Entrepreneur Education Platform GeniusU Raises $1.5M Seed Funding at $250M Valuation — from edtechreview.in ed by Stephen Soulunii

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Genius Group has recently announced that its EdTech arm, GeniusU Ltd, has raised $1.5 million in a seed round to support the development of its Genius Metaversity virtual learning plans.

With the fresh funding, GeniusU plans to extend its courses and programs to interactive learning environments in the metaverse, with students and faculty connecting and learning in global classrooms and virtual 3D environments. It also plans to integrate each student’s AI-based virtual assistant ‘Genie’ into the metaverse as 3D virtual assistants that accompany each student on their personalized journey and integrate its GEMs (Genius Education Merits) student credits into the metaverse. GEMs are earned by students as they learn and can be spent on products and services within GeniusU and counting towards their certifications.

 

Ransomware is already out of control. AI-powered ransomware could be ‘terrifying.’ — from protocol.com by Kyle Alspach
Hiring AI experts to automate ransomware could be the next step for well-endowed ransomware groups that are seeking to scale up their attacks.

Excerpt:

In the perpetual battle between cybercriminals and defenders, the latter have always had one largely unchallenged advantage: The use of AI and machine learning allows them to automate a lot of what they do, especially around detecting and responding to attacks. This leg-up hasn’t been nearly enough to keep ransomware at bay, but it has still been far more than what cybercriminals have ever been able to muster in terms of AI and automation.

That’s because deploying AI-powered ransomware would require AI expertise. And the ransomware gangs don’t have it. At least not yet.

But given the wealth accumulated by a number of ransomware gangs in recent years, it may not be long before attackers do bring aboard AI experts of their own, prominent cybersecurity authority Mikko Hyppönen said.

Also re: AI, see:

Nuance partners with The Academy to launch The AI Collaborative — from artificialintelligence-news.com by Ryan Daws

Excerpt:

Nuance has partnered with The Health Management Academy (The Academy) to launch The AI Collaborative, an industry group focused on advancing healthcare using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Nuance became a household name for creating the speech engine recognition engine behind Siri. In recent years, the company has put a strong focus on AI solutions for healthcare and is now a full-service partner of 77 percent of US hospitals and is trusted by over 500,000 physicians daily.

Inflection AI, led by LinkedIn and DeepMind co-founders, raises $225M to transform computer-human interactions — from techcrunch.com by Kyle Wiggers

Excerpts:

Inflection AI, the machine learning startup headed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and founding DeepMind member Mustafa Suleyman, has secured $225 million in equity financing, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“[Programming languages, mice, and other interfaces] are ways we simplify our ideas and reduce their complexity and in some ways their creativity and their uniqueness in order to get a machine to do something,” Suleyman told the publication. “It feels like we’re on the cusp of being able to generate language to pretty much human-level performance. It opens up a whole new suite of things that we can do in the product space.”

 

From DSC:
I love the parts about seeing instant language translations — including sign language! Very cool indeed!
(With thanks to Ori Inbar out on Twitter for this resource.)

Realtime American Sign Language translation via potential set of AR glasses from Google

Also see:

 

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.
 

Technology for HyFlex Classrooms: Major Considerations — from hyflexlearning.org by Brian Beatty

Excerpts:

This post describes four aspects of classroom technology that are very important to address when developing a HyFlex approach that can be effective at scale.

The classroom technology needs can be organized into four areas:

  1. two-way audio stream (connection),
  2. incoming video presentation of remote learners
  3. outgoing video presentation of classroom and learners
  4. interactive technology to support interaction, engagement, and formative assessment

Also re: hyflex teaching — where some students are physically present and some are coming into the class remotely– see:

Part I – Motivating Learners by Building Efficacy (Confidence) through Scaffolding and Support— from hyflexlearning.org by Jeanne Samuel

Excerpts:

HyFlex delivery may be new to many learners. Therefore, it is important to provide them with the supports they need to be successful. Regardless of the delivery mode, learners are motivated by success and by instructor presence. In part one of this topic post, we will write about how instructor support and feedback (a form of guidance) can motivate learners and build learner confidence.

PART II- Feedback for Improving Student Success and Satisfaction — from hyflexlearning.org by Jeanne Samuel

Excerpt:

In part 1 of this post, we focused on how feedback and support promote learner confidence. Learner confidence can lead to improved learner retention, progression, and success regardless of the class delivery mode. In part 2, we focus on feedback strategies.

 
 

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

From DSC:
A family member struggles with spelling — big time. This causes her major amounts of anxiety in school.

Another family member had some learning disabilities and reflects back on school with some bad memories.

Another family member struggles with social graces and learns at a much different pace than her peers — the move to her education being (predominantly) done via homeschooling has helped significantly.

A friend of mine has Dyslexia. He recently said that school was hell for him.

Another person I know doesn’t understand his daughter’s learning disabilities — at all. He’s asking a fish to climb the tree and yells at his daughter when she doesn’t produce like the other kids do. Her school is for college-bound learners, and there’s always pressure to maintain the school’s “blue-ribbon” status (i.e., sorry if you don’t fit in…but please board the train anyway, as it’s about to depart).

These people and stories about their educations got me to reflect on all the people who went through the school systems in the United States (over the last few decades) that didn’t work well for them. In fact, not only did the systems not work well for them, they were the sources of a great deal of pain, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and embarrassment.  Instead of being a place of wonder or joy, school was a painful, constant struggle to get through.

For those who can keep up or even excel at the pace that the trains travel at, school isn’t that much of a problem. There are likely different levels of engagement involved here, but school is manageable and it doesn’t cause nearly the stress for someone who struggles with it.

For those with learning disabilities, I’d like to apologize to you on behalf of all the people who legislated or created rigid, one-size-fits-all school systems that didn’t understand and/or meet your needs. (Why we allow legislators — who aren’t the ones on the front lines — to control so much of what happens in our school systems is beyond me.) I’d like to apologize on behalf of all of the teachers, administrators, and staff who just accept the systems as they are.

Please help us reinvent our school systems. Help us develop the future of education. Help us develop a more personalized, customized approach. For those who are working to provide that, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

To everyone working within Pre-K through 12th grade, help us offer: More voice. More choice. More control. The status quo has to go. School should not be a constant source of pain and anxiety.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 

 

What Educators Need to Know About Assistive Tech Tools: Q&A with Texthelp CEO — from thejournal.com by Kristal Kuykendall and Texthelp CEO Martin McKay

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

THE Journal: What are some examples of the types of assistive technology tools now available for K–12 schools?
McKay: There are a broad range of disabilities, and accordingly, a broad range of learning and access difficulties that assistive technology can help with. Just considering students with dyslexia — since that is the largest group among students who can benefit from assistive tech tools — the main problems they have are around reading comprehension and writing. Assistive technology can provide text-to-speech, talking dictionaries, picture dictionaries, and text simplification tools to help with comprehension.

It’s important that these tools need to work everywhere — not just in their word processor. Assistive technology must work in their learning management systems, and must work in their online assessment environment, so that the student can use the assistive tech tools not only in class, but at home as they work on their homework, and perhaps most importantly on test day when they are using a secure assessment environment.

 

EDUCAUSE QuickPoll Results: Learning Spaces Transformation — from er.educause.edu by Jenay Robert

Excerpts:

With an eye toward the future, IT units can help institutions create inclusive, flexible spaces that support a variety of learning activities and modalities. Appropriate technology infrastructure, strategic support from institutional leaders, and financial resources are among the most essential elements for transforming learning spaces.

.

Figure 1. Types of Learning Spaces Being Transformedbar graph showing percentage of respondents who said each type of learning space was being transformed. Small classrooms 52%; Spaces for remote classes 52%; Libraries 50%; Lecture halls 44%; Study spaces 44%; Experimental learning spaces 42%; Discipline-specific labs 39%; Gathering spaces; 36%; Residential spaces 20%; Hallways and foyers 16%.

 

We need to use more tools — that go beyond screen sharing — where we can collaborate regardless of where we’re at. [Christian]

From DSC:
Seeing the functionality in Freehand — it makes me once again think that we need to use more tools where faculty/staff/students can collaborate with each other REGARDLESS of where they’re coming in to partake in a learning experience (i.e., remotely or physically/locally). This is also true for trainers and employees, teachers and students, as well as in virtual tutoring types of situations. We need tools that offer functionalities that go beyond screen sharing in order to collaborate, design, present, discuss, and create things.  (more…)

 

Innovative and practical applications of the metaverse — from mckinsey.com

In this episode of the At the Edge podcast, McKinsey expert Richard Ward speaks with McKinsey’s Mina Alaghband.

Excerpts:

One of the things that we’ve learned during the pandemic is that if you put these metaverse design rooms up on the internet, your clients and other expert engineers can log in remotely, and the experience takes on the quality of Zoom in 3-D, which allows a new level of engineering to happen. The beauty of it is that people are able to do highly productive engineering design work without getting on an airplane. And that has a lot of rollover value for what we’re doing long term.

One of the great lessons we’ve had from the pandemic, as horrible as it’s been, is that things that people had said were impossible for decades are now possible. Like the idea that you can’t possibly have everybody not be in the office—it’s been proven wrong.

Also relevant/see:

 

The AR Roundup: March 2022 — from linkedin.com by Tom Emrich

Excerpt:

Every month I round up what you may have missed in Augmented Reality including the latest stats, funding news and launch announcements and more. Here is what happened in augmented reality between March 1-31, 2022.

“The metaverse is no longer a single virtual world or even a cluster of virtual worlds. It’s the entire system of virtual and augmented worlds,” Chalmers tells me over Zoom. “Where the old metaverse was like a platform on the internet, the new metaverse is more like the internet as a whole, just the immersive internet.”

~ David Chalmers, Philosopher and Author of Reality+

 

 

Reflections on “Do We Really Want Academic Permanent Records to Live Forever on Blockchain?” [Bohnke]

From DSC:
Christin Bohnke raises a great and timely question out at edsurge.com in her article entitled:
Do We Really Want Academic Permanent Records to Live Forever on Blockchain?

Christin does a wonderful job of addressing the possibilities — but also the challenges — of using blockchain for educational/learning-related applications. She makes a great point that the time to look at this carefully is now:

Yet as much as unchangeable education records offer new chances, they also create new challenges. Setting personal and academic information in stone may actually counter the mission of education to help people evolve over time. The time to assess the benefits and drawbacks of blockchain technology is right now, before adoption in schools and universities is widespread.

As Christin mentions, blockchain technology can be used to store more than formal certification data. It could also store such informal certification data such as “research experience, individual projects and skills, mentoring or online learning.”

The keeping of extensive records via blockchain certainly raises numerous questions. Below are a few that come to my mind:

  • Will this type of record-keeping help or hurt in terms of career development and moving to a different job?
  • Will — or should — CMS/LMS vendors enable this type of feature/service in their products?
  • Should credentials from the following sources be considered relevant?
    • Microlearning-based streams of content
    • Data from open courseware/courses
    • Learning that we do via our Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and social networks
    • Learning that we get from alternatives such as bootcamps, coding schools, etc.
  • Will the keeping of records impact the enjoyment of learning — or vice versa? Or will it depend upon the person?
  • Will there be more choice, more control — or less so?
  • To what (granular) level of competency-based education should we go? Or from project-based learning?
  • Could instructional designers access learners’ profiles to provide more personalized learning experiences?
  • …and I’m certain there are more questions than these.

All that said…

To me, the answers to these questions — and likely other questions as well — lie in:

  1. Giving a person a chance to learn, practice, and then demonstrate the required skills (regardless of the data the potential employer has access to)
    .
  2. Giving each user the right to own their own data — and to release it as they see fit. Each person should have the capability of managing their own information/data without having to have the skills of a software engineer or a database administrator. When something is written to a blockchain, there would be a field for who owns — and can administer — the data.

In the case of finding a good fit/job, a person could use a standardized interface to generate a URL that is sent out to a potential employer. That URL would be good for X days. The URL gives the potential employer the right to access whatever data has been made available to them. It could be full access, in which case the employer is able to run their own queries/searches on the data. Or the learner could restrict the potential employer’s reach to a more limited subset of data.

Visually, speaking:


Each learner can say who can access what data from their learner's profile


I still have a lot more thinking to do about this, but that’s where I’m at as of today. Have a good one all!


 

Revisiting Camera Use in Live Remote Teaching: Considerations for Learning and Equity — from er.educause.edu by Patricia Turner

Excerpts:

Given the need to balance equity concerns with effective teaching practices, the following suggestions might be helpful in articulating an approach to using cameras in live remote teaching sessions. This list is not exhaustive; these suggestions are offered as a starting point from which to begin thinking about this issue.


Given what we know from research about interaction, active learning, equity, and inclusion, one possible philosophy is this: if we believe that some students are not using a camera because of privacy issues, because they lack a quiet space in which to learn, or because of inequitable circumstances, we can let our students know that we are available if they need help and that, although we can’t solve all problems, we may be able to help students get the support and resources they need.

 

Instructional Design 3.0: Designing The Learner’s Journey - Part 1 -- by Dr. Michael Allen

Instructional Design 3.0: Designing The Learner’s Journey – Part 1 — from blog.alleninteractions.com by Michael Allen

Excerpts:

We’ve made important strides in instructional design over the last couple of decades and now we’re about to take one more momentous step.

We’ve gone from focusing almost exclusively on content, its clarity, logical sequencing, comprehensiveness, accuracy, and so forth (all important, of course), to focusing on the learner’s experience, making it Meaningful, Memorable, and Motivational (again, all critical). While pulling these essential components together, it seems we’re still missing something, perhaps the most important component of all. Let’s think what that might be.

I’ll address some of the techniques for designing from the perspective of the Learner’s Journey in subsequent blogs. But let’s start with this simple and powerful idea: reverse the process. Start defining how you want to address the whole of the learner, including the individual’s feelings, attitudes, and current skills. Don’t do this as a tack-on that you’ll do if you somehow get the time.

    • Start with thinking about learners as emotive and cognitive persons first. 
    • Then create context-situated challenges and give learners the opportunity to show what they can do and request help as they may feel they need to.
    • And finally, when you’ve created these structures, you’ll find you’ve already got a great framework in which to insert, fully develop, and refine your content.

Let’s make every learner’s journey a fascinating and enriching experience, from beginning to end.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian