(Below emphasis via DSC)

IBM and Ricoh have partnered for a cognitive-enabled interactive whiteboard which uses IBM’s Watson intelligence and voice technologies to support voice commands, taking notes and actions and even translating into other languages.

 

 

The Intelligent Workplace Solution leverages IBM Watson and Ricoh’s interactive whiteboards to allow to access features via using voice. It makes sure that Watson doesn’t just listen, but is an active meeting participant, using real-time analytics to help guide discussions.

Features of the new cognitive-enabled whiteboard solution include:

  • Global voice control of meetings: Once a meeting begins, any employee, whether in-person or located remotely in another country, can easily control what’s on the screen, including advancing slides, all through simple voice commands using Watson’s Natural Language API.
  • Translation of the meeting into another language: The Intelligent Workplace Solution can translate speakers’ words into several other languages and display them on screen or in transcript.
  • Easy-to-join meetings: With the swipe of a badge the Intelligent Workplace Solution can log attendance and track key agenda items to ensure all key topics are discussed.
  • Ability to capture side discussions: During a meeting, team members can also hold side conversations that are displayed on the same whiteboard.

From DSC:

Holy smokes!

If you combine the technologies that Ricoh and IBM are using with their new cognitive-enabled interactive whiteboard with what Bluescape is doing — by providing 160 acres of digital workspace that’s used to foster collaboration (and to do so whether you are working remoting or working with others in the same physical space) — and you have one incredibly powerful platform! 

#NLP  |  #AI  |  #VoiceRecognition |  #CognitiveComputing
#SmartClassrooms  |  #LearningSpaces  |#Collaboration |  #Meetings 


 

 

 

From DSC:
At the recent
Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference, in my introductory piece for our panel discussion, I relayed several ideas/areas that should be on our institutions’ radars. That is, at least someone at each of our institutions of higher education should be aware of these things and be pulse-checking them as time goes by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of these ideas/areas involved the use of blockchain technologies:

 

 

If #blockchain technologies are successful within the financial/banking world, then it’s highly likely that other use cases will be developed as well (i.e., the trust in blockchain-enabled applications will be there already).

Along those lines, if that occurs, then colleges and universities are likely to become only 1 of the feeds into someone’s cloud-based, lifelong learning profile. I’ve listed several more sources of credentials below:

 

 

Given the trend towards more competency-based education (CBE) and the increased experimentation with badges, blockchain could increasingly move onto the scene.

In fact, I could see a day when an individual learner will be able to establish who can and can’t access their learner profile, and who can and can’t feed information and updates into it.

Artificial intelligence and big data also come to mind here…and I put Microsoft on my radar a while back in this regard; as Microsoft (via LinkedIn and Lynda.com) could easily create online-based marketplaces matching employers with employees/freelancers.

 

 

 


Along these lines, see:


 

  • The Mainstreaming of Alternative Credentials in Postsecondary Education — from by Deborah Keyek-Franssen
    Excerpt:

    • The Context of Alternative Credentials
      The past few years have seen a proliferation of new learning credentials ranging from badges and bootcamp certifications to micro-degrees and MOOC certificates. Although alternative credentials have been part of the fabric of postsecondary education and professional development for decades—think prior learning assessments like Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams, or industry certifications—postsecondary institutions are increasingly unbundling their degrees and validating smaller chunks of skills and learning to provide workplace value to traditional and non-traditional students alike.
      Many are experimenting with alternative credentials to counter the typical binary nature of a degree. Certifications of learning or skills are conferred after the completion of a course or a few short courses in a related field. Students do not have to wait until all requirements for a degree are met before receiving a certificate of learning, but instead can receive one after a much shorter period of study. “Stackable” credentials are combined to be the equivalent of an undergraduate or graduate certificate (a micro-degree), or even a degree.
    • The National Discussion of Alternative Credentials
      Discussions of alternative credentials are often responses to a persistent and growing critique of traditional higher educational institutions’ ability to meet workforce needs, especially because the cost to students for a four-year degree has grown dramatically over the past several decades. The increasing attention paid to alternative credentials brings to the fore questions such as what constitutes a postsecondary education, what role universities in particular should play vis-à-vis workforce development, and how we can assess learning and mastery.

 

 


Addendums added on 3/4/17, that show that this topic isn’t just for higher education, but could involve K-12 as well:


 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Given the exponential pace of technological change that many societies throughout the globe are now on, we need some tools to help us pulse-check what’s going on in the relevant landscapes that we are trying to scan.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Below, I would like to suggest 2 methods/tools to do this.  I have used both methods for years, and I have found them to be immensely helpful in pulse-checking the landscapes. Perhaps these tools will be helpful to you — or to your students or employees — as well.  I vote for these 2 tools to be a part of all of our learning ecosystems. (And besides, they also encourage micro-learning while helping us spot emerging trends.)


 

Google Alerts

 

 

Feedly.com

 

 

 

 

HarvardX rolls out new adaptive learning feature in online course — from edscoop.com by Corinne Lestch
Students in MOOC adaptive learning experiment scored nearly 20 percent better than students using more traditional learning approaches.

Excerpt:

Online courses at Harvard University are adapting on the fly to students’ needs.

Officials at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution announced a new adaptive learning technology that was recently rolled out in a HarvardX online course. The feature offers tailored course material that directly correlates with student performance while the student is taking the class, as well as tailored assessment algorithms.

HarvardX is an independent university initiative that was launched in parallel with edX, the online learning platform that was created by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both HarvardX and edX run massive open online courses. The new feature has never before been used in a HarvardX course, and has only been deployed in a small number of edX courses, according to officials.

 

 

From DSC:
Given the growth of AI, this is certainly radar worthy — something that’s definitely worth pulse-checking to see where opportunities exist to leverage these types of technologies.  What we now know of as adaptive learning will likely take an enormous step forward in the next decade.

IBM’s assertion rings in my mind:

 

 

I’m cautiously hopeful that these types of technologies can extend beyond K-12 and help us deal with the current need to be lifelong learners, and the need to constantly reinvent ourselves — while providing us with more choice, more control over our learning. I’m hopeful that learners will be able to pursue their passions, and enlist the help of other learners and/or the (human) subject matter experts as needed.

I don’t see these types of technologies replacing any teachers, professors, or trainers. That said, these types of technologies should be able to help do some of the heavy teaching and learning lifting in order to help someone learn about a new topic.

Again, this is one piece of the Learning from the Living [Class] Room that we see developing.

 

 

 

 

This Mobile VR Crane Simulator Showcases the Future of Industrial Training — from roadtovr.com by Dominic Brennan

 

 

Description from an Inside VR & AR newsletter:

The Mobile Crane Simulator combines an Oculus headset with a modular rig to greatly reduce the cost of training. The system, from Industrial Training International and Serious Labs, Inc, will debut at the ConExpo Event this March in Las Vegas. The designers chose the Oculus for its comfort and portability, but the set-up supports OpenVR, allowing it to potentially also work on the Vive. (The “mobile” in the device’s name refers to a type of crane, rather than to mobile VR.) – ROAD TO VR

 

 

The 4 Common Characteristics of Personalized Learning — from thejournal.com by Leila Meyer
iNACOL offers ideas for implementing personalized learning in K-12 schools with the support of families and the community.

Excerpt:

According to the report, there are many different approaches to personalized learning, but most of them share these common characteristics:

  • Student ownership of their learning process;
  • Focus on the learning process rather than “big end-of-year tests”;
  • Competency or mastery-based student progression; and
  • Anytime, anywhere learning.

 

See also:

 

 

From DSC:
In the spirit of pulse-checking the landscapes…those of us working in higher education, take heed.  These are your future students.  What expectations from students might you encounter in the (not-too-distant) future?  What are the ramifications for which pedagogies you decide to use?

Further out, for those of you working in the corporate learning & development world or in corporate training/universities, your time may be further out here…but you need to take heed as well.  These are your future employees.  They will come into your organizations with their expectations for how they prefer to learn and grow. Will you meet them where they are at?

We operate in a continuum…we’d be wise to pulse-check what’s happening in the earlier phases of this continuum.

 

 

Excerpt from Amazon fumbles earnings amidst high expectations (emphasis DSC):

Aside from AWS, Amazon Alexa-enabled devices were the top-selling products across all categories on Amazon.com throughout the holiday season and the company is reporting that Echo family sales are up over 9x compared to last season. Amazon aims to brand Alexa as a platform, something that has helped the product to gain capabilities faster than its competition. Developers and corporates released 4,000 new skills for the voice assistant in just the last quarter.

 

 

 

 

 

Alexa got 4,000 new skills in just the last quarter!

From DSC:
What are the teaching & learning ramifications of this?

By the way, I’m not saying for professors, teachers, & trainers to run for the hills (i.e., that they’ll be replaced by AI-based tools). But rather, I would like to suggest that we not only put this type of thing on our radars, but we should begin to actively experiment with such technologies to see if they might be able to help us do some heavy lifting for students learning about new topics.

 

 

You can be sitting ‘courtside’ at NBA games with virtual reality — from mercurynews.com by Bill Oram

Excerpt:

“The result is a really strong sense of presence,” said David Cole, who helped found NextVR as a 3D company in 2009. “A vivid sense.”

 

 

“In some ways, we could still be at a point in time where a lot of people don’t yet know that they want this in VR,” said David Cramer, NextVR’s chief operating officer. “The thing that we’ve seen is that when people do see it, it just blows away their expectations.”

 

 

From DSC:
Hmm…the above piece from The Mercury News on #VR speaks of presence.  A vivid sense of presence.

If they can do this with an NBA game, why cant’ we do this with remote learners & bring them into face-to-face classrooms? How might VR be used in online learning and distance education? Could be an interesting new revenue stream for colleges and universities…and help serve more people who want to learn but might not be able to move to certain locations and/or not be able to attend face-to-face classrooms. Applications could exist within the corporate training/L&D world as well.

 

Also related/see:

 

 

 

A world without work — by Derek Thompson; The Atlantic — from July 2015

Excerpts:

Youngstown, U.S.A.
The end of work is still just a futuristic concept for most of the United States, but it is something like a moment in history for Youngstown, Ohio, one its residents can cite with precision: September 19, 1977.

For much of the 20th century, Youngstown’s steel mills delivered such great prosperity that the city was a model of the American dream, boasting a median income and a homeownership rate that were among the nation’s highest. But as manufacturing shifted abroad after World War  II, Youngstown steel suffered, and on that gray September afternoon in 1977, Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced the shuttering of its Campbell Works mill. Within five years, the city lost 50,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in manufacturing wages. The effect was so severe that a term was coined to describe the fallout: regional depression.

Youngstown was transformed not only by an economic disruption but also by a psychological and cultural breakdown. Depression, spousal abuse, and suicide all became much more prevalent; the caseload of the area’s mental-health center tripled within a decade. The city built four prisons in the mid-1990s—a rare growth industry. One of the few downtown construction projects of that period was a museum dedicated to the defunct steel industry.

“Youngstown’s story is America’s story, because it shows that when jobs go away, the cultural cohesion of a place is destroyed”…

“The cultural breakdown matters even more than the economic breakdown.”

But even leaving aside questions of how to distribute that wealth, the widespread disappearance of work would usher in a social transformation unlike any we’ve seen.

What may be looming is something different: an era of technological unemployment, in which computer scientists and software engineers essentially invent us out of work, and the total number of jobs declines steadily and permanently.

After 300 years of people crying wolf, there are now three broad reasons to take seriously the argument that the beast is at the door: the ongoing triumph of capital over labor, the quiet demise of the working man, and the impressive dexterity of information technology.

The paradox of work is that many people hate their jobs, but they are considerably more miserable doing nothing.

Most people want to work, and are miserable when they cannot. The ills of unemployment go well beyond the loss of income; people who lose their job are more likely to suffer from mental and physical ailments. “There is a loss of status, a general malaise and demoralization, which appears somatically or psychologically or both”…

Research has shown that it is harder to recover from a long bout of joblessness than from losing a loved one or suffering a life-altering injury.

Most people do need to achieve things through, yes, work to feel a lasting sense of purpose.

When an entire area, like Youngstown, suffers from high and prolonged unemployment, problems caused by unemployment move beyond the personal sphere; widespread joblessness shatters neighborhoods and leaches away their civic spirit.

What’s more, although a universal income might replace lost wages, it would do little to preserve the social benefits of work.

“I can’t stress this enough: this isn’t just about economics; it’s psychological”…

 

 

The paradox of work is that many people hate their jobs, but they are considerably more miserable doing nothing.

 

 

From DSC:
Though I’m not saying Thompson is necessarily asserting this in his article, I don’t see a world without work as a dream. In fact, as the quote immediately before this paragraph alludes to, I think that most people would not like a life that is devoid of all work. I think work is where we can serve others, find purpose and meaning for our lives, seek to be instruments of making the world a better place, and attempt to design/create something that’s excellent.  We may miss the mark often (I know I do), but we keep trying.

 

 

 

Apple iPhone 8 To Get 3D-Sensing Tech For Augmented-Reality Apps — from investors.com by Patrick Seitz

Excerpt:

Apple’s (AAPL) upcoming iPhone 8 smartphone will include a 3D-sensing module to enable augmented-reality applications, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang said Wednesday. Apple has included the 3D-sensing module in all three current prototypes of the iPhone 8, which have screen sizes of 4.7, 5.1 and 5.5 inches, he said. “We believe Apple’s 3D sensing might provide a better user experience with more applications,” Zhang said in a research report. “So far, we think 3D sensing aims to provide an improved smartphone experience with a VR/AR environment.”

Apple's iPhone 8 is expected to have 3D-sensing tech like Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro smartphone. (Lenovo)Apple’s iPhone 8 is expected to have 3D-sensing tech like Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro smartphone. (Lenovo)

 

 

AltspaceVR Education Overview

 

 

 

 

10 Prominent Developers Detail Their 2017 Predictions for The VR/AR Industry — from uploadvr.com by David Jagneaux

Excerpt:

As we look forward to 2017 then, we’ve reached out to a bunch of industry experts and insiders to get their views on where we’re headed over the next 12 months.

2016 provided hints of where Facebook, HTC, Sony, Google, and more will take their headsets in the near future, but where does the industry’s best and brightest think we’ll end up this time next year? With CES, the year’s first major event, now in the books, let’s hear from some those that work with VR itself about what happens next.

We asked all of these developers the same four questions:

1) What do you think will happen to the VR/AR market in 2017?
2) What NEEDS to happen to the VR AR market in 2017?
3) What will be the big breakthroughs and innovations of 2017?
4) Will 2017 finally be the “year of VR?”

 

 

MEL Lab’s Virtual Reality Chemistry Class — from thereisonlyr.com by Grant Greene
An immersive learning startup brings novel experiences to science education.

 

 

The MEL app turned my iPhone 6 into a virtual microscope, letting me walk through 360 degree, 3-D representations of the molecules featured in the experiment kits.

 

 

 

 

Labster releases ‘World of Science’ Simulation on Google Daydream — from labster.com by Marian Reed

Excerpt:

Labster is exploring new platforms by which students can access its laboratory simulations and is pleased to announce the release of its first Google Daydream-compatible virtual reality (VR) simulation, ‘Labster: World of Science’. This new simulation, modeled on Labster’s original ‘Lab Safety’ virtual lab, continues to incorporate scientific learning alongside of a specific context, enriched by story-telling elements. The use of the Google VR platform has enabled Labster to fully immerse the student, or science enthusiast, in a wet lab that can easily be navigated with intuitive usage of Daydream’s handheld controller.

 

 

The Inside Story of Google’s Daydream, Where VR Feels Like Home — from wired.com by David Pierce

Excerpt:

Jessica Brillhart, Google’s principle VR filmmaker, has taken to calling people “visitors” rather than “viewers,” as a way of reminding herself that in VR, people aren’t watching what you’ve created. They’re living it. Which changes things.

 

 

Welcoming more devices to the Daydream-ready family — from blog.google.com by Amit Singh

Excerpt:

In November, we launched Daydream with the goal of bringing high quality, mobile VR to everyone. With the Daydream View headset and controller, and a Daydream-ready phone like the Pixel or Moto Z, you can explore new worlds, kick back in your personal VR cinema and play games that put you in the center of the action.

Daydream-ready phones are built for VR with high-resolution displays, ultra smooth graphics, and high-fidelity sensors for precise head tracking. To give you even more choices to enjoy Daydream, today we’re welcoming new devices that will soon join the Daydream-ready family.

 

 

Kessler Foundation awards virtual reality job interview program — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergürel

Excerpt:

Kessler Foundation, one of the largest public charities in the United States, is awarding a virtual reality training project to support high school students with disabilities. The foundation is providing a two-year, $485,000 Signature Employment Grant to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to launch the Virtual Reality Job Interview Training program. Kessler Foundation says, the VR program will allow for highly personalized role-play, with precise feedback and coaching that may be repeated as often as desired without fear or embarrassment.

 

 

Deep-water safety training goes virtual — from shell.com by Soh Chin Ong
How a visit to a shopping centre led to the use of virtual reality safety training for a new oil production project, Malikai, in the deep waters off Sabah in Malaysia.

 

 

 
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