Metaverse, NFTs, Web3 And Virtual Land In The Sandbox — from forbes.com by Bernard Marr

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

So, what does Borget – undeniably one of the pioneers of the concept – think the metaverse actually is?

“For us, metaverse is really this myriad of worlds,” he tells me during our recent webinar conversation, “that users can experience through an avatar that becomes a 3D representation of themselves.”

These avatars are the key to unlocking “all sorts of new experiences … more creative, more immersive, unlike what we’ve seen before with traditional virtual worlds, where users can already socialize … here, what’s important is the ability of users to truly own their own identity, own their own belongings, digital assets, virtual land, houses … and are able to move that identity from one world to another without being constrained.”

“There will be millions of virtual worlds, places where users can take their avatars,” Borget continues. “What’s important is this ability to move from one to another while … keeping all their content they create in one and using it in others.”


Also see:

Metaverse Opportunities, risks and policy implications — from europarl.europa.eu by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS)
Metaverse Opportunities, risks and policy implications

Summary:

One of the most talked about concepts in modern technology, the metaverse can be described as an immersive and constant virtual 3D world where people interact by means of an avatar to carry out a wide range of activities. Such activities can range from leisure and gaming to professional and commercial interactions, financial transactions or even health interventions such as surgery. While the exact scope and impact of the metaverse on society and on the economy is still unknown, it can already be seen that the metaverse will open up a range of opportunities but also a number of risks in a variety of policy areas.

Major tech companies are scaling up their metaverse activities, including through mergers and acquisitions. This has given impetus to a debate on how merger regulations and antitrust law should apply. Business in the metaverse is expected to be underpinned largely by cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens, raising issues of ownership, misuse, interoperability and portability. Furthermore, the huge volume of data used in the metaverse raises a number of data protection and cybersecurity issues (e.g. how to collect user consent or protect avatars against identity theft).

There is considerable scope for a wide range of illegal and harmful behaviours and practices in the metaverse environment. This makes it essential to consider how to attribute responsibility, inter alia, for fighting illegal and harmful practices and misleading advertising practices, and for protecting intellectual property rights. Moreover, digital immersion in the metaverse can have severe negative impacts on health, especially for vulnerable groups, such as minors, who may require special protection. Finally, the accessibility and inclusiveness of the metaverse remain areas where progress has still to be made in order to create an environment of equal opportunities.


Also see the following from the Legal Talk Network — with Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell

  • Metavisting the Metaverse – Dennis and Tom plunge into the metaverse—its trends, current tech, and possibilities for the future.
  • The Wild World of NFTs – Dennis and Tom dive into these unique digital objects (art, video, and much more) and outline the issues surrounding their current hype and value in the real world.

 

Denis Kennedy and Tom Mighell -- run the Legal Talk Network podcast

 


 

From DSC:
The items below made me reflect on the need to practice some serious design thinking to rethink/redesign the cradle-to-grave learning ecosystems out there.


Real World Learning in Action — from gettingsmart.com by Shawnee Caruthers

Key Points

  • The Real World Learning initiative was created to address a simple, but equally complex challenge: How do you prepare students for life after high school?
  • The traditional, go to classes, earn some credits, participate in some activities and earn a diploma wasn’t working, at least not equitably.

Creating a new high school experience starts with innovative thinking and advocates willing to say yes. As a result of collaborations, visiting best practice sites and numerous convenings, the Kansas City region is now a hub for pathways, wall-to-wall academies, microschools, innovation academies, student-run businesses, strong client-connected project examples and more. Educational stakeholders can now go across state lines to see future-forward thinking for students.

Also relevant/see:

Framing and Designing the HOW — from gettingsmart.com by Rebecca Midles

Key Points (emphasis DSC):

  • The referenced circle graphic is intended to guide how we talk about our work as a system, internal and externally.
  • It also is about understanding our why on a personal level.
  • Learning systems are specifically designed to get the results they have, and to change results, we have to redesign the system.

Also relevant/see:

Fewer People Are Getting Teacher Degrees. Prep Programs Sound the Alarm — from edweek.org by Madeline Wil

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

As teacher dissatisfaction rates rise and concerns about teacher shortages intensify, colleges of education are sounding the alarm: Enrollment has been steadily declining for the past decade, and the pandemic has likely made things worse.

Smaller and Restructured: How the Pandemic Is Changing the Higher Education IT Workforce — from educause.edu by Jenay Robert

Excerpt:

Several prominent themes emerged from the analysis of these responses and are supported by other recent EDUCAUSE research:

  • Though most respondents reported a reduction in force, some were able to justify adding new positions to their units in 2021, primarily to meet new institutional needs.
  • Budget cuts were the main cause of reductions in force.
  • Work factors such as flexible, remote work options and competitive salaries are playing a central role in attrition and recruitment.
  • Increased workloads and personal stressors related to the pandemic have resulted in widespread burnout among staff.
  • IT units have plans to reorganize in 2022 to become more agile and efficient and to respond to the evolving needs of their organizations.

Allan: With $175G Grants, Accelerate ED Looks to Better Link K-12, College & Work — from the74million.org by Sara Allan

Excerpt:

Today, most states require high school students to complete a set of defined courses, assessments and experiences in order to graduate on a career-ready pathway. However, the number of schools that fully embrace coherent programs of study that connect K-12, higher education and employment remains frustratingly small.

.


What if every high school student had the chance to take an additional year of courses related to their interests and earn enough credits to complete their associate degree one year after high school while gaining valuable experience and career preparation—at little to no cost?

— from Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers

From DSC:
The above quote is the type of “What if…” question/thinking that we need to redesign our cradle-to-grave/lifelong learning ecosystems.


A relevant addendum on 6/1/22:

 

Google accelerates audiobook production exponentially — from provideocoalition.com by Allan Tépper

Excerpt:

In March 2022, I published Google’s Aloud auto-dubs your English video in Castilian or Portuguese, free. Now, Google is doing a similar quantum leap for audiobook production. In fact, I already converted and published one of my own books as an audiobook successfully using Google’s semi-automatic voices. Ahead, I’ll explain how Google’s process can convert the manuscript into a presentable audiobook in a few hours instead of over a month of work, using one of Google’s automated voices which are available for different languages and regions.

 

The Science of Learning: Research Meets Practice — from the-learning-agency-lab.com by Alisa Cook and Ulrich Boser; with thanks to Learning Now TV for this resource
Six Research-Based Teaching Practices Are Put Into Practice

Excerpt:

For the nation’s education system, though, the bigger question is: How do we best educate our children so that they learn better, and learn how to learn, in addition to learning what to learn? Additionally, and arguably just as challenging, is: How do we translate this body of research into classroom practice effectively?

Enter the “Science of Learning: Research Meets Practice.” The goal of the project is to get the science of learning into the hands of teaching professionals as well as to parents, school leaders, and students.

 

Psalm 150 — from biblegateway.com

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

***

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…


From DSC:
I’m on a journey to learn more about why “hope” made the big three — from 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — and what does it practically mean to have hope. Why do we need hope?

I read the other day that going to college is an act of hope. That made me think that following Christ is also an act of hope. Some men in my Bible study said that hope leads us to faith and salvation.

Teach me LORD. My learning continues…


 

Inside Microsoft’s new Inclusive Tech Lab — from engadget.com by C. Low; with thanks to Nick Floro on Twitter for some of these resources
“An embassy for people with disabilities.”

Increasing our Focus on Inclusive Technology — from mblogs.microsoft.com by Dave Dame

Excerpt:

In recent years, tied to Microsoft’s mission of empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, teams from across Microsoft have launched several products and features to make technology more inclusive and accessible. [On May 10, 2022], as part of the 12th annual Microsoft Ability Summit, we celebrate a new and expanded Inclusive Tech Lab, powerful new software features, and are unveiling Microsoft adaptive accessories designed to give people with disabilities greater access to technology.

Microsoft’s Latest Hardware Is More Accessible and Customizable — from wired.com by Brenda Stolyar
The wireless system—a mouse, a button, and a hub—is designed to increase productivity for those with limited mobility.

Excerpt:

Microsoft if expanding its lineup of accessibility hardware. During its annual Ability Summit—an event dedicated to disability inclusion and accessibility—the company showed attendees some new PC hardware it has developed for users with limited mobility. Available later this year, the wireless system will consist of an adaptive mouse, a programmable button, and a hub to handle the connection to a Windows PC. Users set up the devices to trigger various keystrokes, shortcuts, and sequences. These new input devices can be used with existing accessories, and they can be further customized with 3D-printed add-ons. There are no price details yet.

Along these lines, also see:

  • 14 Equity Considerations for Ed Tech — from campustechnology.com by Reed Dickson
    Is the education technology in your online course equitable and inclusive of all learners? Here are key equity questions to ask when considering the pedagogical experience of an e-learning tool.
 

Grandpa Creates Hologram Twin For Future Grandkids Using VR — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick
Not even death will stop this tech-savvy grandfather from meeting his great-grandchildren.

“I think it is a wonderful way to preserve my family’s history for future generations,” said Jerry while speaking to Jam Press. “To see myself like that, is just mind-blowing — it feels like watching a movie. By not just reading the words as in my memoir but to actually get the chance to see and hear me recalling the stories is just magical.”

Also from Kyle Melnick:

How VR/AR Technology Is Being Used To Treat Autism
XRHealth brings its unique VR/AR therapy to the United States.

Excerpt:

Previously available in Australia, the technology has been used to treat the effects of autism, from anxiety and stress to attention, memory, mobility/coordination, and frustration tolerance. XRHealth’s healthcare platform offers a variety of professional services. This includes one-on-one meet-ups with XRHealth therapists as well as virtual group sessions, all of which accessible remotely using modern VR headsets.

 

From DSC:
There are many things that are not right here — especially historically speaking. But this is one WE who are currently living can work on resolving.

*******

The Cost of Connection — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan
The internet is a lifeline for students on far-flung tribal campuses. Too often, they’re priced out of learning.

Excerpt:

Affordable and reliable broadband access can be a lifeline for tribal colleges, usually located on or near Native American reservations, often in remote, rural areas across the Southwest and Midwest. Chartered by their respective tribal governments, the country’s 35 accredited tribal colleges operate in more than 75 campus sites across 16 states, serving more than 160,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives each year. They emphasize and help sustain the culture, languages, and traditions of their tribal communities and are often the only higher-education option available for Native students in some of the nation’s poorest rural regions.

Also relevant/see:

Tribal Colleges Will Continue Online, Despite Challenges — from chronicle.com by Taylor Swaak
Other institutions could learn from their calculus.

Excerpt:

Two years after tribal colleges shuttered alongside institutions nationwide, many remain largely, if not fully, online, catering to students who’ve historically faced barriers to attending in person. Adult learners — especially single mothers who may struggle to find child care, or those helping to support multigenerational households — make up the majority of students at more than half of the 32 federally recognized institutions in the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program. These colleges are also often located in low-income, rural areas, where hours of daily commute time (and the cost of gas) can prove untenable for students simultaneously working part- or full-time jobs.

Also relevant/see:

Why Tribal Colleges Struggle to Get Reliable Internet Service — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan and Jacquelyn Elias
For tribal colleges across the country, the pandemic magnified internet-access inequities. Often located on far-flung tribal lands, their campuses are overwhelmingly in areas with few broadband service providers, sometimes leaving them with slow speeds and spotty coverage.

“You can be driving from a nearby town, and as soon as you hit the reservation, the internet and cellphone signals drop off,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president of the American Indian College Fund and a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation. “Students would be in the middle of class and their Wi-Fi access dropped off.”

Worsening matters, many students have been limited by outdated equipment. “We had students who were trying to take classes on their flip phones,” Crazy Bull said. Such stories were cropping up throughout Indian territory.

 

 
 

Five Tips for Launching an Online Writing Group — from scholarlyteacher.com by Kristina Rouech,  Betsy VanDeuesen, Holly Hoffman, & Jennifer Majorana — who are all from Central Michigan University

Excerpt:

Making time for writing can be difficult at any stage of your career. Pushing writing aside for grading, lesson planning, meeting with students, and committee work is too easy. However, writing is a necessary part of our careers and has the added benefit of helping us stay current with our practice and knowledge in our field. Lee and Boud (2003) stress that groups should focus on developing peer relationships and writing identity, increasing productivity, and sharing practical writing. Online writing groups can help us accomplish this. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, working online has become a necessity, but it can take time to figure out what works best for you and your writing colleagues. We recommend five tips to help you establish an online writing group that is productive and enjoyable for all participants.

 

Psalm 121:1-8

Psalm 121:1-8 — from biblegateway.com

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

 

If equity is a priority, UDL is a must — from cultofpedagogy.com by Katie Novak

Once you identify the firm goal, ask yourself, “Based on the variability in my class, what barriers may prevent learners from working toward that goal and how can I eliminate those barriers through design?”

Excerpt:

When we design the same learning pathways for all learners, we might tell ourselves we are being fair, but in fact, single pathways are exclusionary.  Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of the critically acclaimed book, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, challenges us to focus on impact over intentions. It may not be our intent to exclude our learners, but the reality is that many students do not have opportunities to learn at high levels or to access curriculum and instruction that is accessible, engaging, culturally sustaining, and linguistically appropriate.

Luckily, there is a framework that rejects these one-size-fits-all solutions and empowers educators to proactively design learning experiences so all students can increase their brainpower and accelerate and own their learning. The framework is Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

UDL is a framework for designing learning experiences so students have options for how they learn, what materials they use, and how they demonstrate their learning. 

From DSC:
I put together this graphic as I’m working on a Module (for Canvas) to address the topic of accessibility:

An image of a barrier being torn down -- revealing a human mind behind it. This signifies the need to tear down any existing barriers that might hinder someone's learning experience.
By Daniel Christian March 2021
 

Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene — from theatlantic.com by Caitlin Flanagan and was published online on March 11, 2021; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource.
Elite schools breed entitlement, entrench inequality—and then pretend to be engines of social change.

Picture of a golden chair. Links to an article entitled, Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene -- from theatlantic.com and was published online on March 11, 2021.

Excerpts:

These schools surround kids who have every possible advantage with a literal embarrassment of riches—and then their graduates hoover up spots in the best colleges. Less than 2 percent of the nation’s students attend so-called independent schools. But 24 percent of Yale’s class of 2024 attended an independent school. At Princeton, that figure is 25 percent. At Brown and Dartmouth, it is higher still: 29 percent.

The numbers are even more astonishing when you consider that they’re not distributed evenly across the country’s more than 1,600 independent schools but are concentrated in the most exclusive ones—and these are our focus here. In the past five years, Dalton has sent about a third of its graduates to the Ivy League. Ditto the Spence School. Harvard-Westlake, in Los Angeles, sent 45 kids to Harvard alone. Noble and Greenough School, in Massachusetts, did even better: 50 kids went on to Harvard.

However unintentionally, these schools pass on the values of our ruling class—chiefly, that a certain cutthroat approach to life is rewarded. 

But what makes these schools truly ludicrous is their recent insistence that they are engines of equity and even “inclusivity.” A $50,000-a-year school can’t be anything but a very expensive consumer product for the rich. If these schools really care about equity, all they need to do is get a chain and a padlock and close up shop.

“In practice, however, meritocracy now excludes everyone outside of a narrow elite.” This is a system that screws the poor, hollows out the middle class, and turns rich kids into exhausted, anxious, and maximally stressed-out adolescents who believe their future depends on getting into one of a very small group of colleges that routinely reject upwards of 90 percent of their applicants.

This is why wealthy parents think it’s life-and-death to get their kids into the right prep school—because they know that the winners keep winning.

From DSC:
Reading this article that was mainly about private secondary schools, I still can’t help but say that I feel this way about my alma mater — Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (even though it’s a university). They have lost their footing over the years. They’ve become unanchored from their motto — Philippians 4:8 — and they’ve long ago left the original faith-based intent of its founders when it was founded in 1851. 

As a Christian, I’m not happy at all with their direction. I notice that they pay lip service to equity and will sprinkle in an article or two here and there (in their alumni magazine for example) about how they are helping inner-city Chicago youth or some such topic.

But when the retail price that NU charges for ***one*** year of undergraduate work will cost you $79,342 (and thus $317,368+ for a degree), you’ve got to be kidding me!

The retail price of ONE YEAR at Northwestern University will cost you $79,342. Who is this accessible for other than the very wealthy these days!?!

 

And based upon my experience when I went there many years ago, courses were taught by:

  • Professors who had never been taught how to teach before
  • Professors who were not rewarded for their teaching, but rather they were awarded based upon their research
  • …and/or by graduate students who hadn’t been taught how to teach either

It must be all about the brand I guess. But I don’t think it’s worth it anymore — not at this kind of pricing!

Words are easy to say — but much harder to back up.


Addendums on 3/23/21:


Old Boys’ Clubs and Upward Mobility Among the Educational Elite — from nber.org by Valerie Michelman, Joseph Price & Seth D. Zimmerman; with thanks to Megan Zahneis at the Chronicle for this resource


Addendum on 4/11/21:


Calling all rich parents — from chronicle.com — which points to “We, the Privileged Parents That Matter, Applaud the Netflix College-Admissions Scandal Doc” — from chronicle.com by Eric Hoover

 

Below are two excerpts from the Lecture Breakers Weekly — by Dr. Barbi Honeycutt — re: teaching asynchronous online courses + podcast choice boards

Several great podcasts are mentioned in this graphic -- including The Learning Scientists Podcast, Lecture Breakers Podcast, Think UDL podcast and 3 others.

Above choice board created by Greg Jung

In this example, the teachers in a professional development workshop could choose which of the podcasts they wanted to listen to and discuss. I love this strategy combined with the use of podcasts! It could easily be adapted to any course as a creative way to increase student engagement and motivation.

 

Episode 75: How to Create More Engaging Asynchronous Online Courses with Dr. Monica Burns

Episode 75: How to Create More Engaging Asynchronous Online Courses with Dr. Monica Burns — by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian