Sun(Fun)day Night: Lots O’ Links on the Future of Tech

It’s another Sunday night and if you’re like me – YOU DON’T HAVE SCHOOL TOMORROW! Sorry to “shout” there, but it’s always nice to enjoy a Sunday night without the preoccupation of having to prepare to teach on Monday morning.

Rather than just offer one funny  or thought-provoking Sun(Fun)day Night link, I’m offering a whole list of them. I’ve been saving these up and now seems like as good a time as any to share them here.

Enjoy these links and take a look into the crystal ball to see the future of technology:

“Mechanical Trees Become ‘Power Plants’ When They Sway in the Breeze”

“3D Touch Opens a New Dimension of User Interaction”

“Battery Research Claims 10x Gain”

“This Samsung Patent Lets Smartwatches Recognize You by Your Veins”

“Insane Ways of Making Energy You May Not Know”

“The Mobile Phone of the Future Will Be Planted in Your Head”

“Dissolvable Devices Keep Tabs on The Brain”

“Autonomous Robots are Changing the Way We Build and Move Products Around the World”

“Hop, Skip, Drive: Uber, But For Kids”

“Scientists Can Now Predict Intelligence From Brain Activity”

“Fiction’s Newest Frontier: Literary Geocaching”

“Wearable Sensors Could Translate Sign Language Into English”

“New Foam Batteries Promise Fast Charging, Higher Capacity”

“Artificially Intelligent Software is Replacing the Textbook and Reshaping American Education”

“How Your Device Knows Your Life Through Images”

“Meet Kangaroo: A $99 Windows 10 Desktop PC as Small as a Smartphone”

“You Are Your Smartphone”

“Do Robots Need a Human-Like Sense of Touch”

“This Guy Wants Us to Commute in Autonomous On-Demand Pods” 

“Why Hearables May Be the Next Big Thing in Tech”

“Mind Controlled Robot Suits Help the Paralyzed Move Again”

“Salt-Based Batteries Could Make Your Next Mobile Device Cheaper and Greener”

“7 Unexpected Virtual Reality Use Cases”

“Microsoft’s 2016 Predictions: Expect the Year of Machine Aided Wit”

“Yahoo Labs Develops Biometric Authentication Method for Touchscreens”

“2016 Will Be the Year Wearables Disappear”

“Google Testing a Feature to Eliminate the Password”

“Future of Messaging Apps Spells the End of Google as We Know It”

“OrCam’s MyMe Wearable Will Watch and Decode the World For You”

 

 

Friday FunPost – Using Games and Virtual Reality to Teach Compassion

Today’s Friday FunPost is less “ha ha” funny and more of a thoughtful, potentially inspiring type of fun. I’m chaperoning our Freshman Retreat today and in a more reflective space than on most Friday afternoons.

The other morning this word and reflection arrived in my inbox from the good brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist:

Suffering

“The prevailing reason why Jesus did what he did and said what he said was his compassion for others. Compassion, which literally means “to suffer with” another person. Compassion is not just to observe suffering, but actually entering the suffering of another.” -Br. Curtis Almquist

I shared this with my students that day as another reminder of how compassion is one of the core values essential for one who follows Jesus the Christ. We’ve been talking a lot about compassion and empathy lately in class. This essential conversation, accompanied by prayer, is a clear antidote to the widespread fear, scapegoating, nativism, racism, and generalized hostility in our social and political conversations these days.

Today I read about two tech facilitated ways to help others grow in compassion and empathy. First, Tech Crunch offers a solid overview of how Virtual Reality is expanding classroom learning in a variety of ways. After describing how VR has been and continues to be used for mainly for simulations – especially scientific and historical ones – the author suggests this creative and constructive usage:

Perhaps the most utopian application of this technology will be seen in terms of bridging cultures and fostering understanding among young students, as it will soon be possible for a third-grade class in the U.S. to participate in a virtual trip with a third-grade class in India or Mexico.

This may sound simplistic and minor, but I think it’s only a beginning of how we will soon be able to leverage VR for a wide variety of educational outcomes. We often assume that we can only use VR from our own exclusive perspective to explore myriad locations, time periods, simulations, etc. After all, everything I see with my eye-brain connection is filtered through only my own reality. The true power of VR is that it will allow me to see what the world looks like from others’ perspectives. And if the simulation is created with thoughtful skill this could engender greater empathy in me.

For example, what if the VR headset caused me to see all writing as a dyslexic person does every day? Or maybe it could show me the hallucinations and “voices” that plague a schizophrenic in his or her daily life. At the very least, it will allow us to take on the persona of someone quite different than ourselves and see, first-hand, the world through their eyes.

Even before VR becomes widely available in our classrooms, a growing genre of video games exist which allow us to experience life from a different perspective. In an article glibly titled “Video Game Psych 101:Empathy Games” we learn how:

Biofeedback video games feed off players’ physiological responses, impacting gameplay in new and interesting ways. But what happens when developers create games designed to evoke a specific emotional or psychological response?

Empathy games attempt to answer that question. These video games aspire to enhance a player’s understanding of an outside perspective, particularly those pertaining to real-world struggles and inequalities, through interactive experiences.

This genre includes the groundbreaking game from a few years ago – Dsy4ia. While this particular simulation engenders empathy towards a specific life experience, this type of game could be created to illustrate any number of situations. And, combined with the increasing power of VR, the possibilities for tech facilitated education for compassion and empathy is limited only by our imaginations.

 

Coming Attractions…Wash Your Cell Phone w/Soap & Water

It’s Monday and we are looking forward to the new workweek ahead. Thus, it’s a auspicious time to launch a new feature I’m calling “Coming Attractions…” The tech we have today is pretty amazing. How much of it could we imagine even three or five years ago?

To get ready for what’s coming next in the world of technology, look for this feature here at Ed Tech Emergent.

It’s the germy season and wisdom tells us to frequently wash our hands and frequently touched items. Electronics are always on those lists of The 8 Germiest Items in Your Home. Sure, you can run an alcohol wipe over your microscopically filthy remotes, keyboards, and cell phones. But wouldn’t it be nice to get those items really clean using old fashioned soap and water?

Well now you can – with your cell phone at least.

Don’t believe it? Check out this promotional video (I hope you can understand Japanese):

Friday FunLink – What 2000 Looked Like From 1900

With the Chicago Cubs win a couple of nights ago, there’s been much internet chatter about how the 1989 film Back to the Future 2 predicted a World Series win (finally) by the Cubbies in 2015.

Back to the Future Cubs

We’ll have to wait a while longer to see if this prediction was remarkably prescient or another one of the missed 2015 predictions in this film. But we can enjoy this French art, created around the turn of the 20th century, illustrating how artists believed life would look in the year 2000.

All of the images are worth viewing, pondering and chuckling with. Here’s a few of my favorites:

Y2K - 4

Y2K -1

Y2K-5

 

Educational Technology Trends for SY 2015-2016

Before we think about the specific tech tools to use in class (I’ll soon post many, many lists of valuable tools), it’s useful to step back and get the big picture of the trends which are shaping the broader educational landscape.  So here’s a few lists telling the present ed tech story:

Upside Learning offers a succinct presentation of “10 eLearning Trends for 2015,” along with compelling, supporting evidence.

  1. It’s a Multi-device World
  2. Out with Flash. In with HTML5
  3. Of Games and Gamification
  4. Augmenting Reality
  5. Book a MOOC
  6. Learning Management
  7. Learn at Your Own Pace
  8. BYO Device
  9. Wearable Learning
  10. Learning on the Go

From the always informative, Edudemic blog here’s “6 Important Trends in Educational Technology”:

  1. The need to develop cultures of innovation
  2. Increasing collaboration between institutions – a. Tech is expensive, but also increasingly important.  b. Schools can share data and content
  3. Possibilities of assessment and measurement
  4. Proliferation of Open Educational Resources
  5. Increase in blended learning
  6. Redesigning Learning Spaces

Here’s a categorized and opinionated list: “Education Technology: Your Cheat Sheet to 10 Fads, Trends and WTF’s!”

Trends:

  • BYO Device
  • Open Educational Resources
  • Freemium
  • Flipped classrooms
  • Student data privacy
  • Edtech investment bubble

Fads:

  • Going 100 percent digital
  • Coding classes and camps

WTF’s:

  • Open Badges
  • MOOC’s

From a slightly difference perspective, Forbes offers “What Cutting Edge Looks Like in a School in 2015”

Clue 1: The teachers are resourceful and creative.  They can turn anything into a tool for teaching.

Clue 2: The school invests in effective delivery, not just quality content.

Clue 3: Technology is purchased wisely and used efficiently.

Clue 4: You see kids actually playing at school because the school understands that play is not a treat.

Note: This list looks sparse here.  Do check out the article as the author gives links to great examples of each “clue.”

Here’s a piping hot fresh list from edSurge: “Get on Top of these Four Edtech Teaching Trends:”

  1. Open Educational Resources
  2. Formative assessment with live analytics
  3. Paperless workflow
  4. Collaborative, real-time learning

Again, visit the article for descriptions of each point along with links to tools.

One final list for this post, again with a slightly different slant: “30 Examples of Disruption in the Classroom”

My two favorite, which I don’t think I can figure out how to work into my Religion classroom are: #21: 3D printing and #26: Robotics in the classroom.