New Google Earth has exciting features for teachers — from thejournal.com by Richard Chang

Excerpt:

Google has recently released a brand new version of Google Earth for both Chrome and Android. This new version has come with a slew of nifty features teachers can use for educational purposes with students in class. Following is a quick overview of the most fascinating features…

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
In terms of learning, having to be in the same physical place as others continues to not be a requirement nearly as much as it used to be. But I’m not just talking about online learning here. I’m talking about a new type of learning environment that involves both hardware and software to facilitate collaboration (and it was designed that way from day 1). These new types of setups can provide us with new opportunities and affordances that we should begin experimenting with immediately.

Check out the following products — all of which allow a person to contribute to a discussion or conversation from anywhere they can get Internet access:

When you go to those sites, you will see words and phrase such as:

  • Visual collaboration software
  • Virtual workspace
  • Develop
  • Share
  • Inspire
  • Design
  • Global teams
  • A visual collaboration solution that links locations, teams, content, and devices in an immersive, shared workspace
  • Teamwork
  • Create and brainstorm with others
  • Digital workplace platform
  • Eliminate the distance between in-office and remote employees
  • Jumpstart spontaneous brainstorms and working sessions

So using these types of software and hardware setups, I can contribute regardless of where I’m located. Remote learning — from anywhere in the world — being combined with our face-to-face based classrooms.

Also, the push for Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) continues across higher education. Such hands-on, project-learning based, student-centered approaches fit extremely well with the collaboration setups mentioned above.

Then, there’s the insight from Simon Dudley in this article:

“…video conferencing is increasingly an application within in a larger workflow…”

Lastly, if colleges and universities don’t have the funds to maintain their physical plants, look for higher education to move increasingly online — and these types of solutions could play a significant role in that environment. Plus, for working adults who need to reinvent themselves, this is an extremely efficient means of picking up some new skills and competencies.

So the growth of these types of setups — where the software and hardware work together to support worldwide collaboration — will likely create a powerful, new, emerging piece of our learning ecosystems.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Remote learning — from anywhere in the world — being combined with our face-to-face based classrooms.

 



 

 

Five things to know about Facebook’s huge augmented reality fantasy — from gizmodo.com by Michael Nunez

Excerpt:

One example of how this might work is at a restaurant. Your friend will be able to leave an augmented reality sticky note on the menu, letting you know which menu item is the best or which one’s the worst when you hold your camera up to it.

Another example is if you’re at a celebration, like New Year’s Eve or a birthday party. Facebook could use an augmented reality filter to fill the scene with confetti or morph the bar into an aquarium or any other setting corresponding with the team’s mascot. The basic examples are similar to Snapchat’s geo-filters—but the more sophisticated uses because it will actually let you leave digital objects behind for your friends to discover. Very cool!

 

“We’re going to make the camera the first mainstream AR platform,” said Zuckerberg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Everything Facebook Announced at F8, From VR to Bots — from wired.com

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Facebook kicked off its annual F8 developer conference with a keynote address. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on his executive team made a bunch of announcements aimed at developers, but the implications for Facebook’s users was pretty clear. The apps that billions of us use daily—Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram—are going to be getting new camera tricks, new augmented reality capabilities, and more bots. So many bots!

 

Facebook’s bold and bizarre VR hangout app is now available for the Oculus Rift — from theverge.com by Nick Statt

Excerpt:

Facebook’s most fascinating virtual reality experiment, a VR hangout session where you can interact with friends as if you were sitting next to one another, is now ready for the public. The company is calling the product Facebook Spaces, and it’s being released today in beta form for the Oculus Rift.

 

 

 

From DSC:

Is this a piece of the future of distance education / online learning-based classrooms?

 

 

 

Facebook Launches Local ‘Developer Circles’ To Help Entrepreneurs Collaborate, Build Skills — from forbes.com by Kathleen  Chaykowski

Excerpt:

In 2014, Facebook launched its FbStart program, which has helped several thousand early stage apps build and grow their apps through a set of free tools and mentorship meetings. On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled a new program to reach a broader range of developers, as well as students interested in technology.

The program, called “Developer Circles,” is intended to bring developers in local communities together offline as well as online in Facebook groups to encourage the sharing of technical know-how, discuss ideas and build new projects. The program is also designed to serve students who may not yet be working on an app, but who are interested in building skills to work in computer science.

 

 

Facebook launches augmented reality Camera Effects developer platform — from techcrunch.com by Josh Constine

Excerpt:

Facebook will rely on an army of outside developers to contribute augmented reality image filters and interactive experiences to its new Camera Effects platform. After today’s Facebook F8 conference, the first effects will become available inside Facebook’s Camera feature on smartphones, but the Camera Effects platform is designed to eventually be compatible with future augmented reality hardware, such as eyeglasses.

While critics thought Facebook was just mindlessly copying Snapchat with its recent Stories and Camera features in Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg tells TechCrunch his company was just laying the groundwork for today’s Camera Effects platform launch.

 

 

Mark Zuckerberg Sees Augmented Reality Ecosystem in Facebook — from nytimes.com by Mike Isaac

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg introduced what he positioned as the first mainstream augmented reality platform, a way for people to view and digitally manipulate the physical world around them through the lens of their smartphone cameras.

 

 

Facebook Launches Social VR App ‘Facebook Spaces’ in Beta for Rift — from virtualrealitypulse.com by Ben Lang

 

 

 


Addendums on 4/20/17:


 

 

 

 

From DSC:
First of all, let me say again that I’m not suggesting that we replace professors with artificial intelligence, algorithms, and such.

However, given a variety of trends, we need to greatly lower the price of obtaining a degree and these types of technologies will help us do just that — while at the same time significantly increasing the productivity of each professor and/or team of specialists offering an online-based course (something institutions of higher education are currently attempting to do…big time). Not only will these types of technologies find their place in the higher education landscape, I predict that they will usher in a “New Amazon.com of Higher Education” — a new organization that will cause major disruption for traditional institutions of higher education. AI-powered MOOCs will find their place on the higher ed landscape; just how big they become remains to be seen, but this area of the landscape should be on our radars from here on out.

This type of development again points the need for team-based
approaches; s
uch approaches will likely dominate the future.

 

 


 

California State University East Bay partners with Cognii to offer artificial intelligence powered online learning — from prnewswire.com
Cognii’s Virtual Learning Assistant technology will provide intelligent tutoring and assessments to students in a chatbot-style conversation

Excerpt:

HAYWARD, Calif., April 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cal State East Bay, a top-tier public university, and Cognii Inc., a leading provider of artificial intelligence-based educational technologies, today announced a partnership. Cognii will work with Cal State East Bay to develop a new learning and assessment experience, powered by Cognii’s Virtual Learning Assistant technology.

Winner of the 2016 EdTech Innovation of the Year Award from Mass Technology Leadership Council for its unique use of conversational AI and Natural Language Processing technologies in education, Cognii VLA provides automatic grading to students’ open-response answers along with qualitative feedback that guides them towards conceptual mastery. Compared to the multiple choice tests, open-response questions are considered pedagogically superior for measuring students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, essential for 21st century jobs.

Students at Cal State East Bay will use the Cognii-powered interactive tutorials starting in summer as part of the online transfer orientation course. The interactive questions and tutorials will be developed collaboratively by Cognii team and the eLearning specialists from the university’s office of the Online Campus. Students will interact with the questions in a chatbot-style natural language conversation during the formative assessment stage. As students practice the tutorials, Cognii will generate rich learning analytics and proficiency measurements for the course leaders.

 

 

 

 

Looking to build the campus of tomorrow? 5 trends you should know — from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
Today’s trends will bring about a new vision for the traditional college campus.

Excerpt:

“Innovations in physical space must be made to accommodate demands for accessibility, flexibility and affordability,” according to The State of Higher Education in 2017, a report from professional services firm Grant Thornton.

Changes in infrastructure are being driven by a handful of trends, including:

  • Digital technology is decoupling access to the classroom and information from any specific geographic location.
  • Learning is becoming more “modular,” credentialing specific competencies, such as certificates and badges,, rather than the model of four years to a degree via fixed-class schedules. This requires a less broad range of academic buildings on campus.
  • Students will engage with their coursework at their own time and pace, as they do in every other aspect of their lives.
  • Price pressure on colleges will create incentives for cost efficiencies, discouraging the fixed-cost commitment embodied in physical structures.
  • Deferred maintenance is a problem so large that it can’t be solved by most colleges within their available resources; the result may be reducing the physical plant footprint or just letting it deteriorate further.

These developments will prompt physical space transformation that will lead to a new kind of campus.

 

 


The State of Higher Education in 2017 — from grantthornton.com

 

Browse the report articles:

 

 

Innovative thinking will be vital to successfully moving into the future.

 

 

Lithodomosvr.com: Archaeology Virtual Reality Content for Tourism, Education and Entertainment

 

 

 

An excerpt from their website:

Head mounted virtual reality devices have an enormous potential to provide non-destructive immersive experiences for visitors to archaeological sites and museums as well as for researchers and educators. By creating a model that suggests an anastylosis of a building, the user can simply put on a headset and view the streetscape and its suggested reconstruction.

VR simulations are a much cheaper and more flexible solution than on-site physical reconstruction. Of course, necessary checks and measures are important to signify what is certain and what is guesswork, and as such, Lithodomos adheres to section 2.4 of the ICOMOS Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites.

By using photogrammetry, texturing and mesh modelling, Lithodomos VR creates immersive experiences of the Greek and Roman worlds for viewing on Virtual Reality Head Mounted devices, for example: the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard and many others. Unlike many VR content creators, our point of difference is that we specialse in VR content for the Greek and Roman worlds. Our reconstructions stem from years of research and firsthand knowledge, and they reflect the best academic practices to ensure that the end product is both as accurate as can be possible and informative for the viewer.

 

 

 

 

 

[On 4/3/17] the World’s First Live Hologram Phone Call was made between Seoul and New Jersey on a 5G Network — from patentlyapple.com

Excerpt:

[On 4/3/17] a little history was made. Verizon and Korean Telecom (KT) unveiled the world’s first live hologram international call service via the companies’ trial 5G networks established in Seoul and in New Jersey, respectively. Our cover graphic shows Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam (left) and KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu demonstrate a hologram video call on a tablet PC at the KT headquarters in central Seoul Monday.

In the demonstration, a KT employee held a meeting with a Verizon employee in New Jersey who appeared as a hologram image on a monitor in the KT headquarters building.

 

With today’s revelations from South Korea, it’s easy to imagine that we’ll see Apple’s FaceTime offer a holographic experience in the not-too-distant future with added AR experiences as Apple’s CEO has conveyed.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
The use of virtual reality in industries such as architecture, construction, and real estate is growing. Below are some articles that speak to this trend.

In the future, it’s highly likely we’ll be able to get a nice VR-based tour of a space before building it, or renting it, or moving into it. Schools and universities will benefit from this as well, as they can use VR to refine the vision for a space with the appropriate stakeholders and donors.

 


 

 

Coming Soon: A Virtual Reality Revolution — from builderonline.com by Jennifer Goodman
American consumers will soon expect homes to be viewable before they are built. Are you ready?

Excerpt:

In what ways are builders using VR today?
There are two primary uses of the panoramic style VR that I mentioned above being used: 1) photography based experiences and 2) computer generated (CG) experiences. The former is getting quite a bit of traction right now through technologies like Matterport. They are what I consider a modern version of iPix, using a camera to photograph an existing environment and special software to move through the space. But it is limited to real world environments. The CG experiences don’t require the environments to be built which gives builders a huge advantage to pre-market their properties. And since it is computer generated, there is a tremendous amount of flexibility in what is presented, such as various structural options or cabinet selections. And not only homes! Developers are using the technology to market the amenities of a new master planned community.

 

 

Local builders step further into virtual reality — from richmondbizsense.com by Jonathan Spiers

Excerpt:

While 3D modeling and online virtual tours have become more commonplace in the home design industry, at least one local builder is taking the custom home building and buying process into a new dimension.

At a recent preview event for this year’s Homearama, an annual home design showcase to be held this May at Chesterfield County’s NewMarket Estates, Midlothian-based Lifestyle Home Builders let attendees virtually walk through and look around a completed version of the house it is building – while standing within the same unfinished home under construction.

Participants were invited to wear virtual reality (VR) headsets for a full immersion, 360-degree experience, or they could navigate the finished product via a virtual tour on a computer screen. LifeStyle is using the technology, which it adapted from building information modeling (BIM) and off-the-shelf software, to allow homebuyers a chance to see their custom home before it is built and make any changes prior to construction starting.

 

 

How Virtual Reality Could Revolutionize The Real Estate Industry — from forbes.com by Azad Abbasi

Excerpt:

Consider the top two hurdles of the average real estate agent:

  • Agents have to manage the time it takes to go from one visit to the other, dealing with traffic among other elements out of their control.
  • The most commonly heard phrase in real estate is, “It doesn’t look like the pictures.”

Virtual reality can help immediately resolve both of these issues. It offers the possibility to virtually visit a lot more homes in a lot less time. This will naturally increase sales efficiency, as well as allow the ability to see more potential buyers.

Here are three different options you can explore using virtual reality to heighten real estate experiences:

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Amazon Alexa Skills — from in.pcmag.com by Eric Griffith

Example skills:

 

WebMD

 

 

5 Alexa skills to try this week — from venturebeat.com by Khari Johnson

Excerpt:

Below are five noteworthy Amazon Alexa skills worth trying, chosen from New, Most Enabled Skills, Food and Drink, and Customer Favorites categories in the Alexa Skills Marketplace.

 

From DSC:
I’d like to see how the Verse of the Day skill performs.

 

 

 


Also see:


 

 


From DSC:
This topic reminds me of a slide from
my NGLS 2017 Conference presentation:

 

 


 

 

Samsung’s personal assistant Bixby will take on Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri — from theaustralian.com.au by Chris Griffith

Excerpt:

Samsung has published details of its Bixby personal assistant, which will debut on its Galaxy S8 smartphone in New York next week.

Bixby will go head-to-head with Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Echo and Apple Siri, in a battle to lure you into their artificial intelligence world.

In future, the personal assistant that you like may not only influence which phone you buy, also the home automation system that you adopt.

This is because these personal assistants cross over into home use, which is why Samsung would bother with one of its own.

Given that the S8 will run Android Nougat, which includes Google Assistant, users will have two personal assistants on their phone, unless somehow one is disabled.

 

 

There are a lot of red flags with Samsung’s AI assistant in the new Galaxy S8 — from businessinsider.com by Steve Kovach

Excerpt:

There’s Siri. And Alexa. And Google Assistant. And Cortana. Now add another one of those digital assistants to the mix: Bixby, the new helper that lives inside Samsung’s latest phone, the Galaxy S8. But out of all the assistants that have launched so far, Bixby is the most curious and the most limited.

Samsung’s goal with Bixby was to create an assistant that can mimic all the functions you’re used to performing by tapping on your screen through voice commands. The theory is that phones are too hard to manage, so simply letting users tell their phone what they want to happen will make things a lot easier.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8: Hands on with the world’s most ambitious phone — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

Excerpt:

The S8 will also feature Bixby, Samsung’s new intelligent assistant. The company says Bixby is a bigger deal than Siri or Google Assistant – as well as simply asking for the weather, it will be deeply integrated with the phone’s everyday functions such as taking photos and sending them to people. Samsung has put a dedicated Bixby button on the S8 on the left hand side, but I wasn’t able to try it out because it won’t launch in the UK until later this year.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 launch: Samsung reveals its long-awaited iPhone killer — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

 

 

 


Also see:


 

Recent years have brought some rapid development in the area of artificially intelligent personal assistants. Future iterations of the technology could fully revamp the way we interact with our devices.

 

 

 
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