Empty Shelves Courtesy Of Poor Learning Management? Big Tech In EdTech News Roundup

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Empty Shelves Courtesy Of Poor Learning Management? Big Tech In EdTech News Roundup
“emptiness” by Daniel Gonzalez Fuster is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Following its acquisition of Whole Foods, tech giant Amazon inherited an ongoing process of implementation of an Order-To-Shelf inventory system. As reported, this has caused episodes of empty shelves and “angry responses.” Anonymously interviewed employees have complained about shortages and inability to do anything about it. Are these problems, at its core, a matter of employee learning?

A child of the Japanese Just-In-Time models, Order-To-Shelf (OTS) inventories are a staple across industries. OTS lowers unnecessary costs in spoilage and storage space. Logistics staffs all over the world apply OTS practices, increasingly so given its fitness for e-commerce. In the Whole Foods situation, OTS might not be to blame. Workers and external analysts agree there have been issues with communication, training to handle the new methods, and “learning that needs to be done.” Likewise, the ‘militaristic‘ way in which OTS is being enforced seems to be causing distress and affecting morale, issues for which coping and support tools can also fall under the jurisdiction of corporate education. Perhaps all OTS technology needs is a thin layer of EdTech.

Microsoft: Low-cost devices, BETT

A new series of low-cost Windows 10 devices, starting at $189 USD is the company’s answer to the Chromebooks, which will also feature touchscreens and exclusive educational software involving partners like NASA, the BBC, and Lego.

Microsoft-sponsored BETT, the largest conference of educational technologies in the UK, held its 2018 edition from January 23rd to 26th in London. It featured, among other things, Bob Geldof talking about “spooky” GDPR. The educational, evidence-light, marketing-heavy concept of BETT does not sit well with everybody.

Google: G Suite for Education, Virtual Reality, Chromebooks

Security and Enterprise features are coming to G Suite for Education. To enhance protection and control, Data Loss Prevention, Security key management, and S/MIME encryption are available for free. A new “G Suite Enterprise for Education” tier will offer advanced device and server management features at an additional cost.

Expeditions App is launching a Pioneer Program that will allow selected participants create their own Virtual Reality content. The program will include the necessary tools and hardware to produce the content. The program is currently open for classrooms to apply.

During BETT, the 2018 Chromebook lineup was announced with Lenovo and Dell laptops that (literally) fold as tablets, as well as the first Acer models. There were reportedly 25 million Chromebook users in education in 2017.

Facebook: Openwashing, Privacy Principles

Is Facebook an open organization? As the social media giant’s Christine Abernathy argued at [email protected] Talks, the large amount of code made public by Facebook and its engineers points to yes. Later on, she suggests the ability to openly interact with non-essential technology is a highly cost-effective recruitment tool. Openwashing nominee?

On Data Privacy Day, Facebook released a series of videos designed to educate its over 2 billion active users about how it uses personal data, how it protects it, and the tools it makes available to exert control over what’s shared and used.

More Amazon

Top educational researcher Candace Thille will take leave from her Stanford position to join the retailer’s Global Learning Development Team. While she is expected to focus on employee transition, details were not at liberty to be discussed. In the past, Thille has performed as founding director of Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, as well as a writer, but she is no stranger to the corporate parade.

Littler giants

Education-focused venture capital firm Noodle Partners will help Wake Forest University expand its online MBA on Analytics. The deal, thought to be the first in a series of partnerships for graduate education delivered online, will let Wake Forest focus on curriculum, as Noodle finds expertise on “digital marketing, student recruitment, instructional design, and student support.”

The formerly coworking space-focused startup WeWork continues to expand into EdTech territory through a partnership with 2U, an Online Program Management company, which lets 2U-managed program students access WeWork’s physical spaces and Learn.co online platform.


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