Toyota is investing $1 billion in a research company it’s setting up in Silicon Valley to develop artificial intelligence and robotics, underlining the Japanese automaker’s determination to lead in futuristic cars that drive themselves and to apply the technology to other areas of daily life.

Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda said Friday that the company will start operating in January with 200 employees at a facility near Stanford University. A second facility will be established near Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

The investment, which will be spread over five years, comes on top of $50 million Toyota announced earlier for artificial intelligence research at Stanford and MIT.

Toyota said its interest extended beyond autonomous driving, which is starting to be offered by some automakers and being promised by almost all of them.

Toyota has already shown an R2-D2-like robot (called the Toyota Partner Robot Family) designed to help the elderly, the sick and people in wheelchairs by picking up and carrying objects. The automaker has also shown human-shaped entertainment robots that can converse and play musical instruments. As the world’s top auto manufacturer, Toyota already uses sophisticated robotic arms and computers in auto production, including doing paint jobs and screwing in parts.

Read the rest of the article at: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-silicon-valley-20151106-story.html

Flipping the classroom might not be easy, but it puts higher ed students at the center of learning to promote better results.

Results of a survey of 1,089 Faculty Focus readers, between June 15, 2014, and July 20, 2014.

What’s a Flipped Classroom?

flipped-class-higher-edOne of the most interesting themes that emerged from this survey is the amount of confusion about what “flipped” means. Much of the contention about whether a flipped classroom leads to enhanced learning seems to point toward the different ways educators define or conceptualize it.

When asked to define/describe the flipped classroom in their own words, respondents varied in their description.
Some relied on the definitions related to leveraging technology (i.e., videos of lectures), while others described it in terms of active, student-centered, collaborative learning strategies.

The terminology and definitions are causing confusion, but most scholars and survey respondents seem to agree that active learning and student-centered learning approaches are the foundational principles of the flipped philosophy, and the value of this approach is that it can lead to enhanced student engagement, motivation, and learning, if done well.

Highlights from the 16-page report include:

  • More than two-thirds (69.5%) have tried flipping an activity, class, period, or course, and plan to do it again.
    Another 5.49% have tried flipping, but don’t plan to do it again.
  • Roughly one-third (31.8%) of those who have flipped did so within the past year.
  • The majority of faculty who have flipped rated the experience as positive for themselves (70.3%) and their students (64.8%).
  • The Tweet this! Top Reasons for Flipping include a desire to increase Student ENGAGEMENT (79.3%) and improve LEARNING (75.8%).
  • In terms of the actual benefits, nearly three-fourths did see greater student engagement (74.9%), while just over half saw evidence of improved student learning (54.66%).
  • More than 80% said students are more collaborative and 76.61% said they ask more questions, while almost half (48.75%) also noted some student resistance.
  • The most frequently reported barrier for faculty who want to try flipping is limited time. Nearly 70% said it was a very significant challenge (38.1%) or a significant challenge (31.61%).
  • Of those respondents who are not interested in flipped learning, 38.9% said they don’t know enough about it and 27.4% felt it was a fad.

#FlipClass puts #HigherEd students at the center of learning to promote better results.
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Survey respondents sound off on pros and cons of flipping

“The lines have become blurred and people talk about flipped classroom in ways it was never originally designed. The technology-enhanced, non-rigorous flipped classroom should not be confused with research-based active learning pedagogies.”
– Associate professor at a four-year public institution

“It’s very dependent on how well students can be motivated to do the work outside class. When they’re not willing, it’s worse than traditional methods.”
– Instructor at a public, four-year Canadian research-intensive university

“Students in my face-to-face classes thrive on an active learning environment in which they are engaged in a variety of activities.”
– Adjunct professor at a two-year institution

“There is more work involved. It takes more preparation and more emotional energy to be this involved with students.”
– Instructor from a public, four-year institution

  

See More: Blended Learning Videos

 

Facebook announced details on its virtual reality future, with Mark Zuckerberg (CEO) confirming that the Oculus Rift release date will be some time in early 2016. Market analysts offered varied reactions to how Zuckerberg described the expected—gradual—growth of the VR headset.

“This is going to grow slowly, like computers and mobile phones when they first arrived,”  Zuckerberg said during the Facebook’s 3rd quarter earnings call with analysts. He drew a comparison to the fact that, after smartphones entered the market in 2003, sales at first were in the hundreds of thousands.

Some analysts took that to mean that Facebook is in fact predicting Oculus sales in that range for 2016. “We believe FB management may have quelled investor fears of an expense growth surprise in CY16 given commentary that Oculus’s virtual reality platform could take time to develop and might just sell hundreds of thousands of units in its first year,” Goldman Sachs wrote.

Credit Suisse, meanwhile, wrote that Oculus is expected to contribute about $2.1 billion in revenue for 2016. “We continue to assume that Facebook will follow a razor/razorblades model and sell the Oculus hardware at a loss to drive adoption,” the firm wrote.

Zuckerberg also discussed the way that Virtual Reality VR could be applied to areas other than entertainment, such as social behavior and communication. “That’s where Facebook has the DNA to build the best experiences,” he said. Those other areas, Zuckerberg said, are “a lot of what we’re extremely excited about for a number of years down the road.”

It should be remembered that Facebook has already been on Social Experiments to manipulate users emotions (See: Facebook Tinkers With Users’ Emotions in News Feed Experiment, Stirring Outcry)

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

Also: Why Facebook Bought Oculus Rift VR

Original Article- Source: http://chicagoinno.streetwise.co/2015/11/05/oculus-rift-release-date-facebook-virtual-reality-2016-plans/

VR = Virtual Reality
IoT = Internet of Things

From medicine to science and engineering, VR and related technologies could soon change teaching and learning.

Virtual Reality and the IoT Can Fuel a Connected, Gesture-Driven Classroom
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I think Mr. Walter’s November 2nd article in EdTech HigherEd,  is forward thinking in his recent observation about the the increased use of Virtual Reality in Higher Education and it’s connection to the Internet of Things— a natural progression for research universities in all subject domains (and most definitely not going to be found in an under-classman’s large lecture hall).

One aspect of the article I don’t believe can be emphasized enough is Google’s involvement. He writes:

“Google is accelerating the march forward toward a more gesture-fueled Internet of Things. The company unveiled projects this year that incorporate not only virtual reality, but also a technology called augmented reality: a view of the real-world environment that is supplemented by computer-generated sounds, video and graphics.

Google’s major movement into the space, Project Tango, allows tablets, robots and other devices to use spatial and dimensional understanding of their environments. For example, one could use a tablet to scan a room and create a 3D map of the space, which could then be used by an architect or designer for space planning.”

From medicine to science and engineering, VR and related technologies could soon change teaching and learning.
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See a Previous Post on the Internet of Things (iot)

Original Source article: http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2015/11/virtual-reality-iot-connected-gesture-classroom
by Derek Walter

loves-minecraftYesterday I attended a wedding and enjoyed sitting with relatives. What was striking about the event wasn’t so much the beautiful ceremony, but the 4-year old who talked my ear off FOR OVER TWO HOURS about one thing: MINECRAFT!  IT WAS AWESOME!! (see little Levi’s picture at left)

Every little youngster in our family is hooked on the “digital lego” game, so it wasn’t entirely a surprise to me when Microsoft bought Minecraft’s parent company, Sweden-based Mojan, for $2.5 Billion last year.

However, I was blown away when I saw that Microsoft had reprogrammed it from the “ground up” around their new augmented reality system: Hololens.

I’ve been fortunate (pre-purchase by Facebook for $2B;  Read: Why Facebook Bought Oculus Rift) to test beta versions of the impressive Oculus Rift (see our first virtual reality experience here) but, Hololens looks SUPER AMAZING.
[See my other video on Hololens– I’m still trying to get my hands on one…developer kits don’t come out until 2016…stay tuned!]

Watch the video above to see how impressive the immersive world’s of Minecraft are now in virtual reality with Hololens.

And then consider the concluding paragraph from Business Insider on WHY Microsoft bought Minecraft:

There’s one other reason for Microsoft to buy Minecraft that not many people are talking about. It is growing in popularity in the education space. Teachers are using it with their students and there is a dedicated group to focusing on education.

As that grows, it gives Microsoft access to a young demographic

Business Insider: Here’s Why Microsoft is Paying $2.5 Billion For Minecraft

Today is Back to the Future Day!

I had a lot of fun making the above video. It’s an in-depth look at the predictions made for October 21, 2015 as depicted in the 1989 movie “Back to the Future 2“– You will be surprised at how many came true!

These are the predictions that Back to the Future 2 got right in the movie and shows the technological advances on “Back to the Future Day” –
October 21, 2015, the day Marty McFly & Doc Brown travel in their DeLorean time machine–with the flex capacitor, to their future….which is
TODAY: October 21 2015 “Back to the Future Day”!

Have fun and enjoy looking at the evolution of technology advances over the 26 year span.

INCLUDES historical perspectives on the movie’s predictions:
– BioFuel
– Flying cars
– Weather prediction
– Self-tying tennis shoes
– 3D Holograms
– Wireless video games
– Flying Hoverboards
– Handheld devices
– The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series ..I know cRaZy idea! 😉
– Biometric Door locks
– Drones walking dogs
– Multi-display on 1 TV
– Personal Devices
– Video Conferencing

Special thank you to:

Pacific Northwest Delorean Club (President Jeff Linstad)  & Mr. Mark Vanyo who was kind enough to share his collectible DeLorean with me for the video shoot.

Kamiak Junior High’s Julia Ryan (ASB President) who performed the movie scene research.

If you’d like my research notes for the source material used in the video, drop me an email: Kevin(at]KevinCorbett.com