Writing for VR: The Definitive Guide to VR Storytelling — from vrscout.com by Jesse Damiani and Dylan Southard

Excerpt:

Though it’s geared toward 360° filmmaking, we also wanted to get creators thinking about conceiving and composing VR experiences with an eye toward the medium’s future. We’re guessing many readers fall into a similar camp, so we decided to make this resource available to the public—think of it as something like, “VR Writing and Storytelling 201.”

In other words, your audience will feel an increased sense of responsibility—these questions of Why am I here? and What should I do? This is why games and genre stories that focus on intentions (rescuing something; capturing something; escaping something; solving something) work particularly well.

The nuts-and-bolts part of presence is point of view (POV). In 360° storytelling, you must directly address the question of which specific POV you will utilize in your story. Will your audience see things through a specific character’s eyes (first-person POV) or will you simply take on an “objective,” detached perspective (third-person POV)?

 

We can’t express this enough: the space is as (if not more) important than your plot and characters. While composing your story, think about the ways you can build environments capable of making the viewer imagine stories of their own—even without any other human beings in the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

The Top 200 Tools for Learning 2017 (11th Annual Survey) has been compiled by Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies from the votes of 2,174 learning professionals worldwide, together with 3 sub-lists

  • Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning (PPL)
  • Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning (WPL)
  • Top 100 Tools for Education (EDU)

 

Excerpt from the Analysis page (emphasis DSC):

Here is a brief analysis of what’s on the list and what it tells us about the current state of personal learning, workplace learning and education.

Some facts

Some observations on what the Top Tools list tells us personal and professional learning
As in previous years, individuals continue to using a wide variety of:

  • networks, services and platforms for professional networking, communication and collaboration
  • web resources and courses for self-improvement and self-development
  • tools for personal productivity

All of which shows that many individuals have become highly independent, continuous modern professional learners – making their own decisions about what they need to learn and how to do it.

 

 

 

 

Smartwatches Deemed Least Valuable Technology in the Classroom — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
In our second annual Teaching with Technology Survey, faculty revealed what technologies they use in the classroom, the devices they most value, what they wish for and more.

Excerpts:

Smartwatches may be one of the hottest gadgets in the consumer market — making up nearly a third of all wearables sales this year — but the climate in the classroom is noticeably cooler for the wrist-worn devices. In our 2017 Teaching with Technology Survey, smartwatches came in dead last in the list of technologies faculty consider essential or valuable for teaching and learning. Just 9 percent of faculty called the devices “valuable” (an increase from 5 percent in 2016), and not a one deemed them “essential.” What’s more, 9 percent of respondents considered smartwatches “detrimental.”

When we asked faculty what computing devices were most valuable for teaching and learning, laptops came out on top, considered “essential” by 54 percent of respondents (up from 49 percent in 2016). Workstations (defined as higher-end computers with faster processors, more RAM, more storage and dedicated graphics cards) came in second, followed by all-in-one computers, traditional desktops and detachable tablets. (The lineup was similar last year.)

 

 

 

 

Campus Technology Announces 2017 Impact Award Honorees — from campustechnology.com

Excerpt:

“When you consider the use of technology in education, one of the most important factors is impact — how it benefits students, improves teaching, streamlines costs, contributes to the community, furthers the institutional mission, etc.,” said Rhea Kelly, executive editor of Campus Technology. “These 10 projects are making a difference in higher education in variety of inspiring ways, and we are so pleased to recognize them with this year’s Impact Awards.”

 

From DSC:
I was a Member of the Review Board for this year’s Impact Awards program. As such, I want to extend my sincere congratulations to these recipients! I also want to extend congratulations to the many other people/organizations who — though they didn’t win an award this year — are doing some great work out there as well!

 

 

 

Campus Technology 2017: Virtual Reality Is More Than a New Medium — from edtechmagazine.com by Amy Burroughs
Experts weigh in on the future of VR in higher education.

Excerpts:

“It’s actually getting pretty exciting,” Georgieva said, noting that legacy companies and startups alike have projects in the works that will soon be on the market. Look for standalone, wireless VR headsets later this year from Facebook and Google.

“I think it’s going to be a universal device,” he said. “Eventually, we’ll end up with some kind of glasses where we can just dial in the level of immersion that we want.”

— Per Emery Craig, at Campus Technology 2017 Conference


“Doing VR for the sake of VR makes no sense whatsoever,” Craig said. “Ask when does it make sense to do this in VR? Does a sense of presence help this, or is it better suited to traditional media?”

 

 

Virtual Reality: The User Experience of Story — from blogs.adobe.com

Excerpt:

Solving the content problems in VR requires new skills that are only just starting to be developed and understood, skills that are quite different from traditional storytelling. VR is a nascent medium. One part story, one part experience. And while many of the concepts from film and theater can be used, storytelling through VR is not like making a movie or a play.

In VR, the user has to be guided through an experience of a story, which means many of the challenges in telling a VR story are closer to UX design than anything from film or theater.

Take the issue of frameless scenes. In a VR experience, there are no borders, and no guarantees where a user will look. Scenes must be designed to attract user attention, in order to guide them through the experience of a story.

Sound design, staging cues, lighting effects, and movement can all be used to draw a user’s attention.

However, it’s a fine balance between attraction to distraction.

“In VR, it’s easy to overwhelm the user. If you see a flashing light and in the background, you hear a sharp siren, and then something moves, you’ve given the user too many things to understand,” says Di Dang, User Experience Lead at POP, Seattle. “Be intentional and deliberate about how you grab audience attention.”

 

VR is a storytelling superpower. No other medium has the quite the same potential to create empathy and drive human connection. Because viewers are for all intents and purposes living the experience, they walk away with that history coded into their memory banks—easily accessible for future responses.

 

 

 

Google’s latest VR experiment is teaching people how to make coffee — from techradar.com by Parker Wilhelm
All in a quest to see how effective learning in virtual reality is

Excerpt:

Teaching with a simulation is no new concept, but Google’s Daydream Labs wants to see exactly how useful virtual reality can be for teaching people practical skills.

In a recent experiment, Google ran a simulation of an interactive espresso machine in VR. From there, it had a group of people try their virtual hand at brewing a cup of java before being tasked to make the real thing.

 

 



 

Addendum on 7/26/17:

 



 

 

 

The case for a next generation learning platform [Grush & Christian]

 

The case for a next generation learning platform — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush & Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Grush: Then what are some of the implications you could draw from metrics like that one?

Christian: As we consider all the investment in those emerging technologies, the question many are beginning to ask is, “How will these technologies impact jobs and the makeup of our workforce in the future?”

While there are many thoughts and questions regarding the cumulative impact these technologies will have on our future workforce (e.g., “How many jobs will be displaced?”), the consensus seems to be that there will be massive change.

Whether our jobs are completely displaced or if we will be working alongside robots, chatbots, workbots, or some other forms of AI-backed personal assistants, all of us will need to become lifelong learners — to be constantly reinventing ourselves. This assertion is also made in the aforementioned study from McKinsey: “AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers. The workforce needs to be re-skilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it…”

 

 

A side note from DSC:
I began working on this vision prior to 2010…but I didn’t officially document it until 2012.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:

A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • A customizable learning environment that will offer up-to-date streams of regularly curated content (i.e., microlearning) as well as engaging learning experiences
  • Along these lines, a lifelong learner can opt to receive an RSS feed on a particular topic until they master that concept; periodic quizzes (i.e., spaced repetition) determines that mastery. Once mastered, the system will ask the learner whether they still want to receive that particular stream of content or not.
  • A Netflix-like interface to peruse and select plugins to extend the functionality of the core product
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and streams of content that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)
  • (Potentially) Integration with one-on-one tutoring services

Further details here >>

 

 

 



Addendum from DSC (regarding the resource mentioned below):
Note the voice recognition/control mechanisms on Westinghouse’s new product — also note the integration of Amazon’s Alexa into a “TV.”



 

Westinghouse’s Alexa-equipped Fire TV Edition smart TVs are now available — from theverge.com by Chaim Gartenberg

 

The key selling point, of course, is the built-in Amazon Fire TV, which is controlled with the bundled Voice Remote and features Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

 

 

 

Finally…also see:

  • NASA unveils a skill for Amazon’s Alexa that lets you ask questions about Mars — from geekwire.com by Kevin Lisota
  • Holographic storytelling — from jwtintelligence.com
    The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.
    New Dimensions in Testimony is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.  Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), people are able to ask Gutter’s projected image questions that trigger relevant responses.

 

 

 

 

AI will make forging anything entirely too easy — from wired.com by Greg Allen

Excerpt:

Today, when people see a video of a politician taking a bribe, a soldier perpetrating a war crime, or a celebrity starring in a sex tape, viewers can safely assume that the depicted events have actually occurred, provided, of course, that the video is of a certain quality and not obviously edited.

But that world of truth—where seeing is believing—is about to be upended by artificial intelligence technologies.

We have grown comfortable with a future in which analytics, big data, and machine learning help us to monitor reality and discern the truth. Far less attention has been paid to how these technologies can also help us to lie. Audio and video forgery capabilities are making astounding progress, thanks to a boost from AI. In the future, realistic-looking and -sounding fakes will constantly confront people. Awash in audio, video, images, and documents, many real but some fake, people will struggle to know whom and what to trust.

 

 

Also referenced in the above article:

 

 

 

 

6 Ways to Accelerate Learning in Your Virtual Classroom —- from td.org by Cynthia Clay

Excerpt:

When you move into the virtual classroom, whether as an instructional designer or a trainer, you quickly discover that guidelines for instruction in the traditional classroom may not help as much as you expected. You might have a bevy of questions: Should I use more slides or fewer? Should I present more content or streamline what I have? What about chat? Should I turn it on and let people talk to each other or turn it off so they focus on what I say? Should I put myself on camera throughout the session or just display a photograph at the opening?

How you answer those questions will either expedite or decelerate the learning experience. The following six accelerators make the difference between delivering learning that sticks and learning that’s forgotten by Friday.

  1. Accelerator #1: Get visual 
  2. Accelerator #2: Tell a story
  3. Accelerator #3: Establish rapport
  4. Accelerator #4: Engage continuously
  5. Accelerator #5: Hit them with a problem
  6. Accelerator #6: Facilitate learning

 

 

The Classroom of Tomorrow: A Panel Discussion — sponsored by Kaltura

Description:
Technology is changing the way we approach education, rapidly. But what will tomorrow’s classroom actually look like? We’ve invited some leading experts for a spirited debate about what the future holds for educational institutions. From personalization to predictive analytics to portable digital identities, we’ll explore the biggest changes coming. We’ll see how new technologies might interact with changing demographics, business models, drop out rates, and more.

Panelists:

  • David Nirenberg – Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences, University of Chicago
  • Rick Kamal – Chief Technology Officer, Harvard Business School, HBX
  • Gordon Freedman – President, National Laboratory for Education Transformation
  • Michael Markowitz – Entrepreneur and Investor, Education
  • Dr Michal Tsur – Co-founder and President, Kaltura

 

Also see:

  • Roadmap to the Future — by Dr Michal Tsur – Co-founder and President, Kaltura
    What are some of the leading trends emerging from the educational technology space? Michal Tsur takes you on a quick tour of big trends you should be aware of. Then, get a glimpse of Kaltura’s own roadmap for lecture capture and more.

 

 

Regarding the above items, some thoughts from DSC:
Kaltura did a nice job of placing the focus on a discussion about the future of the classroom as well as on some trends to be aware of, and not necessarily on their own company (this was especially the case in regards to the panel discussion). They did mention some things about their newest effort, Kaltura Lecture Capture, but this was kept to a very reasonable amount.

 

 

Veeery interesting. Alexa now adds visuals / a screen! With the addition of 100 skills a day, where might this new platform lead?

Amazon introduces Echo Show

The description reads:

  • Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask.
  • Introducing a new way to be together. Make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot.
  • See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.
  • Powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response
  • Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby’s room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo. Turn on lights, control thermostats and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.
  • With eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Jeopardy!, Allrecipes, CNN, and more

 

 

 

 

 

 



From DSC:

Now we’re seeing a major competition between the heavy-hitters to own one’s living room, kitchen, and more. Voice controlled artificial intelligence. But now, add the ability to show videos, text, graphics, and more. Play music. Control the lights and the thermostat. Communicate with others via hands-free video calls.

Hmmm….very interesting times indeed.

 

 

Developers and corporates released 4,000 new skills for the voice assistant in just the last quarter. (source)

 

…with the company adding about 100 skills per day. (source)

 

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 



 

Addendum on 5/10/17:

 



 

 

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