May 1st, 2010
(This is the sixth in a series of posts where we re-visit articles I penned for our Imagine a World series. In each of these repostings, I share some background for the original article and we also provide audio responses from guest contributors. In this post, we explore my article on a potential device that would capture all conversations, images, and writings that take place in a classroom, posted originally on February 12th, 2010.)
Rob’s inspiration and original thoughts — I have been fascinated for some time by Gordon Bell’s MyLifeBits project. Fascinated and a bit horrified, I might add. But the reality is that, as we move increasingly into the cloud, more and more of our lives are being captured everyday. From Facebook to Google, our searches, mail, and interactions are all being recorded and processed. This information is already being used to serve up targeted ads and results. Add in a little more personal information, mix it up with some learning objectives, and why not serve up targeted learning, always contextualized and always personal? Obviously, this would require a number of ontological/semantic relationships currently missing, but the basic technology is certainly there.
Guest Responses — Here is what our guests have to say about our original post:
Imagine a world where the most important piece of technology students take with them to college is a service that captures every conversation, image, and written word they encounter or create, and then matches that information to formal learning content and tasks. Now imagine how this capture and organization of informal learning might impact the academy and the notion of courses.
CampusRecorder Turns Your Whole Life into a Classroom
Dateline: February 12, 2019
I’m sitting in a student commons space at the local community college talking to Stephanie Parsons, a first-semester freshman hoping to become a nurse. Stephanie is a single working mom who relies on hard work and efficient time management for success. Thanks to a new technology making its way to campuses, her chances for success are much better than they would have been even a couple of years ago.
The new study aid Stephanie has just purchased is called CampusRecorder, and it is designed to capture every conversation, image, and written word she encounters or creates each week. All of that information is uploaded dynamically to CampusRecorder servers and then organized, based on semantic and visual cues, according to CampusRecorder’s massive repository of subjects and learning objectives. This information, in turn, is cross-referenced with courses and study objectives that Stephanie has entered into her profile. The end result is the creation of personalized study guides for her courses that automatically incorporate all of her activities, both in and out of the classroom.
“What’s so wonderful about this is that I don’t have to do any of the organizing or cataloguing during the week,” she says. “All I have to do is go about my business and be productive. I don’t have to think about how to put my notes into a study plan, or remember what a friend or professor told me in the hallway. CampusRecorder grabs everything and organizes it for me. The more productive I am, the better it works for me.”
Stephanie is not alone in her glowing assessment of CampusRecorder. The Boston-based company has sold an estimated ten million units in the past two years with little advertising.
“Mostly word of mouth,” says CampusRecorder CEO Laura Zemke. “We designed the product for students and they have responded.”
Interestingly, the idea for CampusRecorder has been around for some time. Microsoft researcher and technology pioneer Gordon Bell pioneered the notion of Life Capture more than a decade ago, and CampusRecorder seems to have found the perfect niche and application for that technology.
“It turns out that people didn’t want to save everything they did for their whole lives,” Zemke says. “But, it is the perfect technology for addressing informal learning needs in college. Seventy percent of what students learn and process happens away from the classroom and their professors. CampusRecorder helps them maximize that 70 percent and integrate it into their formal coursework.”
The statistics speak rather loudly for themselves. In two independent studies at different universities, students using CampusRecorder performed significantly better than those who did not use the technology. More importantly for institutional administrators, 100 percent of the CampusRecorder students stayed in their programs.
I can tell from the excitement in Stephanie Parsons’ voice that the program is already making a big difference in her life.
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