Apps to explore over summer break — from by Zac Leonard





With thanks to Campus Technology, who mentioned this list in their June 2016 edition




20+ tools to create your own infographics — from


While not everyone can make infographics from scratch, there are tools available on the Web that will help you create your very own infographics. In this article, we’re listing more than 20 such options to help you get your messages across to your readers, visually.



Apple working on Echo-like device: report — from by Marco della Cava


SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is planning to make Siri smarter by linking it to the vast menu of iOS apps and eventually will deploy the digital assistant on a standalone device similar to Amazon’s best-selling Echo, according to a published report.

The news, reported Tuesday by tech media site The Information, answers an oft-asked question about why the iPhone-maker seems to be sitting on the sidelines as a growing number of companies, from Google to Siri-offshoot Viv, make big announcements about the coming age of voice-activated machine learning.


“People-to-people conversations, people-to-digital assistants, people-to-bots and even digital assistants-to-bots,” Nadella said. “That’s the world you’re going to get to see in the years to come.”



2 great tools for creating beautiful newsletters — from


Newsletters are great communicative tools which you can use with your students for a variety of educational purposes.  There are now several web tools which makes the process of newsletter making  a simple matter of choosing a template, filling in content, adjusting elements and sharing the finished product. Below are two very good examples of web tools we recommend for teachers keen on designing educational newsletters for their classes.




Amazon Alexa now has over 1,000 Skills, up from 135 in January — from by Sarah Perez




Microsoft launches a project management app called Planner — from by Nick Statt
To compete with Trello and Asana


Microsoft wants to help businesses and small teams collaborate and track work with a new app called Planner. Released [on 6/6/16] for free as part of the Office 365 suite, Planner is a project management service similar to products like Asana and Trello. Microsoft isn’t doing anything particularly groundbreaking here. It uses the established concept of a digital whiteboard plastered with note cards, which you can use to track projects, communicate progress, and attach files. It also integrates with other Microsoft products like OneNote and Outlook.



This app builder is letting students turn their ideas into apps for free — from by Fitz Tepper




Best apps for parent engagement — from by Theresa Stager


Parent engagement is one of the most important pieces to an administrator’s job, and there are so many ways to do it. In many conversations I have with other school administrators, one of the most common questions that arise is, “What do you use that works?” There are multiple apps and services that allow for communication between school and parent. At St. Mary Catholic School in Rockwood, Michigan, we utilize the apps listed below and our parents are so thankful to have the insight into our building and our classrooms.



Somewhat related:

It’s a new world: the digital and tangible are merging, and educators need to help students navigate the changing terrain. The solution? Let them be Makers. I’ve been involved in digital learning and education technology for more than 30 years, and the burgeoning attempt to merge the digital and physical worlds has been one of the most interesting aspects of the evolution of EdTech to date. Managing that change in a Making context that encompasses digital tools, hands-on construction, creation and interaction allows students to learn and create new knowledge experientially. It gives them the ability to conceptualize new ideas and invent solutions for unexpected problems. It’s no longer enough—if it ever was—for teachers to lecture to a row of desks; today’s teacher must be more of a coach. The task now is to help students understand what they need to know, strategize about what they need to do next and engage in critical problem-solving—all while helping them understand how information in the arts, sciences and mathematics fit together.





With thanks to Fred Steube for this resource



Virtual reality facilitates higher ed research and teaches high-risk skills — from by Jacquelyn Bengfort
From neuroscience to ship navigation, virtual environments deliver real-world learning inside the classroom.


Simulators are an important part of their education. Stepping into one of three full-mission bridge simulators replicates the experience of standing in an ocean liner’s pilothouse and lets students practice their skills in handling a ship — without risk.

“In the simulator, you can push the limits of the environment: increase the amount of current that’s there, go to the limits of the amount of wind that can be handled by the tugs,” says Capt. Victor Schisler, one of Cal Maritime’s simulator instructors.





Oculus Launches Virtual Reality Program in High Schools — from by Sri Ravipati
The new initiative provides students with VR equipment to create short films on social issues.


Oculus has announced a new pilot program for high school students to use virtual reality as a tool for social change.

As part of the VR for Good initiative, the 360 Filmmaker Challenge will connect nine San Francisco Bay Area high schools with professional filmmakers to create three- to five- minute 360 degree films about their communities. Students will receive a Samsung Gear VR, a Galaxy S6, Ricoh Theta S 360 cameras and access to editing software to make their films, according to Oculus.





How Adobe is connecting virtual reality with the world of product placement: 360-degree video mixes atmosphere and ads — from by Marty Swant


Interested in watching the 2015 hit film The Martian from the surface of the moon? Adobe wants you to take you there.

Adobe isn’t entering the latest next-generation space race to compete with SpaceX, Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic anytime soon. But it is for the first time entering the worlds of virtual reality and augmented reality through new Adobe Primetime products.

[On May 17th] Adobe debuted Virtual Cinema, a feature that will allow Primetime clients to develop experiences for users to enter a virtual environment. According to Adobe, users will be able to view traditional video in a custom environment—a cinema, home theater or branded atmosphere—and watch existing TV and motion picture content in a new way. There’s also potential for product placement within the virtual/augmented reality experience.




From Samsung Gear 360 Unboxing and Video Test — from by Jonathan Nafarrete





Could HoloLens’ augmented reality change how we study the human body? — from by D. Frank Smith
Case Western Reserve University is helping to revolutionize medical-science studies with a new technology from Microsoft.


While the technology world’s attention is on virtual reality, a team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is fixated on another way to experience the world — augmented reality (AR).

Microsoft’s forthcoming AR headset, HoloLens, is at the forefront of this technology. The company calls it the first holographic computer. In AR, instead of being surrounded by a virtual world, viewers see virtual objects projected on top of reality through a transparent lens.

CWRU was among the first in higher education to begin working with HoloLens, back in 2014. They’ve since discovered new ways the tech could help transform education. One of their current focuses is changing how students experience medical-science courses.





How to make a mixed reality video and livestream from two realities — from by Ian Hamilton


Follow these steps to record or stream mixed reality footage with the HTC Vive
A mixed reality video is one of the coolest ways to show people what a virtual environment feels like. A green screen makes it easy for a VR-ready PC to automatically remove everything from a camera’s feed, except for your body movements.  Those movements are then seamlessly combined with a view from another camera in a virtual environment. As long as the two cameras are synced, you can seamlessly combine views of two realities into a single video. In essence, mixed reality capture is doing what Hollywood or your weatherman has been doing for years, except at a fraction of the cost and in real-time. The end result is almost magical.





One step closer to reality: introducing 360-degree live streaming and spatial audio on YouTube — from


We first launched support for 360-degree videos back in March 2015. From musicians to athletes to brands, creators have done some incredible things with this technology. Now, they’ll be able to do even more to bring fans directly into their world, with 360-degree live streaming. And after years of live streaming Coachella for fans around the world who can’t attend the festival, this year we’re bringing you the festival like never before by live streaming select artist performances in 360 degrees this weekend. Starting today, we’re also launching spatial audio for on-demand YouTube videos. Just as watching a concert in 360 degrees can give you an unmatched immersive experience, spatial audio allows you to listen along as you do in real life, where depth, distance and intensity all play a role. Try out this playlist on your Android device.



Could HoloLens’ augmented reality change how we study the human body? — from by D. Frank Smith
Case Western Reserve University is helping to revolutionize medical-science studies with a new technology from Microsoft.


CWRU was among the first in higher education to begin working with HoloLens, back in 2014. They’ve since discovered new ways the tech could help transform education. One of their current focuses is changing how students experience medical-science courses.

“This is a curriculum that hasn’t drastically changed in more than 100 years, because there simply hasn’t been another way,” says Mark Griswold, the faculty director for HoloLens at CWRU. “The mixed-reality of the HoloLens has the potential to revolutionize this education by bringing 3D content into the real world.”




Virtual reality invites a new era of learning to higher education  — from by D. Frank Smith
A team of technology experts at the University of Maryland see an endless horizon of opportunities in education through virtual reality applications.


“Imagine a physics class where you’re able to show how friction works. Imagine being able to experience gravity on Mars — by moving around virtually,” he says. “VR can make science, technology and art come alive.”

VR will soon become an open canvas for educators to create learning experiences. Eventually, fitting VR into the curriculum will be limited only by an instructor’s imagination and budget, says Christopher Sessums, the program director of research and evaluation at Johns Hopkins School of Education.




NYU Holodeck to be model for year 2041 cyberlearning — from
The role of VR and AI in future integrated living, learning, and research environments


In an open-access paper in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Education, Winslow Burleson, PhD, MSE, associate professor, New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing, suggests that “advanced cyberlearning environments that involve VR and AI innovations are needed to solve society’s “wicked challenges*” — entrenched and seemingly intractable societal problems.

Burleson and and co-author Armanda Lewis imagine such technology in a year 2041 Holodeck, which Burleson’s NYU-X Lab is currently developing in prototype form, in collaboration with colleagues at NYU Courant, Tandon, Steinhardt, and Tisch.

“The “Holodeck” will support a broad range of transdisciplinary collaborations, integrated education, research, and innovation by providing a networked software/hardware infrastructure that can synthesize visual, audio, physical, social, and societal components,” said Burleson.

It’s intended as a model for the future of cyberlearning experience, integrating visual, audio, and physical (haptics, objects, real-time fabrication) components, with shared computation, integrated distributed data, immersive visualization, and social interaction to make possible large-scale synthesis of learning, research, and innovation.




Virtual tour honored Shakespeare’s legacy — from by Richard Chang


…British television presenter Diane-Louise Jordan will guide students on a tour through Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, including his childhood home and school; and the bard’s view of London, including the famous Globe Theatre where his plays were performed. (Shakespeare actually died April 23, which this year falls on a Saturday.)


Also see:


You can register to see the recording on that page as well.




The current selection of Mixed Reality and Virtual Reality related hardware
As of April 2016; from





Film Students To Compete in Virtual Reality Production Contest — from by Michael Hart
One of the first ever competitions involving virtual reality production will challenge college film students to create their own 360-degree films.


360fly, which produces single-lens cameras to capture 360-degree video, will sponsor the 360 VR (virtual reality) Film Contest for film students at New York University and the Rhode Island School of Design along with Drury Design. The students will use 360fly HD cameras, which they were briefed on during an April 9 presentation on the NYU campus.




HBO and Discovery are partnering with a startup to develop holograms — from by Ananya Bhattacharya
Going beyond the TV screen


HBO and Discovery Communications announced today that they are partnering with 3D-graphics startup OTOY — both companies taking equity stakes. The partnership marks an effort by the two networks to evolve entertainment experiences beyond two dimensional television. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and even holograms were all highlighted as areas OTOY would help its traditional media partners explore.



TV knows it must push toward virtual and augmented reality




Also see the various items re: Augmented & Virtual Reality from:
Rutgers Office of Instructional & Research Technology





Mark Zuckerberg says augmented reality glasses are ‘what we’re trying to get to’ — from




Facebook plans to build augmented reality glasses — from





Apple patents new augmented reality technology — from by Rose Behar


Apple was granted a patent today for a type of live interactive augmented reality (AR) video to be used in future iOS devices, indicating the company may soon enter the AR/VR game. The patent does not appear to be directly related to an AR/VR headset, but is certainly a step in that direction.

The patent describes Apple’s planned augmented reality technology as layered, live AR video that users can interact with via touchscreen. In the live video, objects can be identified and an information layer can be generated for them.

“In some implementations,” the patent text notes, “the information layer can include annotations made by a user through the touch sensitive surface.”




AltspaceVR wants to make VR chat sessions part of everyday life — from by Adi Robertson






Virtual & Augmented Reality: Blooloop’s Guide to VR and AR — from
Visitor attractions are racing to embrace Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies.  But what are the potential opportunities and possible pitfalls of VR and AR?





Introducing first ever experiences for the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition — from by Kudo Tsunoda


I am super excited about today’s announcement that the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition is available for pre-order. We set out on a mission to deliver the world’s first untethered holographic computer and it is amazing to finally be at this point in time where developers will be receiving the very first versions so they can start building their own holographic experiences.

With HoloLens, we are committed to providing the development community with the best experience possible. In order to help get developers started creating experiences for HoloLens, we’ve provided a number of great resources. First of all, there is a complete set of documentation provided to developers both by the people who have created the platform and by the people who have been building holographic experiences. We want to share all of our holographic knowledge with developers so they can start bringing their holographic dreams to reality as easily as possible. We have also provided a host of tutorial videos to help people along. All of the documentation and videos can be found at







How Microsoft’s HoloLens may change everything for industrial & mechanical designers — from by Daniel Terdiman
By integrating Microsoft’s “mixed reality” system and Autodesk’s Fusion 360 design software, designers can see 3-D holograms of their work.


Soon, product designers will be able to get up close and personal with their creations while they’re still planning them. Rather than just look at digital models on their computer screens, they could walk around a 3-D hologram of the design.







Example snapshots from
Microsoft’s Productivity Future Vision





















‘World of Comenius’ demonstrates powerful educational interaction w/ Leap Motion & Oculus Rift and Tomas “Frooxius” Mariancik


We recently covered a (at that point unnamed) VR project by developer Tomáš “Frooxius” Marian?ík, the mind behind the stunning ‘Sightline’ VR series of demos. The project fused Leap Motion skeletal hand tracking with Oculus Rift DK2 positional tracking to produce an impressively intuitive VR interface. Now, a new video of the interface  shows impressive progress. We catch up with Tomáš to find out some more about this mysterious VR project.

Enter the ‘World of Comenius’
The virtual reality resurgence that is currently underway, necessarily and predictably concentrates on bringing people new ways to consume and experience media and games. This is where virtual reality has the best chance of breaking through as a viable technology, one that will appeal to consumers worldwide. But virtual reality’s greatest impact, at least in terms of historical worth to society, could and probably will come in the form of non-entertainment based fields.



Also see:


The amazing ways new tech shapes storytelling — from by Stephen Graves


From the moment some singer-poet livened up his verse performances with a musical instrument, technology has changed entertainment. The printing press, theatrical lighting, the cinema, radio, cinematic sound – they’ve all either impacted on existing storytelling forms, or created whole new ones.

In recent years, the arrival of digital formats and non-linear editing changed TV. Existing TV formats like drama benefited from the same level of technical polish as films; and at the same time, the ability to shoot and edit large amounts of footage quickly and cheaply created a whole new form of storytelling – reality TV.

Streaming media’s one thing – but the biggest tech leap in years is, of course, your smartphone. Texting during films may infuriate but whipping your phone out in the cinema may become an integral part of the story: the 2013 film App used a second-screen app to display extra layers of narrative, synced to the film’s soundtrack. There are books that use second-screen apps: last year’s Night Film lets you scan tags in the physical book to unlock extra content, including mocked-up websites and trailers.



The amazing ways new tech shapes storytelling




Also see:


Check out this video! Incredible! — from Front Pictures; a great example of pushing the envelop and refusing to accept that something can’t be done





Multimedia Renaissance by Front Pictures —




A proposal for Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and any other company who wants to own the future living room [Christian]





“The main obstacle to an Apple television set has been content. It has mostly failed to convince cable companies to make their programming available through an Apple device. And cable companies have sought to prevent individual networks from signing distribution deals with Apple.”

Apple, closer to its vision for a TV set, wants
ESPN, HBO, Viacom, and others to come along by Seward, Chon, & Delaney, 8/22/13


From DSC:
I wonder if this is because of the type of content that Apple is asking for. Instead of entertainment-oriented content, what if the content were more focused on engaging, interactive, learning materials? More on educational streams of content (whether we — as individuals — create and contribute that content or whether businesses do)?

Also see:


internet of things


Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The communications landscape has historically taken the form of a tumultuous ocean of opportunities. Like rolling waves on a shore, these opportunities are often strong and powerful – yet ebb and flow with time.

Get ready, because the next great wave is upon us. And, like a tropical storm, it is likely to change the landscape around us.

As detailed by analyst Chetan Sharma, this particular wave is the one created by the popularity of over-the-top (OTT) solutions – apps that allow access to entertainment, communication and collaboration over the Internet from smartphones, tablets and laptops, rather than traditional telecommunications methods. Sharma has coined this the mobile “fourth wave” – the first three being voice, messaging (SMS) and data access, respectively – and it is rapidly washing over us.


Addendum on 11/25:







Introducing…the Learning Dashboard — from


The new learning dashboard is your personal homepage on Khan Academy. The dashboard gives you an easy way to find the best next things for you to do. It has a bunch of really cool things designed to help you learn math, and soon other subjects, really well on your own or with a coach. You can access it when you’re signed in by clicking on the Khan Academy logo at the top of the page.




From DSC:
Think of the power of this in a blended learning environment!  Use the dashboard to gain more choice, more control. See your progress.  Then go to your teacher, professor, trainer, supervisor, subject matter expert, etc. to get guidance, extra help, etc.   It also plays into what I envision in the “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” environment that continues to form in front of our very eyes.




A first look at how educators are really using Google Glass — from by Stephen Noonoo

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Per Andrew Vanden Heuvel:

What Glass does offer, Vanden Heuvel said, is a shift in perspective, particularly because teachers can use it as a tool to engage students faster and more easily than before. After returning from Geneva, Vanden Heuvel launched a YouTube channel devoted to his experiments with science–and Glass–called STEMBite. To date, in more than two dozen videos, he’s guided viewers through the physics of ball spin on the tennis court to the polarization of light through (appropriately enough) a pair of glasses.

“What I’m excited by making these videos is not only that they’re filmed with Google Glass, but they’re high engagement videos, so they’re meant to be really short and to get kids to think about how math and science is all around,” he said. “I suppose I could have done that before, but it’s just so easy now.”

Per Hanna Brown:

“I’ve had videos in my classroom before–that’s not a novel thing–but I’ve never been able to take a video from my eye perspective,” said Hannah Brown, another early Glass adopter who works as a high school art teacher at Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an all-online statewide charter school in Ohio.




From DSC:
Virtual field trips, mobile learning, videoconferencing, web-based collaboration, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and other topics come to my mind when I see this.



Visualizing the future urban world — from by Ariel Schwartz
A new app called Urban World beautifully projects how cities around the world are going to explode in growth and economic power by 2025.


Also see:



Infographic: Learning Analytics 101, how data could change everything — from and Open Colleges

Also see:

13-foot 12,000-pound mechanized robot suit now for sale in Japan — from by John Koetsier

Also see:



Enormous 13 foot tall, 4 ton robot



From DSC:
These items cause me to reflect yet again on the state of our it doesn’t take much to think of the next steps in terms of using such robots as instruments of war. Do you think I’m stretching a bit too far here?  How about after considering the following interactive visualization that Google just created?


Small Arms Trade Graphic by Google - August 2012




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