Spoiler Alert:  Virtual Reality Could Be The Next Big Thing After Mobile

“When you put on the goggles, it’s different from anything I have ever experienced in my life!” Zuckerberg described his first time using the VR headset as revelatory

Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly instigated the deal. “Strategically we want to start building the next major computing platform that will come after mobile.”

Zuckerberg sees the acquisition as part of Facebook’s mission to build the so-called knowledge economy. “There are not many things that are candidates to be the next major computing platform,” he said. “[This acquisition is a] long-term bet on the future of computing.”

Facebook moved quickly to acquire the Pacific Northwest Company: Oculus VR—creator of the forthcoming Oculus Rift virtual reality headset—for approximately $2 billion.

Facebook views the technology as more than a peripheral for video games. “Immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s everyday life,” Zuckerberg said. “History suggests there will be more platforms to come, and whoever builds and defines these,” he said, will shape the future and reap the benefits.

Read the entire story in Technology Review: What Zuckerberg Sees In Oculus Rift

See My Videos of Us Playing With Oculus Rift in 2013:

so-korean-phone-control-appA new app being used by teachers in South Korea is drawing attention not for the learning it provides but, because it controls students’ smartphones.

The Korea JoongAng Daily reports on the iSmartKeeper app which “is designed to limit the functions available to students on their smartphones on school premises.

Controlling Student Smartphone Use?

There are six app options, including:

  • Freeze all student smartphone apps.
  • Enact a partial restrictions on access to certain pre-designated apps.
  • Freezing everything but making calls and sending texts.
  • Alert the teacher if students try to remove the app.

For advocates of greater individual freedom and the average tech-savvy teenager, this may sound like an Orwellian nightmare come true. But Korea’s government, teachers and parents think it’s time to consider ways to protect school-aged kids from being overly exposed to mobile devices.

For the past couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to meet with groups of educators from Korea’s Air & Correspondence.

Korean_Air_CorrespondenceA federally-funded initiative, the 40+ year old program serves the nation’s youth and adults who couldn’t get a diploma because they were forced to work in the factories to support their families or because they couldn’t afford to pay for high school (some students pay to go to most high schools in Korea). A high school diploma is a big deal, allowing someone to take a university entrance test or get a job in government or other higher-paid career.

The name “Air & Correspondence” comes from their early days when they used radio to deliver their lessons and mail to exchange student work. Since their beginning, they have taught over 300,000 students and currently have 15,000 students enrolled this year.

The number of households in Korea with broadband access is over 97% and they have some of the fastest internet speeds on the planet–almost 200x faster than the US! The online teachers we’ve met from Korea laugh when they use our Internet because it’s so slow.

According to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, 64.5 percent of Korea’s teenagers had smartphones last year, up from 21.4 percent in 2011.

So far, a total of 600 schools nationwide have expressed their intentions to use the iSmartKeeper system, said Professor Han of Gongju National University of Education.

And 30,000 students are now registered for the system.

We’re meeting with groups of Korean online learning teachers through May and June and I’ll be sure to ask them about the new iSmartKeeper app and report back what I learn.

Some Questions for mLearning Advocates

  • What do you think– is this something that would be embraced in the United States?
  • How does teacher control over a student’s smartphone effect mLearning?
  • How would the  educationally functional aspects conflict with privacy and control issues?

Let me know what you think!

 

Source: http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2985383

From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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*Download the Research Report: “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks” (PDF) Below

MASSIVE SCALE EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION SIGNIFICANCE

We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.

ABSTRACT

Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.

Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading them to experience the same emotions as those around them. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments (1), in which people transfer positive and negative moods and emotions to others. Similarly, data from a large, real-world social network collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks as well (2, 3).

The interpretation of this network effect as contagion of mood has come under scrutiny due to the study’s correlational nature, including concerns over misspecification of contextual variables or failure to account for shared experiences (4, 5), raising important questions regarding contagion processes in networks. An experimental approach can address this scrutiny directly; however, methods used in controlled experiments have been criticized for examining emotions after social interactions. Interacting with a happy person is pleasant (and an unhappy person, unpleasant). As such, contagion may result from experiencing an interaction rather than exposure to a partner’s emotion. Prior studies have also failed to address whether nonverbal cues are necessary for contagion to occur, or if verbal cues alone suffice. Evidence that positive and negative moods are correlated in networks (2, 3) suggests that this is possible, but the causal question of whether contagion processes occur for emotions in massive social networks remains elusive in the absence of experimental evidence. Further, others have suggested that in online social networks, exposure to the happiness of others may actually be depressing to us, producing an “alone together” social comparison effect (6).

Three studies have laid the groundwork for testing these processes via Facebook, the largest online social network. This research demonstrated that (i) emotional contagion occurs via text-based computer-mediated communication (7); (ii) contagion of psychological and physiological qualities has been suggested based on correlational data for social networks generally (7, 8); and (iii) people’s emotional expressions on Facebook predict friends’ emotional expressions, even days later (7) (although some shared experiences may in fact last several days). To date, however, there is no experimental evidence that emotions or moods are contagious in the absence of direct interaction between experiencer and target.

TEST SUBJECTS : OVER A HALF A MILLION (689,003)

OVER A HALF A MILLION (689,003) people were exposed to emotional expressions in their News Feed. This tested whether exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviors, in particular whether exposure to emotional content led people to post content that was consistent with the exposure—thereby testing whether exposure to verbal affective expressions leads to similar verbal expressions, a form of emotional contagion. People who viewed Facebook in English were qualified for selection into the experiment. Two parallel experiments were conducted for positive and negative emotion: One in which exposure to friends’ positive emotional content in their News Feed was reduced, and one in which exposure to negative emotional content in their News Feed was reduced. In these conditions, when a person loaded their News Feed, posts that contained emotional content of the relevant emotional valence, each emotional post had between a 10% and 90% chance (based on their User ID) of being omitted from their News Feed for that specific viewing. It is important to note that this content was always available by viewing a friend’s content directly by going to that friend’s “wall” or “timeline,” rather than via the News Feed. Further, the omitted content may have appeared on prior or subsequent views of the News Feed. Finally, the experiment did not affect any direct messages sent from one user to another.

FACEBOOK EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

The results show emotional contagion. As Fig. 1 illustrates, for people who had positive content reduced in their News Feed, a larger percentage of words in people’s status updates were negative and a smaller percentage were positive. When negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results suggest that the emotions expressed by friends, via online social networks, influence our own moods, constituting, to our knowledge, the first experimental evidence for massive-scale emotional contagion via social networks (3, 7, 8), and providing support for previously contested claims that emotions spread via contagion through a network.

These results highlight several features of emotional contagion

  • First, because News Feed content is not “directed” toward anyone, contagion could not be just the result of some specific interaction with a happy or sad partner. Although prior research examined whether an emotion can be contracted via a direct interaction (1, 7), we show that simply failing to “overhear” a friend’s emotional expression via Facebook is enough to buffer one from its effects.
  • Second, although nonverbal behavior is well established as one medium for contagion, these data suggest that contagion does not require nonverbal behavior (7, 8): Textual content alone appears to be a sufficient channel. This is not a simple case of mimicry, either; the cross-emotional encouragement effect (e.g., reducing negative posts led to an increase in positive posts) cannot be explained by mimicry alone, although mimicry may well have been part of the emotion-consistent effect.
  • Further, we note the similarity of effect sizes when positivity and negativity were reduced. This absence of negativity bias suggests that our results cannot be attributed solely to the content of the post: If a person is sharing good news or bad news (thus explaining his/her emotional state), friends’ response to the news (independent of the sharer’s emotional state) should be stronger when bad news is shown rather than good (or as commonly noted, “if it bleeds, it leads;” ref. 12) if the results were being driven by reactions to news. In contrast, a response to a friend’s emotion expression (rather than news) should be proportional to exposure. A post hoc test comparing effect sizes (comparing correlation coefficients using Fisher’s method) showed no difference despite our large sample size (z = −0.36, P = 0.72).
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Original Article Source: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full