Last month we covered the many uses of virtual reality in education. This month we look at how educators are using augmented and mixed reality. While virtual reality gives the user the experience of being in some other location, such as a museum, scientific expedition, or another planet, augmented reality (AR) superimposes digital content onto the user’s current location. Pokémon Go made this famous over the summer of 2017 when people could chase animated Pokémon creatures viewed through their cell phones that were released at various locations around the world. An AR app will detect the user’s location using their cell phone’s GPS system to send location-specific content or recognize an image on the cell phone’s camera to superimpose content onto that image. For instance, the app might recognize a building on the camera and start a video about the history of that building.
Online Classroom Current Issue: May 2018
How best to engage students and provide opportunities for active learning is a question we find ourselves thinking about and discussing often with colleagues. Quizlet is a user-friendly, technology-based quizzing system that works well to engage students in both face-to-face and online learning environments. Instructors can use it to create their own study set or browse through and use existing study sets. Study sets consist of groups of questions presenting content that students have reviewed. The content is presented as terms, definitions, pictures, diagrams, and labels, making the program flexible and effective for many disciplines. For example, an anatomy professor could insert pictures or diagrams of the skeletal system, and students may be charged with either labeling or identifying the correct term.
As faculty we often chalk up a student’s poor performance to lack of motivation or ability. But often it is due to a failure to understand how to study. Many students study by simply rereading material. But this method is of little help because it is only an attempt to get the content again. It does not mimic the situation of a test where students are required to pull the material out of their own memory. Even when it does work, it tends to be temporary, with the material lasting just long enough for the exam.
I use Statecraft in my political science course. Participants are placed in a global political environment to battle or cooperate with one another. The simulation makes use of a wide range of political elements, from the international to the domestic, the military to the economic. Unlike the game of Risk, the game is not some unrealistic game of conquest where one country always ends up ruling the world. The goals of the players are the same as the countries today: to survive, and even thrive, via smart political and economic decisions.
In a way, I started podcasting in the 1970s. I worked as a radio DJ and spent hours with reel-to-reel tape, editing with literal razor blades and Scotch tape. We didn’t call it podcasting, of course. I first heard of podcasting in 2004 or so.
Last month we looked at privacy considerations and how to address them when using social media tools. This month we look at accessibility considerations. With recent accessibility lawsuits against institutions such as Penn State, Harvard, and MIT, it is a good idea to address accessibility when using common social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube in an online course.