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Education must embrace technology

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The technological revolution shows absolutely no signs of abating. Quite the contrary, every aspect of life is being swept along on a trajectory that at times seems futuristic, says CRAIGE FLEISCHER, Samsung’s Director of Integrated Mobility.

One area in which technological advances are making a significant impact is in education. Since the introduction of modern schools, the way in which children are taught has lacked the inclusion of multi-dimensional thought processes. Today, the need to focus on holistic learning is even more urgent as future generations move into a fast-changing workplace.

In Keith Sawyer’s book ‘The New Science of Learning,’ he states that, “By the twentieth century, all major industrialised countries offered formal schooling to all of their children. When these schools took shape in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, scientists didn’t know very much about how people learn. Even by the 1920s, when schools began to become the large bureaucratic institutions that we know today, there still was no sustained study of how people learn. As a result, the schools we have today were designed around common-sense assumptions that had never been tested scientifically.”

Education systems around the world haven’t effectively addressed learner’s ability to absorb information. As the modern world shifts, new information and ways of using that information has changed what learners need to know, including the way in which they interact with and absorb knowledge.

While education systems have evolved to an extent to include conceptual understanding as well as more practical learning, there is still a long way to go in addressing the real-world needs of future generations. This is where technology has stepped in – changing the way students interact with the material they’re required to learn as well as the way in which they absorb and experience this information.

Tech Reach

According to Sawyer, learners need “to learn integrated and usable knowledge, rather than sets of compartmentalised and decontextualised facts. They need to be able to take responsibility for their own continuing, lifelong learning. These abilities are important to the economy, to the continued success of participatory democracy and to living a fulfilling, meaningful life.”

How technology can address this new way of learning has been explored using augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality – technologies that enhance teacher instruction at the same time as creating fun, engaging and immersive lessons. A peek into future classrooms will see learners fully engaged with VR sets and a complete immersion into concepts, problem-solving, facts, scenarios and multi-layered subject matter.

While some countries have been able to fully embrace new technology in schools and universities, the uptake is highly dependent on teacher skill levels and funding. But all educational institutions need to make a start. This includes introducing learners to technology by allowing them to have their own individual devices, thus expanding their learning and understanding of digital domains. This helps learners to internalise the study material and connect better with their peers and teachers.

A new beginning

At Samsung, we apply the latest technology, human and financial resources to create and run regionally-tailored education programs that offer relevant and valuable learning opportunities. One such example is the partnership Samsung has with Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in the Eastern Cape, South Africa where over 2,800 Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.6” devices were purchased by the University between 2016/7 for their first-time entering students in selected extended programme qualifications. This has not only substantially eased student and lecturer work-load, but has also given students unprecedented access to information and the ability to create and submit assignments and other learning tasks on the go.

Students have access to e-learning materials and the internet, allowing them to further explore their areas of learning and conduct their own additional research. Students are also able to access the university online learning management system (called WiSeUp), anywhere on campus. The devices have become a critical part of the performance of students, underlying the importance of integrating technology with education. “The tablet initiative has been a success in enhancing both teaching and learning at the university. Our students’ motivation to learn has increased and they have expressed that the tablets have created the ability to learn anywhere on- and off-campus.” (Tabile Loqo, Institutional Co-ordinator for Extended Curricula Programmes).

Technology is not just the future, it’s now, which is why it’s essential for every student in the world to gain experience with devices and technology, so they can learn the basic skills required for entering the workplace and interacting with the world.

Samsung worked closely with the WSU Centre for Learning and Teaching Development (CLTD) and in-house e-learning specialists to ensure that relevant specifications were met. In addition to the devices, some departments within the Faculty of Natural Sciences have purchased learning software, which is installed on the student tablets to enhance their learning experience. The software provides video and MP3 tutorials, access to virtual laboratories in which students can conduct laboratory experiments and much more.

As part of the project, Samsung also conducted training for the approximately 120 lecturers who would be using tablets in their teaching. Beyond this, the lecturers are receiving ongoing additional in-depth training. This training focuses on integrating technology into their teaching and learning methods, with the tablets serving as the devices that lecturers are trained on. This extra training is being conducted by WSU e-learning specialists and material developers based at CLTD.

Future evolution

In response to this changing world, companies and researchers are rapidly bringing new products and services to market and transforming entire industries. These will require an upskilled workforce and employment of new talent that is competent at working with these new cognitive technologies. Our partnership with WSU equips their graduates to become frontrunners in gaining employment and driving innovation in this new world.

Today’s young generation are looking at a vastly different future to that of their parent’s – a future that hasn’t yet been fully visualised and will require evolutionary thinking and the ability to consistently adapt and address novel changes and challenges. The future of this world is highly dependent on our learners being given the opportunity to embrace technology and fully engage with innovation.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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