Educational Technology Review #3 Subject: “Next Vista”

The  Next Vista for learning website is listed on the FreeTech4Teachers.com website as one of several alternatives to the YouTube video hosting platform. The main benefit of using the Next Vista site is that it houses a growing array of curated videos on subjects, ideas, and information that may relevant to K-12 students without all of the distraction and possibly inappropriate content that may be found on Youtube. The videos are intended to jump start scholarly conversations and prime learning.

The Next Vista site is the brainchild of Rushton Hurley. Mr Hurley is the lead speaker and trainer for Next Vista for Learning. Mr Hurley has been a Japanese language teacher, a principal of an online high school, a teacher trainer, an educational technology researcher, and a school reform consultant.

 

NextVista.org believes “learning is stronger when it starts with an engaging introduction of each topic.” The website’s mission page states that, “With teachers and students from all over the world contributing content, it will get easier and easier to find the presentation a student needs to say, “I get it.” With the resources of the library available for free to anyone at any time, students will be in a good position to learn when they are most ready to do so. For teachers, the available videos can be used in the classroom to generate discussion, or even when planning lessons to generate ideas. Having a simple system for watching others’ work will strengthen professional development, which is another goal of NextVista.org”

The NextVista website meshes closely with the ISTE framework for students. ISTE’s 6 primary tenets are:

  1. Creativity and Innovation
  2. Communication and collaboration
  3. Research and information fluency
  4. Critical thinking, problem solving, decision making
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Technology Operations and Concepts.

 

All the videos are “creative and innovative”. The sources are from scholars and students all over the world. The platform as a whole serves to foster research effort and increase information and subject matter fluency. Digital citizenship is fostered by encouraging people in countries all over the world to look at life, problems and opportunities outside their own immediate environments

The Next Vista platform also lines up with the  paradigm  described in the “About the Triple E” Created by Dr. Liz Kolb, University of Michigan”  Generally the Triple E requires that effective use of educational technology will Enhance, Engage, and Extend learning in ways that ensure learning goals are “met or exceeded”. Dr. Kolb makes the point that, “It is important to look for “time on task” engagement. By hosting a curated collection of education videos learning can be enhanced for all students who are tasked with using the platform. The menus of topics offer many choices that students and scholars are likely to find engaging and the “extension” of learning occurs because the platform is available anytime anywhere the internet is available and viewing content about one subject can lead to viewing topics about one ore more related subjects thereby broadening the scope of knowledge that a student may obtain.

The Next Vista web platform is effective in its mission. A curated simple and easy-to-use video reference library making accurate information available on dozen of topics for students and teachers alike is valuable resource for need to gain competence with or publish information in a video format by way of the internet.

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Educational Technology Review #2 Subject: DS106

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DS106 is a growing, open access organic-community of students, scholars and aspiring scholars based primarily at the University of Mary Washington (but extended to scholars around the world) who are successfully leveraging various digital technologies though a single primary web domain to submit and execute ideas for assignments of self expression (Digital Storytelling) in the digital world. Described with a single word, DS106 is a very successful MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) for people who are proponents of various types of digital content and forms of expressions. Users make videos, contribute blogs, do video mashups, create GIFS, MPEGs and most important offer criticism, suggestions and support to one another all throughout the creative process.

 

This course began at the University of Mary Washington in Spring of 2010 when Jim Groom “re-imagined the way the Computer Science Course in Digital Storytelling, CPSC 106, might be taught.” DS106 was  originally launched by Jennifer Pollock and the University of Mary Washington’s Computer Science department. Mr Groom’s current co-pilot in the DS106 digital ecosystems is Martha Burtis.

The DS106 tool is remarkable digital platform because it is open to anyone and everyone who has an interest in telling their story via the DS106 digital storytelling platform and who has a standard issue personal computer connected to the the internet. What is particularly interesting is that in 2013 the 3M Corporation, an American multinational organization with a large presence in the technology spaces authorized an experimental program with 3M employees as subjects that took a close look at how the DS106 paradigm could be applied and add value to the 3M business model and help drive innovation and profits.

The DS106 course’s history page reports the message that “This course will require you to both design and build an online identity (if you don’t have one already) and narrate your process throughout the fifteen week semester. Given this, you will be expected to openly frame this process and interact with one another throughout the course as well as engage and interact with the world beyond as a necessary part of such a development.” Watching the 10 minute video history gives a good sense for what DS106 can do, does do, and might do.

The DS106 MOOC, fits very closely with all 6 (six) tenets of the  the ISTE framework for students. ISTE’s 6 primary tenets are:

  1. Creativity and Innovation
  2. Communication and collaboration
  3. Research and information fluency
  4. Critical thinking, problem solving, decision making
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Technology Operations and Concepts.

 

Creativity and Innovation are evident on the DS106 home page where novel applications of published content are regularly adopted and repurposed by contributors to DS106. The platform itself provides links which allow for the communication of ideas, thoughts and perspective to from and between all users of the platform in a collaborative fashion. Underpinning the ability to add meaningful content to the DS106 platform is a base level research and information fluency to do things like program the DS106 “radio” station or edit video mashup in a compelling and meaningful way. Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making are an integral component of completing the “assignments” that are posted for DS106 participants. DS106 students hail from countries all over the world including Japan, Korea, Australia and the United States. Standards such as CCSS, NGSS, do not appear to have direct application to the DS106 platform in the same way that ISTE does.

 

The DS106 MOOC also lines up nicely with the major requirements for a Triple E Framework analysis.  In the article entitled, “About the Triple E” Created by Dr. Liz Kolb, University of Michigan”  Generally the Triple E requires that effective use of educational technology will Enhance, Engage, and Extend learning in ways that ensure learning goals are “met or exceeded”. Dr. Kolb makes the point that, “It is important to look for “time on task” engagement. In addition, engagement should include social or co-use of the technology tool rather than isolated learning with a tool.” The faculty managing the DS106 MOOC have GOOGLE doc metrics and other significant troves of data that quantity the time on task dimension of students work in the DS106 environment. Over time, perhaps in the form of a longitudinal study they can use the data to to drive predictive analytics and start to quantify results and make evidence based assumptions about what outcomes will be based on the relationship between variables such as time on task and social and effective co-use of technology.

 

Having reviewed the wide variety of things that DS106 users are doing with education technology it seems that a streamlined, clean slate home page is would be useful in attracting new users to the DS106 MOOC. The website’s purpose and capability is not always and immediately apparent. The organic and free-form way in which the community supports and refreshes content on DS106 probably influences the design choices that are made for the site. Another area of concern is how robust the system for crediting the original creators of content that may appear on the DS106 may be. If the DS106 model move out of its academic environment and goes “mainstream” systems for attribution credit may become essential. Currently they appear only loosely structured.

Ed Tech Tool Blog Post #2

 

Placeholder ImageThis week my assignment was to do a 200-250 word review of an educational technology that I had recently used. The tool I reviewed is Jing. My objective was to explain how the “Jing” Screencast platform helped me post a review of Augmented Reality (A/R) technology as it is currently being applied to the Educational Technology Domain

My answer set is embedded here.

(Image Credit to: WordPress core image library)

Ed Tech Review #1: A/R Glasses

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Augmented reality (AR) glasses (also called A/R goggles and/or A/R visors) are peripheral pieces of computer hardware that permits the user to engage with objects and information presented to them both visually and spatially, allowing them to work with, and inside a realistic and convincing environment superimposed on the “real” world where three dimensional views inspection and dimensional manipulation along with deep engagement learning processes are second nature. Augmented reality glasses offer the most convenient and engaging method currently available to engage with augmented reality information and environments. The tool works like a pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses but instead of simply magnifying an object or reducing distracting glare the glasses project electronically rendered information (shapes, word, colors objects, etc.) into the wearers fields of view where they can then interact and manipulate with the augmented reality normally using their hands, arms and fingers. The systems are usually very adaptive and both children and adults quickly attain competence in the system capabilities and limitations. According to Bill Krug, Chief Technology Officer from Deloitte Consulting, “Enterprise adoption will outpace consumer adoption for some time,” The companies Tech Trends 2016 report puts a spotlight on VR/AR. Some of the current leaders in the A/R headset space include: Samsung, Google cardboard, Zeiss VR One, Osterhout Design Group (ODG) R-7, Meta 2, Oculus Rift, Microsoft Hololens, HTC Vive, Epson Moverio BT-300 and Sony PlayStation VR.

A/R glasses allow one or more layers of information or artifacts to be superimposed on top of the “real” world. Teachers working to adhere to the tenets propose in section 2 of 7 currently proposed in the draft ITSE standards for 2017 will need to “Lead” their peers, students and managers in such a way that do specifically what subparagraphs b and c advocate which is to “advocate for equitable access to educational technology digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students”. The standard also calls for teachers to “identify, test and curate digital tools, applications and resources, and share their knowledge to support effective use of evolving technology that support teaching and learning. A/R visors and the software written to be projected through them are have clear potential to reshape the landscape of how information is presented and learned in a significantly new and improved manner.

Teachers, academics and other stakeholders in educational technology who are proponents of the NGSS standards (Next Generation Science Standards) can quickly make a connection between what A/R glasses and headsets do and what the next generation science education and learning will look like. Dimension 1 of 3 from the foundation document that makes of the standard references the task of, “investigat[ing] and build[ing] models and theories about the natural world and the key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build models and systems.” These tasks are easily and effectively accomplished to great effect by way of A/R glasses and the programming system that make the graphics and imagery compelling and so readily manipulated.

The current crop of A/R glasses and headset are all still contending with size adequacy issues (They are too large). The headsets, which while compelling in their ability to create immersive environments are still distractingly large and cumbersome with limits on the field of view in which the operator may engage the environment. Another limitation is the number of software application that are currently available for end users to do work and expand the realm of what can be done in augmented reality settings. School age children K-12 should be part of the design team for who the devices are engineered. They are the ones who will “grow up” with this technology and for whom the platform holds the greatest potential. Cost is the final obstacle to rapid adoption of A/R glasses. The most effective units still cost several thousand dollars apiece, far above the immediate reach of most private citizens and school districts. Over time, like other computer hardware the prices of these items will likely drop precipitously and this obstacle will be no more.

 

 

January 22, 2017 Review of Augmented Reality Software from: SCOPE AR

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Augmented reality is a technology that overlays the real world environment with computer generated graphics, images, sound and video in a way that helps users obtain an enhanced understanding of their duty, responsibility, opportunities or threats to safety and/or property. WikiPedia defines Augmented Reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.

SCOPE AR is a technology outfit based in Alberta, Canada that produces and markets an augmented reality (AR) solution with a primary focus on industrial and engineer clients. The systems they promote are designed to support stakeholders in training, manufacturing and field service maintenance.

The SCOPE AR system is comprised of two products: WorkLink and RemoteAR. ScopeAr’s website claims that the Worklink product,”transform(s) traditional paper-based work instructions into Smart instructions, users are immersed into animated, intuitive, 3D computer generated imagery that overlay on top of the real world.” The manufacturer also reports that, “This immersion has proven to improve comprehension, knowledge retention, and efficacy; which results in higher quality, faster cycle times, and cost savings.”

Of its Remote AR product, SCOPE AR says ,”Remote AR is a one-of-a-kind collaboration tool that allows remote field technicians and experts to connect via live video, audio, and a powerful annotation tool set that is augmented onto the real world.” The company reports, “Annotations and 3D models are placed by users through shared one-way video and stay locked onto the real world, giving rich context and eliminates confusion. No matter how users move around, their annotations will persist ensuring their message and intent never gets lost.”

The demonstration tool available on the company’s website allows for the download of an electrical circuit breaker panel repair demonstration that demonstrates the high fidelity experience and systematic support that the Augmented reality lends a technician or engineer who is working in the real world and attempting to fix/diagnose repair a issue.

I took the opportunity to download and print the circuit breaker and image target template documents and Remote AR tool for my Android smartphone and was very impressed with how by way of the phones cameras I could see animated superimposed image of the defective circuit breaker and tools needed to remove it safely in a series of sequential action which start with shutting off the power. The tutorial broke down once or a twice to a point where clicking “next” had no immediate effect, but overall the demonstration was effective in conveying the value and utility of AR in an industrial setting.

The SCOPE AR platform does not currently have any applications that work in educational or corporate training settings, but the core technology seems to be easily applied to those purposes as well. Other vendors likely market system with broader application.

Week #15

Meluso, A., Zheng, M., Spires, H., & Lester, J. (2012). Enhancing 5th graders’ science content knowledge and self-efficacy through game-based learning. Computers & Education, 59(2), 497–504. science direct.

In their 2012 journal article,entitled Enhancing 5th graders’ science content knowledge and self-efficacy through game-based learning the authors primarily examine whether game based learning both on an individual level and in collaborative settings has any tangible impact on learning in the STEM domain for middle school students.

Meluso et al, do a good job presenting the research problems,  a review of the literature, their methods, analysis and recommendations. The experiments are fairly well designed with a reasonable sized population running for 4 days with both pretest and post test evaluations providing important normative information to the academy. Unfortunately, the authors conclude, “As members of the 2006 National Summit on Educational Games suggested, game-based learning research needs to continue to focus on what works with whom and in which context. When the research community
adequately addresses this concern, games will become more compatible with school learning contexts and potentially have a greater impact on the development of students’ 21st century skills.” Profession Dede echoes the point in his blog entitled, “Developing a Research Agenda for Educational Games and Simulations”,evaluation studies are a poor place to stop in research on an innovation and should be only a small part of a research agenda, not the preponderance of work, as they typically do not contribute much to theory and do not provide nuanced understandings of what works, when, for whom, and under what conditions.”

The research is extremely important to DET scholars in particular and the US school system generally because as the authors indicated in the introduction to their research, the US has been producing few numbers of STEM graduates compared to other nations around the world for many decades and if game based learning can boost self-efficacy in this area then perhaps some support can be lent to the efforts being made to reverse this trend. DET scholars above all others will may be charged with doing the research to measure whether the efforts and interventions are successful or not and if not they will be tasked with figuring out the necessary adjustments and modifications which may be required.