A Curiosity Guide — from byrdseed.com Ian Byrd


Excerpts:

Anticipation and Dopamine: In part one of this curiosity series, we explore the connection between curiosity, anticipation, and dopamine and discover why we remember things better when we are allowed to wonder.

So, to wrap up our first round of exploring curiosity:

  • When we become curious, we are anticipating learning information.
  • Our brain releases dopamine, a pleasurable chemical related to the anticipation of a reward (in this case information).
  • Simply being in this curious state activates the hippocampus, enhancing memory.
  • We remember things better when we are in this state, even things we weren’t actually curious about.

Closing Question:
How many times a day are your students in a curious state, eagerly anticipating information?

 

Confusion and Curiosity: So how do we make kids curious? We’ll cover two aspects: creating information gaps and (yes) purposefully confusing our students.

In the first article, we covered what happenings in our brains when we become curious. We also noted that just being in a state of curiosity can improve memory, even for things you’re not curious about.

Here’s one key: to become curious, you must already know something about the topic. Curiosity only fires up when we discover that some important information is missing or that it contradicts information we already had. George Loewenstein calls this the Information Gap theory of curiosity.

Simply put: we have to give students enough information for them to become curious about the missing information.

To wrap up part two:

  • Curiosity requires us to know something about the topic.
  • We become curious when information doesn’t fit an existing mental model.
  • Confusion is part of curiosity. We enjoy a certain amount of cognitive disequilibrium.
  • But! No one wants to be curious forever. It must be resolved.

 

Curiosity Is Social: When we’re curious, we can enhance that curiosity by discussing it with others. Our mutual confusion takes us deeper into the experience.

So, in classrooms, it’s worth purposefully (but gently) confusing students and then letting them talk to each other. It will build their interest and enhance their curiosity.

 

Creating Cultures of Curiosity: The biggest factor in our students’ curiosity at school is us! Teachers can create (or kill) cultures of curiosity. We’ll look at four qualities and a couple experiments run by Susan Engel.

Teachers have enormous power to encourage or discourage curiosity. Every word and action can either build a culture of curiosity or a culture of compliance.

 

 

 


From DSC:
From an early age, we need to help our students learn how to learn. What tips, advice, and/or questions can we help our students get into the habit of asking themselves? Along these lines, the article below,”How Metacognition Boosts Learning,” provides some excellent questions. 

Speaking of questions…I’ll add some more, but of a different sort:

  • How can all educators do a better job of helping their students learn how to learn?
  • How can Instructional Designers and Instructional Technologists help out here? Librarians? Provosts? Deans? Department Chairs? Teachers? Trainers (in the corporate L&D space)?
  • How might technologies come into play here in terms of building more effective web-based learner profiles that can be fed into various platforms and/or into teachers’ game plans?

I appreciate Bill Knapp and his perspectives very much (see here and here; Bill is GRCC’s Executive Director of Distance Learning & Instructional Technologies). The last we got together, we wondered out loud:

  • Why don’t teachers, professors, school systems, administrations within in K-20 address this need/topic more directly…? (i.e., how can we best help our students learn how to learn?)
  • Should we provide a list of potentially helpful techniques, questions, tools, courses, modules, streams of content, or other resources on how to learn?
  • Should we be weaving these sorts of things into our pedagogies?
  • Are there tools — such as smartphone related apps — that can be of great service here? For example, are there apps for sending out reminders and/or motivational messages?

As Bill asserted, we need to help our students build self-efficacy and a mindset of how to learn. Then learners can pivot into new areas with much more confidence. I agree. In an era that continues to emphasize freelancing and entrepreneurship — plus dealing with a rapidly-changing workforce — people now need to be able to learn quickly and effectively. They need to have the self confidence to be able to pivot. So how can we best prepare our students for their futures?

Also, on a relevant but slightly different note (and I suppose is of the flavor of a Universal Design for Learning approach)…I think that “tests” given to special needs children — for example that might have to do with executive functioning, and/or identifying issues, and/or providing feedback as to how a particular learner might best absorb information — would be helpful for ALL students to take. If I realize that the way my brain learns best is to have aural and visual materials presented on any given topic, that is very useful information for me to realize — and the sooner the better!

 



How Metacognition Boosts Learning — from edutopia.org by Youki Terada
Students often lack the metacognitive skills they need to succeed, but they can develop these skills by addressing some simple questions.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Strategies that target students’ metacognition—the ability to think about thinking—can close a gap that some students experience between how prepared they feel for a test and how prepared they actually are. In a new study, students in an introductory college statistics class who took a short online survey before each exam asking them to think about how they would prepare for it earned higher grades in the course than their peers—a third of a letter grade higher, on average. This low-cost intervention helped students gain insight into their study strategies, boosting their metacognitive skills and giving them tools to be more independent learners.

More recently, a team of psychologists and neuroscientists published a comprehensive analysis of 10 learning techniques commonly used by students. They discovered that one of the most popular techniques—rereading material and highlighting key points—is also one of the least effective because it leads students to develop a false sense of mastery. They review a passage and move on without realizing that they haven’t thoroughly understood and absorbed the material.

Metacognition helps students recognize the gap between being familiar with a topic and understanding it deeply. But weaker students often don’t have this metacognitive recognition—which leads to disappointment and can discourage them from trying harder the next time.

To promote students’ metacognition, middle and high school teachers can implement the following strategies. Elementary teachers can model or modify these strategies with their students to provide more scaffolding.

During class, students should ask themselves:

  • What are the main ideas of today’s lesson?
  • Was anything confusing or difficult?
  • If something isn’t making sense, what question should I ask the teacher?
  • Am I taking proper notes?
  • What can I do if I get stuck on a problem?

Before a test, students should ask themselves:

  • What will be on the test?
  • What areas do I struggle with or feel confused about?
  • How much time should I set aside to prepare for an upcoming test?
  • Do I have the necessary materials (books, school supplies, a computer and online access, etc.) and a quiet place to study, with no distractions?
  • What strategies will I use to study? Is it enough to simply read and review the material, or will I take practice tests, study with a friend, or write note cards?
  • What grade would I get if I were to take the test right now?

After a test, students should ask themselves:

  • What questions did I get wrong, and why did I get them wrong?
  • Were there any surprises during the test?
  • Was I well-prepared for the test?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • Am I receiving useful, specific feedback from my teacher to help me progress?

 



From DSC:
Below are a few resources more about metacognition and learning how to learn:

 

 

 

  • Students should be taught how to study. — from Daniel Willingham
    Excerpt:
    Rereading is a terribly ineffective strategy. The best strategy–by far–is to self-test–which is the 9th most popular strategy out of 11 in this study. Self-testing leads to better memory even compared to concept mapping (Karpicke & Blunt, 2011).

 

 

 

  • The Lesson You Never Got Taught in School: How to Learn! — from bigthink.com
    Excerpt:
    Have you ever wondered whether it is best to do your studying in large chunks or divide your studying over a period of time? Research has found that the optimal level of distribution of sessions for learning is 10-20% of the length of time that something needs to be remembered. So if you want to remember something for a year you should study at least every month, if you want to remember something for five years you should space your learning every six to twelve months. If you want to remember something for a week you should space your learning 12-24 hours apart. It does seem however that the distributed-practice effect may work best when processing information deeply – so for best results you might want to try a distributed practice and self-testing combo.There is however a major catch – do you ever find that the amount of studying you do massively increases before an exam? Most students fall in to the “procrastination scallop” – we are all guilty at one point of cramming all the knowledge in right before an exam, but the evidence is pretty conclusive that this is the worst way to study, certainly when it comes to remembering for the long term. What is unclear is whether cramming is so popular because students don’t understand the benefits of distributed practice or whether testing practices are to blame – probably a combination of both. One thing is for sure, if you take it upon yourself to space your learning over time you are pretty much guaranteed to see improvements.

 

 



 

 

The Beatriz Lab - A Journey through Alzheimer's Disease

This three-part lab can be experienced all at once or separately. At the beginning of each part, Beatriz’s brain acts as an omniscient narrator, helping learners understand how changes to the brain affect daily life and interactions.

Pre and post assessments, along with a facilitation guide, allow learners and instructors to see progression towards outcomes that are addressed through the story and content in the three parts, including:

1) increased knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and the brain
2) enhanced confidence to care for people with Alzheimer’s disease
3) improvement in care practice

Why a lab about Alzheimer’s Disease?
The Beatriz Lab is very important to us at Embodied Labs. It is the experience that inspired the start of our company. We believe VR is more than a way to evoke feelings of empathy; rather, it is a powerful behavior change tool. By taking the perspective of Beatriz, healthcare professionals and trainees are empowered to better care for people with Alzheimer’s disease, leading to more effective care practices and better quality of life. Through embodying Beatriz, you will gain insight into life with Alzheimer’s and be able to better connect with and care for your loved ones, patients, clients, or others in this communities who live with the disease every day. In our embodied VR experience, we hope to portray both the difficult and joyful moments — the disease surely is a mix of both.

Watch our new promo video to learn more!

 

 

As part of the experience, you will take a 360 degree trip into Beatriz’s brain,
and visit a neuron “forest” that is being affected by amyloid beta plaques and tau proteins.

 

From DSC:
I love the work that Carrie Shaw and @embodiedLabs are doing! Thanks Carrie & Company!

 

 

 

Top 7 Business Collaboration Conference Apps in Virtual Reality (VR) — from vudream.com by Ved Pitre

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

As VR continues to grow and improve, the experiences will feel more real. But for now, here are the best business conference applications in virtual reality.

 

 

 

Final Cut Pro X Arrives With 360 VR Video Editing — from vrscount.com by Jonathan Nafarrete

Excerpt:

A sign of how Apple is supporting VR in parts of its ecosystem, Final Cut Pro X (along with Motion and Compressor), now has a complete toolset that lets you import, edit, and deliver 360° video in both monoscopic and stereoscopic formats.

Final Cut Pro X 10.4 comes with a handful of slick new features that we tested, such as advanced color grading and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) workflows. All useful features for creators, not just VR editors, especially since Final Cut Pro is used so heavily in industries like video editing and production. But up until today, VR post-production options have been minimal, with no support from major VR headsets. We’ve had options with Adobe Premiere plus plugins, but not everyone wants to be pigeon-holed into a single software option. And Final Cut Pro X runs butter smooth on the new iMac, so there’s that.

Now with the ability to create immersive 360° films right in Final Cut Pro, an entirely new group of creators have the ability to dive into the world of 360 VR video. Its simple and intuitive, something we expect from an Apple product. The 360 VR toolset just works.

 

 

 

See Original, Exclusive Star Wars Artwork in VR — from vrscount.com by Alice Bonasio

 

Excerpt:

HWAM’s first exhibition is a unique collection of Star Wars production pieces, including the very first drawings made for the film franchise and never-before-seen production art from the original trilogy by Lucasfilm alum Joe Johnston, Ralph McQuarrie, Phil Tippett, Drew Struzan, Colin Cantwell, and more.

 

 

 

Learning a language in VR is less embarrassing than IRL — from qz.com by Alice Bonasio

Excerpt:

Will virtual reality help you learn a language more quickly? Or will it simply replace your memory?

VR is the ultimate medium for delivering what is known as “experiential learning.” This education theory is based on the idea that we learn and remember things much better when doing something ourselves than by merely watching someone else do it or being told about it.

The immersive nature of VR means users remember content they interact with in virtual scenarios much more vividly than with any other medium. (According to experiments carried out by professor Ann Schlosser at the University of Washington, VR even has the capacity to prompt the development of false memories.)

 

 

Since immersion is a key factor in helping students not only learn much faster but also retain what they learn for longer, these powers can be harnessed in teaching and training—and there is also research that indicates that VR is an ideal tool for learning a language.

 

 


Addendum on 12/20/17:

 


 

 

 

 

Innovating Pedagogy 2017 — from iet.open.ac.uk

Excerpt:

This series of reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation. This sixth report proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education. To produce it, a group of academics at the Institute of Educational Technology in The Open University collaborated with researchers from the Learning In a NetworKed Society (LINKS) Israeli Center of Research Excellence (I-CORE). We proposed a long list of new educational terms, theories, and practices. We then pared these down to ten that have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice, particularly in secondary and tertiary education. Lastly, we drew on published and unpublished writings to compile the ten sketches of new pedagogies that might transform education. These are summarised below in an approximate order of immediacy and timescale to widespread implementation.

 

 

 

From DSC:
I’m posting this in an effort to:

  • Help students learn how to learn
  • Help students achieve the greatest possible returns on their investments (both their $$ and their time) when they are trying to learn about new things

I’d like to thank Mr. William Knapp, Executive Director at GRCC for Distance Learning & Instructional Technology, for sharing this resource on Twitter.


A better way to study through self-testing and distributed practice — from kqed.org

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

As I prepared to write this column, I relied on some pretty typical study techniques. First, as I’ve done since my student days, I generously highlighted key information in my background reading. Along the way, I took notes, many of them verbatim, which is a snap with digital copying and pasting. (Gotta love that command-C, command-V.) Then I reread my notes and highlights. Sound familiar? Students everywhere embrace these techniques and yet, as it turns out, they are not particularly good ways to absorb new material. At least not if that’s all you do.

Researchers have devoted decades to studying how to study. The research literature is frankly overwhelming. Luckily for all of us, the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest published a review article a few years ago that remains the most comprehensive guide out there. Its 47 pages hold valuable lessons for learners of any age and any subject — especially now, with end-of-semester exams looming.

The authors examined ten different study techniques, including highlighting, rereading, taking practice tests, writing summaries, explaining the content to yourself or another person and using mnemonic devices. They drew on the results of nearly 400 prior studies. Then, in an act of boldness not often seen in academic research, they actually awarded ratings: high, low or moderate utility.

The study strategies that missed the top rating weren’t necessarily ineffective, explains the lead author John Dunlosky, a psychology professor at Kent State University, but they lacked sufficient evidence of efficacy, or were proven useful only in certain areas of study or with certain types of students. “We were trying to find strategies that have a broad impact across all domains for all students,” Dunlosky says, “so it was a pretty tough rating scale.”

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

Practice testing can take many forms: flashcards, answering questions at the end of a textbook chapter, tackling review quizzes online. Research shows it works well for students from preschool through graduate and professional education.

Testing yourself works because you have to make the effort to pull information from your memory — something we don’t do when we merely review our notes or reread the textbook.


As for distributed practice vs. cramming, Dunlosky and his fellow authors write that “cramming is better than not studying at all,” but if you are going to devote four or five hours to studying for your biology mid-term, you would you be far better off spacing them out over a several days or weeks. “You get much more bang for your buck if you space,” Dunlosky told me.

 

 

Also see:

Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques — from journals.sagepub.com by John Dunlosky, Katherine A. Rawson, Elizabeth J. Marsh, Mitchell J. Nathan, and Daniel T. Willingham
Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology

Excerpt:

In this monograph, we discuss 10 learning techniques in detail and offer recommendations about their relative utility. We selected techniques that were expected to be relatively easy to use and hence could be adopted by many students. Also, some techniques (e.g., highlighting and rereading) were selected because students report relying heavily on them, which makes it especially important to examine how well they work. The techniques include elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, summarization, highlighting (or underlining), the keyword mnemonic, imagery use for text learning, rereading, practice testing, distributed practice, and interleaved practice.

 

 

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

 

 

From DSC:
This is yet another reason that I like the approach of using streams of content to help people learn something new. Because you can implement distributed practice, encourage recall, etc. when you put the content out there at regular intervals.

 

 

 

How VR saves lives in the OR — from forbes.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpt:

We see seven themes emerging from new VR and AR apps for health: (1) training (2) education (3) visualization (4) psychology (5) Telehealth and telesurgery (6) screen consolidation and (7) physical training, health, and fitness. This article will focus exclusively on the applications of Virtual Reality – fully replacing the world with a realistic digital simulation of patient-specific anatomy and pathology.

 

 

 

Samsung to develop VR mental health diagnosis tools for hospitals — from by Cho Mu-Hyun
Samsung Electronics will work with Gangnam Severance Hospital and content maker FNI to develop mental health diagnosis tools that use virtual reality.

Excerpt:

Cognitive behaviour therapies for suicide prevention and psychological assessment will be the focus, it said.

The companies will make chairs and diagnosis kits as physical products and will develop an application for use in psychological assessments using artificial intelligence (AI).

 

 

 

Augmented reality 101: Top AR use-cases — from wikitude.com by Camila Kohles

Excerpt:

Before we proceed, let’s make one thing clear: AR is not just about dog face filters and Pokémon GO. We kid you not. People are using this technology to bring ease to their lives and many forward-thinking companies are working with augmented reality to improve their workflow and businesses. Let’s see how.

 

 

 

The Top 9 Augmented Reality Companies in Healthcare — from medicalfuturist.com with thanks to Woontack Woo for the resource

Excerpt:

When Pokemon Go conquered the world, everyone could face the huge potential in augmented reality. Although the hype around the virtual animal hunting settled, AR continues to march triumphantly into more and more industries and fields, including healthcare. Here, I listed the most significant companies bringing augmented reality to medicine and healing.


Brain Power
The Massachusetts-based technology company, established in 2013, has been focusing on the application of pioneering neuroscience with the latest in wearable technology, in particular, Google Glass. The start-up builds brain science-driven software to transform wearables into neuro-assistive devices for the educational challenges of autism. Their aim is to teach life skills to children and adults on the autism spectrum. They developed a unique software suite, the “Empowered Brain” aiming to help children with their social skills, language, and positive behaviors. The software contains powerful data collection and analytic tools allowing for customized feedback for the child.

 

 

How VR Can Ease the Transition for First-Time Wheelchair Users — from vrscout.com by Presley West
Designers at innovation and design company, Fjord, have created a VR experience that teaches brand new wheelchair users how to safely maneuver their environment in a safe, empowering way.

 

 

 

How Eye Tracking is Driving the Next Generation of AR and VR — from vrscout.com by Eric Kuerzel

 

 

WebVR: Taking The Path Of Least Resistance To Mainstream VR — from vrscout.com by Vanessa Radd

Excerpt:

Content and Education
In the midst of a dearth of content for VR, WebVR content creators are coming together to create and collaborate. Over a million creators are sharing their 3D models on Sketchfab’s 3D/VR art community platform. Virtuleap also organized the first global WebVR hackathon.

“For application domains such as education and heritage, developing VR scenes and experiences for the Web is highly important,” said Stone. “[This] promotes accessibility by many beneficiaries without the need (necessarily) for expensive and sophisticated computing or human interface hardware.”

This democratized approach opens up possibilities in education far beyond what we’re seeing today.

“I also think that WebVR, as a JavaScript API, also enables a wide range of future students and young developers to ‘dip their toes into the water’ and start to build portfolios demonstrating their capabilities, ultimately to future employers,” said Stone. “I remember the promise of the days of VRML and products such as SGI’s Cosmo and Cortona3D (which still available today, of course). But the ability to be able to open up interactive—and quite impressive—demos of VR experiences that existed in higher quality form on specialised platforms, became an amazing marketing tool in the late 1990s and 2000s.”

 

 

 

 

 

Ed Dept. Names Finalists for Virtual and Augmented Reality Competition — from campustechnology.com by Sri Ravipati

Excerpt:

The finalists are:

  • Case Western Reserve University, which developed “Holographic Anatomy to Transform Healthcare,” a simulation that provides an alternative to using cadavers to teach medical anatomy. Combining the Microsoft HoloLens and the VR experience, medical students can practice dissection techniques in a virtual environment.
  • Embodied Labs for a series of VR patient experiences called “The Alfred Lab,” designed to teach students how to take better care of elderly populations.
  • Octothorpe, the creator behind “The Irregular: Sherlock Holmes,” which challenges students to work together on chemistry and psychology problems.
  • Osso VR, for its realistic, hands-on orthopaedic surgical training platform; and
  • Smart Sparrow, an education company that created “LifeCraft,” which explores life on Earth through various archaeology, biology and astronomy expeditions.

 

 

 

 

Adobe unveils new Microsoft HoloLens and Amazon Alexa integrations — from geekwire.com by Nat Levy

 

 

 

 

Introducing the AR Landscape — from medium.com by Super Ventures
Mapping out the augmented reality ecosystem

 

 

 

 

Alibaba leads $18M investment in car navigation augmented reality outfit WayRay — from siliconangle.com by Kyt Dotson

Excerpt:

WayRay boasts the 2015 launch of Navion, what it calls the “first ever holographic navigator” for cars that uses AR technology to project a Global Positioning System, or GPS, info overlay onto the car’s windshield.

Just like a video game, users of the GPS need only follow green arrows projected as if onto the road in front of the car providing visual directions. More importantly, because the system displays on the windscreen, it does not require a cumbersome headset or eyewear worn by the driver. It integrates directly into the dashboard of the car.

The system also recognizes simple voice and gesture commands from the driver — eschewing turning of knobs or pressing buttons. The objective of the system is to allow the driver to spend more time paying attention to the road, with hands on the wheel. Many modern-day onboard GPS systems also recognize voice commands but require the driver to glance over at a screen.

 

 

Viro Media Is A Tool For Creating Simple Mobile VR Apps For Businesses — from uploadvr.com by Charles Singletary

Excerpt:

Viro Media is supplying a platform of their own and their hope is to be the simplest experience where companies can code once and have their content available on multiple mobile platforms. We chatted with Viro Media CEO Danny Moon about the tool and what creators can expect to accomplish with it.

 

 

Listen to these podcasts to dive into virtual reality — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergürel
We curated some great episodes with our friends at RadioPublic

Excerpt:

Virtual reality can transport us to new places, where we can experience new worlds and people, like no other. It is a whole new medium poised to change the future of gaming, education, health care and enterprise. Today we are starting a new series to help you discover what this new technology promises. With the help of our friends at RadioPublic, we are curating a quick library of podcasts related to virtual reality technology.

 

Psychologists using virtual reality to help treat PTSD in veterans — from kxan.com by Amanda Brandeis

Excerpt:

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Virtual reality is no longer reserved for entertainment and gamers, its helping solve real-world problems. Some of the latest advancements are being demonstrated at South by Southwest.

Dr. Skip Rizzo directs the Medical Virtual Reality Lab at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. He’s helping veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He’s up teamed with Dell to develop and spread the technology to more people.

 

 

 

NVIDIA Jetson Enables Artec 3D, Live Planet to Create VR Content in Real Time — from blogs.nvidia.com
While VR revolutionizes fields across everyday life — entertainment, medicine, architecture, education and product design — creating VR content remains among its biggest challenges.

Excerpt:

At NVIDIA Jetson TX2 launch [on March 7, 2017], in San Francisco, [NVIDIA] showed how the platform not only accelerates AI computing, graphics and computer vision, but also powers the workflows used to create VR content. Artec 3D debuted at the event the first handheld scanner offering real-time 3D capture, fusion, modeling and visualization on its own display or streamed to phones and tablets.

 

 

Project Empathy
A collection of virtual reality experiences that help us see the world through the eyes of another

Excerpt:

Benefit Studio’s virtual reality series, Project Empathy is a collection of thoughtful, evocative and surprising experiences by some of the finest creators in entertainment, technology and journalism.

Each film is designed to create empathy through a first-person experience–from being a child inside the U.S. prison system to being a widow cast away from society in India.  Individually, each of the films in this series presents its filmmaker’s unique vision, portraying an intimate experience through the eyes of someone whose story has been lost or overlooked and yet is integral to the larger story of our global society. Collectively, these creatively distinct films weave together a colorful tapestry of what it means to be human today.

 

 

 

 

Work in a high-risk industry? Virtual reality may soon become part of routine training — from ibtimes.cok.uk by Owen Hughes
Immersive training videos could be used to train workers in construction, mining and nuclear power.

 

 

 

At Syracuse University, more students are getting ahold of virtual reality — from dailyorange.com by Haley Kim

 

 

 

As Instructors Experiment With VR, a Shift From ‘Looking’ to ‘Interacting’ — from edsurge.com by Marguerite McNeal

Excerpt:

Most introductory geology professors teach students about earthquakes by assigning readings and showing diagrams of tectonic plates and fault lines to the class. But Paul Low is not most instructors.

“You guys can go wherever you like,” he tells a group of learners. “I’m going to go over to the epicenter and fly through and just kind of get a feel.”

Low is leading a virtual tour of the Earth’s bowels, directly beneath New Zealand’s south island, where a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck last November. Outfitted with headsets and hand controllers, the students are “flying” around the seismic hotbed and navigating through layers of the Earth’s surface.

Low, who taught undergraduate geology and environmental sciences and is now a research associate at Washington and Lee University, is among a small group of profs-turned-technologists who are experimenting with virtual reality’s applications in higher education.

 

 

 

These University Courses Are Teaching Students the Skills to Work in VR — from uploadvr.com

Excerpt:

“As virtual reality moves more towards the mainstream through the development of new, more affordable consumer technologies, a way needs to be found for students to translate what they learn in academic situations into careers within the industry,” says Frankie Cavanagh, a lecturer at Northumbria University. He founded a company called Somniator last year with the aim not only of developing VR games, but to provide a bridge between higher education and the technology sector. Over 70 students from Newcastle University, Northumbria University and Gateshead College in the UK have been placed so far through the program, working on real games as part of their degrees and getting paid for additional work commissioned.

 

Working with VR already translates into an extraordinarily diverse range of possible career paths, and those options are only going to become even broader as the industry matures in the next few years.

 

 

Scope AR Brings Live, Interactive AR Video Support to Caterpillar Customers — from augmented.reality.news by Tommy Palladino

Excerpt:

Customer service just got a lot more interesting. Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar just announced official availability of what they’re calling the CAT LIVESHARE solution to customer support, which builds augmented reality capabilities into the platform. They’ve partnered with Scope AR, a company who develops technical support and training documentation tools using augmented reality. The CAT LIVESHARE support system uses Scope AR’s Remote AR software as the backbone.

 

 

 

New virtual reality tool helps architects create dementia-friendly environments — from dezzen.com by Jessica Mairs

 

Visual showing appearance of a room without and with the Virtual Reality Empathy Platform headset

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Virtual Reality “teach” empathy? — from hechingerreport.org by Chris Berdik
Immersive VR in the classroom is spreading fast, as teachers take students into other worlds

Excerpt:

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.

 

From DSC:
I read the other day where someone asserted that you can’t make someone be more empathetic. That may be so, but VR can sure put you in someone else’s shoes — big time!  And that seems like in many cases, that can be a good thing in terms of understanding what someone else might be going through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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