Alexa, what’s the deal with you, anyway?

Housed in a SLU-branded Amazon Echo Dot, Alexa is the anthropomorphic personal assistant every 21st-century student needs, or so says David Hakanson, chief innovation officer at SLU. SLU purchased 2,300 Echo Dots from Amazon to put in students’ dorm rooms. The devices are preloaded with an Alexa voice app or skill, called “SLU”, which enables students to…

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Putting immersive technology to work: Examples from the digital humanities

Much has been made of the potential for immersive technology to revolutionize teaching and learning. Often placed under the banner of XR (extended or cross reality), these tools are expected to fundamentally change how we interact with the physical world and our growing assortment of digital worlds, how we communicate with each other, and, of…

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The end of a blogging era at Harvard

Academics at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society began what they described as an “unusual experiment” 15 years ago. They created an online platform where people from within the university, and some from outside, could write whatever they wanted and share it with the world. Weblogs@Harvard, as it was then known, was considered…

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Hey, Alexa, should we bring virtual assistants to campus?

Research universities are squeezing an extra roommate into residence halls: Amazon’s Alexa. The Georgia Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and Arizona State University last year provided students with Echo Dots, puck-shaped, voice-activated devices programmed to answer campus-specific questions about meal plans and business hours for campus buildings. Some of these Echo Dots, programmed by n-Powered,…

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Mixed reality: A revolutionary breakthrough in teaching and learning

Teaching and learning with technology, prior to this point, was mostly limited to supplementary collaboration tools for communication: learning management systems and electronic texts. The technology was simply an electronic aid to traditional didactic teaching, adding a little modern muscle to the same ways we have taught and learned for decades. We are now entering…

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