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Virtual Reality in College Education

These interactive images look appealing as a learning tool. They pull together a series of short, quirky videos and animations that provide the low down on a collection of human organs. To what end? To some degree a Dorling Kindersley annotated book did this in the past. Stick it on an interactive screen and click on each in front of a class to fill 45 minutes. What is really required as a learning experience is to have students learn the skills to create these themselves, then research and add the links (or to shoot their own pieces). All of the above came from YouTube.

Here’s the link: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/880832510185963521

We use ThingLink.

The difference is that I am using 360 images that can be viewed through a VR headset, or desktop or touchscreen.

Here is my ThingLink VR Tour of Northbrook Theatre: https://www.thinglink.com/mediacard/1073243716732321794

I am working with the College team here to create an immersive experience for induction. Do we add multiple hotspots of information, like this Human Body above, and follow this up with a detailed quiz, or do we clone the tour and get students to add the information themselves? Should we give them the skills to use the 360 camera and get them to annotate it? OFSTED would like us to be developing their Digital Skills and using English.

The VR Tours I have so far initiated include the following. These are being used for marketing purposes so are in the public domain. If you get sent down a ‘blind alley’ or a link is missing or obscure please let me know and I’ll fix it 🙂 

An Aeronautics Workshop

Aeronautics VR

Learning Resource Centre (LRC) & Library

LRC1 WDurrington

Catering

Catering VR

Motor Vehicle Workshop : Shoreham 

Motor Vehicle Mechanics

Motor Vehicle Workshop : Brighton

Motor Vehicle Workshops MET Brighton

Hair Salon & Treatment Centre

Hair Salon

Carpentry Workshop

Carpentry VR

End of Year Fine Arts & 3D show

EYS Fine Art 3D

Creative Industries Theatre Props & Set Dressing Show

Creative Industries Theatre Props

Northbrook Student Theatre

Northbrook Theatre VRjpg

To get the education right I need to go back through some of the MAODE modules I did, for example, H818 ‘The Networked Practitioner’.

With my MA in British History of the First World War complete (the dissertation went off on 9 July) I am seriously contemplating the next piece of learning which includes adding to two 30 credit ‘spare’ modules I did having completed the MAODE in 2013 that I could potentially build into an MEd.

That or hunker down and specialise on Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality in learning.

 

 

 

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360 Virtual Reality Tour of Northbrook Theatre

Another 360 VR Tour

A morning spent taking some 80 VR 360 shots across Northbrook Theatre and an afternoon beginning to stitch them together. I relax with a trip down to Hope Gap to take further shots under the chalk cliffs looking east down the coast to the Seven Sisters, Birling Gap and Beechy Head.

18 years regularly taking shots along here and plenty to show the way the cliffs erode and collapse.

X 500 360 VR Stills and counting

The number of 360 images I have shot over the last six weeks approaches 500. On top of this add 200 mid and extreme close ups and 100 video clips.

360s on a Ricoh Theta SC.

Stills on a Sony Alpha 7 that delivers the most delicious results..

These being stitched together into some 12 interactive VR tours.

Production practices and workflow of any production company or agency with the 21st century digital bonus of being able to overshoot and experiment extensively.

All content transferred to a Google Photo account as soon as shot. Unless I resist the temptation these are further colour corrected in Adobe Lightroom (stills) before labelling and uploading to ThingLink. Then the tapestry takes form. There can be 12 to 50 360 images in a set and however many links and ‘hot spots’ I care to add.

All to create engaging promotion, immersive learning and ‘spaced’ and ‘just in time’ learning.

Covering Student End of Year Shows in 360

Art Collage

Continuing coverage of the summer at GB MET show at Durrington.

The pattern that is emerging is to cover the ground, each exhibition room and some corridors with a 360 still image, then return to take mid-shots and extreme close-ups. As I find the language for covering an exhibition I also use 360 video.

The pattern is to cover a room, on the self-timer at 5 to 10 seconds, then return first with a standard lens and then using a close-up lens for fine detail. Everything is manually set to try and negotiate very different lighting conditions. Much of the lighting is mixed source, between bright, low or no sunlight, with neon or other artificial lighting. The 360 camera offers various White Balance settings. Shutter speeds are generally kept low so that if someone wanders into a shot (rare) they will be out of focus in any case. Exposure is therefore adjusted by the ISO.

All the images using the standard digital camera are RAW.

All the 360 images are transferred to an iPad mini which operates the 360 camera remotely. All the images on the iPad are backed up in Google Photos. All these images, those chosen to use at least, will then be colour corrected in Adobe Lightroom, then uploaded into ThingLink and stitched together into a Virtual Reality Tour.

Some ‘establishing shots’ or just reminders of the rooms or corridors I am in are shot on my iPhone. It might be better to use the iPad for these and keep the images saved on a college device and in my college Google Gallery.

‘Hotspots’ will feature a random mixture of mid-shots and close-ups. The issue with VR is that the ability to zoom is lost as soon as you overlay ‘tags’ and ‘hot spots’ and the definition is reduced with the zoom too which counters the way we step in to take a closer look to see greater detail, not to have it obscured.

The coverage is somewhat random as I am not in position either to be comprehensive (cover all items in all sizes) or to be selective (I don’t know the student, the tutor or the department).

The simplest guidance I get is to cover the Degree graduate programme. Armed with a plan of the site I pick all of these off over two days. The Richoh Theta 360 camera runs for around 6 hours, but can overheat and shut down. It takes 4 hours to charge. At times a second 360 camera would be handy. With the self-timer I can get well-out of shot though I have learnt to leave the iPad within a 4m range so that the link is not lost. Once activates the camera will still take a picture however once lost the signal has to be reset via the WiFi connection, or sometimes by turning the camera on and off again.

 

Take risks and do not worry about getting it right first time eu

So advises Google as you undertake 12 hours of self-directed online learning to become a certified educator – Level 1.

Easy said, harder to fulfill if you are being overlooked by your employer, scrutinized by your peers and exposed to unsympathetic and potentially cruel students.

Are Texting, keyboards and touch screens to blame for terrible handwriting?

 

ED3A1087-BB91-4BE7-8C46-A04754DC39DD

 

It’s generational, but those of us brought up with handwriting competitions at school and handwritten essays and the written examination are judgmental of a generation who apparently have terrible handwriting and can’t spell.

Do they need to? They can touch type – can you? Faced with a sheet of paper and a pen to write an essay they may struggle to be legible and make spelling mistakes – but how often do they do that, or will they need to that.

Isn’t it like complaining in the 8th century that scribes would be rubbish with a chisel putting their words in stone.

The goal is everything – clear communication. Doesn’t technology deliver this?

Facilitators of learning rather than a teachers

Teachers will tell you never to take away teaching time, that they are hard pressed to deliver all the required course work as it is. If you want to involved ‘Technology Enhanced Learning’ (TEL) that it needs to during added hours.

The OU has taken up with Google’s philosophy of more ‘facilitator-led learning’ with those teachers who create the courses elevated in status, while everyone else takes on what they may see as a diminished role. Or an apprenticeship role before they too become writers of content.

I am putting it too crudely. Teachers do hours of planning to carry the hours of ‘taught hours’ that they deliver. If they are able to teach may more by including the indirect experience of learning online then this may, in some measure, begin to cater for the millions around the world who want a secondary or tertiary education but don’t have access to one.

IMAGE: Working in small groups to correct copyrights and Non-NPOV violations. Photo by Shani Evenstein (שני אבנשטיין), freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

IMAGE: Medical English student (Group 2) uploading photograph related to their field into Wikimedia Commons

IMAGE:  Children with iPads by  Wesley Fryer 

The silly side of history has its serious side

Having a laff at History – having been fed these stories in some form or another since I can remember no matter how seriously I study the subject now I cannot help but scream, cringe or fall about laughing at this lot. Cunk is irreverent, purile and brilliant. Like it or not, right or wrong, this stuff sticks.

What are the Barriers to Using Educational Technologies?

Research suggests that fear of looking foolish in front of students, time and relevance are reasons why some educators resist using educational tools and platforms. The answer is insightful and persuasive selling of the tools, promoting champions, support and nurture and having a good ear for their recommendations to make sure that content is relevant, wanted and effective.

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