Exploration of Virtual Reality in Education

I went through many projects and found these three projects were very interesting to me.

Project 1: In the past, I had seen some Virtual Reality videos and played related games and felt amazing experience but never had a chance to explore how virtual reality videos and games were built or never thought how Virtual Reality can be taken further in to education world more from entertainment world. Wenjuan’s paper was very informative by providing how VR can help in Education, how the contents are developed and the related tools used for such development. I liked the approach of investigation of necessity of VR in education and the survey in understanding the attitude of educators and learners. Further, most of their concerns were lack of VR contents and cost of hardware and software to build.

From my reading, this paper was very helpful to me in getting introduced to Virtual Reality and its features both from gaming and e-learning perspective and how virtual images, related sounds and experience gained in virtual or imaginary environment. This the first time I learned that human brain can remember 10% on what it reads, 20% on what it hears and 90% of what it does or simulates. This clearly proves that brain can remember longer enough only with simulation and that’s where we need to understand the importance of VR in educational world where brain gets more opportunity to perform simulation. There could be several issues but I liked the way that only limited number of them was considered and along with the feasibility for VR in education – Necessity for VR in education (both onsite and e-learning), educators and learners attitude and feasibility/tools for creating related contents. This paper also gives brief introduction to some of the popular e-leaning sites such as Khan Academy, Coursera and EdX. When it comes to VR related development platform / tools like Github and Google Cardboard were great introduction for people like me who is willing to learn and explore about VR in feature. Overall I feel this paper is great gift for me to get an introduction about Virtual Reality and especially in the field of education. I can take this as starting point in the Virtual Reality world and explore further to gain deep understanding of VR especially in educational field.

Project 2: An educational Robot impacts toward learning.

This paper is similar to the earlier paper that attracted me since this is also towards learning but more of Robot and how it impacts toward learning for adult and young children. This paper was written by Rosi Wyan at Georgia Tech and I feel Rosi has clearly performed analysis on Robot impacts towards learning. I like Rosi’s words that says that humans never stops learning and learning is not straight forward. It is true from my perspective too since I am aware how I learned when I was kid at school through just teacher writing on black board and how my kids are learning now at their school using power point presentations and smart board. This paper clearly introduces about various methodologies of learning such as knowledge absorption through verbally and visually but the bottom line is how people are trying to increase their ability to learn. This paper also depicts where robots are used in the current world starting from manufacturing, cleaning floors and assisting physicians and evolving continues while robots are already in educational field. It is nice to read that how robot has created positive impact toward learning for both young children and adults. It is also good to know that adults feel more comfortable and gain lot of advantages when physical robot thought them in class compared with onscreen or voice over tutorial.

The two methodologies or approaches indicated in this paper about existence of educational robot 1) Utilizing Search Engine and 2) through Survey. The results are amazing but I did not quite understand about the 5 constraints listed in Utilizing Search Engine section. May be Rosi did not explain those constraints clearly or maybe I did not understand them clearly enough. Thymio and Aseba were nicely introduced in this paper when it comes to educational robot and its development environment. I also learned about Technology Assisted Science, Engineering and Mathematics (TASEM) program and its implementation through this paper. Overall, it is good to know that there are so much positive impacts on robotics in learning and how developed countries such as Japan and Singapore are implementing robotics in their educational system. As I mentioned earlier, if I get an opportunity in future, I will definitely perform additional research on robotics in education along with Virtual Reality in education. I believe both Virtual Reality and Robots could dominate in future educational era.

Project 3: SmarterAP

The feature for AP exam preparation SmarterAP, the title itself was attractive for me after reading Virtual Reality and Robot in educational field. In my opinion, Partricia Flynn, Scott Leitstein and Joseph Slater have clearly analyzed existing AP exam preparation tools and have described the development of SmarterAP, a multiplatform paced exam practice assessment tool for high school students. The concept or idea for developing this tool is simple but it is smart as the name indicates SmarterAP. What I infer from this paper is that this tool gives more control for Teachers for creating and populating a class of Students from existing rosters so that the tool can track students’ performance and progress. Also, the instructor interface seems to be smarter in populating questions from questions bank either by categories or skills or topics or by difficulty level. Also, it is nice to know that real time student analytics will be stored to track long term performance for students. The most intelligent part of this SmarterAP tool is it puts teachers in control on how and when the questions are presented to the students. This tool also gives teacher an ability to tailor the contents. This paper also explains about other exam preparation tools such as – Learnerator, Socrative and Nearpod and their functionalities and their limitations. This is somehow technical, but I liked the way the paper has presented about the implementation of this tool specifying about the software development tools used to build SmarterAP, development framework and database used for persistence etc.

Without going deep into architecture, if we look into the features from various perspectives such as admin, teachers and students they look great. Finally, the idea for future version is very interesting to know that there is a thought for incorporating Student Assessment Analysis Engine for assessing and analyzing students performance and learning progress and also an idea to overcome from regular multiple choice and incorporate true or false type questions, completion, essay matching format etc. Overall, there is no doubt SmarterAP will get further Smarter in future.

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