How to use 360-degree video to engage students online and off

In their personal lives, today’s students have traded in reading for watching. Whether getting a makeup tutorial on YouTube or learning ways to crack the code of their favorite video game on Twitch, they use screen time to discover new content and expand their horizons.

In the classroom, educators have the choice to fight this trend, or to embrace it. I understand the apprehension many educators have to increase screen time in the classroom, but ignoring students’ own learning preferences and inclinations is doing them a disservice. Video facilitates retention. As studies have shown, that kind of embodied learning can help students better understand the material, and immersive experiences help with retaining information.

I got a real sense for this while attending a virtual reality (VR) conference in Chicago when I put on an HTC Vive headset and was immediately transported onto a NASCAR race track. In the most complex advertisement I’ve ever seen, I was asked to change the race car’s tire and then hand the driver a Big Mac. From those couple of minutes moving around, waving my arms into the blank air, I got a vivid look at the car as I worked my way around it, and that virtual burger is emblazoned in my mind.…Read More

Shenandoah U debuts two one-of-a-kind majors

In a technology lab at Shenandoah University in Virginia, students battle monsters, partake in lunar landings, experience a Civil Rights-era sit-in, and play soccer in rocket-powered cars.

The Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning (SCiL) lab is the university’s tech hub and the home of the school’s virtual reality and esports programs.

Preparing tomorrow’s leaders
Starting in 2019, Shenandoah will be one of the first schools in the country to offer degrees in both these programs: a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in virtual reality/augmented reality (AR/VR) design and a Bachelor of Science in esports.…Read More

VR packs a powerful punch in learning

I believe in using technology to engage all learners. After spending 15 years as an elementary teacher and now as a college professor, I see the same learning needs and teaching frustrations. This column is based on the premise that everyone can learn and often technology can provide just the right learning support.

While teaching in an inner-city school, I had a student named Eddie, who was bright, funny, and an amazing artist. According to our testing, he was a pretty good reader too, though he absolutely refused to read. He was impatient and distracted and couldn’t or wouldn’t read in class. I read about digital books engaging reluctant readers and a light bulb went off. I wrote a grant, got some iPads, and began a class read along where students alternated between traditional books and digital books on the iPads. Eddie read—and he enjoyed it. It was a new and exciting experience. A game changer for Eddie and others like him.

Flash forward a couple of years. My daughter, who has a learning disability, was a college freshman in an intro to human behavior class and struggling with her big, traditional textbook. She spoke with her professor and discovered that there was a website for the text with videos that supported the concepts. She called me and said, “Mum, the reading was so much easier when I read, then watched the video—it made sense!” As an educator and parent, I could see the technology opening a door for my child.…Read More

Here’s how your campus can tap into extended reality

Extended reality has enormous implications for higher education, but the challenge lies in ensuring these technologies are both evenly distributed and used appropriately for teaching and learning.

Extended reality–including augmented and virtual reality–is becoming more widespread, offering not only high-end expensive options, but increasingly affordable and accessible options via smartphones. And as extended reality becomes more accessible, its ability to impact teaching and learning becomes more real.

EDUCAUSE and HP collaborated on the Campus of the Future: 3D Technologies in Academe project, which focuses on a subset of extended-reality technologies, namely virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D scanning, and 3D printing. The project involves 11 institutions and is intended to identify innovative ways these 3D technologies are used, how they are impacting learning, and what lessons can be extrapolated for future use.…Read More

Top 10 VR influencers you should be following

Virtual reality (VR) is on the cusp of explosive growth. It seems like every day we see new startups posing innovative solutions to problems in the immersive technology industry. The best way to learn about a new emerging field is to speak to people directly working in the industry right now.

At VeeR, we have rounded up the best minds you should be following in the virtual, augmented, and mixed reality space today.

Do you know of these admirable individuals and how did you discover them?…Read More

Training of surgeons might take flight into virtual reality

Buffalo researchers have unveiled a simulator to train doctors to perform robotic surgery, similar to the way pilots use virtual-reality devices for flight training, reports the Buffalo News. The simulator could fill a glaring need in medicine. Demand for robotic surgery is growing faster than the ability to train surgeons, and the learning curve is considered steep, requiring dozens of cases to become proficient. Yet hospitals are reluctant to spend $2 million on a robotic surgery unit and use it for training inexperienced physicians. “While surgical practice does make perfect, we believe that through better training tools, the early learning curve of robot-assisted surgery can be shortened without jeopardizing the safety and welfare of patients,” said Dr. Khurshid A. Guru, director of the Center for Robotic Surgery and a surgeon at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Guru developed the Robotic Surgical Simulator, or RoSS, with Thenkurussi Kesavadas, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo and head of the school’s Virtual Reality Lab. The simulator approximates the feel of the Da Vinci Surgical System, robotic equipment that is controlled by a surgeon who sits at a console. That means the surgeon doesn’t have the normal sensation of feeling a knife in his hand. “With robotic surgery, you don’t have feedback, so you feel disconnected from the patient. That takes a lot of training to get used to,” Kesavadas said. He and Guru said hospitals and medical schools should incorporate robotic surgery simulators in the training of physicians in the same way that airlines use flight simulators to reduce pilot error…

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