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.

 

Podcasts For High School Students — from teachthought.com by Dennis Lee,

Categories covered include:

  • Academic Related Podcasts
  • General and Special Interest Podcasts
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Inspirational & Motivational
 

The top 5 benefits of art programs for children — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Schools across the country are removing art programs and classes. Some do so due to a lack of funding; others just don’t believe it’s an essential subject for children. Unfortunately, many schools and learning institutes don’t realize the dangers of removing art. You wouldn’t question Math or English as core subjects, but many question the importance of art.

Art nurture’s a child’s inner creativity. So, what benefits does art bring to a child?

 
 

Global Pandemics is a cutting-edge, browser-based, digital learning experience—designed to enhance student understanding of the role of pandemics in world history.

Global Pandemics — from historyadventures.co with thanks to Andrea Boros for the resource

Excerpts:

Global Pandemics is “a cutting-edge, browser-based, digital learning experience—designed to enhance student understanding of the role of pandemics in world history. One year in the making, and involving a talented, interdisciplinary team from around the world—the new product features cutting-edge digital learning design, web animation, interaction design, and digital storytelling.”

This browser-based digital learning experience introduces multiple novel technologies, including:

  • 3D Motion Design to Recreate History
  • Advanced Web Animation to Simulate Pathogens
  • Immersive 360 Panoramas of Historical Locations
  • Animated Historical Timeline & Maps
  • Choice-based Narrative Design
  • Interactive Original Historical Documents
  • Media-Rich Adaptive Assessments

Also see:

 

Per Johann Neem, the innovations that promise to save higher ed are a farce.

The University in Ruins — from chronicle.com by Johann N. Neem
The “innovations” that promise to save higher ed are a farce.

From DSC:
First of all,
I appreciated Johann Neem mentioning and/or discussing several books in one posting:

  • Ronald G. Musto’s The Attack on Higher Education (2021)
  • Arthur Levine’s and Scott J. Van Pelt’s The Great Upheaval (2021)
  • Bill Readings’ The University in Ruins (1996)
  • Ronald J. Daniels’ What Universities Owe Democracy (2021)

And as a disclosure here, I have not read those books. 

Below are excerpts with some of my comments:

It’s already happening. Today, we walk among the ruins of an institution that once had a larger purpose. It’s not clear what role universities should play in society, and to what or to whom they are accountable, other than their corporate interests.

To some, that’s not a problem, at least according to Arthur Levine and Scott J. Van Pelt in The Great Upheaval (2021). They see higher education undergoing the same transformation that reshaped the music, film, and newspaper industries. Rather than place-based education overseen by tenured professors, they anticipate “the rise of anytime, anyplace, consumer-driven content and source agnostic, unbundled, personalized education paid for by subscription.”

Between Musto’s existential fears of disruption and Levine and Van Pelt’s embrace of it lies a third path. It takes the form of a wager — outlined by Ronald J. Daniels in What Universities Owe Democracy (2021) — that universities can and should continue to matter because of their importance in civic democratic life.

The article covers how the learning ecosystems within higher education have morphed from their religious roots to being an apparatus of the nation-state to then becoming a relatively independent bureaucratic system to other things and to where we are today.

Along the journey discussing these things, one of the things that caught my eye was this statement:

Hopkins, in this sense, lived up to its founding president Daniel Coit Gilman’s 19th-century aspiration that universities be places that acquire, conserve, refine, and distribute knowledge.

From DSC:
While I completely agree with that aspiration, I think more institutions of higher education could follow what John Hopkins University did with their efforts concerning the Covid-19 situation, as Neem mentioned. Generally speaking, institutions of higher education are not distributing knowledge to the levels that Gilman envisioned years ago.

In fact, these days those working within K12 are doing a whole lot better at sharing information with society than those who work within higher education are. For example, when I search Twitter for K12 educators who share content on Twitter, they are out there all over the place — and many with tens of thousands of followers. They share information with parents, families, fellow educators, students, school boards, and others. Yet this is not the case for those working in higher education. Faculty members normally:

  • aren’t out on Twitter
  • don’t blog
  • don’t have a podcast
  • don’t write for society at large. Instead, their expertise is often locked up — existing behind paywalls in academic journals. In other words, they talk to each other.

Later on…

As Daniels intuits, without a larger purpose to hold them fast, there is nothing to prevent universities from being buffeted by winds until they have lost direction. That is what Readings foresaw: Globalization liberates universities from national fetters, but at the risk of ruin.

From DSC:
While globalization may have something to do with universities becoming unanchored from their original purposes, globalization isn’t at the top of my mind when I reflect upon what’s been happening with colleges and universities these last few decades.

To see but one area of massive change, let’s take a brief look at college sports. There are now multimillion-dollar stadium projects, enormous coaches’ salaries, and numerous situations where tax-paying citizens can’t even watch sporting events without tons of advertisements being thrown into their faces every few seconds. Personally speaking, on numerous occasions, I couldn’t even access the games at all — as I wasn’t paying for the subscriptions to the appropriate providers.

Also, as another example of becoming anchored — and going back to the 1980’s — I attended Northwestern University for my undergraduate degree in Economics. While I have several wonderful lifelong friends from that experience for whom I’m deeply grateful, even back then NU had already moved far away from its motto which is based on Philippians 4:8.

Instead, please allow me to tell you what that learning community taught me and strongly encouraged me to think about:

  • You are only successful if you have the corner office, drive the higher numbered BMW’s, and have many people reporting to you.
  • If you make a lot of money.
  • You are supposed to compete against others vs. being in relationships with others. As but one example here, our test scores were published — by our Social Security numbers — outside our professors’ offices for all to see how we measured up to our classmates.

In fact, I’m not even sure that I would use the word “community” at all when I reflect upon my years at Northwestern. Instead, a WIIFM approach was encouraged (i.e., What’s In It For Me? where you are supposed to look out for #1). It took me years to unlearn some of those “lessons” and “learnings.”

But I realize that that’s not the case with all learning communities.

As Neem alluded to, I love the idea that an institution of higher education can — and often does — impact students’ hearts as well as minds. That was the focus at Calvin College (now Calvin University). Our oldest daughter went there and she was profoundly and positively influenced by her experiences there. In that context, students were encouraged to be in relationships with one another. There was plenty of hugging, praying for one another, etc. going on in that setting. There truly was community there.

***

Neem doesn’t think much of Levine’s and Van Pelt’s perspectives. He claims there’s nothing new in their book. He seems to discard the arguments being made about the cost of higher ed and, like many others, clings to the intellectual roots/purpose of higher ed.

While I’m not against intellect or pursuing knowledge — in fact, I’m all for it — I just have a problem when the price of doing so continues to become out of reach for soooooo many people.

Personally, I’ve tried to lower the cost of obtaining a degree within higher education for many years…but I was/we were only successful in doing so for a few years (and that was during a pilot of online-based learning). Yohan Na and I created the graphic below in 2008 for example — as I was trying to raise awareness of the dangers of the status quo:
.

.

So from a cost/access perspective, Levine’s and Van Pelt’s perspectives here sound pretty good to me. It appears to be much more affordable and realistic for the masses. Otherwise, the image/reality of the ivory tower is maintained…allowing “intellectuals” to continue to live and operate within their own sphere/hive/tribe.

Also, we need an AI-backed system of presenting which skills are needed and then how to get them. The ways things are set up today, institutions of traditional higher education have not been able to deal with the current pace of change out there.

As a final comment here…
The changing directions/purposes of institutions of higher education present a good example of why I entitled this blog Learning Ecosystems — as the systems that we use to learn and grow in are constantly morphing:

  • People come and go
  • Tools and vendors come and go
  • Purposes, focuses, and/or mission statements change
  • Our sources of information (i.e., our streams of content) come and go
  • Etc.
 

45 Next Generation Learning Tools That Kids Will Love — from ireviews.com with thanks to Alex Ward for this resource

Excerpts:

There’s a wide range of tools designed to support curriculum and help teachers and students achieve their goals. These are our top picks for school students of every age, due to their impressive functionality and simple integration into the classroom.

 


From DSC:
Below is a sample screenshot from the Elementary school resources section. They also have resources for middle schoolers and high schoolers.


45 Next Generation Learning Tools That Kids Will Love

 
 

Howard University to digitize its archive of thousands of Black newspapers — from nbcnews.com by Curtis Bunn
A $2 million grant will be used to digitize Howard’s Black Press Archives, the largest collection of newspapers from the U.S., Africa and the African diaspora.

Excerpt:

Now, with the help of a $2 million grant announced Monday, Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center will make available countless articles that captured in real-time the impact of historical events on Black people that have long been difficult, if not impossible, to access. By digitizing its extensive Black Press Archives, anyone will be able to access Howard’s collection of more than 2,000 newspapers from the United States, Africa and the African diaspora online.

 

Autonomous Weapons Are Here, but the World Isn’t Ready for Them — from wired.com by Will Knight
A UN report says a drone, operating without human control, attacked people in Libya. International efforts to restrict such weapons have so far failed.

This may be remembered as the year when the world learned that lethal autonomous weapons had moved from a futuristic worry to a battlefield reality. It’s also the year when policymakers failed to agree on what to do about it.

On Friday, 120 countries participating in the United Nations’ Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons could not agree on whether to limit the development or use of lethal autonomous weapons. Instead, they pledged to continue and “intensify” discussions.

 

 

The Humanities May Be Declining at Universities — But They’re Thriving on Zoom — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt:

Throughout the pandemic, versions of this close-reading conversation have taken place week after week. Organized through new nonprofits and small startups including the Catherine Project, Night School Bar and Premise, they bring together adults who want to spend their free time talking to strangers about literature and philosophy.

It sounds at first like an ambitious book club—except for the fact that many of these seminars are organized and led by college professors, some so eager to participate that they do it for free.

“Mostly it’s a way for them to do a kind of teaching they can’t do at their regular jobs,” explains Zena Hitz, founder of the Catherine Project and a tutor (faculty member) at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland.

From DSC:
I’ve often thought that online-based learning may be the thing that saves the liberal arts (i.e., available throughout one’s lifetime and would be far less expensive). It would be ironic though, as many liberal arts institutions have not been proponents of online-based learning.

 
 

 

Isaiah 9:1-7 NIV — from biblegateway.com

[a]Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

 

Constitution Day 2021: An Inspiring and Incomplete Civil Justice System — from legaltechmonitor.com by David Yellen

Excerpts:

Constitution Day, September 17, commemorates that date in 1787 when the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia. Clearly, this date and this holiday do not attract nearly as much attention as July 4, the holiday marking the signing of the other foundational document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence. That is somewhat lamentable, however, because all Americans should take the time to celebrate and reflect on the Constitution each year.

I say celebrate because the Constitution was remarkable when it was written, and has served as the basic architecture for our system of government, law, and individual liberty for over 200 years. Not only has it remained the steadfast backbone of our country’s system of government, it has influenced new and evolving democracies around the world.

Despite the challenges, we believe the American legal system is still the best approach—and we believe all of us share a responsibility to embrace its ideals, expand access, and improve delivery. 

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian