So better late than never, eh? This is going back a couple of months, but it’s great to be able to reflect on past conferences, rather than just disregarding them after attending!
I’ve put in a few reflections of the sessions we went to below, unfortunately we only managed to attend a day this year so it’s a more condensed list than usual:
AR Demonstration: ENT Unit at VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam
It was refreshing to see a real life application of AR in education, done as a proper case study which had been used and supported within the institute.
The challenges they had which AR became a solution:
Crowded classrooms lead to difficulty in viewing the live demos.
Textbooks did not necessarily give a realistic view of the subject: most drawings of the anatomy are 2D which do not give a real representation of an object which is 3D.
Student engagement: audience attention wanes every 10 – 15 minutes, so how do you keep students engaged with different learning preferences? The solution was hands on learning and active learning, which lead to this case study going down the route of using interactive AR.
They used the complete anatomy app to engage learners, as it was an interactive model. The 3D model program allows for xrays to diagnose patients.
Used an AR based model of a cadaver and the ARkit built into the iPads to make it an interactive AR version rather than just a 3D model. This development means that it’s good for those who don’t have access to cadaver labs. Additionally you could also dissect a heart while it was still beating to break down the whole into parts, and investigate the relationships between the different parts.
The main question that ran through my head was: is it achievable for everyone?
Don’t need to have a cadaver lab
Supplement learning furter with active learning
Takes it to the next level possible which wouldn’t be available without the technology – on every digital learning model this is the highest point at which to completely change the way we teach for learning.
Need iPads (heavily focused on the ARKit built into iPads iOS 11+)
Specific Apps needed to make it work as cohesively as shown.
For specific subjects such as ENT unit for anatomy, it would be worth investing. It may be an area for development for areas such as Land-based institutes which have their own specialisms, for example Vet Nursing, Animal Studies and Mechanisation. So not for everyone but definitely useful for practical subjects, which involve a lot of hands on learning, as a supplementary measure.
AI/Adaptive education: McGraw Hill Education
This session was an interesting one, to see AI applied to an educational and mastery learning perspective.
AI lead to the tutors being able to develop adaptive and personalised technology to help the students learn what they needed to master a topic. The process used data and analytics about learning materials for tutors to use to differentiate learning needs, to help prepare students with 21st Century employability skills, which just makes economic sense.
The speaker also emphasised the point that it’s not robots taking teachers jobs but rather making the tutors job easier and more efficient use of their time. Personalised learning is fantastic but it isn’t scalable so something needs to be done to support teachers teaching and students learning. Using AI creates the hybrid environment needed to successfully scale up and implement personalised learning on a larger scale.
The case study involved techno-mathematical literacies (technical skills relating to technology) based on peer learning, enquiry based learning focusing on the process. They used a program called ALEKS to go through the chalk and talk side of it on their own time. When they want to, which makes it more personalised to them in the sense of pacing.
With this new approach the success rates were higher than with previous chalk and talk methods. It also lead to students feeling empowered and faculty being efficient, as it lead to understanding the topic as a whole and not rote learning as it was based on process and learning not jumping through hoops.
From this the point was made that AI when implemented properly and with intent can lead to target and supplementing students learning, pin point weaknesses and strengths. Like you would expect of a learning science: the art of teaching meeting the science of learning.
The Shift 2 Digital:
The key points from this keynote talk was that Digital changes EVERYTHING;
But more information needs to to be done in these fields and fed into the impact of the digital network on these 3 main factors.
In between the different sessions there were a few demos of VR and mixed reality, with the introduction of haptic gloves (felt reminiscent of Ready Player One) they need a bit of work but they’re getting there in regards to interaction with holograms. As well as the usual demos of updates from Microsoft, everytime we go there I learn something new which makes my workflow when I get back to the office so much more efficient! There seemed to be a lot of screens, interactive projector tables and VR headset stalls around the place, in addition to the usual tablet and carrier case ones that frequent BETT every year. It was nice to see the slight shift in the tide of tech being offered.
It was great to see the shift in the technologies and how AR is something that is attainable and scaleable, with a keen eye out on the horizon for new tech such as AI, mixed reality and how these will impact everything. As well as a keener understanding of how the digital is a real thing that cannot be ignored anymore, with the introduction of T-Levels in 2020/2021 this is becoming more apparent that there is a need for the three factors to work together to help build education to address skill gaps for businesses, digital citizenship, 21st Century skills and life-long learning.
So better late than never, eh?