‘World of Comenius’ demonstrates powerful educational interaction w/ Leap Motion & Oculus Rift and Tomas “Frooxius” Mariancik


We recently covered a (at that point unnamed) VR project by developer Tomáš “Frooxius” Marian?ík, the mind behind the stunning ‘Sightline’ VR series of demos. The project fused Leap Motion skeletal hand tracking with Oculus Rift DK2 positional tracking to produce an impressively intuitive VR interface. Now, a new video of the interface  shows impressive progress. We catch up with Tomáš to find out some more about this mysterious VR project.

Enter the ‘World of Comenius’
The virtual reality resurgence that is currently underway, necessarily and predictably concentrates on bringing people new ways to consume and experience media and games. This is where virtual reality has the best chance of breaking through as a viable technology, one that will appeal to consumers worldwide. But virtual reality’s greatest impact, at least in terms of historical worth to society, could and probably will come in the form of non-entertainment based fields.



Also see:


Beacons at the museum: Pacific Science Center to roll out location-based Mixby app next month — from by Todd Bishop


Seattle’s Pacific Science Center has scheduled an Oct. 4 public launch for a new system that uses Bluetooth-enabled beacons and the Mixby smartphone app to offer new experiences to museum guests — presenting them with different features and content depending on where they’re standing at any given moment.


Also see:


From DSC:
The use of location-based apps & associated technologies (machine-to-machine (M2M) communications) should be part of all ed tech planning from here on out — and also applicable to the corporate world and training programs therein. 

Not only applicable to museums, but also to art galleries, classrooms, learning spaces, campus tours, and more.  Such apps could be used on plant floors in training-related programs as well.

Now mix augmented reality in with location-based technology.  Come up to a piece of artwork, and a variety of apps could be launched to really bring that piece to life! Some serious engagement.

Digital storytelling. The connection of the physical world with the digital world. Digital learning. Physical learning. A new form of blended/hybrid learning.  Active learning. Participation.




Addendum on 9/4/14 — also see:

Aerohive Networks Delivers World’s First iBeacon™ and AltBeacon™ – Enabled Enterprise Wi-Fi Access Points
New Partnership with Radius Networks Delivers IoT Solution to Provide Advanced Insights and Mobile Experience Personalization

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

SUNNYVALE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aerohive Networks® (NYSE:HIVE), a leader in controller-less Wi-Fi and cloud-managed mobile networking for the enterprise market today announced that it is partnering with Radius Networks, a market leader in proximity services and proximity beacons with iBeacon™ and AltBeacon™ technology, to offer retailers, educators and healthcare providers a cloud-managed Wi-Fi infrastructure enabled with proximity beacons. Together, Aerohive and Radius Networks provide complementary cloud platforms for helping these organizations meet the demands of today’s increasingly connected customers who are seeking more personalized student education, patient care and shopper experiences.






iBeacons aren’t just for retail: Placed lets you use them as iPhone quick launchers at home — from by Darrell Etherington

Excerpt (emphasis and addition by DSC):

There has been a lot of talk about iBeacons since they launched with iOS 7 last fall, but much of the focus has been on how they benefit retailers and add to the in-store shopping experience. They have a much broader range of potential use, however, and part of that is consumer-focused (and education-focused), too. Placed is a new app that shows you how iBeacons might benefit anyone at home, by tying iBeacons to specific apps and offering quick-launch capabilities.


Also see:




From DSC:
Thinking out loud…again, we can see applications for this type of technology in the classroom.  Say, for example, the topic you are teaching this week is photosynthesis. You set up your room with some iBeacons and props. One corner has a large plant in it with an iBeacon attached to it; when a student approaches that plant/iBeacon with their iPad or iPhone in hand, a video demonstration of photosynthesis is automatically launched.  The student views the demo then moves over to another corner of the room where another webpage is automatically brought up on their device — perhaps to take a quiz on what they just reviewed.  Another corner has another iBeacon that launches a certain app that provides information for further exploration.  




Tidebreak Next Generation Mobile App Powers Full-Participation Learning  — from

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Mountain View and Anaheim, CA (PRWEB) October 15, 2013

New web app increases collaboration between students and faculty in classroom in BYOD learning environments.

“Using technology in the classroom can help spur creativity, increase participation, and foster a collaborative environment,” said Andrew J. Milne, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Tidebreak. “The latest version of Tidebreak’s mobile web app allows students to use any tablet or handheld device to share information with the entire class in real-time. By incorporating mobile web apps into devices that students already own, faculty can improve the learning process by creating a more collaborative environment that encourages active participation.”

The mobile web app from Tidebreak has many new features that will help increase student participation in the classroom. New features that have been incorporated into ClassSpot, ClassSpot PBL and TeamSpot include:

  • Work “at the board” without getting up – Full keyboard and track pad control from a tablet or phone allows students to collaborate on the large classroom screen in real-time.
  • Bridge the physical and digital world – Capture and share photos of whiteboard content, physical objects, or images and then share it on-screen or archive it instantly.
  • Surf and share – Search the web for relevant content and then share it to the main screen, the session archive, or to everyone in the group simultaneously.
  • Navigate an enhanced design – A great deal of improvement has gone into the user interface which helps generate new ideas among students.

Lessons Learned from Apple EdTech Deployments: Part 1 — from by Tim Kridel


School districts have purchased more than 10 million iPads so far, and colleges such as Abilene Christian University have been using iOS devices for five years or more. All of those deployments add up to plenty of opportunities for schools that haven’t deployed Apple gear to learn what to expect.

This multi-part series looks at some of the lessons learned in terms of security, support, costs and bandwidth. It’s based on interviews with education technology managers who have spent years not only implementing and supporting Apple products, but also often mentoring their peers at other schools.

The first set of questions: What advice would you give to a peer at a school that’s about to add iOS devices? For example, what should they expect in terms of additional burden on the wireless LAN and the IT staff?



The battle of the ecosystems: Apple, Google, Microsoft, & — by Daniel Christian with thanks to Krista Spahr, Michael Mandeville, Bill Vriesema, and Adam Tozer from Calvin College for their feedback/inputs on this.



PDF version here [1.35MB]



Also see:


Ecosystem value metrics


Ecosystem value metrics - developer perspective


Addendums on 8/13/13:


Apple: It’s all about the ecosystem, Raymond James tells CNBC — from by Tiernan Ray


But mostly he was pushing the notion that “phase 2” is emerging for the company in mobile computing. Phase 1, consisting of smartphones and tablets, is maturing, and phase 2 “is the expansion of smartphone chipsets/OS/ecosystems into autos, TVs, appliances and probably uses not currently thought of for computing devices,” he wrote.

“Apple’s dominance of high income consumers and the vertically integrated model positions it well to capture the largest share of profits as mobile computing moves beyond smartphones and tablets.”


From DSC:
As you can tell from the title of my blog, I’m big on ecosystems.  In the IT world these days, it’s not about just one particular tool; but rather how a set of tools and functionalities fit together.  What types of synergies are possible?  What leverage can you get by building up one ecosystem vs. diluting ecosystems?

With the advent of the Internet of Things and with iOS/Android/other-based devices making their way into more of our cars/homes/appliances, mobile learning takes on an expanded meaning/scope!  (If I had the time to find the right graphic for a sign, it might say, “Some serious ubiquitous learning ahead.”)






Using the iPad with a Projector — from by Terry Gray; note that this is from 8/24/12

For a wireless solution:



AppleTV Diagram



or for a wired solution:


VGA Adapter



Also see:



AirServer: iPad in the classroom



There are times when you need to show content to your class to engage your audience, using an iPad. With AirServer you can wirelessly beam your iPad display to your Mac or PC and from there to your projector, smartboard or HDTV. This gives you the freedom to move around the class with your iPad in hand. AirServer also supports multiple simultaneous connections, so one or more students could mirror their iPads to share their ideas and their work with the rest of the class.

Educational environments vary, not just in size and lighting but in network security and access. To solve these issues we’ve added features such as picture enhancement settings and password protection.


  • Beam your iPad or iPhone screen to HDMI or VGA projector, smartboard or HDTV via a Mac or PC
  • True full screen display
  • Picture enhancement settings
  • Secure password protection
  • Collaborate with students using simultaneous connections


From DSC:
Wouldn’t it be great if students could “beam up” their content from any device, from anywhere?  i.e. Whether they be in a face-to-face classroom, at a remote location, or out traveling?



Mobile devices as clickers: One Elon professor shares experiences — from by Heidi Hollingsworth, Assistant Professor in the Education Department


I’ve been using an alternative to traditional student response system (clickers) this year: Instead of giving students a clicker device, each student enters responses on her or his smartphone, iPad, or laptop.

Here are some of the ways I use Socrative…


From DSC:
Again, this ties in nicely with my earlier comments re: building/leveraging the power of an ecosystem. Those of us working with smart classrooms and learning spaces need to consider this type of thing.



Much faster Wi-Fi coming soon — from CNN by David Goldman
A new, faster version of Wi-Fi was officially rubber-stamped Wednesday.


The latest Wi-Fi technology, called “802.11ac,” offers speeds of up to 1.3 Gigabits per second. That’s fast enough to transfer an entire high-definition movie to a tablet in under 4 minutes, share photo albums with friends in a matter of seconds or stream three HD videos at the same time. It’s more than double the top speed of the previous standard, known as 802.11n.

Those speeds are theoretical maximums — very few people have anything close to 1 Gigabit speeds from their home broadband connection. Average speeds are less than 1% of that. But the faster speeds mean the new Wi-Fi standard will offer a much bigger pipeline for all those videos, songs and games that a growing number of people are streaming on multiple devices simultaneously.


Also see:

  • Apple adopts 802.11ac wireless standard quickly as new study forecasts the next standard to follow in 2015 — from
    According to a new report that was just released, the growth of 802.11ac and 802.11ad will occur in very different ways over the next few years. The adoption of 802.11ac is expected to explode into devices including smartphones right out of the gate this year while 802.11ad will see a more modest and staggered growth pace. 802.11ac is being pushed into smartphones by key carriers’ device requirements that are in sync with 802.11ac hotspot plans for more robust Wi-Fi offloading.
  • Wireless witch: Should you buy an 802.11ac router? — from by Samara Lynn
    802.11ac is all the rage among networking vendors, with all their 802.11ac routers touting incredible speeds. But is 802.11ac worth the investment?
    To Buy or not to Buy?
    So, what’s the short answer on upgrading to an 802.11ac router right now? If you’re an early tech adopter and Wi-Fi enthusiast, definitely check out 11ac. Everyone else is better off waiting until the technology matures. What if your old router dies and you’re not upgrading so much as replacing hardware? The same applies: if you’re comfortable with tweaking settings to get the most out of your router, by all means check out the 802.11ac routers on the market. At the the very least, you shouldn’t lose performance; in certain cases, you might see improvements. If you’re more of a plug and play user, however, stick with 802.11n, for now.

Interactive whiteboards are front and center in college classrooms — from
A look at whiteboards at New York’s Touro College.


From DSC:
We currently have 3 types of Interactive WhiteBoards (IWB’s) on our campus:  Epson BrightLinks, SMART Boards, and/or an Eno Board from PolyVision.

However, the idea of using mobile interactive whiteboards is becoming increasingly popular — i.e. being able to annotate on an iPad, for example, and having everyone in the class see these annotations.  I’ve seen some K-12 folks use Apple TV for this type of thing, but Apple’s multi-cast wireless protocol doesn’t work as well for us in a campus environment.  I’ve also seen/heard of people using one of the following solutions listed below as well. (I wish I had more time to check each of them out, but I’ll simply list them for you here.)



IT does not love iPads — from by Michelle Fredette
Students and faculty may love them, but IT personnel get a major headache when they try to integrate Apple tablets–and the company’s TV technology–in an enterprise setting.


From DSC:
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) train has arrived.   As such, this is a huge issue and as you can tell from reading Michelle’s article, there is no silver bullet out there (at least not as of 5/9/13).  I sure wish all of the relevant vendors could get behind a secure, efficient, reliable standard here…or at least have Apple come up with something that would get past the multi-cast issues for wireless networks (i.e. what works great for the consumer at home doesn’t work well on a campus or throughout an enterprise). It also adds to the already difficult job we in IT have when the targets are constantly moving — and moving faster than ever.  Add to that the need to consider entire ecosystems/platforms these days.


Tagged with:  

From DSC:
The worlds of K-12, higher education, and corporate training/development are all seeking solid solutions to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or the Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) solution.  (The way I see it, it would sure be helpful it Apple worked with the other relevant vendors to establish better wireless networking protocols.)  Anyway, below are some items on this topic:


How to BYOT for Learning? – from by Brian Kuhn

Responding to the “Shift to the Future” — from by Sean Robinson

BYOD: 7 reasons to leave them to their own devices — from Donald Clark Plan B

Ten reasons the iPad is an awesome tool for classrooms and education — from with thanks to Krista Spahr, Senior Instructional Designer at Calvin College, for this resource

The 4 easiest ways to mirror the iPad (comparison chart) — from by Seth Hansen; working off of a similar posting from Tony Vincent 

Strategies for taking flight with BYOT  — from

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills identified 4 critical areas of learning for students that include creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.  In Forsyth County Schools, we’ve been working hard with parents, teachers and students to embrace learning with student-owned technologies; something we call Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT).  What we know for sure is that BYOT is really more like Bring Your Own Learning because we’ve discovered that it is NOT about the technology – it IS about the learning.


From DSC:
This aligns well with Alan November’s replacing “one-to-one” with “one-to-world.”

But whether we use the acronomyns BYOD, BYOT or BYOL (or whatever), it’s all about students being able to contribute content (hopefully that they created) and participate in the discussions.


A piece of the Next Generation Smart Classroom -- Daniel Christian -- June 2012

From June 2012


Vision of a Next Gen Smart Classroom from March 2010

 From October 2009:
Building off of Steelcase’s media:scape product line

From DSC:

I’ve been trying to figure out the best ways to incorporate a BYOD/BYOT into the Smart Classroom.  That is, how can students’ devices seamlessly communicate with the main displays around the classroom? How can they quickly display a blog posting or a Google doc for example…or play a song they wrote, etc.  So I was excited to wake up this morning with the following concept/idea:


The Internet of Things Ceiling -- A concept for our future Smart Classrooms by Daniel Christian in December 2012


The Internet of Things Ceiling -- concept by Daniel Christian -  December 2012



Other features/thoughts:

  • Line of sight communications — students must be in the room to display something up on the main displays
  • Information travels many ways:  From large multitouch displays/walls to students’ devices and vice versa; so a professor could hit “Save” in order to send his/her annotations to all of the students’ devices (allowing them to be more cognitively present — vs madly writing down what the professor is writing)
  • The Smart Classroom’s infrastructure becomes like a multi-thredded processor — instantaneously and simultaneously handling a far greater amount of data — going in multiple directions
  • What’s an interesting idea here is for discipline-specific, cloud-based storage mechanisms for students who want to contribute their pieces of content to their schools repositories of content
  • This topic reminds me of a graphic I created a while back, re: The “Chalkboard” of the Future:




So…what if the 4 screen’s on Julong’s Ultra-IPBOARD were coming from 4 different sources? Perhaps:

  1. One from a publisher’s cloud-based content repository
  2. Another from a stream of content originating from a student’s iPad
  3. Another from a stream of content originating from the Smart Classroom’s PC or Mac
  4. …and the last source originating from a student’s smartphone?


Demo for Ultra-IPBOARD


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