Techno-News Blog

August 21, 2019

The rise of interest in Artificial Intelligence

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BY SUBBARAO KAMBHAMPATI, the Hill
Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short, has become quite the public buzzword. Companies and investors are pouring money into the field. Universities — even high schools — are rushing to start new degree programs or colleges dedicated to AI. Civil society organizations are scrambling to understand the impact of AI technology on humanity, and governments are competing to encourage or regulate AI research and deployment. One country, the United Arab Emirates, even boasts a minister for AI.

https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/457008-what-just-happened-the-rise-of-interest-in-artificial-intelligence

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Amazon’s Text-To-Speech AI Service Sounds More Natural And Realistic

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Janakiram MSV, Forbes

Thanks to the advancements in AI, text-to-speech has evolved to become more natural and realistic to an extent that it may be hard to distinguish it from a human voice. Already, the output from voice-based services such as Alexa and Siri sounds natural. With the most recent improvements in AI, these assistants are set to sound smoother, natural, and realistic.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/janakirammsv/2019/08/11/amazons-text-to-speech-ai-service-sounds-more-natural-and-realistic/#3ff9d46810de

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How Four Technologies Created The ‘Perfect Storm’ For Online Learning [at Scale]

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Anant Agarwal, Forbes
When MOOCs first burst onto the scene in 2012 — the year The New York Times dubbed ‘the year of the MOOC’ — their success was enabled largely by the convergence of four key technologies: cloud computing, video distribution at scale, gamification and social networking. Without these technologies, we would not have the high quality digital learning at scale that we now enjoy. What was the impact of these technologies and how have they developed?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/anantagarwal/2019/08/10/how-four-technologies-created-the-perfect-storm-for-online-learning/#4cc66fd77e23

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August 20, 2019

Colleges are using big data to track students in an effort to boost graduation rates, but it comes at a cost

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by JILL BARSHAY and SASHA ASLANIAN, Hechinger Report

There are indications that analytics may be having an impact. In 2016, after years of declines, national college graduation rates started ticking back up again and have continued rising for the past three years. But that progress may come at a cost. Critics say there are potential downsides to monitoring student data so closely. They worry about invasion of privacy and surveillance of students. And they say that the algorithms might be reinforcing historical inequities, funneling low-income students or students of color into easier majors.

https://hechingerreport.org/predictive-analytics-boosting-college-graduation-rates-also-invade-privacy-and-reinforce-racial-inequities/

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Are you blinded by the promise of AI?

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Anna Frazzetto, CIO

While many businesses are fueled by their ambition to implement AI initiatives, few understand how it can work for their businesses. How do we keep our AI ambitions in line with the business needs of our organization? A simple Google search will tell you that AI has now moved into prime gold rush position. Where once Cloud, Big Data, Cryptocurrency and Block Chain held the position of top tech trend in business, AI is now everywhere and, for many reasons, it should be. AI offers advanced data processing and analytical capabilities that people simple cannot match.

https://www.cio.com/article/3430782/are-you-blinded-by-the-promise-of-ai.html

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4 Ways to Advance Your Career and Be Happier at Work

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INC.
According to research, over 75% of Americans feel little or no passion at work. That’s terrible..but it doesn’t need to be the case. Here’s why Learning and Development is the key to changing that dynamic. There are important business reasons for companies to provide significant learning and development opportunities to employees, and even more important reasons for employees to make learning and development a priority. In order to get a deeper understanding of the power of learning, and why employees should take advantage of these resources, I interviewed Mary Shindler, Senior Program Manager on the Learning and Development Team at LinkedIn.

https://www.inc.com/andrew-thomas/4-ways-to-advance-your-career-be-happier-at-work.html

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August 19, 2019

Are virtual schools the new home school in the US?

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By Study International Staff

Virtual schools are becoming increasingly popular. These accredited online schools allow students to receive a primary or secondary-level education anywhere at any time, so long as they have access to an internet connection and computer. These institutions are fast becoming the new home school – where learners are educated from home, either by a parent or special home tutor, the preferred alternative to attending a typical school before technology became so integrated into our daily lives. More and more parents are choosing to keep their kids at home to attend school online. According to eLearning Inside, “Stanly County Schools, a district roughly an hour outside of Charlotte, N.C., is in a unique situation. According to the Stanly News & Press, overall enrollment is down 12.5% over the past decade, while the homeschool population has grown by 112%.

https://www.studyinternational.com/news/virtual-schools-new-home-school-us/

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Unpacking 2U’s New $24K Online Undergrad Degree

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By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed
Seven reasons why the new 2U powered, University of London, $24K online undergraduate degree in data science and business analytics is so fascinating:

#1 – Status:

The BS will be conferred by the University of London, in collaboration and with faculty from the London School of Economics. These are brand name, internationally recognized institutions. This will be a high-status degree, with substantial value in the marketplace.

#2 – Price:

A price tag of $24K for an undergraduate degree is not all that interesting. There are many options for low-cost degrees from community colleges and other accredited institutions of higher learning. What is interesting is that this is a $24K degree from a high-status institution.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/unpacking-2us-new-24k-online-undergrad-degree

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Online learning combined with games to grow by 38% in 2-4 years

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Economic Times

“Learning in the context of work, though essential, isn’t always enjoyable and engaging, therefore, new models of training, more relevant to the workforce of today and tomorrow are being explored and games-based learning is one such model,” Schoolguru Eduserve CEO and founder Shantanu Rooj told PTI here. “The combination method of skilling, a recent phenomenon in corporates, is used across sectors providing play-like simulation with the additional learning or improving functional proficiency and social interaction. I expect 38 per cent growth in the segment to about Rs 3,000 crore in the next two years,” he added.

https://brandequity.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/digital/online-learning-combined-with-games-to-grow-by-38-in-2-4-years/70573245

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August 18, 2019

Mexican science suffers under debilitating budget cuts

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Giorgia Guglielmi, Nature

Some researchers have turned to crowdfunding campaigns to pay for supplies and several scientific institutes are rationing electricity to save money. Mexico’s budget cuts are affecting the country’s researchers, including scientists working on improving forest conservation strategies. Austerity measures recently enacted by Mexico’s president are pushing the country’s scientific efforts — chronically underfunded for years — to a breaking point, according to researchers. As part of broader cost-cutting measures aimed at freeing up money for poverty-alleviation programmes, in May, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador cut 30–50% of the money that federally funded institutions — including centres supported by Mexico’s main research funding agency, the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) — spend on travel, petrol, office supplies and salaries for temporary workers.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02332-x

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2U taps undergraduate market with low-cost online bachelor’s degree

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By Hallie Busta, Education Dive
2U announced Monday that it is entering the undergraduate degree market with an online bachelor’s offered in partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). It is expected to launch in October 2020.  The 36-month program in data science and business analytics is on a 10-year contract between 2U and LSE. About three-fourths of the content will be asynchronous and one-fourth will be synchronous, Andrew Hermalyn, 2U’s president of university partnerships, told Education Dive. It is priced around $21,000 for United Kingdom-based students and $25,000 for international students. The news comes less than a week after the online program manager told analysts and investors it was shifting its strategy beyond high-priced graduate degrees to include a wider array of program types and price points as well as the use of fee-for-service contracts.

https://www.educationdive.com/news/2u-taps-undergraduate-market-with-low-cost-online-bachelors-degree/560267/

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5 Skills That Students Are Losing Because of Tech

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Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Technology in the classroom has become not just expected but assumed. Educators and administrators strive to use and/or create the most digitally aligned curriculum available, ranging from e-books in place of print titles to fully interactive learning management systems. The reason, of course, is to provide students with the best possible chance of success in an almost entirely digital world. But what happens when that same technology that is meant to aid in future accomplishments ends up creating obstacles for students instead? And what happens when technology, such as social media and texting, supersedes a student’s desire to engage in skill-building activities? Below are five skills that are often lost or poorly developed as a result of pervasive technology use.

https://www.thetechedvocate.org/5-skills-that-students-are-losing-because-of-tech/

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August 17, 2019

Average Student Loan Debt Statistics by School by State 2019

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LendU

While the figures change each year, the narrative certainly does not; student loan debt continues to be a growing issue in the U.S. and at nearly all schools in the country as the cost of college continues to rise. Nationally, outstanding student loan debt sits at $1.52 trillion, making it the second largest form of consumer debt trailing only mortgages. On an individual scale, the average borrower from the Class of 2018 received their diploma and left campus with $28,565 in student loan debt, up from $28,288 that was owed by the average Class of 2017 borrower.

https://lendedu.com/student-loan-debt-by-school-by-state-2019/

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With ‘Hybrid’ Campuses, Online Course Providers Offer In-Person Services

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By Rebecca Koenig, EdSurge

“Most students who attend an online program still attend a program that’s within 50 to 100 miles of their home,” says Dave Jarrat, senior vice president of strategic engagement and growth at InsideTrack, an organization that provides coaching services at colleges. Recognizing this paradox, a few online course providers have opened physical campus centers designed to offer students a space to interact both with each other and employees who provide support services. They’re a mashup of a co-working space, an administrative center and a library—sans the books.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-08-08-with-hybrid-campuses-online-course-providers-offer-in-person-services

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Heard on Campus: The possibilities presented by open educational resources

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Anne C. Osterman, Penn State News

“OER (open educational resources) is about more than student savings — it is about student success and lifelong learning. It is about faculty empowerment and increased student engagement. It is about equity and diversity. … This is an opportunity for collaboration across the institution, from faculty to instructional designers to librarians to assessment professionals.”

https://news.psu.edu/story/583142/2019/08/09/impact/heard-campus-possibilities-presented-open-educational-resources

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August 16, 2019

The Internet of Things for Education: A Brief Guide

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by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. Thanks to cheap processors and wireless networks, anything with a sensor can become part of the IoT. Educational platforms, students’ laptops, and smartphones are all part of the IoT. With IoT, everything is coming online, including homes, cars, people, medical devices, even farming equipment. And there are endless examples of IoT solutions being applied in school environments. Here we explore a few different use cases.

https://www.thetechedvocate.org/the-internet-of-things-for-education-a-brief-guide/

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Visioning Your Unit’s Future

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Ray Schroeder, Inside Higher Ed

So how does one go about making the right decisions, taking the correct course of action in this time when technology turns on a dime and competition springs up seemingly out of nowhere? There is no single path to assured security, but there is an array of steps that can be taken to help to assure success. They are a scaffold to creating a vision. Too often in meeting with online program leaders on campus visits, at conferences, and in “second-opinion” calls, I find colleagues have no clear vision beyond keeping within budget and maintaining the status quo with modest growth. That is not the recipe for success in this environment of expanding competition and changing best practices. Successful visioning for those in our field includes much information gathering:

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/blogs/online-trending-now/visioning-your-unit%E2%80%99s-future

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How emerging technology is reshaping higher ed

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By Natalie Schwartz, Education Dive
Pressure is growing for colleges to improve student outcomes, but sliding enrollment and tighter budgets threaten their ability to do so. In response, they are deploying technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics that promise to help them do more with less. Some colleges are using those tools to improve how they recruit and retain students. Others are using them to bring more accessibility into the classroom or to create personalized learning plans. But effective implementation is key, as the wrong move could negatively impact the student experience and even push learners away. In the five stories below, we examine how colleges are putting such technologies to work and what higher education leaders need to know to implement them effectively.

https://www.educationdive.com/news/summer-reading-how-emerging-technology-is-reshaping-higher-ed/560053/

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August 15, 2019

The radical transformation of the textbook

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BRIAN BARRETT, Wired

Pearson’s digital-first initiative will dramatically bring down textbook costs on average, albeit by phasing out the concept of ownership. But increasingly, colleges are embracing textbooks that cost … nothing. Just as traditional software has a thriving open source community, textbooks have Open Educational Resources, complete textbooks that typically come free of charge digitally, or for a small fee—enough to cover the printing—in hard copy. And while it’s not an entirely new concept, OER has gained momentum in recent years, particularly as support has picked up at an institutional level, rather than on a course by course basis.

https://www.wired.com/story/digital-textbooks-radical-transformation/

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Decision-Making Should Be a Required Course in Every High School

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Steven Johnson, Medium

We spend too much time making kids memorize facts instead of giving them the skill that will help them throughout their lives. But the most important argument for instating decision-making as a required course for high school students is this: No matter what you do in your life, no matter what career path you take, the ability to make the right choice when it really matters is a skill that will serve you well for the entirety of your adult life. No doubt there are a thousand electives out there — in high schools and college humanities programs, not to mention business schools — that dabble in some of these decision-making themes. It’s time we brought them into the core.

https://medium.com/s/story/farsighted-decision-making-should-be-a-required-course-in-every-high-school-6b5a836c1e1e

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Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends In Education For 2020

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Daniel Newman, Forbes

It’s that time of year again where we take a look at the top digital transformation trends in the coming year in several industries. First up: education. As we all know, the only thing constant in digital transformation is change. So, how have digital transformation trends in education changed as we move toward the coming decade? And what, if anything, has stayed the same? The following are my top picks for not just technology trends but overall shifts in how we’ll be learning and connecting through technology moving forward.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2019/08/01/top-5-digital-transformation-trends-in-education-for-2020/

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