This week's headline quotes Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at New York University’s department of teaching and learning, part of a team of researchers whose study explored the educational value of stories delivered entirely via a digital device. Their findings - based on observations of 38 children in a Head Start preschool program - reaffrim the importance of quality content, even as they challenge traditional concerns for childrens' "screen time."
And as you scan through these articles, consider dropping me a line to let me know what you've read this week to help prepare for the future.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
The Atlantic "The parts of America most susceptible to automation"
A new analysis from the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis at the University of Redlands predicts that areas with high concentrations of jobs in food preparation, office or administrative support, and/or sales will be most affected by automation – places like Las Vegas, the Riverside-San Bernardino area, El Paso, Orlando, and Louisville – and almost all large American metropolitan areas could lose over 50% of their current jobs because of automation in the next two decades.
The Verge "Ikea wants to know how you’d feel about a robot running your home"
Ikea’s new survey, “Do you speak human?” explores how customers might relate to their homes in the decades to come as artificial intelligence becomes more a part of our lives. See also Inc., The Memo, and Mic.
Books and Publishing
Business Insider "2 startup founders quietly created the new 'Oprah's Book Club' for millennials — and the publishing industry is obsessed"
TheSkimm, a daily e-newsletter with more than 5 million subscribers, introduced a SkimmReads book recommendation that has quickly become a huge driver of sales and a focus for book publicists – recommended books have moved up an average of 3,000 spots on Amazon's Best Sellers ranking shortly after being highlighted in the newsletter.
Cities and Government
Politico "Chicago mayor Emanuel posts EPA’s deleted climate change page"
A new section of the City of Chicago’s website pulls data from the archived Environmental Protection Agency page, noting, “while this information may not be readily available on the agency’s webpage right now, here in Chicago we know climate change is real and we will continue to take action to fight it.” See also Mic.
NextCity "Designing cities that connect for everyone"
Nonprofits G3ict and World Enabled surveyed 250 experts from around the world for their Smart Cities for All Toolkit, seeking to help tech-driven cities be more inclusive for people with disabilities.
CNET "Trump creates council to help modernize government"
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order creating a new American Technology Council tasked with improving how the US government provides digital services – the council will include the president, vice president, several cabinet secretaries, other government officials, and roughly 20 leading tech company CEOs. See also Engadget and Inc..
The Economist "The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data"
Technology leaders—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft—have come to control a vast amount of data that provides them with enormous power, limiting opportunities for competition by allowing these firms to better refine their products, target more users, and perpetuate a cycle of market dominance.
CityLab "The era of cheap suburban growth is over"
Once sold as havens of safety and serenity, many suburbs are seeing their economies falter and populations shift – one in four suburbanites are poor or nearly poor; the suburbs of America’s largest metropolitan areas have more poor people living in them than their inner cities do; between 2000 and 2013, the number of people living below the poverty line in the suburbs grew by 66%; and the numbers of the suburban poor who lived in neighborhoods where at least 40% of residents were below the poverty line grew by 139% between 2000 and 2012.
Inside Higher Ed "J-Schools dump accreditor"
Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications voluntarily dropped its specialized accreditor, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC), stating that the accreditor resisted change, impeding innovation by restricting curriculum and students’ ability to take courses in other schools at the university. See also Poynter.
The New York Times "A little-noticed target in the House health bill: Special education"
The U.S. House of Representatives’ health care bill could challenge school districts that rely on Medicaid to provide costly services to students with disabilities and Medicaid-eligible children, including education services and equipment, preventive care and health screenings, and salaries for health care professionals who serve students.
Associated Press "Is this the future of college: Online classes, but no degree"
Another look at the trend in education startups offering affordable, online credentials – proponents viewing this as a more relevant path to the job market at a lower price and critics expressing concern that credentials could prove too narrow in a shifting job market that still requires a college degree for more established jobs.
EdTech "In the classroom and beyond, colleges find ample uses for 3D printing"
3D printing labs have become a fixture at colleges and universities as administrators and educators recognize additive manufacturing as an important skill for economic development and workforce readiness.
The Chronicle of Higher Education "Political division soars on campus, survey finds"
The UCLA Higher Education Research Institute's annual Freshman Survey finds that students are more politically polarized than they’ve been in at least half a century, with just 42% describing their politics as “middle of the road,” while 36% considered themselves liberal or far left and 22% conservative or far right. See also The Atlantic.
PSFK "Virtual reality could be the next frontier in college campus tours"
Texas A&M University partnered with location-based software company concept3D Inc. for a new VR-enabled virtual tour of its campus for prospective students.
The Hechinger Report "Digital storybooks might be just as good as an adult reading to a child"
A new study from researchers at New York University, based on observations of 38 children in a Head Start preschool program, finds that young children can learn just as much from a story delivered entirely via a digital device as they can from an adult reading a words-on-paper storybook to the child – the researchers posit that quality of content matters more than the format it’s delivered in.
The Atlantic "Could small-town Harvards revive rural economies?"
Another look at how college campuses and educational institutions can bolster the economies of small towns by accelerating workforce programs, revamping course offerings, and introducing new degree programs.
ArsTechnica "GOP’s ‘Internet Freedom Act’ permanently guts net neutrality authority"
The "Restoring Internet Freedom Act", introduced by nine Republican US senators, would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from using the regulatory authority that allowed the commission to impose net neutrality rules. See also Engadget.
Bloomberg "Facebook hiring 3,000 people to monitor Live video for violence"
Responding to growing concern over violence in its live streaming features, Facebook will hire 3,000 people around the world to monitor videos and posts for violent or criminal acts, joining 4,500 people already on Facebook’s content moderation force – the platform's long-term vision would have computers reliably determine the content and context of video to prevent similar issues. See also Advertising Age, ArsTechnica, The Daily Dot, The Drum, Engadget, Gizmodo, Mashable, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
Engadget "China is recruiting 20,000 people to create its own Wikipedia"
The Chinese government will create its own online encyclopedia, the "Chinese Encyclopedia," with over 20,000 people populating the site’s over 300,000 entries – a competitor to Wikipedia for a country of 720 million internet users living under strict censorship laws that severely limit what they can access. See also CNET.
Journalism and News
Nieman Lab "The New York Times just had a pretty stellar first quarter, thanks to The Wirecutter and 308,000 net new digital subcriptions"
The New York Times had a strong first quarter adding 308,000 new digital subscriptions, more subscriptions than at any other point in its history and bringing its total to 2.2 million digital-only subscriptions, up 62.2% from last year – key areas for growth included younger female readers with millennials as the single largest cohort of growth. See also Mashable, Mic, Poynter, and ReCode.
GeekWire "Here are the new live streaming sports deals Twitter announced today with the NFL, MLB, and more"
Twitter announced more than a dozen new live streaming content deals, including weekly regular season WNBA games, a new NFL program, a weekly 3-hour MLB show, a 360-degree PGA Tour video stream, and a new show called “Stadium” that will air 24/7 sports content, including exclusive live collegiate sporting events, extensive highlights, classic games, and daily live studio programmig.
Inc. "Snapchat wants to make prestige TV for your phone"
Snapchat will partner with NBCUniversal, A+E Networks, the BBC, and several sports properties to develop TV-like programming.
Business Insider "Facebook wants to launch its big attack on TV next month — here's what we know"
According to reports, Facebook is moving to launch two dozen shows for its network, including longer, big-budget shows that would feel similar to traditional television and shorter, less expensive shows that would refresh every 24 hours. See also Engadget.
Bloomberg "With 40 new original shows, YouTube targets TV’s breadbasket"
YouTube plans to produce a half-dozen original series, available for free and supported by advertisers, featuring comedian Kevin Hart, talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, and other celebrities. See also CNET, The Drum, Engadget, and The Verge.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Government Technology "New caucus will bridge VR knowledge gap among lawmakers"
The new Congressional Caucus on Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality Technologies will help educate lawmakers on the technology to encourage — rather than hinder — the field. See also Engadget.
Variety "Facebook is shutting down its award-winning Oculus Story Studio"
Facebook and Oculus will shift their focus away from internal content creation to support more external production, closing Story Studio but announcing a $250 million investment in VR content produced by outside partners at its Oculus Connect developer conference. See also CNET, Consumerist, The Drum, Engadget, Mashable, and The Verge.