The Public’s Growing Doubts About College ‘Value’ — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman
Americans aren’t questioning the importance of higher education, but they’re concerned it is unaffordable and unavailable for too many people. Experts dig into the data.

Excerpt:

After decades of almost unquestioned public support as some of America’s most valued institutions, colleges and universities are facing growing questions—not about whether higher education remains important but whether it’s available, affordable and valuable enough.

An episode of Inside Higher Ed’s The Key podcast recently explored the public’s evolving attitudes toward higher education, part of a three-part series on the concept of “value” in higher education…

Thousands of Students Take Courses Through Unaccredited Private Companies. Here’s a Look Into One of Them. — from chronicle.com by  Taylor Swaak

Excerpts:

A growing number of students are taking courses offered by unaccredited private companies and completing them in a matter of days or weeks — often for less than $200 — and then transferring the credits to colleges.

That growth comes in response to a perfect storm of skyrocketing higher-education costs, more adult learners seeking flexibility, and drops in enrollment that have spurred colleges to beef up retention and re-engagement efforts with “stopped-out” students.

 

Getty Images bans AI-generated content over fears of legal challenges — from theverge.com by James Vincent
Getty Images is worried about future copyright claims

Excerpt:

Getty Images has banned the upload and sale of illustrations generated using AI art tools like DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion. It’s the latest and largest user-generated content platform to introduce such a ban, following similar decisions by sites including Newgrounds, PurplePort, and FurAffinity.

Getty Images CEO Craig Peters told The Verge that the ban was prompted by concerns about the legality of AI-generated content and a desire to protect the site’s customers.

 

Ed tech leaders just predicted these 3 trends will unfold in higher education — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
Ed tech leaders gathered in New York on Thursday to discuss trends in the sector. Here’s what they had to say.

Excerpt:

NEW YORK — It’s a brutal moment for ed tech companies.

The stock market has been battered over the past few months, and the technology sector has been particularly hard hit. Meanwhile, colleges are experiencing enrollment declines at the same time their coronavirus relief funds are drying up, potentially constraining how much they can spend with vendors.

Still, ed tech CEOs and investors remained bullish about their own sector’s future during a conference in New York on Thursday held by HolonIQ, a market analysis firm. Here are three trends they say are coming down the pike.

 

The New Learning Economy: It’s Time To Build in Education — from a16z.com by Anne Lee Skates and Connie Chan

Excerpt:

As we enter the third school year of the Covid era, a disturbing new normal is settling over the country. Students continue to be chronically absent; nearly 50,000 Los Angeles public school students failed to show up on the first day of school. Nine-year-olds’ math and reading levels have dropped to 20-year lows, and the dip in reading scores is the steepest decline in more than 30 years. Teacher vacancies are reaching crisis levels. Schools are even resorting to bringing back retirees and loosening basic teaching requirements to fill gaps.

Why is this so important? Education is a $1.8 trillion-dollar industry in the U.S. More importantly, our education system shapes who our future leaders and builders will be—more than 1 in 5 people in the U.S. are current K–12 and college students.

 

Instructional Audio: 4 Benefits to Improving It — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Ensuring every classroom has instructional audio capabilities helps all students hear what the teacher is saying.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Sound is a key component of education. If students can’t hear their instructor well, they’re clearly not going to focus or learn as much. That’s why more and more schools are investing in instructional audio systems, which are high-tech public address systems designed with classrooms, teachers, and all students in mind.

Terri Meier is director of education technology for Rio Rancho Public Schools in New Mexico where all new classrooms are being built with voice amplification systems in place and many existing classrooms are being retrofitted with similar systems. These systems are key for schools in their accessibility efforts and in providing quality instruction overall, she says.

And speaking of accessibility-related postings/items, also see:

 

Video games dreamed up other worlds. Now they’re coming for real architecture — from fastcompany.com by Nate Berg
A marriage between Epic Games and Autodesk could help communities see exactly what’s coming their way with new construction.

Excerpt:

Video games and architectural models are about to form a long overdue union. Epic Games and design software maker Autodesk are joining forces to help turn the utilitarian digital building models used by architects and designers from blocky representations into immersive spaces in which viewers can get a sense of a room’s dimensions and see how the light changes throughout the day. For both designers and the clients they’re designing for, this could help make architecture more nimble and understandable.

The AutoCAD model (top) and Twinmotion render (bottom) [Images: courtesy Autodesk]

Integrating Twinmotion software into Revit essentially shortens the time-sucking process of rendering models into high-resolution images, animations, and virtual-reality walkthroughs from hours to seconds. “If you want to see your design in VR, in Twinmotion you push the VR button,” says Epic Games VP Marc Petit. “You want to share a walkthrough on the cloud, you can do that.”


From DSC:
An interesting collaboration! Perhaps this will be useful for those designing/implementing learning spaces as well.


 

Apple just quietly gave us the golden key to unlock the Metaverse — from medium.com by Klas Holmlund; with thanks to Ori Inbar out on Twitter for this resource

Excerpt:

But the ‘Oh wow’ moment came when I pointed the app at a window. Or a door. Because with a short pause, a correctly placed 3D model of the window snapped in place. Same with a door. But the door could be opened or closed. RoomPlan did not care. It understands a door. It understands a chair. It understands a cabinet. And when it sees any of these things, it places a model of them, with the same dimensions, in the model.

Oh, the places you will go!
OK, so what will this mean to Metaverse building? Why is this a big deal? Well, to someone who is not a 3D modeler, it is hard to overstate what amount of work has to go into generating useable geometry. The key word, here, being useable. To be able to move around, exist in a VR space it has to be optimized. You’re not going to have a fun party if your dinner guests fall through a hole in reality. This technology will let you create a fully digital twin of any space you are in in the space of time it takes you to look around.

In a future Apple VR or AR headset, this technology will obviuosly be built in. You will build a VR capable digital twin of any space you are in just by wearing the headset. All of this is optimized.

Also with thanks to Ori Inbar:


Somewhat relevant/see:

“The COVID-19 pandemic spurred us to think creatively about how we can train the next generation of electrical construction workers in a scalable and cost-effective way,” said Beau Pollock, president and CEO of TRIO Electric. “Finding electrical instructors is difficult and time-consuming, and training requires us to use the same materials that technicians use on the job. The virtual simulations not only offer learners real-world experience and hands-on practice before they go into the field, they also help us to conserve resources in the process.”


 

Zovio takes steps to dissolve, aims to sell Fullstack Academy for $55M — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Excerpt:

  • Zovio, a troubled educational services company, is taking steps to sell off its assets and shut down, according to a Tuesday (9/20/22) filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • The company’s board is recommending that Zovio liquidate its assets and pay any remaining cash to shareholders after the company fulfills legal and other financial obligations. Liquidation would include selling Fullstack Academy for as much as $55 million, which would give the company up to $20.3 million to distribute to shareholders  though it said it could not make any guarantees.
 

What the Faltering OPM Market Means for Colleges — from chronicle.com by Phil Hill
Even institutions not involved with the companies should take heed.

Excerpts:

It turns out that the OPM business is a difficult one. And colleges with online programs — whether or not they use OPMs — can take a handful of important lessons away from the recent developments.

Long-term contracts might not be viable. What happens to an online program if the OPM company helping manage the program with complicated contractual terms gets bought or starts operating at a reduced level? That is no longer a theoretical question. Colleges need to become much more sophisticated when they enter into contracts, coming up with real contingency plans and terms that can end partnerships without harming the underlying academic programs.

 

This Uncensored AI Art Tool Can Generate Fantasies—and Nightmares — from wired.com by Will Knight
Open source project Stable Diffusion allows anyone to conjure images with algorithms, but some fear it will be used to create unethical horrors.

Excerpt:

Image generators like Stable Diffusion can create what look like real photographs or hand-crafted illustrations depicting just about anything a person can imagine. This is possible thanks to algorithms that learn to associate the properties of a vast collection of images taken from the web and image databases with their associated text labels. Algorithms learn to render new images to match a text prompt in a process that involves adding and removing random noise to an image.

Also relevant/see:

There’s a text-to-image AI art app for Mac now—and it will change everything — from fastcompany.com by Jesus Diaz
Diffusion Bee harnesses the power of the open source text-to-image AI Stable Diffusion, turning it into a one-click Mac App. Brace yourself for a new creativity Big Bang.


Speaking of AI, also see:

 

Online Learning Pioneer Acquires Leading Training Provider for the Early Childhood Education Workforce — from prnewswire.com by StraighterLine

Excerpt:

BALTIMORE and WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — StraighterLine, a creator of affordable, flexible and career-aligned postsecondary courses, today announced the acquisition of ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), one of the largest online training providers for early childhood education professionals. The addition of the early childhood education learning platform, which served more than 87,000 teachers and staff across more than 6,200 childcare centers in 2021, reflects StraighterLine’s commitment to expanding access to training that closes persistent talent gaps and creates pathways to economic mobility.

“There is an urgent need for qualified early care and education workers across the nation,” said Maria Taylor, president of CCEI. “This acquisition is about building more lifelong learning opportunities that give passionate individuals flexible pathways to careers. We are excited to join the StraighterLine family and further expand the potential entry points into this meaningful profession.”

 

New Directory of Innovative School Models Aims to Encourage Experimentation — from edsurge.com by Daniel Mollenkamp

Excerpt:

A new online library called the “Innovative Models Exchange,” unveiled Monday, hopes to give educators an easy place to quickly consider some possibilities. The exchange—developed by the nonprofit Transcend Education with funding from the Gates Foundation—allows schools to search through a database of “innovative” models that Transcend says are ready to be adopted by schools.

The nonprofit hopes that the database will shake up the education system.

 

Keynote Wrap-Up: NVIDIA CEO Unveils Next-Gen RTX GPUs, AI Workflows in the Cloud — from blogs.nvidia.com by Brian Caulfield
Kicking off GTC, Jensen Huang unveils advances in natural language understanding, the metaverse, gaming and AI technologies impacting industries from transportation and healthcare to finance and entertainment.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

New cloud services to support AI workflows and the launch of a new generation of GeForce RTX GPUs featured [on 9/20/22] in NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang’s GTC keynote, which was packed with new systems, silicon, and software.

“Computing is advancing at incredible speeds, the engine propelling this rocket is accelerated computing, and its fuel is AI,” Huang said during a virtual presentation as he kicked off NVIDIA GTC.

Again and again, Huang connected new technologies to new products to new opportunities – from harnessing AI to delight gamers with never-before-seen graphics to building virtual proving grounds where the world’s biggest companies can refine their products.

Driving the deluge of new ideas, new products and new applications: a singular vision of accelerated computing unlocking advances in AI, which, in turn will touch industries around the world.

Also relevant/see:

 

Bring Real-Time 3D Into the Classroom, and Teach for the Future — from edsurge.com by Melissa Oldrin and Davis Hepnar

Excerpt:

Real-time 3D (RT3D) is redefining interactive content. No longer confined to the realm of video games, this technology now plays key roles in industries as wide-ranging as architecture, medicine, automotive, aerospace and film.

Demand is growing rapidly for developers, programmers and artists skilled in working with Unity—the leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D content. As use cases expand, and the much-discussed metaverse takes shape, educators today have an opportunity to prepare their students for the technology careers of tomorrow.

Real-time 3D is a technology that creates three-dimensional models, environments and complete virtual worlds that can be rendered instantly. This content goes far beyond traditional formats like film, television and print because it isn’t static; it’s both immersive and interactive. And it offers incredibly lifelike graphics while giving users precise, immediate control over their experience. In doing so, RT3D creates endless possibilities for media production and engagement.

 

3D Scanner Lets You Capture The Real World In VR — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt:

VR is about to get a whole lot more real.

Imagine having the power to capture your real-world environment as a hyper-realistic 3D model from the palm of your hand. Well, wonder no more, as peel 3d, a developer of professional-grade 3D scanners, today announced the launch of peel 3 and peel 3.CAD, two new easy-to-use 3D scanners capable of generating high-quality 3D scans for a wide variety of digital mediums, including VR and augmented reality (AR).

 

NASA & Google Partner To Create An AR Solar System — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt:

[On 9/14/22], Google Arts & Culture announced that is has partnered with NASA to further extend its virtual offerings with a new online exhibit featuring a collection of new-and-improved 3D models of our universe brought to life using AR technology.

These 3D models are for more than just entertainment, however. The virtual solar system exhibit features historical annotations that, when selected, display valuable information. Earth’s moon, for example, features landing sites for Apollo 11 and China’s Chang’e-4.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian