These news anchors are professional and efficient. They’re also not human. — from washingtonpost.com by Taylor Telford

Excerpt:

The new anchors at China’s state-run news agency have perfect hair and no pulse.

Xinhua News just unveiled what it is calling the world’s first news anchors powered by artificial intelligence, at the World Internet Conference on Wednesday in China’s Zhejiang province. From the outside, they are almost indistinguishable from their human counterparts, crisp-suited and even-keeled. Although Xinhua says the anchors have the “voice, facial expressions and actions of a real person,” the robotic anchors relay whatever text is fed to them in stilted speech that sounds less human than Siri or Alexa.

 

From DSC:
The question is…is this what we want our future to look like? Personally, I don’t care to watch a robotic newscaster giving me the latest “death and dying report.” It comes off bad enough — callous enough — from human beings backed up by TV networks/stations that have agendas of their own; let alone from a robot run by AI.

 

 
 

Introducing several new ideas to provide personalized, customized learning experiences for all kinds of learners! [Christian]

From DSC:
I have often reflected on differentiation or what some call personalized learning and/or customized learning. How does a busy teacher, instructor, professor, or trainer achieve this, realistically?

It’s very difficult and time-consuming to do for sure. But it also requires a team of specialists to achieve such a holy grail of learning — as one person can’t know it all. That is, one educator doesn’t have the necessary time, skills, or knowledge to address so many different learning needs and levels!

  • Think of different cognitive capabilities — from students that have special learning needs and challenges to gifted students
  • Or learners that have different physical capabilities or restrictions
  • Or learners that have different backgrounds and/or levels of prior knowledge
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Educators  and trainers have so many things on their plates that it’s very difficult to come up with _X_ lesson plans/agendas/personalized approaches, etc.  On the other side of the table, how do students from a vast array of backgrounds and cognitive skill levels get the main points of a chapter or piece of text? How can they self-select the level of difficulty and/or start at a “basics” level and work one’s way up to harder/more detailed levels if they can cognitively handle that level of detail/complexity? Conversely, how do I as a learner get the boiled down version of a piece of text?

Well… just as with the flipped classroom approach, I’d like to suggest that we flip things a bit and enlist teams of specialists at the publishers to fulfill this need. Move things to the content creation end — not so much at the delivery end of things. Publishers’ teams could play a significant, hugely helpful role in providing customized learning to learners.

Some of the ways that this could happen:

Use an HTML like language when writing a textbook, such as:

<MainPoint> The text for the main point here. </MainPoint>

<SubPoint1>The text for the subpoint 1 here.</SubPoint1>

<DetailsSubPoint1>More detailed information for subpoint 1 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SubPoint2>The text for the subpoint 2 here.</SubPoint2>

<DetailsSubPoint2>More detailed information for subpoint 2 here.</DetailsSubPoint2>

<SubPoint3>The text for the subpoint 3 here.</SubPoint3>

<DetailsSubPoint3>More detailed information for subpoint 3 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SummaryOfMainPoints>A list of the main points that a learner should walk away with.</SummaryOfMainPoints>

<BasicsOfMainPoints>Here is a listing of the main points, but put in alternative words and more basic ways of expressing those main points. </BasicsOfMainPoints>

<Conclusion> The text for the concluding comments here.</Conclusion>

 

<BasicsOfMainPoints> could be called <AlternativeExplanations>
Bottom line: This tag would be to put things forth using very straightforward terms.

Another tag would be to address how this topic/chapter is relevant:
<RealWorldApplication>This short paragraph should illustrate real world examples

of this particular topic. Why does this topic matter? How is it relevant?</RealWorldApplication>

 

On the students’ end, they could use an app that works with such tags to allow a learner to quickly see/review the different layers. That is:

  • Show me just the main points
  • Then add on the sub points
  • Then fill in the details
    OR
  • Just give me the basics via an alternative ways of expressing these things. I won’t remember all the details. Put things using easy-to-understand wording/ideas.

 

It’s like the layers of a Microsoft HoloLens app of the human anatomy:

 

Or it’s like different layers of a chapter of a “textbook” — so a learner could quickly collapse/expand the text as needed:

 

This approach could be helpful at all kinds of learning levels. For example, it could be very helpful for law school students to obtain outlines for cases or for chapters of information. Similarly, it could be helpful for dental or medical school students to get the main points as well as detailed information.

Also, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) grows, the system could check a learner’s cloud-based learner profile to see their reading level or prior knowledge, any IEP’s on file, their learning preferences (audio, video, animations, etc.), etc. to further provide a personalized/customized learning experience. 

To recap:

  • “Textbooks” continue to be created by teams of specialists, but add specialists with knowledge of students with special needs as well as for gifted students. For example, a team could have experts within the field of Special Education to help create one of the overlays/or filters/lenses — i.e., to reword things. If the text was talking about how to hit a backhand or a forehand, the alternative text layer could be summed up to say that tennis is a sport…and that a sport is something people play. On the other end of the spectrum, the text could dive deeply into the various grips a person could use to hit a forehand or backhand.
  • This puts the power of offering differentiation at the point of content creation/development (differentiation could also be provided for at the delivery end, but again, time and expertise are likely not going to be there)
  • Publishers create “overlays” or various layers that can be turned on or off by the learners
  • Can see whole chapters or can see main ideas, topic sentences, and/or details. Like HTML tags for web pages.
  • Can instantly collapse chapters to main ideas/outlines.

 

 

Top Trends in Active and Collaborative Learning — from thesextantgroup.com by Joe Hammett

Excerpts:

My daughter is a maker. She spends hours tinkering with sewing machines and slime recipes, building salamander habitats and the like. She hangs out with her school friends inside apps that teach math and problem solving through multi-player games. All the while, they are learning to communicate and collaborate in ways that are completely foreign to their grandparent’s generation. She is 10 years old and represents a shift in human cognitive processing brought about by the mastery of technology from a very young age. Her generation and those that come after have never known a time without technology. Personal devices have changed the shared human experience and there is no turning back.

The spaces in which this new human chooses to occupy must cater to their style of existence. They see every display as interactive and are growing up knowing that the entirety of human knowledge is available to them by simply asking Alexa. The 3D printer is a familiar concept and space travel for pleasure will be the norm when they have children of their own.

Current trends in active and collaborative learning are evolving alongside these young minds and when appropriately implemented, enable experiential learning and creative encounters that are changing the very nature of the learning process. Attention to the spaces that will support the educators is also paramount to this success. Lesson plans and teaching style must flip with the classroom. The learning space is just a room without the educator and their content.

 


8. Flexible and Reconfigurable
With floor space at a premium, classrooms need to be able to adapt to a multitude of uses and pedagogies. Flexible furniture will allow the individual instructor freedom to set up the space as needed for their intended activities without impacting the next person to use the room. Construction material choices are key to achieving an easily reconfigurable space. Raised floors and individually controllable lighting fixtures allow a room to go from lecture to group work with ease. Whiteboard paints and rail mounting systems make walls reconfigurable too!.

Active Learning, Flipped Classroom, SCALE-UP, TEAL Classroom, whatever label you choose to place before it, the classroom, learning spaces of all sorts, are changing. The occupants of these spaces demand that they are able to effectively, and comfortably, share ideas and collaborate on projects with their counterparts both in person and in the ether. A global shift is happening in the way humans share ideas. Disruptive technology, on a level not seen since the assembly line, is driving a change in the way humans interact with other humans. The future is collaborative.

 

 

 

Virtual digital assistants in the workplace: Still nascent, but developing — from cisco.com by Pat Brans
As workers get overwhelmed with daily tasks, they want virtual digital assistants in the workplace that can alleviate some of the burden.

Excerpts:

As life gets busier, knowledge workers are struggling with information overload.

They’re looking for a way out, and that way, experts say, will eventually involve virtual digital assistants (VDAs). Increasingly, workers need to complete myriad tasks, often seemingly simultaneously. And as the pace of business continues to drive ever faster, hands-free, intelligent technology that can speed administrative tasks holds obvious appeal.

So far, scenarios in which digital assistants in the workplace enhance productivity fall into three categories: scheduling, project management, and improved interfaces to enterprise applications. “Using digital assistants to perform scheduling has clear benefits,” Beccue said.

“Scheduling meetings and managing calendars takes a long time—many early adopters are able to quantify the savings they get when the scheduling is performed by a VDA. Likewise, when VDAs are used to track project status through daily standup meetings, project managers can easily measure the time saved.”

 

Perhaps the most important change we’ll see in future generations of VDA technology for workforce productivity will be the advent of general-purpose VDAs that help users with all tasks. These VDAs will be multi-channel (providing interfaces through mobile apps, messaging, telephone, and so on) and they will be bi-modal (enlisting text and voice).

 

 

 

 

Augmented Reality In Healthcare Will Be Revolutionary — from medicalfuturist.com

Excerpts:

1) Augmented reality can save lives through showing defibrillators nearby
2) Google Glass might help new mothers struggling with breastfeeding
3) Patients can describe their symptoms better through augmented reality
4) Nurses can find veins easier with augmented reality

5) Motivating runners through zombies
6) Pharma companies can provide more innovative drug information
7) Augmented reality can assist surgeons in the OR
8) Google’s digital contact lens can transform how we look at the world

 

How is AI used in healthcare – 5 powerful real-world examples that show the latest advances — from forbes.com by Bernard Marr

Excerpts:

1) AI-assisted robotic surgery
2) Virtual nursing assistants
3) Aid clinical judgment or diagnosis
4) Workflow and administrative tasks
5) Image analysis

 

 

Summary: A Manager’s guide to Augmented Reality.  — from twnkls.com by Prof. Michael Porter

Excerpt:

The full read can be found at the bottom of this page. But we summarized for you the 4 key take-aways:

  1. AR enables a new information-delivery paradigm
  2. AR helps to visualize
  3. Instruct and guide
  4. Eight AR strategy starting questions

 

 

What’s so great about VR? Virtually everything — from virtuallyinspired.org

Excerpt:

No doubt about it. Virtual reality isn’t just for gamers and gadget geeks anymore. In fact, as the technology gets better and cheaper, VR is the wave of the future when it comes to creating a truly memorable and effective learning experience – and for good reason.

Multiple Learning Attributes. To begin with, it empowers us to create any number of safely immersive virtual learning environments that feel and respond much as they would in real life, as students engage and explore, interact with and manipulate objects within these worlds. Imagine teleporting your students to re-enact historic battles; explore outer space; or travel the inner workings of the human body. What’s more, using sophisticated controls, they can actually “practice” complex procedures like cardiac surgery, or master difficult concepts, such as the molecular properties of brain cells.

Likewise, VR gives new meaning to the term “field trip,” by enabling students to virtually experience first-hand some of the world’s great museums, natural wonders and notable landmarks. You can also embed 360-degree objects within the virtual classroom to support course content, much as Drexel University Online is doing after assembling its one-of-a-kind VRtifacts+ repository.   And you can use it to live-stream events, guest lectures and campus tours, in addition to hosting virtual community spaces where learners can meet and connect in a seemingly “real” environment.

 

 

The Modern Alternative Learning Resource: Time To Drop The Ban On Phones In Schools? — from vrfocus.com by Robert Currie
Robert Currie discusses the mobile phone’s role in education, and how thanks in part to AR and VR it should now be considered a top tool.

 

 

Benefits of Virtual Reality in Education — from invisible.toys

 

 

 

The AVR Platform and Classroom 3.0 Showcased at EduTECH Asia 2018 — from eonreality.com

Excerpt:

At EduTECH Asia 2018 this week in Singapore, EON Reality spent two full days speaking, promoting, and demonstrating the latest updates to the AVR Platform to the thousands of education and technology professionals in attendance.

With a focus on how the AVR Platform can best be used in the education world, EON Reality’s discussion, ‘Augmented and Virtual Reality in Education: The Shift to Classroom 3.0,’ highlighted Wednesday’s offerings with a full presentation and hands-on demos of the new tools in Creator AVR. Over the course of both days, visitors filled the EON Reality booth to get their own one-on-one experience of Creator AVR, Virtual Trainer, and the ways in which AR Assist can help out in the classroom.

The AVR Platform’s three products are the fundamental tools of EON Reality’s Classroom 3.0 vision for the Immersed Flipped Classrooms of the future. With Creator AVR — a SaaS-based learning and content creation solution — leading the way, the AVR Platform empowers Classroom 3.0 by providing teachers and educators of all types with the tools needed to create Augmented and Virtual Reality learning modules.

Bringing Asian educators from all over the continent together, EON Reality’s presence at EduTECH showed just how significantly Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can elevate the overall educational experience going forward. After two full days of demonstrations, EON Reality introduced the AVR Platform to approximately 1500 teachers, school administration officials, and other decision-makers in Asia’s education industry.

As the AVR Platform expands to educational markets around the world, EON Reality’s revolutionary spin on traditional learning branches into new cultures and nations. With local Singaporean educational institutions like Temasek Polytechnic already onboard, the EduTECH Asia 2018 conference marked the continued spread of Classroom 3.0 and the AVR Platform on both a regional and global level.

 

 

New Virtual 3D Microscope Lab Program Offered for Online Students by Oregon State University — from virtuallyinspired.org
OSU solves degree completion issue for online biology students

Excerpt:

“We had to create an alternative that gives students the foundational experience of being in a lab where they can maneuver a microscope’s settings and adjust the images just as they would in a face-to-face environment,” said Shannon Riggs, the Ecampus director of course development and training.

Multimedia developers mounted a camera on top of an actual microscope and took pictures of what was on the slides. Using 3D modeling software, the photos were interweaved to create 3D animation. Using game development software enabled students to adjust lighting, zoom and manipulate the images, just like in a traditional laboratory. The images were programmed to create a virtual simulation.

The final product is “an interactive web application that utilizes a custom 3D microscope and incorporates animation and real-life slide photos,” according to Victor Yee, an Ecampus assistant director of course development and training.

 

Also see:

  • YouTube to Invest $20 Million in Educational Content — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
    Excerpt:
    YouTube, a Google company, has announced plans to invest $20 million in YouTube Learning, an initiative hinted at during the summer. The goal: “to support education-focused creators and expert organizations that create and curate high-quality learning content on the video site.” Funding will be spent on supporting video creators who want to produce education series and wooing other education video providers to the site.

 

 

Microsoft to tackle AI skills shortage with two new training programs — from zdnet.com by Nick Heath
The tech giant reveals two new training programs to boost AI-related skills in business and in universities.

Excerpts:

The first of the two programs, Microsoft AI Academy, will run face-to-face and online training sessions for business and public-sector leaders, IT professionals, developers, and startups.

Microsoft is also funding a program to help train the next generation of data scientists and machine-learning engineers. Professor Chris Bishop, director of Microsoft’s Research Lab in Cambridge, said the Microsoft Research-Cambridge University Machine Learning Initiative is designed to address the stream of leading machine-learning researchers moving from universities to the private sector.

 

 

 

Reflections on “Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future?” [Johnston]

Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future? — from campustechnology.com by Julie Johnston
Indiana University explores that question by bringing together tech partners and university leaders to share ideas on how to design classrooms that make better use of faculty and student time.

Excerpt:

To achieve these goals, we are investigating smart solutions that will:

  • Untether instructors from the room’s podium, allowing them control from anywhere in the room;
  • Streamline the start of class, including biometric login to the room’s technology, behind-the-scenes routing of course content to room displays, control of lights and automatic attendance taking;
  • Offer whiteboards that can be captured, routed to different displays in the room and saved for future viewing and editing;
  • Provide small-group collaboration displays and the ability to easily route content to and from these displays; and
  • Deliver these features through a simple, user-friendly and reliable room/technology interface.

Activities included collaborative brainstorming focusing on these questions:

  • What else can we do to create the classroom of the future?
  • What current technology exists to solve these problems?
  • What could be developed that doesn’t yet exist?
  • What’s next?

 

 

 

From DSC:
Though many peoples’ — including faculty members’ — eyes gloss over when we start talking about learning spaces and smart classrooms, it’s still an important topic. Personally, I’d rather be learning in an engaging, exciting learning environment that’s outfitted with a variety of tools (physically as well as digitally and virtually-based) that make sense for that community of learners. Also, faculty members have very limited time to get across campus and into the classroom and get things setup…the more things that can be automated in those setup situations the better!

I’ve long posted items re: machine-to-machine communications, voice recognition/voice-enabled interfaces, artificial intelligence, bots, algorithms, a variety of vendors and their products including Amazon’s Alexa / Apple’s Siri / Microsoft’s Cortana / and Google’s Home or Google Assistant, learning spaces, and smart classrooms, as I do think those things are components of our future learning ecosystems.

 

 

 

Teaching technology today: One law school’s innovative offerings — from abovethelaw.com by David Lat
Lawyers of the future, regardless of practice area, need to be proficient in legal technology.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Technology is transforming the practice and profession of law — and legal education must evolve accordingly. Across the country, law schools are launching and expanding research centers, clinics, and course offerings focused on legal technology.

Earlier this month, I spoke with Judge Prudenti again, to check in on her efforts. I asked her: Why is legal-tech proficiency so important today?

“I’m a true believer,” Judge Prudenti told me. “I have seen, up close and personal, how technology has changed the legal marketplace and the practice of law — in the private sector, in the public sector, and in the courtroom.”

In private law firms, large or small, lawyers are engaged in e-discovery, e-filing, and e-billing — as a necessity. In the public sector, technology is being used to bridge the justice gap, helping to deliver legal services to the unrepresented. And in the courtroom, Judge Prudenti’s former domain, technology has been revolutionary, with touch-screen monitors, iPads, and video screens being used to present and review evidence.

“Lawyers of the future, regardless of practice area, need to be proficient in legal technology,” Judge Prudenti said — which is why Hofstra Law has been focusing so intensely on its technology offerings.

 

Addendum on 10/31/18:

 

 

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