Making VR a Reality in the Classroom — from er.educause.edu by Cat Flynn and Peter Frost
Faculty and staff at Southern New Hampshire University piloted virtual reality in an undergraduate psychology course to see if it can be an effective pedagogical tool.

Excerpt:

Meeting the Learning Needs of Gen Z and Beyond
While this study was conducted with current SNHU undergraduates, our team aimed to understand the implications of immersive learning for both today’s students and future learners.

Given Gen Z’s documented love for gaming and their desire for higher education to equip them with problem-solving and practical skills, VR provides a confluence of experiential learning and engagement.

From DSC:
Cost and COVID-19 are major issues here, but this is an interesting article nonetheless.

I think Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Augmented Reality (AR) will play a significant role in the future of how we learn. It may take us some time to get there, but I believe that we will.

 

Hiperwall Introduces Cost-Effective ‘Essentials’ Video Wall Hardware and Software Packages — from hiperwall.com with thanks to Michael Farino for this resource
Hiperwall Essentials video wall bundles eliminate barriers to entry for organizations wanting enhanced collaboration, clearer communication, and the ability to make informed real-time decisions

Excerpt:

February 24, 2021 – IRVINE, Calif., – Hiperwall Inc., an industry-leader in commercialized, IP-based visualization technology, today introduces ‘Hiperwall Essentials,’ two all-inclusive video wall hardware and software bundles that get users started with a full-featured, control-room grade video wall powered by Hiperwall for just $9,995.

Most major decisions made in the public and private sectors are driven by vast amounts of data. Due to the volume of data sources, data complexity, and different analytics tools, video walls have become the perfect canvas for decision-makers to put all of this data together clearly to arrive at an informed decision faster and more confidently.

At a price point that effectively removes barriers to implementation for small to medium businesses, small government agencies, and local law enforcement, Hiperwall Essentials serves as a great baseline for integrating video wall technology into any organization. As dependence on the video wall grows, Hiperwall’s modular platform makes scaling the video wall footprint and capabilities seamless and cost-effective.


Below are some example settings:

For those interested in video walls, this is worth checking out. These pictures are example settings.

 

For those interested in video walls, this is worth checking out. These pictures are example settings.

 

For those interested in video walls, this is worth checking out. These pictures are example settings.

 

For those interested in video walls, this is worth checking out. These pictures are example settings.

 

For those interested in video walls, this is worth checking out. These pictures are example settings.

 

When the Animated Bunny in the TV Show Listens for Kids’ Answers — and Answers Back — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt:

Yet when this rabbit asks the audience, say, how to make a substance in a bottle less goopy, she’s actually listening for their answers. Or rather, an artificially intelligent tool is listening. And based on what it hears from a viewer, it tailors how the rabbit replies.

“Elinor can understand the child’s response and then make a contingent response to that,” says Mark Warschauer, professor of education at the University of California at Irvine and director of its Digital Learning Lab.

AI is coming to early childhood education. Researchers like Warschauer are studying whether and how conversational agent technology—the kind that powers smart speakers such as Alexa and Siri—can enhance the learning benefits young kids receive from hearing stories read aloud and from watching videos.

From DSC:
Looking at the above excerpt…what does this mean for elearning developers, learning engineers, learning experience designers, instructional designers, trainers, and more? It seems that, for such folks, learning how to use several new tools is showing up on the horizon.

 

6 Games Perfect for the Art Room — from theartofeducation.edu by Abby Schukei

Here are 6 art-related games you might consider adding to your classroom collection to engage early finishers.

6 Games Perfect for the Art Room -- Professor Noggin’s History of Art is

 

Best Online Educational Games for High School Students — from edtechreview.in by Saniya Khan

Excerpt:

…the introduction of educational games to kids helps increase their motivation and engagement, enhance visual skills, improve students’ interaction and collaboration abilities with their peers, and apply gaming values in a real-world situation; most importantly, it improves learning.

Learning Apps For Kids To Explore in 2021 — from edtechreview.in by Priyanka Gupta

Excerpt:

Living in a digital era and in times when technology has kept education going, let’s look at some promising learning apps for kids to explore in 2021.

 

 

From DSC:
Videoconferencing vendors out there:

  • Have you done any focus group tests — especially within education — with audio-based or digital video-based versions of emoticons?
    .
  • So instead of clicking on an emoticon as feedback, one could also have some sound effects or movie clips to choose from as well!
    .

To the videoconferencing vendors out there -- could you give us what DJ's have access to?

I’m thinking here of things like DJ’s might have at their disposal. For example, someone tells a bad joke and you hear the drummer in the background:

Or a team loses the spelling-bee word, and hears:

Or a professor wants to get the classes attention as they start their 6pm class:

I realize this could backfire big time…so it would have to be an optional feature that a teacher, professor, trainer, pastor, or a presenter could turn on and off. (Could be fun for podcasters too!)

It seems to me that this could take
engagement to a whole new level!

 

Wonder Tools | The Best Data Viz Tool — from wondertools.substack.com by Jeremy Caplan
How and why to use Flourish to make impressive charts fast and for free

Excerpt:

Flourish is a terrific tool for visualizing data. It’s easy to use and free. Unlike some complex tools aimed at data professionals, Flourish is simple enough for anyone to use. It’s also flexible and polished enough to use in professional newsroom projects. And it comes with a wide range of templates so you can create a strong interactive data visual to embed on any site within a couple of hours.

 
Flourish -- a great data visualization tool that non-professionals can use as well!

 

From DSC:
For me the Socratic method is still a question mark, in terms of effectiveness. (I suppose it depends on who is yielding the tool and how it’s being utilized/implemented.)

But you have one student — often standing up and/or in the spotlight — who is being drilled on something. That student could be calm and collected, and their cognitive processing could actually get a boost from the adrenaline.

But there are other students who dread being called upon in such a public — sometimes competitive — setting. Their cognitive processing could shut down or become greatly diminished.

Also, the professor is working with one student at a time — hopefully the other students are trying to address each subsequent question, but some students may tune out once they know it’s not their turn in the spotlight.

So I was wondering…could the Socratic method be used with each student at the same time? Could a polling-like tool be used in real-time to guide the discussion?

For example, a professor could start out with a pre-created poll and ask the question of all students. Then they could glance through the responses and even scan for some keywords (using their voice to drive the system and/or using a Ctrl+F / Command+F type of thing).

Then in real-time / on-the-fly, could the professor use their voice to create another poll/question — again for each student to answer — based on one of the responses? Again, each student must answer the follow up question(s).

Are there any vendors out there working on something like this? Or have you tested the effectiveness of something like this?

Vendors: Can you help us create a voice-driven interface to offer the Socratic method to everyone to see if and how it would work? (Like a Mentimeter type of product on steroids…er, rather, using an AI-driven backend.)

Teachers, trainers, pastors, presenters could also benefit from something like this — as it could engage numerous people at once.

#Participation #Engagement #Assessment #Reasoning #CriticalThinking #CommunicationSkills #ThinkingOnOnesFeet #OnlineLearning #Face-to-Face #BlendedLearning #HybridLearning

Could such a method be used in language-related classes as well? In online-based tutoring?

 

5 Ways to Keep Students Motivated Right Now — from theartofeducation.edu by Nick Gehl

Excerpts:

  1. Offer them choices.
  2. Make it relevant.
  3. Make it fun!
  4. Create opportunities for collaboration.
  5. Support students’ social-emotional needs.
 

Distracted Minds: The Role of Tempo in Good Teaching — from chronicle.com by James Lang
To help students stay attentive in class, think like a conductor, and recognize that students need you to change the pace and the action.

Excerpt:

In this third installment of a series on distraction and attention in education — based on my new bookDistracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It — I want to draw inspiration from creative artists who have long counted it as one of their tasks to keep audiences attentive to works that stretch over long periods of time. Directors and playwrights, conductors and composers, all recognize the limited attention span of an audience, which is why they structure the work itself and its performance in particular ways.

The classroom is one of the only places where we expect humans in seats to maintain their attention through an extended, uninterrupted performance of an hour or more. I suspect that’s the case because we (the teachers) are able to keep ourselves fully engaged during the class period: We’re managing our slides, thinking about the next discussion question, writing on the board, and more. It’s all very engaging — for us — but not necessarily for our students.

From DSC:
I appreciated reading this solid article by James Lang — in it, he offers up some excellent points and suggestions. I would guess that the top reasons why these things don’t occur most offer are:

  1. The design of a class takes time. Time is hard to come by. That’s why instructional design is very helpful but is sometimes put on a backburner…to the students’ detriment.
  2. There aren’t enough Instructional Designers to go around.
  3. Faculty don’t seek out Instructional Designers or, when an Instructional Designer is around, they may have a queue that’s way too long and they’ve become a bottleneck.
 
 

From DSC:
Our oldest daughter showed me a “Bitmoji Classroom” that her mentor teacher — Emily Clay — uses as her virtual classroom. Below are some snapshots of the Google Slides that Emily developed based on the work of:

  • Kayla Young (@bitmoji.kayla)
  • MaryBeth Thomas 
  • Ms. Smith 
  • Karen Koch
  • The First Grade Creative — by C. Verddugo

My hats off to all of these folks whose work laid the foundations for this creative, fun, engaging, easy-to-follow virtual classroom for a special education preschool classroom — complete with ties to videoconferencing functionalities from Zoom. Emily’s students could click on items all over the place — they could explore, pursue their interests/curiosities/passions. So the snapshots below don’t offer the great interactivity that the real deal does.

Nice work Emily & Company! I like how you provided more choice, more control to your students — while keeping them engaged! 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

From DSC:
I also like the idea of presenting this type of slide (immediately below, and students’ names have been blurred for privacy’s sake) prior to entering a videoconferencing session where you are going to break out the students into groups. Perhaps that didn’t happen in Emily’s class…I’m not sure, but in other settings, it would make sense to share one’s screen right before sending the students to those breakout rooms and show them that type of slide (to let them know who will be in their particular breakout group).

The students in the different breakout sessions could then collaboratively work on Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides and you could watch their progress in real-time!

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

Also see:

 

Maths mastery through stop-motion animation — from innovatemyschool.com by Rachel Cully

Do you want your learners to be resilient, confident mathematicians with secure conceptual understanding and a love of Maths? Well, come with me to a land of stories and watch the magic unfold.

Maths mastery through stop-motion animation -- by Rachel Cully

Also see:

 

Saving — and Enhancing — Music Education With Online Learning — from edcircuit.com by D. Travis Washington

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

I teach Choir and lead the Young Vocal Scholars Program, and before COVID arrived, we were excited to move forward on the culmination of learning through live performances. With school closure, all that changed, and we were forced to adapt to virtual learning. Through the initial transition, we discovered that online learning options such as Soundtrap could not only extend projects we were currently working on but expand music learning to previously unimaginable heights.

When Covid hit and we couldn’t continue with the traditional choir program, my school looked for remote solutions. Soundtrap was exactly what we needed. We began conducting Young Vocal Scholars choir sessions remotely through Soundtrap and filled our extra Soundtrap seats with students from the District 8 Choir who weren’t being served music at all — doing similar projects that we had been creating previously in my classes. It was incredible to suddenly recognize that there were far more students interested in music who could connect via their laptops and tablets at home.

Also see:

Soundtrap for Education empowers students and teachers to explore creative sound recording in all subjects, for all ages and ability levels.

Soundtrap revolutionized my classroom in a virtual setting. Students became more engaged than ever before. My “4-star artists,” as I refer to my highly motivated students, kept making songs. I recall one of them saying to me, “Music class was cool because we sang together, but Soundtrap is cooler because it allows us to make projects together and they sound good.” 

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian