Amazon has a real knack for changing consumers’ buying behavior. Logging on is like being welcomed by an old friend who knows you deeply. Amazon knows what you need even before you do, because it learns from behavior: which products you’ve viewed, what items you’ve purchased and how others like you have interacted with the site.
After the Google Fiber announcement, observers feared an increased and pronounced digital divide would develop. To its credit, Google Fiber worked from the first day to deploy service in low-income areas, releasing what it thought to be a high-value program for low-income communities: Free high-speed internet access for seven years, but households were required to pay a $300 construction fee.
Commentary One winter morning, a 5th grader will be awakened earlier than usual by Maestra, a commercially available virtual mentor that curates her comprehensive educational environment. Having monitored the child’s cognitive and emotional development since shortly after her conception, the artificial-intelligence program will accurately anticipate that the morning’s snowfall will add 10 minutes to the child’s typical walk to school.
If This Then That, or “IFTTT” ( https://ifttt.com/), is a free online app that will allow you to define relationships between applications and devices you use, and set up triggers so that X happens, Y will happen. This can creates myriad possibilities for automation.
In looking back at my parents’ education in the 1950s and 60s, and my own education in the 1990s and 2000s, I worry sometimes that despite the huge advances that we’ve seen in technology, not much has changed when it comes to how we view learning and how we design learning environments.
At any given moment in the day, I am attached to my cellphone, my iPad or my computer. As a writer, I was an early convert to the computer. I began writing on a TRS-80 from Radio Shack in 1983 on wonderful writing software called WordPerfect, which has mysteriously disappeared.
Imagine coming into class one day after discovering the lesson plan you worked on all week has vanished. Your instincts, your experiences, your very trust in your own intuitive instructional nature-it’s all laid bare. Now what? It’s the time for teaching innovation and discovery of the unknown through messy learning.