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


 

From this Alexa Skills Kit page:

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

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

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

 

 

 


 

 

EON CREATOR AVR

The EON Creator AVR Enterprise and Education content builder empowers non-technical users to create compelling AR and VR applications in minutes, not weeks.

ENTERPRISE
With no programming required, EON Creator AVR Enterprise empowers workers to accelerate learning and improve performance, safety, and efficiency in the workplace.

EDUCATION
Teachers and students can create, experience, and share AVR learning applications with EON Creator AVR and quickly add them to their current classroom, seamlessly.

 

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

Veeery interesting. Alexa now adds visuals / a screen! With the addition of 100 skills a day, where might this new platform lead?

Amazon introduces Echo Show

The description reads:

  • Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask.
  • Introducing a new way to be together. Make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot.
  • See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.
  • Powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response
  • Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby’s room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo. Turn on lights, control thermostats and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.
  • With eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Jeopardy!, Allrecipes, CNN, and more

 

 

 

 

 

 



From DSC:

Now we’re seeing a major competition between the heavy-hitters to own one’s living room, kitchen, and more. Voice controlled artificial intelligence. But now, add the ability to show videos, text, graphics, and more. Play music. Control the lights and the thermostat. Communicate with others via hands-free video calls.

Hmmm….very interesting times indeed.

 

 

Developers and corporates released 4,000 new skills for the voice assistant in just the last quarter. (source)

 

…with the company adding about 100 skills per day. (source)

 

 

 

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

 

 



 

Addendum on 5/10/17:

 



 

 

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

 

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

Excerpt:

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

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

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

 

 



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

Thanks all for your encouragement through the years!



 

 

 

 

From DSC and Adobe — for faculty members and teachers out there:

Do your students an enormous favor by assigning them a digital communications project. Such a project could include images, infographics, illustrations, animations, videos, websites, blogs (with RSS feeds), podcasts, videocasts, mobile apps and more. Such outlets offer powerful means of communicating and demonstrating knowledge of a particular topic.

As Adobe mentions, when you teach your students how to create these types of media projects, you prepare them to be flexible and effective digital communicators.  I would also add that these new forms and tools can be highly engaging, while at the same time, they can foster students’ creativity. Building new media literacy skills will pay off big time for your students. It will land them jobs. It will help them communicate to a global audience. Students can build upon these skills to powerfully communicate numerous kinds of messages in the future. They can be their own radio station. They can be their own TV station.

For more information, see this page out at Adobe.com.

 

 

From DSC:
This is where we may need more team-based approaches…because one person may not be able to create and grade/assess such assignments.

 

 

From DSC:
This type of technology could be good, or it could be bad…or, like many technologies, it could be both — depends upon how it’s used. The resources below mention some positive applications, but also some troubling applications.


 

Lyrebird claims it can recreate any voice using just one minute of sample audio — from theverge.com by James Vincent
The results aren’t 100 percent convincing, but it’s a sign of things to come

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence is making human speech as malleable and replicable as pixels. Today, a Canadian AI startup named Lyrebird unveiled its first product: a set of algorithms the company claims can clone anyone’s voice by listening to just a single minute of sample audio.

 

 

 

 

 

Also see:

 

Imitating people’s speech patterns precisely could bring trouble — from economist.com by
You took the words right out of my mouth

Excerpt:

UTTER 160 or so French or English phrases into a phone app developed by CandyVoice, a new Parisian company, and the app’s software will reassemble tiny slices of those sounds to enunciate, in a plausible simulacrum of your own dulcet tones, whatever typed words it is subsequently fed. In effect, the app has cloned your voice. The result still sounds a little synthetic but CandyVoice’s boss, Jean-Luc Crébouw, reckons advances in the firm’s algorithms will render it increasingly natural. Similar software for English and four widely spoken Indian languages, developed under the name of Festvox, by Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute, is also available. And Baidu, a Chinese internet giant, says it has software that needs only 50 sentences to simulate a person’s voice.

Until recently, voice cloning—or voice banking, as it was then known—was a bespoke industry which served those at risk of losing the power of speech to cancer or surgery.

More troubling, any voice—including that of a stranger—can be cloned if decent recordings are available on YouTube or elsewhere. Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, led by Nitesh Saxena, were able to use Festvox to clone voices based on only five minutes of speech retrieved online. When tested against voice-biometrics software like that used by many banks to block unauthorised access to accounts, more than 80% of the fake voices tricked the computer.

 

 

Per Candyvoice.com:

Expert in digital voice processing, CandyVoice offers software to facilitate and improve vocal communication between people and communicating objects. With applications in:

Health
Customize your devices of augmentative and alternative vocal communication by integrating in them your users’ personal vocal model

Robots & Communicating objects
Improve communication with robots through voice conversion, customized TTS, and noise filtering

Video games
Enhance the gaming experience by integrating vocal conversion of character’s voice in real time, and the TTS customizing

 

 

Also related:

 

 

From DSC:
Given this type of technology, what’s to keep someone from cloning a voice, putting together whatever you wanted that person to say, and then making it appear that Alexa recorded that other person’s voice?

 

 

 

 
 

Microsoft Announces New Laptops and OS Perfect for 21st-Century Students — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
Windows 10 S, Surface Laptop and other updates are coming to classrooms in the fall.

Excerpt:

Surface Laptop Introduces Seamless Technology
Perhaps the biggest cheers from the crowd came from the announcement of the new Surface Laptop, which will be available in June 2017.

The laptop checks in at 2.76 pounds with a 13.5-inch PixelSense display and 3:2 aspect ratio. Equipped with a fabric overlay on the backlit keyboard, the laptop is so seamless it doesn’t even have speaker grills. Instead, Panay says users can be immersed in sound while working on things like video. With a Surface Pen and the laptop’s LCD touch module, annotation is easy, even on videos.

 

 

Microsoft Debuts Surface Laptops, Windows 10 S for Education, Teams for Office 365 for Education — from campustechnology.com by David Nagel

Excerpt:

Microsoft has unveiled several new offerings for education, including the forthcoming Surface Laptop and a new version of Windows 10 designed for school environments — Windows 10 S.

 

Also see:

 

 

Also see:

From Mixed Reality to New Minecraft and OS, Microsoft Unleashes a Flurry of EDU Upgrades — from edsurge.com by Jenny AbamuMay

Excerpt:

“How can technology create more opportunity, not for a few but for all,” asked Nadella, noting how his own grandfather was not able to go to school because of the limited resources his family had. “Democratizing education must be something that is for everyone and not just for a select few, this is something that is deeply personal.”

His passionate and personal plea set the tone for the flurry of announcements and updates that followed. By the end of the whirlwind showcase, educators were weary but excited about future possibilities.

 

Also  see:

 

 

 

Microsoft Unveils K-12 Operating System, Tools to Challenge Google — from edweek.org by Sean Cavanagh

Excerpt:

Microsoft unveiled a new, streamlined operating system, a slim laptop and a bevy of classroom tools, a group of products that in design and spirit seem aimed at competing with ascendant Chromebooks and other Google offerings in the school market.

At a product announcement on Tuesday crowded with company employees and tech journalists, Microsoft executives repeatedly touted a theme in describing the new operating system, Windows 10 S, and the accompanying products: simplicity.

The goal is “simplify to magnify,” Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of the Windows and devices group, told the assembled crowd. “Simplicity is power.”

“Technology should help, not hinder, teachers’ work in the classroom,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. It should make educators’ jobs easier, and “spark students’ creativity.”

 

 

 

 

Brace yourselves: AI is set to explode in higher ed in the next 4 years –from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
As AI grows in the education sector, its impact could be felt in student learning programs, websites and admissions programs

Excerpt:

A new report predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) in the U.S. education sector will grow 47.5 percent through 2021.

The report, Artificial Intelligence Market in the U.S. Education Sector 2017-2021, is based on in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts.

One of the major trends surrounding AI and education is AI-powered educational games. Because games have the potential to engage students while teaching them challenging education concepts in an engaging manner, vendors are incorporating AI features into games to enhance their interactivity.

Educational games that include adaptive learning features give students frequent and timely suggestions for a guided learning experience.

 

From DSC:
I can’t say how many AI-based solutions we’ll see within higher education in the next 4 years…it could be a lot…it could be a little. But it will happen. At some point, it will happen.

The use of AI will likely play a key role in a future organization that I’m calling the Next Amazon.com of Higher Education.  AI will likely serve as a foundational piece of what futurist Thomas Frey claims will be the largest company on the internet: “an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet.” (source)

Web-based learner profiles and blockchain-based technologies should also be on our radars, and are relevant in this discussion.

 

Also see:

Key questions answered in this report

  • What will the market size be in 2021 and what will the growth rate be?
  • What are the key market trends?
  • What is driving this market?
  • What are the challenges to market growth?
  • Who are the key vendors in this market space?
  • What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the key vendors?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the key vendors?

 

 

 

Q&A: Artificial Intelligence Expert Shares His Vision of the Future of Education — from edtechmagazine.com by Amy Burroughs
Artificial intelligence expert Joseph Qualls believes AI can solve some of the biggest challenges facing higher education — and the change is already underway.

Excerpts:

EDTECH: What AI applications might we see in higher education?

QUALLS: You are going to see a massive change in education from K–12 to the university. The thought of having large universities and large faculties teaching students is probably going to go away — not in the short-term, but in the long-term. You will have a student interact with an AI system that will understand him or her and provide an educational path for that particular student. Once you have a personalized education system, education will become much faster and more enriching. You may have a student who can do calculus in the sixth grade because AI realized he had a mathematical sense. That personalized education is going to change everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the postings below, it made me wonder:

  • Will Starbucks, Apple Stores, etc. be “learning hubs” of the future?
    i.e., places that aren’t really what we think of as a school, college, or university, but where people can go to learn something with others in the same physical space; such locations will likely tie into online or blended-based means of learning as well.

“Today at Apple” bringing new experiences to every Apple Store

Excerpt:

Cupertino, California — Apple today announced plans to launch dozens of new educational sessions next month in all 495 Apple stores ranging in topics from photo and video to music, coding, art and design and more. The hands-on sessions, collectively called “Today at Apple,” will be led by highly-trained team members, and in select cities world-class artists, photographers and musicians, teaching sessions from basics and how-to lessons to professional-level programs.

Apple will also offer special programs for families and educators. Teachers can come together for Teacher Tuesday to learn new ways to incorporate technology into their classrooms, or aspiring coders of all ages can learn how to code in Swift, Apple’s programming language for iOS and Mac apps. Families can join weekend Kids Hour sessions ranging from music making to coding with robots. Small business owners can engage with global and local entrepreneurs in the new Business Circuits program.

We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level.

Apple wants kids to hang out at Apple stores — from qz.com by Mike Murphy

Excerpt:

If you’ve just gotten out of school for the day and want to hang out with your friends before you head home, where would you go? In the US, there’s a near-infinite selection of chain restaurants, coffee shops, diners, bookstores, movie theaters, and comic book stores to choose from. But Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s head of retail, wants the answer to be an Apple store.

Apple is in the process of revamping the look and feel of its retail outlets across the world, and to highlight some of the recent changes (including rebranding the “Genius Bar” to the “Genius Grove” and adding foliage everywhere), Ahrendts gave an interview to CBS This Morning, this morning. Ahrendts told CBS that she will see her work as a success when Generation Z, the catchall term for the generation behind the equally amorphous Millennials, decides of their own volition to hang out at Apple stores. As CBS reported…

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems