Category Archives: Child Development

Best Learning Management Systems for Education | ZDNet

In the context of our new normal, we present our guide of 12 very capable learning management systems, each of which provides a different take on managing learning. We’ll show you LMS solutions tailored to K-12 and higher education, LMS solutions aimed at the enterprise and SMBs, and even one that helps you sell your own courses (AbsorbLMS) and another that optimizes the ability to provide custom certifications (TalentLMS).

Source: The best learning management systems for education, enterprise, and small business | ZDNet

Challenges beyond learning technologies for K-12 education are the social development challenges, especially in the younger ages transitioning into the education system.

Also, special needs children who require direct attention, and are pulled out of mainstream class time for one on one assistance are at the highest risk.  We need to figure out how to best provide for these children in a “remote-only” configuration were “close contact” is required to help mitigate issues such as attention deficit.

AI Assistant Summarizing Email Threads and Complex Documents

“Give me the 50k foot level on that topic.”
“Just give us the cliff notes.”
“Please give me the bird’s eye view.”

AI Email Thread Abstraction and Summarization

A daunting, and highly public email has landed in your to respond.  The email thread goes between over a dozen people all across the globe.  All of the people on the TO list, and some on the CC list, have expressed their points about … something.  There are junior technical and very senior business staff on the email.  I’ll need to understand the email thread content from the perspective of each person that replied to the thread.  That may involve sifting through each of the emails on the thread.  Even though the people on the emails are English fluent, their response styles may be different based on culture, or seniority of staff (e.g. abstractly written).  Also, the technical folks might want to keep the conversation of the email granular and succinct.
Let’s throw a bit of [AI] automation at this problem.
Another step in our AI personal assistant evolution, email thread aggregation and summarization utilizing cognitive APIs | tools such as what IBM Watson has implemented with their Language APIs.  Based on the documentation provided by their APIs, the above challenges can be resolved for the reader.   A suggestion to an IBM partner for the Watson Cognitive cloud, build an ’email plugin’ if the email product exposes their solution to customization.
A plugin built on top of an email application, flexible enough to allow customization, may be a candidate for Email Thread aggregation and summarization.  Email clients may include IBM Notes, Gmail, (Apple) Mail, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, and OpenText FirstClass.
Add this capability to the job description of AI assistants, such as Cortana, Echo, Siri, and Google Now.   In fact, this plug-in may not need the connectivity and usage of an AI assistant, just the email plug-in interacting with a suite of cognitive cloud API calls.

AI Document Abstraction and Summarization

A plug in may also be created for word processors such as Microsoft Word.   Once activated within a document, a summary page may be created and prefixed to the existing document. There are several use cases, such as a synopsis of the document.
With minimal effort from human input, marking up the content, we would still be able to derive the  contextual metadata, and leverage it to create new sentences, paragraphs of sentences.
I’ve not seen an AI Outlook integration in the list of MS Outlook Add-ins that would bring this functionality to users.

AI Personal Assistants are “Life Partners”

Artificial Intelligent (AI)  “Assistants”, or “Bots” are taken to the ‘next level’ when the assistant becomes a proactive entity based on the input from human intelligent experts that grows with machine learning.

Even the implication of an ‘Assistant’ v.  ‘Life Partner’ implies a greater degree of dynamic, and proactive interaction.   The cross over to becoming ‘Life Partner’ is when we go ‘above and beyond’ to help our partners succeed, or even survive the day to day.

Once we experience our current [digital, mobile] ‘assistants’ positively influencing our lives in a more intelligent, proactive manner, an emotional bond ‘grows’, and the investment in this technology will also expand.

Practical Applications Range:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous Coach , Mentor – enabling the human partner to overcome temporary weakness. Knowledge,  and “triggers” need to be incorporated into the AI ‘Partner’;  “Location / Proximity” reminder if person enters a shopping area that has a liquor store.  [AI] “Partner” help “talk down”
  • Understanding ‘data points’ from multiple sources, such as alarms,  and calendar events,  to derive ‘knowledge’, and create an actionable trigger.
    • e.g. “Did you remember to take your medicine?” unprompted; “There is a new article in N periodical, that pertains to your medicine.  Would you like to read it?”
    • e.g. 2 unprompted, “Weather calls for N inches of Snow.  Did you remember to service your Snow Blower this season?”
  • FinTech – while in department store XYZ looking to purchase Y over a certain amount, unprompted “Your credit score indicates you are ‘most likely’ eligible to ‘sign up’ for a store credit card, and get N percentage off your first purchase”  Multiple input sources used to achieve a potential sales opportunity.

IBM has a cognitive cloud of AI solutions leveraging IBM’s Watson.  Most/All of the 18 web applications they have hosted (with source) are driven by human interactive triggers, as with the “Natural Language Classifier”, which helps build a question-and-answer repository.

There are four bits that need to occur to accelerate adoption of the ‘AI Life Partner’:

  1. Knowledge Experts, or Subject Matter Experts (SME) need to be able to “pass on” their knowledge to build repositories.   IBM Watson Natural Language Classifier may be used.
  2. The integration of this knowledge into an AI medium, such as a ‘Digital Assistant’ needs to occur with corresponding ‘triggers’ 
  3. Our current AI ‘Assistants’ need to become [more] proactive as they integrate into our ‘digital’ lives, such as going beyond the setting of an alarm clock, hands free calling, or checking the sports score.   Our [AI] “Life Partner” needs to ‘act’ like buddy and fan of ‘our’ sports team.  Without prompting, proactively serve up knowledge [based on correlated, multiple sources], and/or take [acceptable] actions.
    1. E.g. FinTech – “Our schedule is open tonight, and there are great seats available, Section N, Seat A for ABC dollars on Stubhub.  Shall I make the purchase?”
      1. Partner with vendors to drive FinTech business rules.
  4. Take ‘advantage’ of more knowledge sources, such as the applications we use that collect our data.  Use multiple knowledge sources in concert, enabling the AI to correlate data and propose ‘complex’ rules of interaction.

Our AI ‘Life Partners’ may grow in knowledge, and mature the relationship between man and machine.   Incorporating derived rules leveraging machine learning, without input of a human expert, will come with risk and reward.

Kids, Shut Off the Lights! Remember to Use your NFC Bracelets

I am constantly walking around the house shutting off lights.  Kids always forget to shut off lights.  I remember I was like that as a kid.  I remember hearing my parents say, we don’t own stock in the Electric company!  It happens every day, and I feel like saying I will take this out of your allowance. Kids never see the bottom line.  I know it sounds odd, but if they are able turn off and on lights in each room by touching an NFC bracelet to a small box on the side of the door, that sends a wireless signal to another box in a room, which is a power strip, and turns off and on the power based on the NFC bracelet trigger.  Then there is also a wireless signal that goes to a central small box in the house that is a PC, like a Raspberry Pi computer, stores who turned the lights on, and off, and charges the person in the house for the usage.  If someone else shuts off the lights for another person the electric charge will tick off for usage for the first person, and give the second person a percentage off their next electric usage.  You can get a really professional, and efficient system in place.  Is it worth it?  Corporations typically have motion sensors when you walk in a room, or are idle, the lights go on and off for efficiency.  So is all this tech worth it?

CES Highlight: Low Cost Advertising, Marketing, & Education

At the show, I saw quite a few technologies that inspired me, one of the technologies for this article came right from Eureka Park from parWinr, Inc.based out of Honolulu, Hawaii.  Their slogan, “We will disrupt advertising, marketing and education!”  Brilliant,

Essentially, they’ve created an easy video editing tool that can take clips, and you can add the capability to produced finished videos that have questions associated with the videos, in essence, they’ve create the ability for the common amateur video content creator to:

  • Add ‘Bonus Materials’ for their core video content, which can be distributed by a wide array of channels, as well as WordPress, coming soon.
  • Create children’s educational videos, that ask questions about a clip they’ve just seen to enhance memory retention.  For example, an image is flashed on the screen for a few seconds, and then the child is asked multiple choice questions of what they have just seen,  That was an unintended use, of course.  The intended use was remote learning, and automation of learning.  They showed me an educational video that teaches basic math skills.  Could be used in a classroom, or remote learning.
  • In addition, they are planning on using the video to allow the amateur video content provider to create their own bonus materials, such as from a movie scene, answer a trivia question from a 10 second movie clip. Production studios, watch out.
  • Finally, these amateur content creators will publish videos through WordPress, and they’ve created their own channel of content.

ParWinr Console
ParWinr Console. Simple, and easy to use.

Consumer Electronics Show Highlights: Nervous during pregnancy, iBaby is for you.

My wife and I had children while we were young and again,when we were a bit older, tried and tried to have another child, and eventually we had Sam; however, it was quite nerve racking especially when some couples have miscarriages.  The entire pregnancy, some are quite nervous if everything is OK with the baby, especially at night, if you don;t feel the baby move.  Even when we were young, if my wife did not feel the baby, we got nervous, and stayed up at night until we felt a response from the baby.  Leave it to the technologists at iBaby Labs to put your mind at ease any time, day or night.

We had our 3rd baby a little later in life, and were quite nervous that the baby would be healthy because of our age.  We constantly listened and felt for heart beats early in the pregnancy, and were up some nights waiting for the baby to kick or move many a sleepless night.  The iBaby Heart Sense allows you to instantly hear the babies heart beat though your iPad.  Using simple Doppler technology, within seconds you can see and hear the babies heart beats, record them throughout the pregnancy, the software makes sure to record, and compare the babies progress throughout the pregnancy.  They also are able to display information relevant to your trimester, and you can correlate it back to your own experiences.  Kiss those sleepless nights goodbye waiting up to hear the baby and the nervousness that everything is OK until the baby kicks.  Now, if I have a 4th, iBaby HeartSense will come in real handy for myself and the baby.

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iBaby HeartSense
iBaby HeartSense

Consumer Electronics Show Highlight: It’s iPotty Time!

As a father of three, and already had the challenge of putting two children through potty training, and now one on the way to potty training, it can be very challenging to get the toddler comfortable with transitioning from the diaper to the potty.  There were many a time where both me and my daughters were crying for different reasons, they wanted to use the diaper, and it was a struggle getting them in that comfort zone of using a potty.  One of the solutions I look forward to comes from a very creative team from Brooklyn, New York,  They are still working out the branding, marketing, and engineering of the potty, but as you are able to see there is a potty that the child can sit down on and play games on an iPad, or even read the award winning E-Book Once Upon a Potty on the iPad.  That is how we were able to get our daughters to go potty, reading that book every night.  To top it all off the “iPotty” am affectionately calling it, has a seat cover, so it serves a dual purpose.  The young man demonstrating the potty was talking about using the seat after the fact. Although, I believe from a physiological effect, put the seat on first, and have the child play on the chair with the iPad, reading the Once Upon a Potty book, or iPad games so they are very comfortable with the chair, and after a while the child wont even realize they are now all grown up, and you may shed a few tears, because after this, it’s off to college.

Android and iPad mini users, don’t fret, the designers mentioned compatibility for those products as well, and for under 40 USD it’s a steal.

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CES iPotty
CES iPotty