilitate flexible, seamless cost-effective learning pathways for these students to keep up with the emergent demands of the workforce.

Many adults may have no interest in coming back to college. Out of the 37 million Americans with some college and no degree, many have already failed one or twice before and will be wholly uninterested in experiencing more educational trauma.We can’t just say, “Here’s a MOOC, or here’s an online degree, or a 6- to 12-week immersive bootcamp.”

 

We have to do better. Let’s begin seeding the foundational elements of a learning ecosystem of the future—flexible enough for adults to move consistently in and out of learning and work. Enough talk about lifelong learning: Let’s build the foundations of that learning ecosystem of the future.

 

 

From DSC:
I couldn’t agree more with Michelle that we need a new learning ecosystem of the future. In fact, I have been calling such an effort “Learning from the Living [Class] Room — and it outlines a next generation learning platform that aims to deliver everything Michelle talks about in her solid article out at edsurge.com.

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

 

Along these lines…I just saw that Amazon is building out more cashierless stores (and Walmart is also at work on introducing more cashierless stores.) Now, let’s say that you are currently a cashier. 2-5 years from now (depending upon where you’re currently working and which stores are in your community), what are you going to do? The opportunities for such a position will be fewer and fewer. Who can help you do what Michelle mentioned here:

Working learners will also need help articulating their learning goals and envisioning a future for themselves. People don’t know how to translate their skills from one industry to another. How does a student begin to understand that 30% of what they already know could be channeled into a totally different and potentially promising pathway they never even knew was within reach?

And that cashier may have had a tough time with K-12 education and/or with higher education. As Michelle writes:

Many adults may have no interest in coming back to college. Out of the 37 million Americans with some college and no degree, many have already failed one or twice before and will be wholly uninterested in experiencing more educational trauma. We can’t just say, “Here’s a MOOC, or here’s an online degree, or a 6- to 12-week immersive bootcamp.”

And like the cashier in this example…we are quickly approaching an era where, I believe, many of us will need to reinvent ourselves in order to:

  • stay marketable
  • keep bread and butter on the table
  • continue to have a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives

Higher ed, if it wants to remain relevant, must pick up the pace of experimentation and increase the willingness to innovate, and to develop new business models — to develop new “learning channels” so to speak. Such channels need to be:

  • Up-to-date
  • Serving relevant data and information– especially regarding the job market and which jobs appear to be safe for the next 5-10 years
  • Inexpensive/affordable
  • Highly convenient

 

 

 

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