Google I/O: The machines are learning

Google I/O: The machines are learning

I always look forward to Google’s I/O conference to see where the future of technology and innovation is headed and today, once again, didn’t disappoint. This was the 10th I/O conference for Google. This is where Google shares what it’s working on so developers know where the platform is headed… and what they see as the future of technology. The theme of this year’s conference could not have been more clear. Artificial Intelligence (AI) was definitely the theme of this year’s conference. Whether it was their new device Google Home, their new apps Allo and Duo or their new Virtual Reality (VR) device, the future belongs to AI and machine learning. Machine Learning, or where machines teach themselves, to me, has the greatest impact on education. The idea that a student could soon be sitting at home and simply ask their Google Home device “How do I solve this problem?” and instead of the device giving the answer, it talks the student through how to solve the problem. It will ask the student questions, respond to those questions and actually teach the student. Now….yes….this is what parents do (and should do) and I’m not saying I want students talking to computers all the time. But it does open up some interesting possibilities for the future. As usual, it’s the stats that get me really thinking about how we in education will continue to evolve. 300 million people were online when Google was founded. 3 Billion people are connected via mobile today. Think about these numbers. When you think that roughly half the world’s population is connected via a mobile device, you can’t help but think what that means for education on a global scale. Or, what that means for your students and their ability to connect with people from…well….anywhere. What are we doing in schools and classrooms to better understand that we need to be on mobile devices? Really grasping that these devices are where people spend the majority of their time. Over 20% of Google search queries in the US are done by voice. Over 50% of all search queries are done on mobile devices (both stats from this year’s keynote). Take one second and ask yourself, how does this change your classroom? Now, figure this layer: Google states that they translate over 100 languages and over a billion words a day. Many world language teachers are still frustrated with this technology. Is it...

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We have a choice, They don’t

We have a choice, They don’t

“We have a choice, They don’t” I’m stealing this quote directly from Ben Sheridan. Not sure if he’s the one that came up with it however that’s who I heard say it so he gets the credit. It’s a good way to frame and point out where we are in these generation gaps. We (those of use over the age of 34) have a choice of how much of this new technology we want to adopt. Well, some choice. Nobody asked me if I wanted a chipped Credit Card. But in the grand scheme of how we live our lives, we get to chose how much of this new connected world we want to be a part of. In almost every session I do there is at least one if not three or four teachers who either do not have a cell phone or have a non-smart phone and are completely happy with their lives. That’s great. There is nothing wrong with how you want to live your life. You are an adult that knew a different way before technology became part of what it means to live and work today. You get to chose. Here’s the thing….a student today in our schools doesn’t get a choice. They don’t get to chose. There are very few trades that will exist by the time they hit the workforce that will not require some technology skill. There is not one university today that does not expect a student to know how to use a laptop and at a minimum know how to access work online and turn in assignments online. That’s the minimum expectation. See in their lives…their future, not having a cell phone is not a choice. It’s the only phone that will exist. Cars will drive themselves, things will be shipped to your door in under 24 hours and all your bills will be paid online using your phone. “They’re just so connected” Yes they are! And so are you! Do not put the connected world we find ourselves in on this generation. If you have a cell phone, if you use that cell phone as an alarm clock, then the first thing you touch in the morning and the last thing you touch before going to bed is a connected device. You are just as connected as they are. The only difference is you remember a non-connected world....

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Upload: A documentary

Upload: A documentary

I wanted to share this documentary that I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a part of. Nate Becker, a high school student in Marysville, WA, asked me to sit down one day while I was there doing work as part of our Eduro Learning contract with the district, to talk about technology and education. I had no idea what the questions were going to be or where he was going with his line of questioning. Below is the documentary he created based on his own knowledge and research and how he views the use of technology in his own school system and life. When we talk about creating meaningful stuff to share with the world. This is the type of stuff we are talking about. This isn’t an assignment that can be done in a class period or even a week. This type of learning and creative works takes time and a lot of energy.  Kudo’s Nate….I hope this is the first of many documentaries in your...

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’15 The Year of Wearable

’15 The Year of Wearable

Each year I like to try and predict what might be the technology that affects us both in our daily lives as well as education. Predicting the future is fun…if you’re right people think you’re amazing….if you are wrong…nobody really cares. 🙂  Here’s my other predictions….I’ll let you decide if I’m any good at it. 2007: The Year of the Network (Can we say Twitter and Facebook) 2008: The Year of the “Live Web (Ustream.tv and other services take off) 2009: Bringing Social Learning to the Masses (Education goes deeper in understanding social connections) 2010: The Year of the Mobile Web (iPad, Android, iPhone do I need to say more?) 2011: The Year of the QR Code (These little buggers start showing up everywhere) 2012: Mobile and Integration (Chromebooks, iPads, laptops, tablets, phablets, phones…yeah the list goes on and on) 2013: Opps….forgot (Check out these 10 Innovations in 2013 that improved the world) 2014: Preparing for Wearable (Which leads us to 2015)  Last year I wrote: As I wrote a few weeks back, I do think we are in a pause at the moment and 2014 will probably be the last year of it before we start up that next big adoption curve of wearable technology. Yes…the pause is over 2015 is here, wearable is here and becoming mainstream. Between things like Fitbit and watches wearable is only getting better, cheaper and has a real place, I think, in education starting this year. What I am most interested in, and what I feel has the greatest benefit to education, is the health data that these devices help track for people. That’s where wearable is going to start and what it will disrupt and I think there is some huge benefits to the health curriculum in schools. A class set of the cheapest fitbit for example would cost roughly $3000 (though I bet schools can do better). What if we were to give these to students to help them better understand their personal health? Think of the data analysis that could be taught in Math class as well analyzing personal data, whole class data, whole grade level data, and whole school data. All of a sudden the “fun run” the PTA puts on has a whole new curriculum meaning to it. Also there is a social element to health I really want to explore with wearable. We know social plays...

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We Need More Engineers

We Need More Engineers

CEO of Intel Brian Krzanich took to the Internet last week to encourage engineering students to stick with their programs and to shed some light on the fact that America and American companies are desperate for engineers. Not just in the tech sector but in other sectors as well. On my recent trip back from visiting ISG in Saudi Arabia, I sat next to an Agricultural Engineer on his way back to Seattle. He had been out for 3 weeks traveling Europe, India, and 3 countries in Africa. As he talked about his traveling adventures I couldn’t believe how much he was traveling…so I had to ask him why the company didn’t hire others. His answer: “There aren’t any Agricultural Engineers to be had.” That’s worrisome really…..we all need food and as our population grows we’re only going to need more. Here is someone who has dedicated his life to helping the global community produce more food for our growing population and the company can’t find anyone trained to help him out or replace him when the time comes…he’s hoping to retire in 5 years. Forbes predicts that there were 1.7 million Cloud-Based Technology jobs that went unfilled globally in 2012 and the outlook and predictions moving forward aren’t any better. So this isn’t just an American problem….it’s a global one. At a K-12 level what are we doing to prepare students for these jobs? We can’t force students to be engineers but are we giving them the experiences they need in K-12 to even be in a place to think about engineering as a career? Kalyani Mallela, 29, said engineering is a foundation applicable to all industries and fields, enabling people to do anything from build chips and wearable tech devices to fix flood problems and innovate medicine. “It’s the ‘why’ and the ‘curiosity’ that make me a good engineer,” she said. (Fox Business) Are we teaching the ‘why’ and tapping into and fostering the intrinsic ‘curiosity’ in students? Programs such as DiscoverE’s Future City competition, which asks U.S. middle-school students to imagine, design and build cities of the future, have become crucial to these efforts. “There’s a whole bunch of kids that have creative ideas but might struggle initially with math and get left behind,” Shaddock said. “We need to do more of stimulating kids’ interests in how things work, how to solve problems in the world around them and build on that stimulus and curiosity.” I think of...

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