Growth of AI Means We Need To Retrain Workers… Now — from by Ryan Wibberley


On the more positive side, AI could take over mundane, repetitive tasks and enable the workers who perform them to take on more interesting and rewarding work. But that will also mean many workers will need to be retrained. If you’re in a business where AI-based automation could be a potentially significant disruptor, then the time to invest in worker training and skill development is now. One could argue that AI will impact just about every industry. For example, in the financial services industry, we have already seen the creation of the robo advisor. While I don’t believe that the robo advisor will fully replace the human financial advisor because of the emotional aspects of investing, I do believe that it will play a part in the relationship with an advisor and his/her client.


From DSC:
When I turned on the TV the other day, our local news station was playing a piece re: the closing of several stores in Michigan, some within our area. Some of the national retail stores/chains mentioned were:

  • Macy’s
    • Macy’s closing 100 stores, including 4 in Michigan
      Four Macy’s stores in Michigan are permanently closing in a series of company cuts expected to cost 6,200 jobs. Macy’s announced 68 of the 100 stores it plans to shutter Wednesday, according to CNBC. On the list is the Macy’s at Lakeview Square Mall in Battle Creek. CNBC reports the store opened in 1983 and employs 51 associates. Also on the chopping block is the Macy’s in Lansing, Westland and the Eastland Center in Harper Woods. All four Michigan stores are slated to close by the end of 2017.
    • Sears and Kmart closing 150 stores — from by Paul La Monica
      Sears is shutting down 150 more stores, yet another sign of how tough it is for former kings of the retail industry to compete in a world now dominated by Amazon.
  • Sears
    • Internet is the new anchor: Woodland Mall Sears closing
      Big box and anchor stores a vanishing species in West Michigan
      Despite the best economy in a decade and a nearly 4 percent increase in consumer spending this holiday, the kind of retailers that used to be the draws for shopping malls and plazas are feeling the continuing impact of the internet. The most notable recent victim of the trend is the Sears that has served as an anchor store at Woodland Mall for decades. “We hear rumors every week about what’s going on, but we don’t want to hear that — we’re working there, we don’t want to hear that kind of thing. We didn’t think that was going to happen to us. We were doing pretty good,” said 52-year-old Marty Kruizenga, who worked at the Sears Automotive at Woodland Mall. He was told Wednesday morning his store was closing.
  • The Limited
    • The Limited just shut all of its stores — from by Jackie Wattles
      Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
      American malls just got emptier.
      The Limited, a once-popular women’s clothing brand that offers casual attire and workwear, no longer has any storefronts. On Saturday [1/7/17], a message on the store’s website read, “We’re sad to say that all The Limited stores nationwide have officially closed their doors. But this isn’t goodbye.” The website will still be up and running and will continue to ship nationwide, the company said.

      The Limited is among a long list of brick-and-mortar retailers that once thrived in malls and strip shopping centers — but are now suffering at the hands of digital commerce giants like Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and fast fashion stores such as H&M and Forever 21.
  • And another chain that I don’t recall…

Here’s a snapshot I took of the television screen at the end of their piece:


The warnings were there but people didn’t want to address them:


Amazon is taking an increasing share of the US apparel market, according to Morgan Stanley. 



Also regarding Amazon, see this interesting prediction from Jack Uldrich:



Below is a quote from a article entitled “Here’s What’s Wrong With Department Stores

Are Department Stores Dead?  Not yet. But they could kill themselves, under the weight of “we’ve always done it this way”. Tweaks in omni-channel strategy aren’t going to be enough to address the fundamental issues at department stores. Not with the way these trends are heading.



Along the lines of the above items, many of us can remember the Blockbuster stores closing in our areas not that long ago — having been blown out of the water by Netflix.



Although there are several lines of thought that could be pursued here (one of which might be to discuss the loss of jobs, especially to our students, as many of them work within retail)… some of the key questions that come to my mind are:

  • Could this closing of many brick and mortar-based facilities happen within higher education?
  • With the advent of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, will the innovations that take place on the Internet blow away what’s happening in the face-to-face (F2F) classrooms? As Thomas Frey asserts, by 2030, will the largest company on the internet be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet?
    (NOTE: “Frey doesn’t go so far as to argue education bots will replace traditional schooling outright. He sees them more as a supplement, perhaps as a kind of tutor.”)

  • Or, because people enjoy learning together in a F2F environment, will F2F classrooms augment what they are doing with what’s available online/digitally?
  • Will the discussion not revolve around online vs F2F, but rather will the topic at hand be more focused on how innovative/responsive one’s institution is?


Also relevant/see:

Attention University Presidents: A Press Release From the Near Future — from futurist Jack Uldrich
(Emphasis added below by DSC)

(Editor’s Note: Change is difficult. This is especially true in organizations that have heretofore been immune to the broader forces of disruption–such as institutions of higher learning. To shake presidents, administrators, and faculty out of their stupor I have drafted the following fictional press release. I encourage all university and college presidents and their boards to read it and then discuss how they can–and must–adapt in order to remain competitive in the future.)

PRESS RELEASE (Fictional Scenario: For Internal Discussion Only)

(Note: All links in the press release highlight real advances in the field of higher education).

State College to Close at End of 2021-2022 Academic Year
Washington, DC – December 16, 2021 — State College, one of the country’s leading public universities, has decided to cease academic operations at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

rest of fictional press release here –>



Last comment from DSC:
I don’t post this to be a fear monger. Rather,  I post it to have those of us working with higher education take some time to reflect on this situation — because we need to be far more responsive to change than we are being. Given the increasingly rapid pace of change occurring in our world today, people will have to continue to reinvent themselves. But the difference in the near future will be in the number of times people have to reinvent themselves and how quickly they need to do it. They won’t be able to take 2-4 years off to do it.

Let’s not get blown out of the water by some alternative. Let’s respond while we still have the chance. Let’s be in touch with the changing landscapes and needs out there.




Colleges need to adapt to meet the changing demographics and needs of students, rather than expect them to conform to a tradition-loving system.

“Unless we become more nimble in our approach and more scalable in our solutions, we will miss out on an opportunity to embrace and serve the majority of students who will need higher education and postsecondary learning,” says the report. Later it underscores that “higher education has never mattered so much to those who seek it. It drives social mobility, energizes our economy, and underpins our democracy.”



WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling. Later, automation in factories and offices called forth a surge in college graduates. The combination of education and innovation, spread over decades, led to a remarkable flowering of prosperity.

Today robotics and artificial intelligence call for another education revolution. This time, however, working lives are so lengthy and so fast-changing that simply cramming more schooling in at the start is not enough. People must also be able to acquire new skills throughout their careers.



Amazon is going to kill more American jobs than China did — from
Millions of retail jobs are threatened as Amazon’s share of online purchases keeps climbing






Holoportation is a new type of 3D capture technology that allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted anywhere in the world in real time. When combined with mixed reality displays such as HoloLens, this technology allows users to see, hear, and interact with remote participants in 3D as if they are actually present in the same physical space. Communicating and interacting with remote users becomes as natural as face-to-face communication.

Team webpage:




holoportation is a new type of 3D capture technology that allows high quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed, and transmitted anywhere in the world in real-time. When combined with mixed reality displays such as HoloLens, this technology allows users to see and interact with remote participants in 3D as if they are actually present in their physical space. Communicating and interacting with remote users becomes as natural as face to face communication.




Some other items on this:







To those who celebrate it, Happy Easter to you!
Glory to God in the Highest!




To teach is to learn — from by Robert Schoone-Jongen


…here is tonight’s Top Ten Things Student Teachers Teach Me:

  1. To be a teacher is to be a student, a learner. A teacher cannot just pour out knowledge on students. A teacher needs to learn from the students in order to teach them. Your students are the best methods book you will ever read. Listen to what they will teach you every day.
  1. Each class consists of two parts: what went right and what went wrong. Being a teacher and a student means living with both successes and failures. During each class we learn something new about students, subjects, and our selves as teachers.
  1. Each class is another chance to get things right. All our advance planning must be proven in the fiery furnace heated by real students. In our teacherly minds we may have covered all the bases, but the students likely will exhibit different thought patterns. The big question of the day might get the lesson off ground, but the students determine the actual flight plan and landing pattern–be it a smooth one or a swim in the Hudson River. You and I may be in the cockpit, but we can’t control the wind swirling around us. Serendipity is the order of the day in a classroom, not stolid stability.
  1. The students are the most important thing in the room. These individual image bearers of God, his precious jewels in the words of an old hymn, come to us in various grades–some highly polished gems, others very rough hewn. They all have one overriding need: the guidance of a responsible adult, you, their teacher. Despite all the technological doodads and wizardry–the stuff computer companies equate with effective teaching — students still need you, a living, breathing, three dimensional human being, to provide the companionship no silicon chip and flat screen will ever provide.
  1. You and me, those breathing human beings in the front of the room, are not super heroes, but fallible people with limited abilities and vast weaknesses. Chronology and a state-issued certificate separates us from our students. That has its advantages, but also its weaknesses. We may have accumulated more of what only experience can provide, but our age also renders us exotic in the eyes of our students.
  1. Our humanness requires maintenance–both physically and spiritually. Without a healthy you, students will see just a sick teacher. Physical maintenance is not optional. The students deserve our best effort, and we owe them more than mere endurance. My informal teachers, the student teachers, remind me every semester that sleeping and eating and exercising are what keeps our heads on straight, and our feet firmly planted underneath, from the first bell of the day until the last.
  1. Spiritual maintenance constantly reminds us to be humble about running a class. Each time we teach, thousands of words pour forth, and hundreds of instant calculations determine our vocabulary, our inflection, and our reception. A spiritually-maintained teacher prayerfully acknowledges that the torrent of words cascading through the room will carry rocks that can bruise students, and even scar them. We need divine purification to keep that torrent as a clean as possible, for the wisdom to know when a rock flew, and for the character to admit it and make amends.
  1. That never ending prayer should have a second petition–thankfulness for the blessing of being commissioned to mirror Christ’s love to another group of His image-bearers. You and I have the chance to show goodness and love to students, many of whom are unlikely to see those divine traits elsewhere. You can be Calvinistically proud when God entrusts you with being His messenger of light in the classes you teach. It is a precious gift to show students that despite all the wrong we see, the light does still shine in the darkness, even when it is very dim.
  1. That light is more than words and worksheets; it is the presence that students experience in your presence. Your reputation looms larger than your facility with the facts. Presence is the part of a class the students most likely will remember for years. In the end, what students really want from us are two simple things: to be treated justly and to be treated respectfully. The highest compliments–the evaluation that really matters–will come in two short sentences: one direct–“You were always fair”, the other left-handed–“You never made me feel dumb.” If students can say that, they have glimpsed the face of Christ in us.
  1. These student renderings of “Well done, good and faithful servant” are far more important, and more eloquent assessments of our teaching than all the numbers Pearson Corporation can tease from all the standardized tests inflicted upon students. Teaching’s essence cannot be measured by algorithms, formulas, or equations. God, and those image bearers in our classes will evaluate us by our faithfulness, not by the dots on a bubble sheet.

Heavenly Father, LORD Jesus, Holy Spirit,
Thank you for you and for this day which you have made.

Thank you for what you have done, what you’re currently doing, and what you will do in the future.

Looking back on this last academic year…

Thank you for the teachers, administrators, staff, school boards, parents, guardians, coaches, and the numerous other people out there who worked hard to positively impact the hearts, minds, and lives of millions of children and young adults.

Thank you for the small and large victories — the growth — that occurred this last academic year.

Thank you for the teachers who persevered in spite of all sorts of obstacles, odds, and issues — who rose above all of that to positively impact our next generation…our future citizens.

Thank you for providing many teachers with the patience, energy, love and compassion for children, especially for those difficult-to-deal with children that can zap one’s energy and emotions; thank you for the cases where the teachers ended up making life-changing behavioral changes with those children — as well as being personally impacted and taught in the process.

Thank you for the single mom who struggled each day this last year to get her little ones out of bed, dressed, fed, clothed, and delivered to school — and then had to go face the work world herself before having to go pick her kids up again, get them to their extracurricular activities (if that was even a possibility), feed them (if enough food was even around), work through life’s issues with them, and then get them back to bed again…before collapsing into bed, without having much time or energy left for herself.

Thank you for the dad who sat down after long days of work, even when he was tired and wanted some time for himself, and yet ended up helping his son and his daughter with their homework…or having the tough discussions to help keep his kids’ feet on solid ground.

Thank you for the teachers who fought like crazy for those on-the-edge students — those students who were about to drop out of school and head down some slippery paths — yet, due to those caring teachers, were encouraged enough to attempt school for another day, week, month, or year.

Thank you for helping teachers continue to teach, even when they faced numerous agendas coming at them from all over the place.

Thank you for the administrators and the office staff who not only kept things running, but advanced how students learned and helped provide them with the infrastructures/environments to further their learning — who dealt with incredible amounts of stress and had to make many in-the-moment, important decisions.

Thank you for good friends for our students — those friends who cared enough to tell each other the truth, spoken in love; for those who helped make school a less painful, isolating place (for those students who experienced school that way).

Thank you for the wonders of this world — may our students experience more of them. Sustain their curiosities. May they have many moments when learning is enjoyable, fun, playful, creative, and even inspirational.

May you bless the teachers with continued vision and a strong sense of mission; bless them with a caring spirit, with love, compassion, energy, and with fresh/new ideas.

LORD, please strengthen and sustain those students and teachers suffering from health issues, financial difficulties, or from issues at home such as divorce or addictions. For those who bully other students, LORD please soften their hearts and grant them new eyes to see — so that they can perceive and understand the harmful, lasting impacts their hurtful words and actions have on others…then help them turn away from those destructive pathways. Strengthen and encourage those students who feel inadequate — help them know that they, too, can learn and grow.

May you bless the staff and administrators with wisdom; with your wise counsel continue to guide their work– knowing which projects to move forward with, and which ones to stop and drop.

Grant us the insight and the courage to change where we need to change.  Show us what’s in our blind spots.

Guide us as we determine our priorities throughout our nations; may education be high on the lists.

Thank you LORD for our amazing bodies and minds — incredible, amazing work!  May we give you the glory you deserve.

And again, thank you for you LORD!

Thank you for your forgiveness and for your grace.

In Jesus’ powerful name I offer up this prayer of thanksgiving,



Augmented Reality can be a reality in your art classroom — from


Last fall, I attended a technology conference where I went to a session on augmented reality technology (AR) and how it can be used in the classroom. I was blown away by the possibilities of this tech concept and its ability to modify our students’ current reality into a compelling, virtual experience of interactive information.

AR in your Art Classroom
There are dozens of AR apps, programs and resources out there that can help encourage curiosity and inspire critical thinking and intense creativity in your students. Here are a few augmented reality options that you can start infusing into your art curriculum.





Jaunt VR wants to (virtually) change the way we travel — from
Gaming is just the beginning. The real future of virtual reality lies in hacking the global travel experience.



52 of the best apps for your classroom in 2015 — from by Terry Heick



Adobe’s Slate is  a [new] visual storytelling app for the iPad — from; also an article at on this app



The top 50 apps for creative minds — from
Our pick of the best tablet and smartphone tools to enable you to make video, music, art and more


[Microsoft’s] Sway is now collaborative—create and edit together with others!


When we announced Sway, we knew that people would want to work on standout class projects, eye-catching business reports, engaging vacation recaps, or more, together—it’s the way things are done now, right? But Sway up until now has been a tool for individual authors to create polished content in a new and interactive way to share with their audiences. However, we know you’ve asked for shared editing in Sway in our feedback channels (such as UserVoice), and that Office has delivered real-time editing and collaboration features for years, allowing people to work together to share their collective ideas. On top of that, we can’t tell you how many times that we on the Sway team have said to each other, “I wish I could work on this Sway with you!” So now we’re rolling out co-authoring in Sway!


Microsoft debuts Office Lens, a document-scanning app for iOS and Android — from by Sarah Perez


Microsoft [on 4/2/15] launched Office Lens, a mobile document scanner app that works with OneNote, for iOS and Android smartphones. The app, which allows users to snap photos of paper documents, receipts, business cards, menus, whiteboards, sticky notes and more, was first launched a year ago as an application designed only for Windows Phone devices.



5 free (or low cost) tools for Flipped Learning— from Campus Technology’s April/May 2015 edition

  • Doceri
  • Explain Everything
  • Office Mix
  • Screencast-O-Matic
  • Verso



AppStudio for ArcGIS — with thanks to Dr. Jason Van Horn (Associate Professor Geology, Geography & Env Studies at Calvin College) for this resource
Your mobile mapping apps, built in a snap


AppStudio for ArcGIS is a groundbreaking tool in the GIS app revolution. It lets you convert your maps into beautiful, consumer-friendly mobile apps ready for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and publish them using your own brand to all popular app stores – no developer skills required.



Moodle Mobile 2 is coming: updated look and feel of the application, transition to Ionic Framework — from


A few weeks ago Juan Leyva introduced a demo site for Moodlers to check out the 2nd version of Moodle Mobile the ever improving official mobile application for the learning management system. The major changes include a shift to Ionic framework which will greatly enhance the developers’ ability to focus on new features development.



Some of the best storytelling apps for elementary students — from


The apps below are particularly useful for elementary students but they can also be used with other age groups. Elementary teachers often complain about the paucity of apps that are kids appropriate compared with apps for other age groups. So we thought it would be useful to create a section in this blog devoted entirely to apps specifically curated for elementary teachers. After we have covered math and writing apps, today’s post features some very good iPad storytelling apps to use with young kids. You can use these apps to help kids develop a wide range of basic literacy skills that include: writing, reading and speaking.



5 great writing apps for elementary students — from


The selection we curated for you today contains some  useful iPad apps to use with elementary students to help them with their writing. Some the things your kids will get to learn from these apps include: learning how to write letters, learning phonics and spelling, composing syllables by combining vowels and consonants, and several other basic literacy skills. Some of these apps also include tracking features which allow teachers and parents to keep updated about the progress of their kids.


Addendum on 4/8/15:

Addendum on 4/9/15:

Addendums on 4/13:15:

  • Six ways to make movies on a smartphone — from by Laura Celada

    Have you tried using mobile devices to make movies? Film-making is such a great way for your children to express themselves and nurture their creativity and imagination. We’ve selected the most powerful apps and programs that can even the least techy kids become creative moviemakers.
    None of these require any special equipment, just a tablet or a smartphone. Children can take videos, edit their work and make professional quality movies on the go. Check out the list below and bring out the Spielberg in them. Maybe next year you and your little thinker might be walking down the red carpet…
  • Nice for Every Device: 15 Tech-Agnostic Tools — from
    Posting included tools for:
    Student Response Systems
    Student Collaboration Activities
    English Language Arts/Social Studies
  • 80 Twitter Tools for Almost Everything — from





Liberal arts education is unique in its ability to develop independence of thought, to nurture wisdom, and to build both a deep empathy for others and broad context for decision making in uncertain situations.

— Gunnar Counselman


8 steps to 7 billion liberal arts degrees — from by Gunnar Counselman, the founder/CEO of Fidelis Education, a Learning Relationship Management (LRM) System.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

So being on the offensive about the liberal arts means reframing the conversation from a defense for the 40M people who participate in it today. Being on offensive means abandoning all tendency toward Ludditism and instead getting creative about using technology to scale effective learning in the liberal arts and pure sciences to the other 99.6 percent of people on the planet. And being on the offensive means we must stop worrying about jobs. There will be many more jobs educating 99.6 percent of the world’s population than there are educating the .4 percent (the percentage of the world population currently receiving a liberal arts degree), no matter how efficient we become with technology.

Let’s observe the ingredients of liberal education as they are today at places like Middlebury, Smith, Sarah Lawrence, and Union, honors programs at state universities, then imagine what it would look like scaled to 7 billion people.

This analysis makes it clear that liberal education is a relationship-generation machine built around personalized content. So our technology has to be a relationship-management machine, purpose-built to make sure that every single person in a learning community has peers, mentors, and advisors to collaborate to build strong learning pathways of content.


From DSC:
Though Gunnar likely has his LMS-influenced lenses on while sharing his thoughts here (as I often have my tech-tinted lenses/perspectives on as well), he still makes some valid points.  Those who support the liberal arts need “to stop hunkering down in a defensive posture. It’s time to go on the offensive…” he asserts.  I would second his thought that we need to creatively employ technology to help the liberal arts thrive in the 21st century.

In fact, I’m beginning to wonder more and more if online/digitally-based learning will turn out to be the very thing that saves the liberal arts as we make our way through the 21st century.  Getting a liberal arts degree at $5K a year is one thing.  Getting it at a price tag of $25K-$50+K per year is another thing.  When prices rise like that, expectations change.  The expectations of a solid ROI come to mind much more as the prices increase (and I would even use the word requirements for many of us now, not just expectations). 

If we want the liberal arts to continue to exist outside the top 5% of the income earners out there, we must find ways to bring the prices down again. The best way I know to do that is to go online — at least in part.  Setting up a new server or asking one’s vendor(s) to allocate more storage, bandwidth, applications, user accounts, etc. is far cheaper than maintaining physical campuses or developing new buildings on campuses across the land.  And you can still have excellent relationships, interactions, and communications via online/digitally-based means.

Also see:


[From DSC: In the posting below, when I say higher ed, I’m thinking here of traditional 4-year colleges and universities, whether for-profit or non-profit.]

Years ago…President Obama said to higher ed: “You’re getting too expensive. Please take steps to address this, will you?” And student debt continued to mount that year. Many families struggled with how to make getting degrees work within their budgets.

But the year passed, higher ed did little to nothing to address the issue of accessibility and pricing, so President Obama had to once again address higher ed: “Heh…did you all hear me, I said that you’re getting too expensive. Please take steps to address this, will you?”

Higher ed responded, “Yeh, yeh, yeh…we know…we’ve heard you say this before. Thanks…and have a nice day.” And what was unsaid — yet what was lived out — was “Let us run our own show. Please don’t bother us again.”

So another year passed, higher ed again did little to nothing to address the issue of accessibility and the rising cost of attending college. Therefore, even more families and students went into debt (an invisible reality that folks on campus often don’t really “see” being played out in real peoples’ lives). The amount of student debt continued to increase on a national level. At this point, more students and families started to question whether they wanted to go into that kind of debt — would they be ok with the decision to delay the start of their families? Would they be ok with not being able to purchase a home for a while after graduating? Or not being able to save for their retirements for a long while? (Re: this last item, financial advisers often stress how important time is — advising folks to put away money early on in their lives so that time and compound interest can be on their side, working positively on their investments.) So families and individuals begin to ask, “Is college really worth it?” (And I believe it is in most situations today, but that’s not the point of this posting.)

Yet again, higher ed doesn’t respond much…at least not for the most part. While a handful of experiments begin here and there, most of the traditional institutions of higher education pursue the status quo…all the while believing, “The gold ol’ days will return. The period we’re going through is an aberration. Let the status quo continue — it’s working very well for us.” But it wasn’t — and isn’t — an aberration. Student debt continued to mount. More families and students found higher education now out of reach for them.

Meanwhile, higher ed institutions said things like, “Our tuition increases were the smallest within our peer group” or “Our tuition increases were the smallest in years” or “We didn’t increase tuition nearly as much as the other institutions in our state.”

So fast forward and once again, President Obama had to address higher ed: “Heh!!! You’re too expensive! Are you guys hearing me or what?! If you don’t take steps to address this, the Federal Government’s going to get involved. Got it?!”

Then higher ed essentially responded in the same manner, “Yeh, yeh, yeh…we know…we’ve heard you say this before. Thanks…and, again, have a nice day.”

And so it went for the last several years.

Therefore, does anyone blame the President for taking matters to the next level? If traditional 4-year colleges and universities aren’t going to do much to address the accessibility/cost situation, then he and the Federal Government have to get seriously involved.


For others, a federal government that spends more than $140 billion a year on higher education is justified in attempting to get the right bang for its buck.

— from Ry Rivard’s article, New Higher Ed Federalism, at on 1/12/15


So on January 8th, 2015, President Obama introduced his proposal for free community college for responsible students across the nation who are willing to work hard (see here , here, here, here, or here).

If this moves forward, it could have an enormous impact on those traditional 4-year colleges and universities who blew him off all of those years.


January 8, 2015



Also see:

  • ‘Nontraditional’ but increasingly common barriers to higher education –from by Abby Miller
    At the heart of this country’s vast income inequality — an issue which has at last been gaining the urgent attention it deserves — is a growing educational divide. A college degree is the ticket to employment and better quality of life, yet it is more than ever unattainable for those who need it most: the growing number of low-income, first-generation college-going, adult, and immigrant populations; college students who until recently were referred to as “nontraditional”.

Harvard MOOCs up ante on production quality — from by Grace Smith

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

It’s called HarvardX, a program begun two years ago, that films professors who are creating lessons that act as an adjunct to their coursework.   The catch is, the production value is equally proportioned to the subject matter.  The underproduced in-class lecture being filmed by a camera at the back of the lecture hall is being updated, in a big way.

Two video studios, 30 employees, producers, editors, videographers, composers, animators, typographers, and even a performance coach, make HarvardX a far cry from a talking head sort of online class.

The Harvard idea is to produce excellent videos, on subject matters that might be difficult to pull off in a lecture hall or class.  Then, to bring these videos into the class for enrichment purposes.  An example is Ulrich’s online class, “Tangible Things”.



Also see:

Sea change of technology: Education — from the Harvard Gazette, Christina Pazzanese, May 26, 2014

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

After centuries of relative torpor, technology breakthroughs have begun to reshape teaching and learning in ways that have prompted paradigm shifts around pedagogy, assessment, and scholarly research, and have upended assumptions of how and where learning takes place, the student-teacher dynamic, the functions of libraries and museums, and the changing role of scholars as creators and curators of knowledge.

“There are massive changes happening right now,” said Robert A. Lue, the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning and faculty director of HarvardX ( “What has brought it into particularly tight focus now is that the revolution in online education has raised a whole host of very important questions about: What do students do with faculty face-to-face; what is the value of the brick-and-mortar experience; and how does technology in general really support teaching and learning in exciting, new ways? It’s been a major catalyst, if you will, for a reconsideration of how we teach in the classroom.”

Classrooms of the future are likely to resemble the laboratory or studio model, as more disciplines abandon the passive lecture and seminar formats for dynamic, practice-based learning, Harvard academicians say.

“There’s a move away from using the amphitheater as a learning space … toward a room that looks more like a studio where students sit in groups around tables, and the focus is on them, not on the instructor, and the instructor becomes more the ‘guide outside’ rather than the ‘sage onstage,’ facilitating the learning process rather than simply teaching and hoping people will learn,” said Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

It’s a shift that’s changing teaching in the humanities as well. “It’s a project-based model where students learn by actually being engaged in a collaborative, team-based experience of actually creating original scholarship, developing a small piece of a larger mosaic — getting their hands dirty, working with digital media tools, making arguments in video, doing ethnographic work,” said Jeffrey Schnapp, founder and faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard, an arts and humanities research and teaching unit of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.



From DSC:
HarvardX is a great example of using teams to create and deliver learning experiences.

Also, the “Sea change…” article reminded me of the concept of learning hubs — whereby some of the content is face-to-face around a physical table, and whereby some of the content is electronic (either being created by the students or being consumed/reviewed by the students).  I also appreciated the work that Jeff Schnapp is doing to increase students’ new media literacy skills.




© 2016 Learning Ecosystems