V.R in Education

V.R is hailed to be the educational technology trend of 2016, with the introduction of wearable V.R gear and V.R apps on Smartphones (across any device: Andorid, Apple or Windows) becoming more accessible to a wider audience. Now that it’s widely accessible, how do you use it?

Equipment needed for V.R?

Software:

                 – Viewing Software –For the majority of V.R videos you can upload them to YouTube or a V.R specific app.

                    – Recording Software – Depending on how you’re going to stitch the V.R photo together you would need an online tool like Thinglink or a V.R stitching specific tool.

Hardware:

                 – Viewing Equipment –such as V.R headsets or smartphones which can be used through the B.Y.O.D schemes (which can be cheaper for colleges)

                    – Recording Equipment – Need to have a camera created specifically for V.R and for getting a full 360°  angle multiple

A few examples of V.R  uses in education:

Introductions/Tester sessions – Use a 360° video to show potential students what an average hour/day on a campus would look like, or show a sample/taster class. The 360 view allows for the viewer to experience the environment as if they were there.

Instructional – Using 360° video/photos of an environment, then layering over graphics to create instructional videos/photos of step by step processes.

Assessment – Video of the 360 environment means that those assessing classes can get a realistic view of the class environment. The 360 view leads to a wider scope of analysis.

 

 

There’s a lot of uses for V.R in education which could shape the classroom of the future. With the fact that V.R can be accessed in a variety of ways (Wearable tech or Smartphones)  it means that no one is excluded in the classroom experience and with enough funding educational facilities can include V.R within equipment that can be loaned out to staff and students.

I know I’d look forward to having V.R tech on our booking systems – both recording and viewing equipment!

 ~ Laura

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Ghost of Pinterest Past

This app had it’s brief 15 minutes in the educational limelight a few years back. Though it is a few years old, as a rule, it still has educational benefits which shouldn’t be forgotten just because it’s not the buzz word of the year.

Recap of it’s uses:

  • Researching – Setting up a Pinterest board for a specific research project for yourself. As a student you can set a board up for yourself and keep it secret so you can gather ideas without worry that someone else is seeing the board.
  • Student Group Work – Creating a group board on Pinterest for group assignments means that classrooms can be flipped, so the students do the research in one place. The boards can be set up by staff
  • Collecting and sharing ideas – Search specific ideas, such as lesson ideas or ice breaker tasks. Share these with other people, or pin them on a public board so people can see it.
  • Visually Organising ideas – Organise the pins through boards in a way that makes it easy for you as a tutor. For example: a board called ‘ideas for unit 101 lessons’ and a board for ‘assessment ideas’

 

Now that it’s further along the line than when Pinterest first got used as an educational tool, new tools have come out and would need to be reviewed in comparison. There are always new apps out there, for example for group work Padlet can be used instead for a visual way of working in a group or creating a personal board to create a visual online mood board. However you loose some of the functionality which Pinterest allows you, such as the search facility. Think about how you want to apply the tech to decide on what you want.

So every now and then it’s good to have a visit from the ghost of educational tools past, even if it’s just to review if it’s still applicable.

~ Laura

I.T and TEL – What’s the Difference?

After a few days of dealing with various people asking I.T related questions, and reading articles online which seem to be muddled in what they expect from an e-learning team and an I.T team, it’s safe to say that there is some confusion as to what I.T and TEL are…

I.T stands for Information Technology and refers to the study or use of systems (especially computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving, and sending information.

TEL stands for Technology Enhanced Learning and refers to the use of both physical hardware/software based on educational theory.

Simply put if you want to know what/how to use tech in education to help enhance learning (whether with students or sharing best practice with staff) or ways to create interactive learning materials with educational theory to explain why we use them, then ask a member of the TEL or E-learning team. As a rule we’re based in both learning theories, innovation and the latest technology. If you need to know how to get your computer fixed as something is broken with it or it’s not working, or you need a recommendation or solution for hardware/software ask I.T professionals.

Summed up I.T is not TEL, but TEL involves aspects of I.T.

NB – Please bare in mind this is an overly simplistic view of the differences and it is slightly more complicated than this. Anyone working in these areas trains for years in their subjects and has different/specific skill sets and shouldn’t be considered in anyway less or more tech savvy or knowledgable than any others.

 

Rolling out ‘MyOutTheBox’

I have worked on an unfunded project called ‘MyOutTheBox’ with Dale Munday from our Teacher Training team here at the college.

In this project we wanted a different way to make information available to staff in an interactive manner without having to be logged into a college networked computer or limited through desktop/laptop use. We wanted something that could be accessed by anyone, through any device. After a talk about what was wanted we chose to use the Blippar Augmented Reality online software and app.

So the brief was to share best practice and ideas between staff (and potentially) students. At the college we have CPD days in which teaching staff can share best practice between themselves. This can be done via specific sessions or through a casual workshop known as a ‘Teach Meet’ this is where teachers can share best practice with each other. For this project Dale recorded the Teach Meet sessions and then uploaded them to YouTube. Once this was done I created a poster for the A.R and used the Blippar Hub online tool to layer the A.R on top of this, linking to the videos and adding extra information to the poster via the computerised/augmented layer. When this was tested, approved and ready to go we rolled it out across college.

Some key points found in rolling out ‘MyOutTheBox’ :

External Marketing: Use social media in conjunction with the A.R. We’ve used twitter, leading to networking with others using A.R, seen how others have implemented it and reached an audience within the college we may not have reached before due to tutors being on social media.

Internal Marketing – Cannot stress this enough, it’s all well and good to spend time and effort on creating an amazing learning resource, but with any edtech like A.R you have to tell people about it. Whether this is through internal emails to let everyone know it’s gone live, CPD sessions to show people how to use it, putting information about it on any digital signage you have around the college, simply telling people about it via word of mouth or any/all of these options you need to advertise it to everyone. Sometimes blanket coverage works best to catch a wider audience, more is more in the initial stages.

Remember a CTA – A call to action (CTA) is needed to ensure that passersby, students and staff are aware that the poster/place is linked to Augmented Reality. This is so that it’s clear what to do and how to do it. A simple visual instruction like a instructional info graphic/image works best. Put it on the poster/place to highlight that it’s somewhere A.R is used. We based this off of Blippar’s guidance and created a Myerscough specific CTA. Here is the image we used below:

thumbnail_Step 1 and 2 My out the box

Have advocates – This links to internal marketing, get as many people on board as possible to encourage others to use (and even develop) the use of the new edtech. Luckily we have Dale and a few others who have seen the use of A.R in education and how they can use it or get their students to use it to enhance learning. There is a poster outside of the Teacher Training office which is a ‘MyOutTheBox’ A.R poster were teachers and students going into/past the office can see videos on new edtech used around the college and staff encourage students to create A.R based posters for their H.E dissertations and research projects.

 Setting clear roles  – If someone wants an A.R poster created, don’t tiptoe around the issue, if they don’t have the skills get it done then ask someone who does (obviously as really nicely as possible and accredit them – here it’s the e-learning team) Set out what you’re going to do. An example is Person A will collect/record the info, Person B will put said info together and sort out the A.R. These roles need to be clear from the start, otherwise time could be wasted.

Set clear expectations – Treat it like any project and set clear expectations, dates and goals. What did they want from the A.R? What extra info do you/they need? What kind of Multimedia do they want?  Who’s the audience? When does it need to be done for? With these clear expectations.

Communication – keep everyone involved up-to-date with how things are progressing, what needs to be done and where you are with expectations.

Overall it’s been an effective resource, there a few people using it both staff and students. However as we haven’t concentrated much effort into marketing it internally it’s not taken off as early or as rapidly as we would have liked. However in the new academic year I’m working on another A.R poster to add to the collection, I’m hoping with a push on internal marketing and gaining a few more advocates we can make this a campus wide learning resource.

Here’s to hoping!

~ Laura