Read for Later – “The brain needs to accumulate the information, but then also organize it and make sense of it and create an internal story that makes the knowledge make sense.”

This week’s headline quotes Dr. William B. Jeffries, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, from an interview on NPR's All Things Considered about the school’s move from lectures to more active learning instruction.

Two quick items to note:

In July, the Aspen Institute released a new engagement tool, The Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library, Version 2.0, that helps libraries align with community needs and position themselves as a key resource around local and regional issues.   

Today, the Center is opening the call for session proposals for our 2018 Symposium on the Future of Libraries, part of the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting, February 9 -13 in Denver. We had over 25 sessions at the 2017 Symposium and look forward to another rich discussion of the near- and long-term trends shaping the future of libraries.

You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our futures. We also announced the availability of the Center's trend cards to help you talk with colleagues and members of the community, map how trends fit together or how they fit into your community, or spark innovation activities.

And as you scan through these articles, consider dropping me a line to let me know what you're reading this week to help prepare for the future.

Books and Publishing

TechCrunch “Wattpad takes ‘chat fiction’ beyond text with launch of Tap Originals”
Wattpad is upgrading its Tap chat stories service with Tap Originals that will integrate video, sound, images, voice notes, and even a “choose-your-own-ending” feature – Tap Originals will release new chapters each week to seem more like episodes of a TV show.

Cities and Government

City Lab "The geography of innovation"
A look at how cities and suburbs support innovation – suburbs leading the way in patents while cities produce more “unconventional innovations” that require greater diversity of contributors and have a more disruptive economic impact.

ReCode “Facebook is starting to put more posts from local politicians into people’s News Feed”
Facebook is testing a new civic engagement feature that inserts posts from local politicians into users’ News Feeds under a label titled “This week in your government.” 


The Atlantic "Have smartphones destroyed a generation?"
Those born between 1995 and 2012 have grown up with smartphones and an ever-present and at-hand internet in their lives, radically changing every aspect of teenagers’ lives from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health.


NPR “Vermont medical school says goodbye to lectures”
An interview with faculty from the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine which has begun to phase out lectures in favor of "active learning" and plans to be done with lectures altogether by 2019.

The New York Times “Justice Dept. to take on Affirmative Action in college admissions”
The U.S. Justice Department is preparing to redirect resources from its civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.

BBC “Harvard University's 2017 intake 'majority non-white' for first time”
50.8% of Harvard’s freshmen will come from minority groups, up from 47.3% last year and marking the first time that the majority of its class is non-white. See also Mashable and Mic.

The Internet

The New York Times “Apple removes apps from China store that help internet users evade censorship” and “Apple’s silence in China sets a dangerous precedent
Apple has removed apps from its Chinese app store that helped Chinese users skirt the country’s system of internet filters, responding to a Chinese government requirement that all developers offering VPNs needed to obtain a government license – despite the pulldown, Apple says there are still hundreds of VPN apps available on its Chinese app store, some of which remain unregistered with the government. See also Engadget, Fast Company, Gizmodo, The New York Times, and The Verge

TechCrunch “Mozilla launches experimental voice search, file-sharing and note-taking tools for Firefox”
Internet browser Firefox launched three new Test Pilot experiments that bring voice search, built-in note taking, and a tool for file sharing – users can install the Test Pilot add-on to try the features.

The Verge “Facebook will show fewer links to slow-loading websites”
Facebook announced a change to its News Feed algorithm that will favor quicker-loading sites over slow-loading ones, making it possible that a slower site will see less referral traffic from Facebook. See also Consumerist, Engadget, and TechCrunch

Internet of Things

Engdaget "Senate bill demands tougher security for the Internet of Things"
The proposed Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act would require manufacturers to allow software updates on their devices, make them properly authenticate those updates, and forbid them from using hardcoded passwords on devices that cannot be modified. See also CNET and Gizmodo.

News and Journalism

Business Insider “Snapchat is partnering with college newspapers to make campus editions for its Discover section”
Snapchat has reached out to college newspapers to produce local campus editions for its Discover service, marking the first time it has opened the Discover service to less established media companies and its first attempt to develop hyper-localized versions of Discover. See also The Verge.

The Verge “Google reportedly building Snapchat Discover competitor into search”
Google is developing technology for news publishers to build Snapchat-style stories that would live inside the search engine, blending together photos, videos, and text. See also Advertising Age, CNET, and Engadget.

TechCrunch “Facebook fights fake news with links to other angles”
Facebook’s “Related Articles” feature will appear below news links shared by lots of people or that are suspected to be false news and have been externally fact checked by Facebook’s partners – the articles will link to additional reporting on the same topic to provide different viewpoints and to reports from the fact checkers. See also CNET, Gizmodo, and Slate.

Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces

GQ “Uniqlo's rolling out vending machines, and maybe a new strategy”
Japanese retailer Uniqlo will introduce Uniqlo To Go vending machines in ten cities to sell its Ultra Light down jackets and Heattech shirts – the first location will appear in Oakland’s airport.

The Sharing Economy

Next City “Lyft and Amtrak partner on first mile/last mile problem”
Lyft and Amtrak announced a partnership to have customers access the Lyft app using the Amtrak mobile app, opening the ride sharing service as a means of drop-offs and pick-ups at train stations. See also TechCrunch and The Verge.

Streaming Media

The Hollywood Reporter "Lionsgate launches Spanish-language subscription streaming service"
Lionsgate and Hemisphere Media announced the launch of Pantaya, a premium Spanish-language subscription video service aimed at the Hispanic moviegoing audience in the U.S. See also The Verge.

Bloomberg “Spotify is coming after Apple with a new podcast initiative”
Spotify could diversify its offerings with a new push to cross-promote podcasts, funding a new batch of original podcasts, and a new tab for podcasts in its browse section.

Voice Control

The Verge “Microsoft Word now reads text aloud to help people with dyslexia”
Microsoft’s latest Office 365 updates include a new Read Aloud feature that can easily change speed and voice, while interacting with text or highlights and making edits in real-time – reading the text aloud makes it easier to spot and correct mistakes, and the option will also help those who just want to proof read a document.