Reading for delegates to the World Conference on Online Learning (taking place from 10/16/17 through 10/19/17 in Toronto, Canada)

Readings include:

 

 

 

Also see:

  • Emerging Tech Boosts Online Education Growth Over Next 4 Years — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
    A study finds that mobile devices, virtual reality and blending learning programs will spark innovation.
    Excerpt:
    With millions of students enrolling in at least one online course, it should be no surprise that a recent Technavio study found that the online education market is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent until 2021. As enrollment and investment in online education increases, the report claims that the industry owes a lot of this growth to mobile devices and increased desire for blended learning opportunities.

 

 

 

Faculty Predict Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality Will Be Key to Ed Tech in 10 Years — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
Faculty in our 2017 Teaching with Technology Survey believe tech will play a positive role in the future of higher education — but some technologies will be more important than others.

Excerpt:

What technologies do faculty think will be important in education over the next decade? The most popular answer to that question by far was virtual/augmented/mixed reality, garnering 81 percent of responses (it topped the list last year as well). Mobile devices and apps, 3D modeling/scanning/printing, adaptive/personalized learning and video/streaming all rounded out the top five.

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Great to see several of these items made the list. I would also add:

  • The use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to allow more voice-enabled and voice-driven applications
  • Learning agents/bots (for example, a learning-related bot could go find out the top 50-100 jobs that employers are hiring for and present a list of potential digital playlists from a variety of providers that would help potential employees be able to do the work in those positions)
  • Blockchain and the use of web-based learner profiles
  • Artificial Intelligence / cognitive computing (which could be argued is already mentioned in the item re: adaptive, personalized learning)
  • Moving towards providing up-to-date streams of content (for purposes of lifelong learning and microlearning)

 Finally, it was great to see #9 on the list as I, too, believe that a next gen learning platform is needed:

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

 

From DSC:
Before we get to the announcements in more detail….
can you imagine being a teacher, a professor, or a trainer — with all of the required applications
launched — if you were the presenter in this video at say the 12:45 mark?

If you are at all interesting in emerging technologies and what several pieces
of our future learning ecosystems — and meeting spaces — could easily look like,
you NEED to watch the entire presentation.


Also, they announced

Microsoft’s purchase of AltspaceVR…in virtual reality!
This clip shows them meeting in a virtual space.

 

 



 

The era of Windows Mixed Reality begins October 17 — from blogs.windows.com by Alex Kipman
Samsung unveils Windows Mixed Reality headset, AltSpaceVR joins Microsoft, SteamVR catalog coming to Windows Mixed Reality this holiday.

 

 

At an event in San Francisco we unveiled our vision for Windows Mixed Reality, announced SteamVR and AltSpaceVR are coming to Windows Mixed Reality, introduced the new Samsung Odyssey HMD, and kicked off the holiday shopping season by announcing the availability of pre-orders for Windows Mixed Reality headsets at the Microsoft Store.

 

Also see:

 



 

Inside VR & AR

Oct 4th, 2017

 

Microsoft held its long-awaited launch of Windows 10 Mixed Reality yesterday, and while most of the new devices and products had been leaked earlier, there were still some big takeaways. Here are some of them:

  • Mixed Reality: Microsoft gave a demo of what its new platform will do, covering the AR/VR spectrum with games, apps, and experiences. One such experience is Cliff House, a virtual work space and entertainment room.
  • Altspace VR: When the pioneering social VR app shut down this summer and was rescued by a “third party,” people wondered who that was. Turns out it was Microsoft, which acquired Altspace VR for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was announced yesterday.
  • Steam VR and Halo: Microsoft had previously announced that its new Mixed Reality headsets would support Steam VR titles. Developers can now access that support, and consumers will be able to access it later this year. In addition to the hundreds of VR titles available on Steam, on Oct. 17, Microsoft will offer free downloads of Halo Recruit.
  • Odyssey and other headsets: The new Windows 10 platform is launching alongside a host of new headsets. In addition to the new Odyssey, which was made in partnership with Samsung, there are other headsets forthcoming from Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Asus.
  • 2018 Olympics: This was announced previously in June, but yesterday Microsoft briefed the press that Intel is partnering with the International Olympic Committee to bring Windows Mixed Reality experiences to the 2018 games.

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Google’s jobs AI service hits private beta, now works in 100 languages — from venturebeat.com by Blair Hanley Frank

Excerpt:

Google today announced the beta release of its Cloud Job Discovery service, which uses artificial intelligence to help customers connect job vacancies with the people who can fill them.

Formerly known as the Cloud Jobs API, the system is designed to take information about open positions and help job seekers take better advantage of it. For example, Cloud Job Discovery can take a plain language query and help translate that to the specific jargon employers use to describe their positions, something that can be hard for potential employees to navigate.

As part of this beta release, Google announced that Cloud Job Discovery is now designed to work with applicant-tracking systems and staffing agencies, in addition to job boards and career site providers like CareerBuilder.

It also now works in 100 languages. While the service is still primarily aimed at customers in the U.S., some of Google’s existing clients need support for multiple languages. In the future, the company plans to expand the Cloud Job Discovery service internationally, so investing in language support now makes sense going forward.

 



From DSC:
Now tie this type of job discovery feature into a next generation learning platform, helping people identify which skills they need to get jobs in their local area(s). Provide a list of courses/modules/RSS feeds to get them started. Allow folks to subscribe to constant streams of content and unsubscribe to them at any time as well.

 

 

We MUST move to lifelong, constant learning via means that are highly accessible, available 24×7, and extremely cost effective. Blockchain-based technologies will feed web-based learner profiles, which each of us will determine who can write to our learning profile and who can review it as well.

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

 

 

 



Addendum on 9/29/17:



  • Facebook partners with ZipRecruiter and more aggregators as it ramps up in jobs — from techcrunch.com by Ingrid Lunden
    Excerpt:
    Facebook has made no secret of its wish to do more in the online recruitment market — encroaching on territory today dominated by LinkedIn, the leader in tapping social networking graphs to boost job-hunting. Today, Facebook is taking the next step in that process.
    Facebook will now integrate with ZipRecruiter — an aggregator that allows those looking to fill jobs to post ads to many traditional job boards, as well as sites like LinkedIn, Google and Twitter — to boost the number of job ads available on its platform targeting its 2 billion monthly active users.
    The move follows Facebook launching its first job ads earlier this year, and later appearing to be interested in augmenting that with more career-focused features, such as a platform to connect people looking for mentors with those looking to offer mentorship.

 

 

 

Future Forward: The Next Twenty Years of Higher Education — from Blackboard with a variety of contributors

Excerpts:

As you read their reflections you’ll find several themes emerge over and over:

  • Our current system is unsustainable and ill-suited for a globally connected world that is constantly changing.
  • Colleges and universities will have to change their current business model to continue to thrive, boost revenue and drive enrollment.
  • The “sage on the stage” and the “doc in the box” aren’t sustainable; new technologies will allow faculty to shift their focus on the application of learning rather than the acquisition of knowledge.
  • Data and the ability to transform that data into action will be the new lifeblood of the institution.
  • Finally, the heart and soul of any institution are its people. Adopting new technologies is only a small piece of the puzzle; institutions must also work with faculty and staff to change institutional culture.

Some quotes are listed below.

 

“What’s more, next-generation digital learning environments must bridge the divide between the faculty-directed instructivist model our colleges and universities have always favored and the learner-centric constructivist paradigm their students have come to expect and the economy now demands.”

It will be at least 10 years before systems such as this become the standard rather than the exception. Yet to achieve this timeline, we will have to begin fostering a very different campus culture that embraces technology for its experiential value rather than its transactional expediency, while viewing education as a lifelong pursuit rather than a degree-driven activity.

Susan Aldridge

 

 

 

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing higher education right now?

A: I think it is a difficult time for decisionmakers to know how to move boldly forward. It’s almost funny, nobody’s doing five-year strategic plans anymore. We used to do ten-year plans, but now it’s “What’s our guiding set of principles and then let’s sort of generally go towards that.” I think it’s really hard to move an entire institution, to know how to keep it sustainable and serving your core student population. Trying to figure out how to keep moving forward is not as simple as it used to be when you hired faculty and they showed up in the classroom. It’s time for a whole new leadership model. I’m not sure what that is, but we have to start reimagining our organizations and our institutions and even our leadership.

Marie Cini

 

 

 

One of the things that is frustrating to me is the argument that online learning is just another modality. Online learning is much more than that. It’s arguably the most transformative development since the G.I. Bill and, before that, the establishment of land-grant universities. 

I don’t think we should underestimate the profound impact online education has had and will continue to have on higher education. It’s not just another modality; it’s an entirely new industry.

Robert Hansen

 

 

From DSC:
And I would add (to Robert’s quote above) that not since the printing press was invented close to 500 years ago have we seen such an enormously powerful invention as the Internet. To bypass the Internet and the online-based learning opportunities that it can deliver is to move into a risky, potentially dangerous future. If your institution is doing that, your institution’s days could be numbered. As we move into the future — where numerous societies throughout the globe will be full of artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, algorithms, business’ digital transformations, and more — your institutions’ credibility could easily be at stake in a new, increasingly impactful way. Parents and students will want to know that there’s a solid ROI for them. They will want to know that a particular college or university has the foundational/core competencies and skills to prepare the learner for the future that the learner will encounter.

 

 

 

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing higher education right now?

A: I think the biggest challenge is the stubborn refusal of institutions to acknowledge that the 20th century university paradigm no longer works, or at least it doesn’t work anymore for the majority of our institutions. I’m not speaking on behalf of our members, but I think it’s fair to say that institutions are still almost entirely faculty-centered and not market-driven. Faculty, like so many university leaders today who come from faculty ranks, are so often ill-equipped to compete in the Wild West that we’re seeing today, and it’s not their fault. They’re trained to be biologists and historians and philosophers and musicians and English professors, and in the past there was very little need to be entrepreneurial. What’s required of university leadership now looks very much like what’s required in the fastpaced world of private industry.

If you are tuition dependent and you haven’t figured out how to serve the adult market yet, you’re in trouble.

Robert Hansen

 

 

 

It’s not just enough to put something online for autodidacts who already have the time, energy, and prior skills to be able to learn on their own. You really need to figure out how to embed all the supports that a student will need to be successful, and I don’t know if we’ve cracked that yet.

Amy Laitinen

 

 

 

The other company is Amazon. Their recent purchase of Whole Foods really surprised everybody. Now you have a massive digital retailer that has made billions staying in the online world going backwards into brick-and-mortar. I think if you look at what you can do on Amazon now, who’s to say in three years or five years, you won’t say, “You know what, I want to take this class. I want to purchase it through Amazon,” and it’s done through Amazon with their own LMS? Who’s to say they’re not already working on it?

Justin Louder

 

 

 

 

We are focused on four at Laureate. Probably in an increasing order of excitement to me are game-based learning (or gamification), adaptive learning, augmented and virtual reality, and cognitive tutoring.

Darrell Luzzo

 

 

 

 

I would wave my hand and have people lose their fear of change and recognize that you can innovate and do new things and still stay true to the core mission and values. My hope is that we harness our collective energy to help our students succeed and become fully engaged citizens.

Felice Nudelman

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I appreciated hearing the perspectives from Bruce Dixon and Will Richardson this morning, as I listed to a webinar that they recently offered. A few key takeaways for me from that webinar — and with a document that they shared — were:

  • The world has fundamentally changed. (Bruce and Will also mentioned the new pace of change; i.e., that it’s much faster.)
  • We need to have more urgency about the need to reimagine school, not to try to improve the existing model.
  • “Because of the advent of the Web and the technologies we use to access it, learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”
  • There is a newfound capacity to take full control of one’s own learning; self-determined learning should be at the center of students’ and teachers’ work; co-constructed curriculum
  • And today, at a moment when learners of all ages have never had more agency over their own learning, schools must unlearn centuries old mindsets and practices and relearn them in ways that truly will serve every child living in the modern, connected world.
  • Will and Bruce believe that every educator — and district for that matter — should articulate their own “principles of learning”
  • Beliefs about how kids learn (powerfully and deeply) need to be articulated and consistently communicated and lived out
  • Everything we do as educators, administrators, etc. tells a story. What stories are we telling? (For example, what does the signage around your school building say? Is it about compliance? Is is about a love of learning? Wonder? What does the 20′ jumbo tron say about priorities? Etc.)
  • Bruce and Will covered a “story audit” and how to do one

 

“Learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”

Richardson & Dixon

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

These educators have decades worth of experience. They are pulse-checking their environments. They want to see students thrive both now and into the future. For these reasons, at least for me, their perspectives are highly worth reflecting upon.

 

 

 

Making a MOOC — from harvardmagazine.com by Jonathan Shaw

Excerpts:

Now, as one of a small number of Harvard faculty members each year whose course is selected to become a MOOC (a massive, online, open course), he is about to go global. Just 20 new courses are chosen by a faculty review committee annually, all of them ultimately offered to learners in at least one free version—part of Harvard’s commitment to improve access to education globally through HarvardX (HX), the University’s online course initiative. Hernán’s course is based on Epidemiology (EPI) 289: “Models for Causal Inference,” the core offering he’s taught for 14 years at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). Harvard Magazine accompanied Hernán during the making of his MOOC to find out what it takes to produce one, and how that compares to creating a traditional course.

Faculty members typically spend 96 to 142 hours helping produce and run an eight-week MOOC, according to HarvardX estimates. …But when complete, it will free him from much of the time and expense of traveling to teach this fundamental introductory material.

It takes a team of skilled professionals—HX employs a staff of about 45, including managers, videographers, graphic designers, digital editors, and even a copyright attorney and an accessibility coordinator (who helps make the materials usable for sight- and hearing-impaired learners)—to make each MOOC, at a cost that ranges widely, depending on the nature of the course and the sites of location shoots. This one cost about $100,000 to make.

Among the University’s goals in supporting the production of courses like Hernán’s is maximizing their “reach” as part of “Harvard’s contribution to a rising tide of education globally,” says HX faculty director Robert Lue.

A video lecture therefore becomes a short unit in which to make one point, “not five. Because if I try to make five points, I need 50 minutes.” The hooks—the real-world applications—mean that “I start each lesson by telling students why this is important, why they should keep watching….You are in a competition for attention…

 

“For example, it seems obvious, but there’s only one Miguel Hernán. And he can either teach a class of 70” once a year, “or develop this course that reaches many more around the world and across different disciplines.”

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial intelligence will transform universities. Here’s how. — from weforum.org by Mark Dodgson & David Gann

Excerpt:

The most innovative AI breakthroughs, and the companies that promote them – such as DeepMind, Magic Pony, Aysadi, Wolfram Alpha and Improbable – have their origins in universities. Now AI will transform universities.

We believe AI is a new scientific infrastructure for research and learning that universities will need to embrace and lead, otherwise they will become increasingly irrelevant and eventually redundant.

Through their own brilliant discoveries, universities have sown the seeds of their own disruption. How they respond to this AI revolution will profoundly reshape science, innovation, education – and society itself.

As AI gets more powerful, it will not only combine knowledge and data as instructed, but will search for combinations autonomously. It can also assist collaboration between universities and external parties, such as between medical research and clinical practice in the health sector.

The implications of AI for university research extend beyond science and technology.

When it comes to AI in teaching and learning, many of the more routine academic tasks (and least rewarding for lecturers), such as grading assignments, can be automated. Chatbots, intelligent agents using natural language, are being developed by universities such as the Technical University of Berlin; these will answer questions from students to help plan their course of studies.

Virtual assistants can tutor and guide more personalized learning. As part of its Open Learning Initiative (OLI), Carnegie Mellon University has been working on AI-based cognitive tutors for a number of years. It found that its OLI statistics course, run with minimal instructor contact, resulted in comparable learning outcomes for students with fewer hours of study. In one course at the Georgia Institute of Technology, students could not tell the difference between feedback from a human being and a bot.

 

 

Also see:

Digital audio assistants in teaching and learning — from blog.blackboard.com by Szymon Machajewski

Excerpts:

I built an Amazon Alexa skill called Introduction to Computing Flashcards. In using the skill, or Amazon Alexa app, students are able to listen to Alexa and then answer questions. Alexa helps students prepare for an exam by speaking definitions and then waiting for their identification. In addition to quizzing the student, Alexa is also keeping track of the correct answers. If a student answers five questions correctly, Alexa shares a game code, which is worth class experience points in the course gamification My Game app.

Certainly, exam preparation apps are one way to use digital assistants in education. As development and publishing of Amazon Alexa skills becomes easier, faculty will be able to produce such skills just as easily as they now create PowerPoints. Given the basic code available through Amazon tutorials, it takes 20 minutes to create a new exam preparation app. Basic voice experience Amazon Alexa skills can take as much as five minutes to complete.

Universities can publish their campus news through the Alexa Flash Briefing. This type of a skill can publish news, success stories, and other events associated with the campus.

If you are a faculty member, how can you develop your first Amazon Alexa skill? You can use any of the tutorials already available. You can also participate in an Amazon Alexa classroom training provided by Alexa Dev Days. It is possible that schools or maker spaces near you offer in-person developer sessions. You can use meetup.com to track these opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 
 

The case for a next generation learning platform [Grush & Christian]

 

The case for a next generation learning platform — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush & Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Grush: Then what are some of the implications you could draw from metrics like that one?

Christian: As we consider all the investment in those emerging technologies, the question many are beginning to ask is, “How will these technologies impact jobs and the makeup of our workforce in the future?”

While there are many thoughts and questions regarding the cumulative impact these technologies will have on our future workforce (e.g., “How many jobs will be displaced?”), the consensus seems to be that there will be massive change.

Whether our jobs are completely displaced or if we will be working alongside robots, chatbots, workbots, or some other forms of AI-backed personal assistants, all of us will need to become lifelong learners — to be constantly reinventing ourselves. This assertion is also made in the aforementioned study from McKinsey: “AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers. The workforce needs to be re-skilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it…”

 

 

A side note from DSC:
I began working on this vision prior to 2010…but I didn’t officially document it until 2012.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:

A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • A customizable learning environment that will offer up-to-date streams of regularly curated content (i.e., microlearning) as well as engaging learning experiences
  • Along these lines, a lifelong learner can opt to receive an RSS feed on a particular topic until they master that concept; periodic quizzes (i.e., spaced repetition) determines that mastery. Once mastered, the system will ask the learner whether they still want to receive that particular stream of content or not.
  • A Netflix-like interface to peruse and select plugins to extend the functionality of the core product
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and streams of content that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)
  • (Potentially) Integration with one-on-one tutoring services

Further details here >>

 

 

 



Addendum from DSC (regarding the resource mentioned below):
Note the voice recognition/control mechanisms on Westinghouse’s new product — also note the integration of Amazon’s Alexa into a “TV.”



 

Westinghouse’s Alexa-equipped Fire TV Edition smart TVs are now available — from theverge.com by Chaim Gartenberg

 

The key selling point, of course, is the built-in Amazon Fire TV, which is controlled with the bundled Voice Remote and features Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

 

 

 

Finally…also see:

  • NASA unveils a skill for Amazon’s Alexa that lets you ask questions about Mars — from geekwire.com by Kevin Lisota
  • Holographic storytelling — from jwtintelligence.com
    The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.
    New Dimensions in Testimony is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.  Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), people are able to ask Gutter’s projected image questions that trigger relevant responses.

 

 

 

 

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