These 50 awesome book covers will inspire you – and teach you how to design your own — from canva.com

Excerpt:

The takeaway: White space doesn’t mean that the whole cover must be completely minimal. It can used as a device to focus the reader.

 

 

The Takeaway: I love lots of colors, but not every book needs a rainbow. In fact, only a few books should tackle more than two or three colors. If your book works with less colors, definitely go with less.

 

 

A Space for Learning: A review of research on active learning spaces — from by Robert Talbert and Anat Mor-Avi

Abstract:
Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) are learning spaces specially designed to optimize the practice of active learning and amplify its positive effects in learners from young children through university-level learners. As interest in and adoption of ALCs has increased rapidly over the last decade, the need for grounded research in their effects on learners and schools has grown proportionately. In this paper, we review the peer-reviewed published research on ALCs, dating back to the introduction of “studio” classrooms and the SCALE-UP program up to the present day. We investigate the literature and summarize findings on the effects of ALCs on learning outcomes, student engagement, and the behaviors and practices of instructors as well as the specific elements of ALC design that seem to contribute the most to these effects. We also look at the emerging cultural impact of ALCs on institutions of learning, and we examine the drawbacks of the published research as well as avenues for potential future research in this area.

 

1: Introduction
1.1: What is active learning, and what is an active learning classroom?
Active learning is defined broadly to include any pedagogical method that involves students actively working on learning tasks and reflecting on their work, apart from watching, listening, and taking notes (Bonwell & Eison, 1991). Active learning has taken hold as a normative instructional practice in K12 and higher education institutions worldwide. Recent studies, such as the 2014 meta-analysis linking active learning pedagogies with dramatically reduced failure rates in university-level STEM courses (Freeman et al., 2014) have established that active learning drives increased student learning and engagement across disciplines, grade levels, and demographics.

As schools, colleges, and universities increasingly seek to implement active learning, concerns about the learning spaces used for active learning have naturally arisen. Attempts to implement active learning pedagogies in spaces that are not attuned to the particular needs of active learning — for example, large lecture halls with fixed seating — have resulted in suboptimal results and often frustration among instructors and students alike. In an effort to link architectural design to best practices in active learning pedagogy, numerous instructors, school leaders, and architects have explored how learning spaces can be differently designed to support active learning and amplify its positive effects on student learning. The result is a category of learning spaces known as Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs).

While there is no universally accepted definition of an ALC, the spaces often described by this term have several common characteristics:

  • ALCs are classrooms, that is, formal spaces in which learners convene for educational activities. We do not include less-formal learning spaces such as faculty offices, library study spaces, or “in-between” spaces located in hallways or foyers.
  • ALCs include deliberate architectural and design attributes that are specifically intended to promote active learning. These typically include moveable furniture that can be reconfigured into a variety of different setups with ease, seating that places students in small groups, plentiful horizontal and/or vertical writing surfaces such as whiteboards, and easy access to learning
    technologies (including technological infrastructure such as power outlets).
  • In particular, most ALCs have a “polycentric” or “acentric” design in which there is no clearly-defined front of the room by default. Rather, the instructor has a station which is either
    movable or located in an inconspicuous location so as not to attract attention; or perhaps there is no specific location for the instructor.
  • Finally, ALCs typically provide easy access to digital and analog tools for learning , such as multiple digital projectors, tablet or laptop computers, wall-mounted and personal whiteboards, or classroom response systems.

2.1: Research questions
The main question that this study intends to investigate is: What are the effects of the use of ALCs on student learning, faculty teaching, and institutional cultures? Within this broad overall question, we will focus on four research questions:

  1. What effects do ALCs have on measurable metrics of student academic achievement? Included in such metrics are measures such as exam scores, course grades, and learning gains on pre/post-test measures, along with data on the acquisition of “21st Century Skills”, which we will define using a framework (OCDE, 2009) which groups “21st Century Skills” into skills pertaining to information, communication, and ethical/social impact.
  2. What effects do ALCs have on student engagement? Specifically, we examine results pertaining to affective, behavioral, and cognitive elements of the idea of “engagement” as well as results that cut across these categories.
  3. What effect do ALCs have on the pedagogical practices and behaviors of instructors? In addition to their effects on students, we are also interested the effects of ALCs on the instructors who use them. Specifically, we are interested in how ALCs affect instructor attitudes toward and implementations of active learning, how ALCs influence faculty adoption of active learning pedagogies, and how the use of ALCs affects instructors’ general and environmental behavior.
  4. What specific design elements of ALCs contribute significantly to the above effects? Finally, we seek to identify the critical elements of ALCs that contribute the most to their effects on student learning and instructor performance, including affordances and elements of design, architecture, and technology integration.

 

Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs)

 

 

The common denominator in the larger cultural effects of ALCs and active learning on students and instructors is the notion of connectedness, a concept we have already introduced in discussions of specific ALC design elements. By being freer to move and have physical and visual contact with each other in a class meeting, students feel more connected to each other and more connected to their instructor. By having an architectural design that facilitates not only movement but choice and agency — for example, through the use of polycentric layouts and reconfigurable furniture — the line between instructor and students is erased, turning the ALC into a vessel in which an authentic community of learners can take form.

 

 

 

 

New Virtual 3D Microscope Lab Program Offered for Online Students by Oregon State University — from virtuallyinspired.org
OSU solves degree completion issue for online biology students

Excerpt:

“We had to create an alternative that gives students the foundational experience of being in a lab where they can maneuver a microscope’s settings and adjust the images just as they would in a face-to-face environment,” said Shannon Riggs, the Ecampus director of course development and training.

Multimedia developers mounted a camera on top of an actual microscope and took pictures of what was on the slides. Using 3D modeling software, the photos were interweaved to create 3D animation. Using game development software enabled students to adjust lighting, zoom and manipulate the images, just like in a traditional laboratory. The images were programmed to create a virtual simulation.

The final product is “an interactive web application that utilizes a custom 3D microscope and incorporates animation and real-life slide photos,” according to Victor Yee, an Ecampus assistant director of course development and training.

 

Also see:

  • YouTube to Invest $20 Million in Educational Content — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
    Excerpt:
    YouTube, a Google company, has announced plans to invest $20 million in YouTube Learning, an initiative hinted at during the summer. The goal: “to support education-focused creators and expert organizations that create and curate high-quality learning content on the video site.” Funding will be spent on supporting video creators who want to produce education series and wooing other education video providers to the site.

 

 

Reflections on “Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future?” [Johnston]

Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future? — from campustechnology.com by Julie Johnston
Indiana University explores that question by bringing together tech partners and university leaders to share ideas on how to design classrooms that make better use of faculty and student time.

Excerpt:

To achieve these goals, we are investigating smart solutions that will:

  • Untether instructors from the room’s podium, allowing them control from anywhere in the room;
  • Streamline the start of class, including biometric login to the room’s technology, behind-the-scenes routing of course content to room displays, control of lights and automatic attendance taking;
  • Offer whiteboards that can be captured, routed to different displays in the room and saved for future viewing and editing;
  • Provide small-group collaboration displays and the ability to easily route content to and from these displays; and
  • Deliver these features through a simple, user-friendly and reliable room/technology interface.

Activities included collaborative brainstorming focusing on these questions:

  • What else can we do to create the classroom of the future?
  • What current technology exists to solve these problems?
  • What could be developed that doesn’t yet exist?
  • What’s next?

 

 

 

From DSC:
Though many peoples’ — including faculty members’ — eyes gloss over when we start talking about learning spaces and smart classrooms, it’s still an important topic. Personally, I’d rather be learning in an engaging, exciting learning environment that’s outfitted with a variety of tools (physically as well as digitally and virtually-based) that make sense for that community of learners. Also, faculty members have very limited time to get across campus and into the classroom and get things setup…the more things that can be automated in those setup situations the better!

I’ve long posted items re: machine-to-machine communications, voice recognition/voice-enabled interfaces, artificial intelligence, bots, algorithms, a variety of vendors and their products including Amazon’s Alexa / Apple’s Siri / Microsoft’s Cortana / and Google’s Home or Google Assistant, learning spaces, and smart classrooms, as I do think those things are components of our future learning ecosystems.

 

 

 

New game lets players train AI to spot legal issues — from abajournal.com by Jason Tashea

Excerpt:

Got a free minute? There’s a new game that will help train an artificial intelligence model to spot legal issues and help close the access-to-justice gap.

Called Learned Hands—yes, it’s a pun—the game takes 75,000 legal questions posted on Reddit dealing with family, consumer, criminal and other legal issues and asks the user to determine what the issue is.

While conjuring up nightmares of the first-year in law school for many lawyers, David Colarusso says it’s for a good cause.

“It’s an opportunity for attorneys to take their downtime to train machine learning algorithms to help access-to-justice issues,” says Colarusso, director of Suffolk University Law School’s Legal Innovation and Technology (LIT) Lab and partner on this project with the Stanford Legal Design Lab.

 

From learnedhands.law.stanford.edu/legalIssues

When you play the game, you’ll be spotting if different legal issues are present in people’s stories. Some of these issues will be high level categories, and others will be more specific issues.

Here are the high level categories:

 

 

Three shifts as big as print to digital — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

We just lived through the biggest shift in learning since the printing press—a 25-year shift from print to digital. While it extended access and options to billions, it didn’t prove as transformational as many of us expected. It did, however, set the stage for three shifts that will change what and how people learn.

  1. Basic to broader aims.
  2. Passive to active learning.
  3. Time to demonstrated learning.

 

 

 

NEW: The Top Tools for Learning 2018 [Jane Hart]

The Top Tools for Learning 2018 from the 12th Annual Digital Learning Tools Survey -- by Jane Hart

 

The above was from Jane’s posting 10 Trends for Digital Learning in 2018 — from modernworkplacelearning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

[On 9/24/18],  I released the Top Tools for Learning 2018 , which I compiled from the results of the 12th Annual Digital Learning Tools Survey.

I have also categorised the tools into 30 different areas, and produced 3 sub-lists that provide some context to how the tools are being used:

  • Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning 2018 (PPL100): the digital tools used by individuals for their own self-improvement, learning and development – both inside and outside the workplace.
  • Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning (WPL100): the digital tools used to design, deliver, enable and/or support learning in the workplace.
  • Top 100 Tools for Education (EDU100): the digital tools used by educators and students in schools, colleges, universities, adult education etc.

 

3 – Web courses are increasing in popularity.
Although Coursera is still the most popular web course platform, there are, in fact, now 12 web course platforms on the list. New additions this year include Udacity and Highbrow (the latter provides daily micro-lessons). It is clear that people like these platforms because they can chose what they want to study as well as how they want to study, ie. they can dip in and out if they want to and no-one is going to tell them off – which is unlike most corporate online courses which have a prescribed path through them and their use is heavily monitored.

 

 

5 – Learning at work is becoming personal and continuous.
The most significant feature of the list this year is the huge leap up the list that Degreed has made – up 86 places to 47th place – the biggest increase by any tool this year. Degreed is a lifelong learning platform and provides the opportunity for individuals to own their expertise and development through a continuous learning approach. And, interestingly, Degreed appears both on the PPL100 (at  30) and WPL100 (at 52). This suggests that some organisations are beginning to see the importance of personal, continuous learning at work. Indeed, another platform that underpins this, has also moved up the list significantly this year, too. Anders Pink is a smart curation platform available for both individuals and teams which delivers daily curated resources on specified topics. Non-traditional learning platforms are therefore coming to the forefront, as the next point further shows.

 

 

From DSC:
Perhaps some foreshadowing of the presence of a powerful, online-based, next generation learning platform…?

 

 

 

Seek launches world’s first mobile Augmented Reality (AR) creation studio — from globenewswire.com
All Mobile Phone Users Can Now Create, Publish and Discover AR Experiences

Excerpt:

Lehi, UT, May 29, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, fast-growing augmented reality startup, Seek, is launching Seek Studio, the world’s first mobile augmented reality studio, allowing anybody with a phone and no coding expertise required, to create their own AR experiences and publish them for the world to see. With mobile AR now made more readily available, average consumers are beginning to discover the magic that AR can bring to the palm of their hand, and Seek Studio turns everyone into a creator.

To make the process incredibly easy, Seek provides templates for users to create their first AR experiences. As an example, a user can select a photo on their phone, outline the portion of the image they want turned into a 3D object and then publish it to Seek. They will then be able to share it with their friends through popular social networks or text. A brand could additionally upload a 3D model of their product and publish it to Seek, providing an experience for their customers to easily view that content in their own home. Seek Studio will launch with 6 templates and will release new ones every few days over the coming months to constantly improve the complexity and types of experiences possible to create within the platform.

 

Apple unveils new AR file format and ARKit 2.0 — from enturebeat.com by Stephanie Chan

Excerpt:

Apple unveiled its new augmented reality file format, as well as ARKit 2.0, at its annual WWDC developer conference today. Both will be available to users later this year with iOS 12.

The tech company partnered with Pixar to develop the AR file format Universal Scene Description (USDZ) to streamline the process of sharing and accessing augmented reality files. USDZ will be compatible with tools like Adobe, Autodesk, Sketchfab, PTC, and Quixel. Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis spoke briefly on stage about how the file format will have native Adobe Creative Cloud support, and described it as the first time “you’ll be able to have what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editing” for AR objects.

 

HTC’s New Vive Focus Headset Locker Aims to Put VR at the Forefront of Education in China — from oadtovr.com by Scott Hayden

With a starting focus on University-level education and vocational schools in sectors such as mechanical engineering, VivEdu branched out to K-12 education in 2018, boasting a comprehensive VR approach to learning science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and art for kids.

 

Apple takes augmented-reality gaming to the ‘next level’ with Lego and slingshot apps — from businessinsider.com by Isobel Asher Hamilton

Excerpt:

  • Apple hopes to take augmented-reality gaming to the “next level” with multiplayer apps.
  • The company used its developer’s conference to showcase Lego and slingshot games, built using its new and improved AR building software ARKit 2.
  • The Lego game allows you to create virtual worlds around your real-life Lego builds.

 

Apple Swift Shot hands-on — augmented reality goes multiplayer with ARKit 2.0 — from venturebeat.com by Dean Takahasjo

 

 

Apple’s new AR features are proof that wearables are coming — from wired.com by Peter Rubin

Excerpt:

That roadmap, of course, is just beginning. Which is where the developers—and those arm’s-length iPads—come in. “They’re pushing AR onto phones to make sure they’re a winner when the headsets come around,” Miesnieks says of Apple. “You can’t wait for headsets and then quickly do 10 years’ worth of R&D on the software.”

 

Adobe’s Project Aero will let designers easily create AR content using existing Creative Cloud tools — from 9to5mac.comby Michael Steeber

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

To fully realize the potential will require a broad ecosystem. Adobe is partnering with technology leaders to standardize interaction models and file formats in the rapidly growing AR ecosystem. We’re also working with leading platform vendors, open standards efforts like usdz and glTF as well as media companies and the creative community to deliver a comprehensive AR offering. usdz is now supported by Apple, Adobe, Pixar and many others while glTF is supported by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe and other industry leaders.

 

Create Floor Plans With IStaging VR Maker — from vrfocus.com by Rebecca Hills-Duty
Virtual tour app utilises ARKit technology to easily create floor plans.

Excerpt:

There are a number of professionals who would find the ability to quickly and easily create floor plans to be extremely useful. Estate agents, interior designers and event organisers would all no doubt find such a capability to be extremely valuable. For those users, the new feature added to iStaging’s VR Maker app might be of considerable interest.

The new VR Maker feature utilises Apple’s ARKit toolset to recognise spaces, such as walls and floors and can provide accurate measurements. By scanning each wall of a space, a floor plan can be produced quickly and easily.

 

 

Where is VR headed? Investors share insights on the industry’s trajectory — fromventurebeat.com by Michael Park

Excerpt:

I’ve interviewed nine investors who have provided their insights on where the VR industry has come, as well as the risks and opportunities that exist in 2018 and beyond. We’ve asked them what opportunities are available in the space — and what tips they have for startups.

 

Can this explosion-proof AR headset change how industries do business? — from digitaltrends.com by Christian de Looper

Excerpt:

Augmented reality (AR) hasn’t truly permeated the mainstream consciousness yet, but the technology is swiftly being adopted by global industries. It’ll soon be unsurprising to find a pair of AR glasses strapped to a helmet sitting on the heads of service workers, and RealWear, a company at the forefront on developing these headsets, thinks it’s on the edge of something big.

VOICE ACTIVATION
What’s most impressive about the RealWear HMT-1Z1 is how you control it. There’s no touch-sensitive gestures you need to learn — it’s all managed with voice, and better yet, there’s no need for a hotword like “Hey Google.” The headset listens for certain commands. For example, from the home screen just say “show my files” to see files downloaded to the device, and you can go back to the home screen by saying “navigate home.” When you’re looking at documents — like schematics — you can say “zoom in” or “zoom out” to change focus. It worked almost flawlessly, even in a noisy environment like the AWE show floor.

 

How Augmented and Virtual Reality (AVR) Can Benefit the Aviation Industry — from eonreality.com

Excerpt:

David Scowsill‘s experience in the aviation industry spans over 30 years. He has worked for British Airways, American Airlines, Easy Jet, Manchester Airport, and most recently the World Travel and Tourism Council, giving him a unique perspective on how Augmented and Virtual Reality (AVR) can impact the aviation industry.

These technologies have the power to transform the entire aviation industry, providing benefits to companies and consumers. From check-in, baggage drop, ramp operations and maintenance, to pilots and flight attendants, AVR can accelerate training, improve safety, and increase efficiency.

 

This VR project shows us how animals see the world — from thenextweb.com by Ailsa Sherrington

Excerpt:

London-based design studio Marshmallow Laser Feast is using VR to let us reconnect with nature. With headsets, you can see a forest through the eyes of different animals and experience the sensations they feel. Creative Director Ersinhan Ersin took the stage at TNW Conference last week to show us how and why they created the project, titled In the Eyes of the Animal.

 

The Future of AR/VR Headset Design is Hybrid — from medium.com by Christine Hart

Excerpt:

Have you already taken a side when it comes to XR wearables? Whether you prefer AR glasses or VR headsets likely depends on the application you need. But wouldn’t it be great to have a device that could perform as both? As XR tech advances, we think crossovers will start popping up around the world.

A Beijing startup called AntVR recently rocketed past its Kickstarter goal for an AR/VR visor. Their product, the Mix, uses tinted lenses to toggle between real world overlay and full immersion. It’s an exciting prospect. But rather than digging into the tech (or the controversy surrounding their name, their marketing, and a certain Marvel character) we’re looking at what this means for how XR devices are developed and sold.

 

Google Expeditions app now offers augmented reality tours — from techcrunch.com by Lucas Matney

Excerpt:

Google is bringing AR tech to its Expeditions app with a new update going live today. Last year, the company introduced its GoogleExpeditions AR Pioneer Program, which brought the app into classrooms across the country; with this launch the functionality is available to all.

Expeditions will have more than 100 AR tours in addition to the 800 VR tours already available. Examples include experiences that let users explore Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions and ones that let you interact with the human skeletal system.

 

VR Wave Breaking Outside The Home — from forbes.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpt:

At four recent VR conferences and events there was a palpable sense that despite new home VR devices getting the majority of marketing and media attention this year, the immediate promise and momentum is in the location-based VR (LBVR) attractions industry. The VR Arcade Conference (April 29th and 30th), VRLA (May 4th and 5th), the Digital Entertainment Group’s May meeting (May 1), and FoIL (Future of Immersive Leisure, May 16th and 17th) all highlighted a topic that suddenly no one can stop talking about: location-based VR (LBVR). With hungry landlords giving great deals for empty retail locations, VRcades, which are inexpensive to open (like Internet Cafes), are popping up all over the country. As a result, VRcade royalties for developers are on the rise, so they are shifting their attention accordingly to shorter experiences optimized for LBVR, which is much less expensive than building a VR app for the home.

 

 

 

Hyperrealistic Glass Sculptures by Artist Dylan Martinez — from booooooom.com

Excerpt:

A series of mesmerizing glass sculptures by Minnesota-born, Washington-based artist Dylan Martinez. Created using a combination of sculpting (for the solid glass “water”) and glassblowing techniques (for the surrounding glass bubble or “bag”), Martinez’s meticulous attention to detail purposefully plays with viewers’ ability to distinguish between reality and illusion. See more images below or on display at Echt Gallery in Chicago starting July 13.

 

 

50 animation tools and resources for digital learners — from teachthought.com by Lisa Chesser, opencolleges.edu.au

Excerpt:

Some of the animation links cataloged here will give educators very basic tools and histories of animation while others have the animation already created and set in motion, it’s just a matter of sharing it with students. Educators need to decide which tool is best for them. If you want to create your own animation from scratch, then you want to go to sites such as Animwork. If you want to select from an animation that’s already set up, for you then perhaps Explainia makes more sense. One of the easiest ways to animate, however, isn’t with your own camera and modeling clay, it’s with your links to sites that hand you everything within their own forums. Use the first part of this list for creating original animation or using animation tools to create lessons. Use the second part to select animated lessons that are already completed and set to share.

 

 

 

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