For example, some mathematical and scientific worlds allow users to represent abstract topics in ways that would otherwise be difficult or impossible in real life. The use of virtual worlds for simulation of medical procedures is well documented, as it allows for errors to be made without the catastrophic consequences in real procedures. One particularly innovative initiative was conducted in a virtual world called Second Life. The program allows teachers to design, create and teach in a virtual world with university students.
A series of collaborative activities were used to introduce aspects of Chinese language and culture to students in Australia before they spent time on exchange in China. When the effects of this program were researched , data illustrated significant improvements in a number of key areas including:. Reducing apprehension and embarrassment, which otherwise impede experimentation in activities like role-playing.
Present Realities and Future Possibilities, 1st Edition
Encouraging better social interaction between students as they were reacting and sharing a virtual world, rather then through email. Putting students in control of their avatar, not the teacher, which meant they could explore and interact independently.
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Unlike PowerPoint, where everybody sees the same information in the same way at the same time, a virtual world allows students to create their own understanding. A lack of non-verbal clues, including body language, gestures and facial expressions, has been cited in studies as negatively impacting communication. However, in increasingly sophisticated virtual worlds, avatars move and respond in more realistic ways.
How Virtual Reality Will Change How We Learn and How We Teach
Improved graphics cards in computers also allow students to infer more meaning through these conversations. Research is starting to provide examples of where and when these technologies may fit into the pedagogical repertoire of teachers. Studies have reported increased student motivation , improved collaboration and knowledge construction and enhanced classroom practices. In the recent past, students and teachers were able to access virtual worlds only through a desktop or laptop computer. The release of relatively low cost, virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive now allow teachers to design three-dimensional interactive and individual environments for their students.
While the technical skills associated with this kind of work are beyond the capacities of many teachers, advances in the way we can program these kinds of tools mean this is likely to be a real option for many teachers in the near future. One of the most recent forms of technology to enter the educational landscape is Augmented Reality AR.
Unlike virtual environments, in which the real world is obscured and the user is immersed in a fully digital experience, AR overlays digital information on real world objects utilising the camera on a mobile device such as a tablet or smart phone. The potential of this form of educational technology is beginning to be realised not only in tertiary settings but also in secondary schools.
Research shows that although this type of technology enhanced self-directed learning, there are still technological and pedagogical challenges such as slow response times, incompatible softwares and incompatible environmental settings. Over the past 18 months, I have been working on a different educational AR application for use in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. This work is grounded in considerations of the technological, pedagogical and content TPACK requirements of teachers.
Research of the TPACK concept argues that teachers integrate digital technologies most effectively when they consider the ways in which different platforms allow them to represent content in different ways. This means they can engage their students in more comprehensive learning activities. My work at the Royal Botanic Gardens has been designed to use AR technology with a particular pedagogical approach constructivism and to represent particular content environmental sustainability and Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander histories and cultures to students in ways that would be otherwise difficult to do.
For example, students are introduced to the concept of the carbon cycle through an AR overlay of the cycle triggered by the geometric shape of specific trees. Once the students have been able to grasp this abstract content with the help of the technology, teachers then have the choice of other digital or non-digital activities from which they can choose to have their students apply this knowledge.
The Future Possibilities for Technology in Higher Education | The EvoLLLution
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Education in a Digital Age
Education for a digital world : present realities and future possibilities. Responsibility edited by Rocci Luppicini, A. Imprint Toronto : Apple Academic Press, c Physical description xx, p. Online Available online. Full view. Education Library Cubberley.
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Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Contributor Luppicini, Rocci. Haghi, A.