A research project that I have been working on is the Intuitive Learning Resources (ILR) project.
ILR researches the creation and application of visual learning objects where content remains the focus, not the interface. The project was born from previous research highlighting the positive results found when student are provided access to intuitive learning objects at a time, place and pace to suit their individual learning needs.
We have now created a web page to house the various resources created. Click here to view the various resources currently been used by students.
Professor John Cook and Dr Patricia Santos are hosting a workshop to discuss how technology can be used to support informal learning in the workplace – mainly focused on Higher Education, Creative Industries and Healthcare sector.
The learning-layers.eu project team is pleased to discuss with you whether the tools and applications we have developed might be useful in your work and learning context. The workshop takes place on June 20th from 10am to 5pm at Armada House in Bristol. Entry is free but places are limited so please register by following the link below if you wish to attend. Coffee and a buffet lunch will be provided, with an informal reception and drinks following the workshop.
University of West England Vice Deputy Chancellor Prof. Jane Harrington will open the event.
In 2013, the Horizon Report produced by Educause featured six educational technologies to watch in the coming years. One of these was wearable technology that would enable Augmented Reality (AR) to reach its potential and seamlessly integrating digital content into the education ecosystem. Three years on and we have seen a significant increase in wearable technology entering the consumer market and companies such as Apple and Nike taking full advantage of this new sales potential. But what about AR?
Firstly, what is AR, what are the potential benefits to education, and how can you get involved here at UWE?
AR is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world. You may remember Google Glass a project that used a specific pair of glasses to display information to the wearer, and although the project stopped it has already been reported that a new version will be released aimed at the business market. AR has made most of its impact via the use of smartphones and tablets. Publishers have been harnessing the power of AR on Magazines to engage their audience with rich media content that is lifted off the page and displayed on the screen of the readers smartphone or tablet.
What are the potential benefits to education?
In the UK, smart devices are becoming more commonplace, and the numbers of students owning these devices are starting to mirror US ownership figures wherein 2015 92% of students owned a smart device – exceeding laptop ownership of 91% for the first time (Educause, 2015).
This ubiquity has lowered the barriers to access for AR and educators can now start to harness the power of AR, developing content that is richer and more engaging than some traditional methods. To date, research has found the use of AR in the classroom provided improvements in students memorability and engagement, both key to effective learning.
Examples of AR in education
UWE has already been using AR. The UWEMobile app allows a student to navigate their way around the campuses, and find key locations such as the Library or Cribbs B. Outside of UWE, other examples of AR in education include treasure trails where students use AR to discover information and links about relevant subjects. Within the classroom, research by Cuendet and Sébastien (2013) utilised AR to guide learning and help students learn the principles of organising a warehouse. Participants need to learn and understand the trade-offs between how fast goods can be stored and the storage capacity of the warehouse. Researchers developed a device called a TinkerKey. The device would augment information (fig 1) onto activity sheets. The sheets allowed students to physically move objects such blocks and cards into positions on the sheet, representing their own warehouse designs. By using special markers on the blocks and cards, AR was triggered to change the state of a block or perform a specific action such display a step-by-step 3D animation of the process.
During the project, the system was used to teach carpentry students the Rabattement technique (fig2). A technique that transforms paper-based designs (2D) into full 3D objects. Using the TinkerKey, student were able to visualise how the process works and via a series of activities, students would gradually move through more complex activities, with visual support from the TinkerKey.
This use of AR in the classroom afforded flexible management of the classroom. The academic was able to walk between each table and place specific cards onto each student’s activity sheet. These cards triggered an action, such as allowing the student to move to the next activity or display (via AR) an alternative approach the student had not yet discovered. It also allowed the academic to manage high-performing groups by enabling them to run multiple simulations, but still keep control and provide additional information to the lower-performing groups.
How can you get involved here at UWE?
We are already working with academic colleagues on AR projects that will enhance the student experience in a number of different ways. Furthermore, we are in discussions with partners in professional services about how AR can help their roles.
If you would like to know more and get involved in a pilot within your department or program, contact us and arrange a chat with the EIC team.
Feedback and assessment are topics that encourage lively and rich debate amongst practitioners. During a recent session to the Post Graduate Certificate in Hight Education (PGCertHE) students at UWE, I was asked to talk about some of the technologies we can use to enhance our approaches and interactions with students. My session followed on from more in-depth discussions about the theory of feedback and assessment, and would allow me to delve straight into some specific tools and approaches that can be incorporated into practice.
My session looked at how we can use audio, video and written feedback in ways that can provide a richer experience to the recipient and help academics make efficiency gains. From the start of the session, I used Padlet to engage my audience. It’s an online tool that allows participants to contribute quickly and easily, and in this instance, I used it to quick survey my participants current feedback methods, and to encourage discussion. Introducing technology into the classroom is always fraught with danger and often elicits polar opposite opinions 🙂 This was precisely the experience we had during the session. In fact, I’d purposely not prepared my participants or given them any warning they would need to use this tool, to encourage and spark thoughts and discussion. And, as with many of the PGCertHE sessions I have done in the past, this was the case.
As the end of the session (the slides from the session are here), I returned to the Padlet and asked my participants to say how they might change their feedback approaches based on the session. You can watch my group feedback in this short video where I respond to some of the points made.
During February we are hosting the Digital Classroom Roadshow in 4D23 at Frenchay. It’ll be an opportunity to trial and showcase the Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) spaces that are being adopted across the University – and we’re inviting staff and students to participate in some of the open sessions that we’re running.