TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
University research is arguably one of the most important activities undertaken in higher education, accounting for nearly $70 billion in funding in 2014. For many faculty members, research is as important as teaching, and their findings routinely contribute to societal advances in medicine, business, humanities and other disciplines.
Despite this significance, parts of the research sector may have some catching up to do when it comes to leveraging educational technology and integrating more effectively with institutional IT. There’s a strong imperative to do so, starting with the fact that more strategic technology investments and deployments can dramatically increase efficiency. State-of-the-art tech solutions are also critical for ensuring that valuable research assets, such as confidential data and proprietary intellectual property, are protected from malicious intruders.
The good news? Institutions that rethink their approach to research infrastructure have a golden opportunity to help researchers work smarter, faster and more securely.
Xiaomi is producing a plastic toy robot that you can assemble into different forms, and control with an app. Called the Toy Block, the coding toy appears to rely on Lego-like pieces. The kit will come with various other components like wheels, gears and chains, to make your moveable robot come to life.
To get an idea of how annoying it can be to say “O.K., Google” multiple times a day, try replacing the word Google with another brand.
O.K., Pepsi. O.K., Chipotle. O.K., Skittles. You get the picture. It’s difficult to utter “O.K., Google,” the phrase used to control Google’s new Home smart speaker, without sounding like a marketing tool.
That is too bad because Google’s Home is otherwise a preternaturally smarter speaker than its closest rival, Amazon’s Echo.
Google is releasing Home on Friday in the hope of riding the coattails of Echo, the Amazon gadget that is powered by the virtual assistant called Alexa. Echo became available last year to much fanfare. By posing questions and making requests to Alexa, people have since put Echo to work as a shopping assistant, kitchen companion and home automation tool. Amazon has a bona fide hardware hit.
A desk is like a home away from home for many in the working world. Family photos, trinkets from a vacation, an extra pair of shoes or spare chopsticks are just some of the things routinely left lying around in what has become personal space. But that comes at a price for companies, particularly in cities like London or New York, where the cost of real estate is at a premium, and at a time when workers are more mobile than ever.
In its newly opened building in central London, the Swiss banking giant UBS is looking to change the way employees view their relationship with their work spaces. Many of its employees at 5 Broadgate in the City of London will no longer be tied to the same desk every day with a telephone and desktop computer. Instead, the company has deployed so-called thin desks throughout the building.
Phone handsets were replaced by personal headsets, and employees can log onto their virtual desktops on computers at any desk in the building or at home. There are no laptops to lug around, and their phone numbers follow them from desk to desk or to their mobile devices.
When Patricia Gentile was settling in as the new president of North Shore Community College in Massachusetts — about twenty miles north of Boston — she remembers looking out her window and seeing something strange. "All of these cars rolling up, and tons of folks getting in and out," Gentile says, thinking about that January day a couple years ago. "So I asked my assistant, 'What's going on down there?' " Turns out that's where students were picked up and dropped off, but Gentile wondered why there were just so many cars.
The entrepreneurial higher education institution promotes the exploration of issues facing higher education where breakthrough solutions can be explored, tested and launched. Faculty, staff and students should be in the middle of the conversation with clear opportunities to engage and flourish. In a time when the whole higher education landscape is focused on so many issues, it is imperative to look through a new lens and create a culture supporting new ideas and direction to move the academy forward. In addition to the national conversation about value, cost, quality and access there is also a significant discussion around non-academic influences shaping educational opportunities for students like accelerated coding bootcamps, open educational resource repositories and textbook publishers, external online learning providers, competency-based education, and a multitude of providers that are guiding students directly to the workforce in more accelerated models.