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disruptive technologies higher ed

The top 5 disruptive technologies in higher ed

By Leigh M. and Thomas Goldrick June 5th, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, and advancements in online learning have changed the way universities reach prospective students, engage with their current student body, and provide them the resources they need.
Online Learning
Despite online learning’s successes, many still believe that it lacks the interaction of its in-person counterpart. However, innovations in pedagogical strategy and technology are helping make it much more engaging.

Competency-based Education

Competency-based education (CBE) recognizes that all students enter a program with different skills and proficiencies and that each moves at a different rate. We now possess the technology to better measure these differences and design adaptive learning programs accordingly. These programs aim to increase student engagement, as time is spent expanding on what the students already know rather than having them relearn familiar material.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things has opened up a whole new world of possibilities in higher education. The increased connectivity between devices and “everyday things” means better data tracking and analytics, and improved communication between student, professor, and institution, often without ever saying a word. IoT is making it easier for students to learn when, how, and where they want, while providing professors support to create a more flexible and connected learning environment.

Virtual/Augmented Reality

Virtual and augmented reality technologies have begun to take Higher Ed into the realm of what used to be considered science fiction.

More often than not, they require significant planning and investment into the infrastructure needed to support them.

Artificial Intelligence

an A.I. professor’s assistant or an online learning platform that adapts to each student’s specific needs. Having artificial intelligence that learns and improves as it aids in the learning process could have a far-reaching effect on higher education both online and in-person.

more on disruptive technologies in this IMS blog

directions immersive learning

Emerging Directions in Immersive Learning

Presented by: Maya Georgieva and Emory Craig, May 17, 1:00 – 2:00pm (EDT)

Digital Bodies cofounders Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva for an interactive session that will examine five developments in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality with the greatest potential to impact teaching and learning.   Ask your questions live as they explore how groundbreaking developments in VR, AR, MR, and artificial intelligence will power immersive technologies and transform learning.

Hololense $3000 and it is difficult to use outside. persistent digital objects

education: new media, gaming

storytelling: immersive storytelling and AI

Jeremy Bailenson

Julie Johnston –

industry 4.0

A Strategist’s Guide to Industry 4.0. Global businesses are about to integrate their operations into a seamless digital whole, and thereby change the world.
Industrial revolutions are momentous events. By most reckonings, there have been only three. The first was triggered in the 1700s by the commercial steam engine and the mechanical loom. The harnessing of electricity and mass production sparked the second, around the start of the 20th century. The computer set the third in motion after World War II.
Henning Kagermann, the head of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (Acatech), did exactly that in 2011, when he used the term Industrie 4.0 to describe a proposed government-sponsored industrial initiative.
The term Industry 4.0 refers to the combination of several major innovations in digital technology
These technologies include advanced robotics and artificial intelligence; sophisticated sensors; cloud computing; the Internet of Things; data capture and analytics; digital fabrication (including 3D printing); software-as-a-service and other new marketing models; smartphones and other mobile devices; platforms that use algorithms to direct motor vehicles (including navigation tools, ride-sharing apps, delivery and ride services, and autonomous vehicles); and the embedding of all these elements in an interoperable global value chain, shared by many companies from many countries.
Companies that embrace Industry 4.0 are beginning to track everything they produce from cradle to grave, sending out upgrades for complex products after they are sold (in the same way that software has come to be updated). These companies are learning mass customization: the ability to make products in batches of one as inexpensively as they could make a mass-produced product in the 20th century, while fully tailoring the product to the specifications of the purchaser

adoption industry 4.0 by sector

Three aspects of digitization form the heart of an Industry 4.0 approach.

• The full digitization of a company’s operations

•  The redesign of products and services

•  Closer interaction with customers

Making Industry 4.0 work requires major shifts in organizational practices and structures. These shifts include new forms of IT architecture and data management, new approaches to regulatory and tax compliance, new organizational structures, and — most importantly — a new digitally oriented culture, which must embrace data analytics as a core enterprise capability.

Klaus Schwab put it in his recent book The Fourth Industrial Revolution (World Economic Forum, 2016), “Contrary to the previous industrial revolutions, this one is evolving at an exponential rather than linear pace.… It is not only changing the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of doing things, but also ‘who’ we are.”

This great integrating force is gaining strength at a time of political fragmentation — when many governments are considering making international trade more difficult. It may indeed become harder to move people and products across some national borders. But Industry 4.0 could overcome those barriers by enabling companies to transfer just their intellectual property, including their software, while letting each nation maintain its own manufacturing networks.
more on the Internet of Things in this IMS blog

also Digital Learning

Virtual Augmented Mixed Reality

11 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2017
Five higher ed leaders analyze the hottest trends in education technology this year.

new forms of human-computer interaction (HCI) such as augmented reality (AR),virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR).
p. 21
combining AR/VR/MR with cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies (such as machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing and chatbots).
Some thought-provoking questions include:
  • Will remote workers be able to be seen and interacted with via their holograms (i.e., attending their meetings virtually)? What would this mean for remote learners?
  • Will our smartphones increasingly allow us to see information overlaid on the real world? (Think Pokémon Go, but putting that sort of technology into a vast array of different applications, many of which could be educational in nature)
  • How do/will these new forms of HCI impact how we design our learning spaces?
  • Will students be able to pick their preferred learning setting (i.e., studying by a brook or stream or in a virtual Starbucks-like atmosphere)?
  • Will more devices/platforms be developed that combine the power of AI with VR/AR/MR-related experiences? For example, will students be able to issue a verbal question or command to be able to see and experience walking around ancient Rome?
  • Will there be many new types of learning experiences,like what Microsoft was able to achieve in its collaboration with Case Western Reserve University [OH]? Its HoloLens product transforms the way human anatomy can be taught.

p. 22 Extensive costs for VR design and development drive the need for collaborative efforts.

Case Western Reserve University, demonstrates a collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic and Microsoft to create active multi-dimensional learning using holography.

the development of more affordable high-quality virtual reality solutions.

AR game developed by the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences [Austria] ( that teaches  about sustainability, the environment and living green.
Whether using AR for a gamified course or to acclimate new students to campus, the trend will continue into 2017.


15 Tech Tool Favorites From ISTE 2016

list of resources that can help educators find what they need

Google Expeditions
This virtual reality field trip tool works in conjunction with Google Cardboard and has just been officially released. The app allows teachers to guide students through an exploration of 200 (and growing) historical sites and natural resources in an immersive, three-dimensional experience. The app only works on Android devices and is free.

This app works in conjunction with Google Sheets and allows teachers to easily make a Jeopardy-style game.

Google Science Journal
This Android app allows users to do science experiments with mobile phones. Students can use sensors in the phone or connect external sensors to collect data, but can also take notes on observations, analyze and annotate within the app.

Google Cast
This simple app solves issues of disparate devices in the classroom. When students download the app, they can project from their devices onto the screen at the front of the room easily. “You don’t have to have specific hardware, you just have to have Wi-Fi,”

This site hosts a database of constitutions from around the world. Anything digitally available has been aggregated here. It is searchable by topic and will pull out specific excerpts related to search terms like “freedom of speech.”

a database of YouTube Channels by subject to help educators with discoverability (hint subjects are by tab along the bottom of the document).

Zygote Body
This freemium tool has a lot of functionality in the free version, allowing students to view different parts of human anatomy and dig into how various body systems work.
This app has less power than Photoshop, but is free and fairly sophisticated. It works directly with Google accounts, so students can store files there.
uild With Chrome
This extension to the Chrome browser lets kids play with digital blocks like Legos. Based on the computer’s IP address, the software assigns users a plot of land on which to build nearby. There’s a Build Academy to learn how to use the various tools within the program, but then students can make whatever they want.
Google CS First
Built on Scratch’s programming language, this easy tool gives step-by-step instructions to get started and is great for the hesitant teacher who is just beginning to dip a toe into coding.
several posters about Google Apps For Education that are available to anyone for free

More on VR in this IMS blog

Google AI

Google Researchers Create AI That Builds Its Own Encryption


Alice and Bob have figured out a way to have a conversation without Eve being able to overhear, no matter how hard she tries.

They’re artificial intelligence algorithms created by Google engineers, and their ability to create an encryption protocol that Eve (also an AI algorithm) can’t hack is being hailed as an important advance in machine learning and cryptography.

Martin Abadi and David G. Andersen, explained in a paper published this week that their experiment is intended to find out if neural networks—the building blocks of AI—can learn to communicate secretly.

As the Abadi and Anderson wrote, “instead of training each of Alice and Bob separately to implement some known cryptosystem, we train Alice and Bob jointly to communicate successfully and to defeat Eve without a pre-specified notion of what cryptosystem they may discover for this purpose.”

same in German

Googles AI entwickelt eigenständig Verschlüsselung

von – 31.10.2016
Google-Forscher Martin Abadi und David G. Andersen des Deep-Learning-Projekts “Google Brain” eine neue Verschlüsselungsmethode entwickelt beziehungsweise entwickeln lassen. Die Forscher haben verschiedene neurale Netze damit beauftragt, eine abhörsichere Kommunikation aufzustellen.

more on AI in this IMS blog:

fourth-wave of scientific advancement

Education in the ‘Fourth Wave’ of Science-Driven Economic Advancement

By David Nagel 07/06/16

fourth wave, one driven by nanotechnology, biotechnology and artificial intelligence.

In at least one presentation, he referred to the American education system as “the worst educational system known to science.”

Although there will be a “perfect” and direct transfer of information to everyone with or without educators, students will still need to come to class to benefit from the wisdom and experience of their teachers.

“So in the future, there’s going to be a balance, a balance between ‘e-instruction’ and mentoring. And teachers, more and more, will be in the business of mentoring [and] personal experience because you cannot get that on the Internet.”

Those aspects of “mentoring” and “career guidance” are especially important to Kaku, who said that teachers must push students to where the jobs will be in the future.


The MOOC Is Dead! Long Live Open Learning!

We’re at a curious point in the hype cycle of educational innovation, where the hottest concept of the past year–Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs–is simultaneously being discovered by the mainstream media, even as the education-focused press is declaring them dead. “More Proof MOOCs are Hot,” and “MOOCs Embraced By Top Universities,” said the Wall Street Journal and USA Today last week upon the announcement that Coursera had received a $43 million round of funding to expand its offerings;
“Beyond MOOC Hype” was the nearly simultaneous headline in Inside Higher Ed.

Can MOOCs really be growing and dying at the same time?

The best way to resolve these contradictory signals is probably to accept that the MOOC, itself still an evolving innovation, is little more than a rhetorical catchall for a set of anxieties around teaching, learning, funding and connecting higher education to the digital world. This is a moment of cultural transition. Access to higher education is strained. The prices just keep rising. Questions about relevance are growing. The idea of millions of students from around the world learning from the worlds’ most famous professors at very small marginal cost, using the latest in artificial intelligence and high-bandwidth communications, is a captivating one that has drawn tens of millions in venture capital. Yet, partnerships between MOOC platforms and public institutions like SUNY and the University of California to create self-paced blended courses and multiple paths to degrees look like a sensible next step for the MOOC, but they are far from that revolutionary future. Separate ideas like blended learning and plain old online delivery seem to be blurring with and overtaking the MOOC–even Blackboard is using the term.

The time seems to be ripe for a reconsideration of the “Massive” impact of “Online” and “Open” learning. TheReclaim Open Learning initiative is a growing community of teachers, researchers and learners in higher education dedicated to this reconsideration. Supporters include the MIT Media Lab and the MacArthur Foundation-supported Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. I am honored to be associated with the project as a documentarian and beater of the drum.

Entries are currently open for our Innovation Contest, offering a $2000 incentive to either teachers or students who have projects to transform higher education in a direction that is connected and creative, is open as in open content and open as in open access, that is participatory, that takes advantage of some of the forms and practices that the MOOC also does but is not beholden to the narrow mainstream MOOC format (referring instead to some of the earlier iterations of student-created, distributed MOOCscreated by Dave Cormier, George Siemens, Stephen Downes and others.)

Current entries include a platform to facilitate peer to peer language learning, a Skype-based open-access seminar with guests from around the world, and a student-created course in educational technology. Go hereto add your entry! Deadline is August 2. Our judges include Cathy Davidson (HASTAC), Joi Ito (MIT), and Paul Kim (Stanford).

Reclaim Open Learning earlier sponsored a hackathon at the MIT Media Lab. This fall, September 27 and 28, our judges and contest winners will join us at a series of conversations and demo days to Reclaim Open Learning at the University of California, Irvine. If you’re interested in continuing the conversation, join us there or check us out online.

July 18, 2013

women and immersive technologies

International Data Corporation says it expects the number of AI jobs globally to grow 16% this year.

a new report released Wednesday, IBM found the majority (85%) of AI professionals think the industry has become more diverse over recent years

3,200 people surveyed across North AmericaEurope and India, 86% said they are now confident in AI systems’ ability to make decisions without bias.

A plurality of men (46%) said they became interested in a tech career in high school or earlier, while a majority of women (53%) only considered it a possible path during their undergraduate degree or grad school.

more on immersive technologies in this IMS blog

Algorithmic Test Proctoring

Our Bodies Encoded: Algorithmic Test Proctoring in Higher Education


While in-person test proctoring has been used to combat test-based cheating, this can be difficult to translate to online courses. Ed-tech companies have sought to address this concern by offering to watch students take online tests, in real time, through their webcams.

Some of the more prominent companies offering these services include ProctorioRespondusProctorUHonorLockKryterion Global Testing Solutions, and Examity.

Algorithmic test proctoring’s settings have discriminatory consequences across multiple identities and serious privacy implications. 

While racist technology calibrated for white skin isn’t new (everything from photography to soap dispensers do this), we see it deployed through face detection and facial recognition used by algorithmic proctoring systems.

While some test proctoring companies develop their own facial recognition software, most purchase software developed by other companies, but these technologies generally function similarly and have shown a consistent inability to identify people with darker skin or even tell the difference between Chinese people. Facial recognition literally encodes the invisibility of Black people and the racist stereotype that all Asian people look the same.

As Os Keyes has demonstrated, facial recognition has a terrible history with gender. This means that a software asking students to verify their identity is compromising for students who identify as trans, non-binary, or express their gender in ways counter to cis/heteronormativity.

These features and settings create a system of asymmetric surveillance and lack of accountability, things which have always created a risk for abuse and sexual harassment. Technologies like these have a long history of being abused, largely by heterosexual men at the expense of women’s bodies, privacy, and dignity.

Their promotional messaging functions similarly to dog whistle politics which is commonly used in anti-immigration rhetoric. It’s also not a coincidence that these technologies are being used to exclude people not wanted by an institution; biometrics and facial recognition have been connected to anti-immigration policies, supported by both Republican and Democratic administrations, going back to the 1990’s.

Borrowing from Henry A. Giroux, Kevin Seeber describes the pedagogy of punishment and some of its consequences in regards to higher education’s approach to plagiarism in his book chapter “The Failed Pedagogy of Punishment: Moving Discussions of Plagiarism beyond Detection and Discipline.”

my note: I am repeating this for years
Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel’s ongoing critique of Turnitin, a plagiarism detection software, outlines exactly how this logic operates in ed-tech and higher education: 1) don’t trust students, 2) surveil them, 3) ignore the complexity of writing and citation, and 4) monetize the data.

Technological Solutionism

Cheating is not a technological problem, but a social and pedagogical problem.
Our habit of believing that technology will solve pedagogical problems is endemic to narratives produced by the ed-tech community and, as Audrey Watters writes, is tied to the Silicon Valley culture that often funds it. Scholars have been dismantling the narrative of technological solutionism and neutrality for some time now. In her book “Algorithms of Oppression,” Safiya Umoja Noble demonstrates how the algorithms that are responsible for Google Search amplify and “reinforce oppressive social relationships and enact new modes of racial profiling.”

Anna Lauren Hoffmann, who coined the term “data violence” to describe the impact harmful technological systems have on people and how these systems retain the appearance of objectivity despite the disproportionate harm they inflict on marginalized communities.

This system of measuring bodies and behaviors, associating certain bodies and behaviors with desirability and others with inferiority, engages in what Lennard J. Davis calls the Eugenic Gaze.

Higher education is deeply complicit in the eugenics movement. Nazism borrowed many of its ideas about racial purity from the American school of eugenics, and universities were instrumental in supporting eugenics research by publishing copious literature on it, establishing endowed professorships, institutes, and scholarly societies that spearheaded eugenic research and propaganda.

more on privacy in this IMS blog

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