Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
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Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence involving knowledge creation and flow. Pooled brainpower emerges from the collaboration and learning actions of a community of connected individuals empowered by social media, participatory tools, and mobile platforms.
Curated by Huey O'Brien
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Meet Helpouts, Google’s Secret Project That Turns Hangouts Into A Commerce Platform

Meet Helpouts, Google’s Secret Project That Turns Hangouts Into A Commerce Platform | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

While its roots lie in search, today, Google wears many hats. From self-driving cars and wearable technology to social networking and mobile operating systems, there are few industries where the search and advertising giant has yet to make its presence felt. Lately, however, Google’s expansion has taken a noticeable tack in a more singular direction: e-commerce.

 

With the outsized success Amazon and eBay have had building online marketplaces that seek to remove the barriers around buying and selling on the web, it was only a matter of time before Google decided to pull its chair up to the e-commerce table. TechCrunch has learned via a tipster that Google has quietly been pursuing its marketplace ambitions under the auspices of a new platform that leverages its increasingly powerful cloud services to power live, real-time commerce.

 

The product, which has reportedly been named “Helpouts” and is currently being tested internally in Mountain View, will take shape as a marketplace that enables individuals and small and large businesses to buy and sell services via live video. With the capacity to connect merchants and consumers on both an immediate and scheduled basis, according to our tipster, the platform will allow sellers to create their own profiles and take advantage of reputation management, scheduling and payment features, while offering robust search and discovery tools for consumers.

 

As its live video infrastructure is increasingly becoming the unifying backend for its expanding roster of real-time products, Google’s new marketplace will leverage Hangouts to deliver services via live video. To that end, the platform will also come integrated with what could end up being a handful of Google products, particularly its young virtual wallet and payment service, Google Wallet.

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Exploring expert guidance through Glass

Exploring expert guidance through Glass | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

In this special edition of CNET Update, I (Bridget Carey - host of CNET Update) put Google Glass to the test as a coaching tool. Since I need to learn archery to become a proper heroine (e.g. Katniss, Merida, Lara), I wanted to try an archery coaching session through a Google+ Hangout.

 

I reached out to CoachUp.com to find a coach that was willing to go on this tech adventure with me. CoachUp connected me with M.J. Rogers, an archery coach in South Dakota who has worked with Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

I traveled to Pro Line Archery Lanes in Queens to do the video chat with Rogers. Once we were connected, I could see Rogers talking from his webcam in my Glass display. But I discovered it was hard to hear him with other people talking in the room.

 

Rogers and I did several Glass Hangout tests before, and it was easy to hear him from my quiet office. At the indoor archery range, Rogers could hear me just fine, but the Glass speaker wasn't loud enough to overpower the few people talking in the room. That's because the Glass speaker rests against your head behind the ear -- not in your ear. Without a way to turn up volume, it would be nice to have the option to attach earbuds.

 

While at Pro Line Archery, the archers around me were kind enough to stop talking so I could hear the Hangout better.The Google Glass team is working on this audio issue, according to Steve Lee, a project director for Google Glass. In the meantime, there is another way to talk in a Hangout. If someone at their computer types a message while in a Hangout chat, the text shows up on the Glass display.

 

Although the Glass camera doesn't show my true point of view, Rogers said the camera did provide a helpful perspective for him to judge how I'm holding the bow. He could tell I needed to work on my pose when I release the arrow.  Pro Line co-owner Neil Kucich was able to see some problems with my stance that Rogers couldn't see from the Glass camera. I would need to have a mirror near me for Rogers to get the whole picture. Nevertheless, Rogers said he could give coaching tips just from what he saw through Glass -- especially for judging perspective in relationship to the bow.

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Udemy Launches Teach2013 To Bring Big Names To Online Courses

Udemy Launches Teach2013 To Bring Big Names To Online Courses | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

Could the future of education be taught by industry experts in an online setting? Udemy is trying to find out thanks to their new Teach2013 tool. It’s basically a call for experts and thought leaders to teach their own online courses.

 

They’re hoping a crowd of people will encourage people like Bill Gates, Michelle Obama, Richard Branson, and Biz Stone to answer the call. Udemy would of course stand to benefit from getting these big names, but it’s an interesting approach and it may not work. Only time will tell.

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Pearl.com provides on-demand professional advice

Pearl.com provides on-demand professional advice | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

To date, Pearl.com, which lets anyone pay from $9 to $80 for a one-on-one conversation with a range of verified professionals, has kept a low profile. But with the new cash, it plans to step up its game with a big media and marketing blitz, including a media tour and broadcast TV campaigns.

 

Quora, which itself raised $61 million in venture funding, similarly connects people with experts (although it doesn’t charge users and takes a crowdsourcing approach). And vertical-specific sites like HealthTap and RocketLawyer also give people on-demand access to doctors and lawyers online.

 

But Andy Kurtzig, Pearl.com’s founder and CEO, told me his company wants to be the Amazon.com of the online professional services space. “The way we look at the market is like retail over the last 15 years,” he said. “Ten years from now, people are going to expect to be able to interact with professionals online and on mobile.”

 

Expecting the market to be twice that for retail and even more conducive to online transactions, Kurtzig said he thinks there’s room for both vertical-specific and general professional services sites. In addition to elevating its profile with consumers, the company plans to strengthen its mobile presence (it currently has an iPhone app) and focuses on personalization. For now, the company said users select from a pool of about 10,000 professionals in 700 specialties, including doctors, lawyers, mechanics, veterinarians and home repair pros. The price depends on the urgency of the question and the level of detail users would like in response.

 

In the future, the company said it plans to build out products organized around lifestyle needs, such as packages for wedding planning, nutrition or the birth of a baby.  To ensure quality across the site, Kurtzig said, the company uses expert peer reviews, works with an advisory board of professors from top schools and requires experts to pass category-specific tests.

 

 

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ConsultingMD helps patients get speedy second opinions from top specialists

ConsultingMD helps patients get speedy second opinions from top specialists | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

ConsultingMD, a startup that connects patients with leading medical specialists, has raised a $10 million round of funding from Venrock Capital. The company, which launched earlier this year and previously raised $1 million from Harrison Metal, enables patients to seek second opinions from a network of top doctors, and to get referrals to  specialists in their own area. With the funding, the startup said it plans to further develop its technology and build out its network of elite doctors.

 

In contrast to startups like ZocDoc or HealthTap, which help patients find any doctor available in their area or online, ConsultingMD bills itself as service that offers access to only the doctors in the top echelon of the medical world. These physicians – who encompass the one percent of their profession – tend to be the chiefs or chairmen of the department, with publications in the top medical journals, the company says.

 

“The core problem is that in the highly elite world of academic specialists… access to these people is difficult [and] patients don’t know how to find them in the first place,” said CEO and co-founder Owen Tripp, who was previously COO and co-founder of Reputation.com. The company’s other co-founder is Dr. Lawrence Hofman, chief of interventional radiology at Stanford Hospital.

 

Through the site, patients in need of second opinion spend a few minutes describing their case, disclosing where they’ve already received care and authorizing ConsultingMD to access their medical history. Then the startup digitizes and indexes the relevant medical records (an often frustrating and dragged-out process for patients) and delivers it to the appropriate specialist on ConsultingMD.

 

While it can take the company an average of seven or eight days to aggregate all the records, once the doctor receives the information, Tripp said, they the doctor  can turn around a second opinion in an average of 48 hours.

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BodeTree, The Financial Tool For People Who Hate Finance, Launches A Free Education Platform For Small Business Owners

BodeTree, The Financial Tool For People Who Hate Finance, Launches A Free Education Platform For Small Business Owners | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

BodeTree launched early last year to help small business owners better understand and make sense of their financial data. The startup has been attempting to make the absurdly tedious world of financial software fun, or at least less crappy, pitching itself as a “financial tool for people who hate finance.” BodeTree syncs with QuickBooks for data importing, but differentiates itself from similar tools by providing SMB owners with a realtime dashboard-style view of their financials (plus reporting and analysis), rather than being just another payments and invoicing app.

 

By providing the mainstream with a simple way to convert raw financial data into actionable insight, Co-founder and CEO Chris Myers believes that BodeTree has the potential to add value by acting as an educational resource for small business. Across the board, small business owners are eager to better understand their company’s strengths and weaknesses and learn how to better identify and utilize their levers of growth, but the options remain limited. So today, the startup is going beyond the metrics and analytics with the launch of BodeTree University — an education platform dedicated to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

 

The new platform aims to bring an extended classroom experience to BodeTree through open education, allowing small business owners to access educational videos on topics that range from accounting and finance to strategy and technology. The platform offers both introductory and master-level content, so users can brush up on 101-level skills or dig into more advanced content in a collaborative online class environment where they can learn directly from experts and engage in discussions.

 

The biggest differentiator between the new platform and other educational sites, is that it focuses on providing direct, personal access to thought leaders and experts from the Fortune 500 world and “will always be free.” Users can attend a live class taught by a respected marketing executive and connect with them immediately afterward, or peruse through the platform’s curated list of biz resources and book reviews, videos and blogs.

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BetterLesson To Bring The Magic Of Great Teaching Online

BetterLesson To Bring The Magic Of Great Teaching Online | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

As the influence of technology grows in education, many have started to predict the coming obsolescence of classroom fixtures like textbooks, chalkboards, standardized testing — and even teachers. While technology will no doubt transform and replace some familiar pieces of education (for the better), the ideal outcome is not one in which teachers are replaced or marginalized, but one that empowers them and allows them to do their jobs more effectively.

 

Technology has yet to unlock the essence of what makes great teachers great. This is a problem BetterLesson wants to help solve by bringing effective teaching online. Founded in 2008, the Boston-based startup is building a platform on which educators can connect and share the best curriculum, allowing them to search for and browse through different types of files, lesson plans, units and courses and network with fellow teachers.

 

In a recent blog post, BetterLesson said that it has spent the last few years trying to “crack the nut of curriculum sharing,” and in so doing has come to some important conclusions. Chief of which are the facts that curriculum is truly a critical component of effective teaching (and it must continue to be). However, teaching is more than just “great curriculum.” As a result, the project will focus on the “how” — instructional strategies and classroom management approaches — just as much as it will on curriculum.

 

What’s more, it’s important for the project’s participants to be actual classroom teachers who are sharing their best practices from the classroom —  And because the startup wants it to be a two-way street, the project will also seek to recognize and compensate its “Master Teachers” for taking the time and energy to share what they’ve learned in terms of what works and what doesn’t and how to create the optimal context for learning.

 

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