During the Winter Graduations at McEwan Hall in November 2009, the School of Education hosted a parallel event in Second Life for their MSc in E-learning graduates who were in absentia. This was the first time a virtual graduation was attempted at the University and was the result of collaboration between School of Education and Information Services.
Graduating E-learning students, current students, colleagues in the university and visitors from around the world gathered in Second Life to celebrate. The virtual graduation continues to run every year for both the MSc in Digital Education (formerly E-learning) and the MSc in Equine Science, Vet School - both online distance learning programmes at the University.
It's looking more and more likely that the world's top tech companies were so blinded to their gender bias that they spent billions of dollars on a technology that half the population probably can't even comfortably use. Back in 2014 just before the VR hype wave hit a new peak, renowned sociologist danah boyd expressed deep concerns based on her own early research that virtual reality literally made most women sick. "I want folks to take what I did and push it further," danah told me at the time. "If researchers start to investigate this issue, I'll be ecstatic."
Despite all the headlines and conference coverage of virtual reality (VR) for education over the last year, the technology is still gaining speed — residing at that sweet spot in the hype cycle where, when you place headsets on people and gently guide them to turn around to gain a full view, they tend to gasp and say, "Oh, wow."
CT talks with Penn State University Director of Education Technology Kyle Bowen about the directions immersive media has been taking in higher education and the practices that are making 3D, VR, AR, and 360 video technologies accessible for faculty and students.
International scholars, policy experts and entrepreneurs last month convened at the 2017 Workshop on Virtual Reality and Immersive Learning to design a roadmap for using virtual reality to improve immersive learning. During the event, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education signed an agreement with Beijing Normal University’s Smart Learning Institute and NetDragon to collaborate on VR research.
Technology surrounds us, and so do questions about the readiness of our students to step into future job markets that have ever-increasing demands for technical competencies — and application proficiencies — in emerging technologies like augmented reality. One faculty member at Bentley University in Waltham, MA, considered ways that his students might best learn to create and use augmented reality. He designed a bold experiment with a partner school, Politehnica University of Timisoara, in Romania — the students would create AR artifacts to examine and learn from each other. In this learning collaboration, students from these two schools, on separate continents, learn about augmented reality and how it is used in industry.
Here, Mark Frydenberg, a senior lecturer of computer and information systems and director of the CIS Sandbox at Bentley University in Waltham, MA, details the project and the thinking behind it.
When I read Camillia Matuk’s The Learning Affordances of Augmented Reality For Museum Exhibits on Human Health, I knew I wanted to speak with her about AR and learning. Camillia is assistant professor of educational communication and technology at New York University (with a Ph.D. in the learning sciences from Northwestern University, an MSc in biomedical communications from the University of Toronto, and a BSc in biological sciences from the University of Windsor.) She does design-based research investigations to better understand how innovative technologies and learning environments can better support teaching and learning.
To hone in on the audience’s perspective, our team applied a human-centered design (HCD) lens. We call this lens “audience experience” (AX). Over ten weeks, we conducted 3 sets of experiments with over 40 participants and interviewed experts from multiple perspectives, from design-thinking, theatre, gaming, architecture, journalism, science, and film.
Here are some of the most illuminating points from our research — the points that we think will be helpful to other mobile VR storytellers, as we navigate this new landscape together.
Coaches have traditionally used video sessions to prepare for future matches or to show their players the mistakes they have made, but virtual reality can show much more: it enables you to analyze and optimize an athlete’s performance to levels that were unthinkable until recently. It allows you to visualize a game before playing it – not in front of the television, but on the field of play. Taking advantage of the data of the movements of the players and the previously analyzed plays of the opposing team, players are able to see, thanks to the 3D simulator, all the tactical possibilities and face a virtual rival days before the game.
Athletes are very keen to have a virtual reality device that would be very helpful for perfecting their technique in their sport. Anna Prat, a student of the Master in Sport Management in Barcelona and a trampoline jumper, says: “I think it is a very new tool that is, for now, only available to a few. Virtual reality would be very useful for working on real sensations in specific moments, like the pressure in competitions, fear of height, orientation in the air in a jump that you have never tried, etc. We currently use visualization technique a lot, but you have to imagine it. With virtual reality, you could see it with your own eyes!”
Virtual reality, like rock n’ roll, is not something that can be described well. It must be experienced in order to be fully appreciated and understood. Interestingly, it has been catching on among educators. Since 2013, Emory Craig, Director of eLearning at the College of New Rochelle, and Maya Georgieva, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Digital Bodies, have been presenting workshops on the topic. They’re working with developers, researchers and educators who are embracing the immersive learning technology, which seems to be on the cusp of widespread use...as well as being on the receiving end of a lot of hype. Around the time Craig and Georgieva began exploring this emergent medium, the arrival of Google Glass seemed to have ushered in greater popularity. Georgieva was one of the educators to experiment with Google Glass. People suddenly had a wearable ideal of what could be tapped to create an augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). The much-heralded yet now all-but-defunct product left its mark, as several key technological developments have sprung up to satisfy a new market.
I'm Kevin Ngo, a virtual reality web developer on the Mozilla VR team and a core developer of A-Frame. Today, we'll go over how to build a room scale WebVR Minecraft demo that works on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung GearVR, Google Cardboard, desktop, and mobile. The demo will be built with A-Frame in just 11 HTML elements!
An English class at Boston College is bringing together students from different disciplines and areas of study to build a virtual reality (VR) game experience. Dubbed “Joycestick,” the game brings author James Joyce’s classic Ulysses to life.
“Technology has moved on and people tell the stories about themselves in very different ways,” said Joseph Nugent, an assistant professor of English literature at Boston College leading the class. “Immersive technology seems to me to be a transformative change in the way that we’re going to understand and realize and represent and be in the world. And to think that we can do this along with a novel like Ulysses, to merge these things, is very exciting.”
In November 2015, middle-school students from Westchester County, New York, found themselves on a windswept field in South Sudan mingling with a crowd of refugees fleeing civil war. Suddenly, they heard the deafening roar of low-flying military cargo planes overhead, followed by large bags of grain thudding to the ground all around them.
“The kids were jumping back from those bags dropping at their feet,” recalled Cayne Letizia, the teacher who used immersive virtual reality (VR) to transport his class into this emergency food drop featured in the New York Times 360-degree video series about refugees. Count Letizia among VR’s burgeoning fan base in education, where the spread of high-quality content and more-affordable hardware (especially Google’s $15 Cardboard Viewer) gives students myriad ways to briefly inhabit what they’re learning—from wandering the streets of ancient Rome to touring the International Space Station.
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