This week in the Exeter Education Incubator Blog I’d like to introduce three of the exciting projects which we are supporting this year. These project are all part of the Learning Reimagined theme, which is led by the Director of the Education Incubator Dr Sarah Dyer. This theme explores ways to re-imagine learning and teaching by utilising the affordances of some of the technological innovations which are set to become part of campus life. Followers of the Education Incubator blog will recognise some aspects of these projects. Last week we shared the Snapchat glasses which the Locating Imagined Spaces team will deploy in their project. The InVEnTA project began last year, and will use this coming year to address pedagogical applications of Interactive Virtual Environments.
The three projects introduced below will explore innovative ways of using technology in teaching for specific outcomes, and more widely across the university.
Locating Imagined Spaces
Katharine Earnshaw, Leif Isaksen, Graham Fereday
The project will trial and evaluate a range of digital tools and platforms (Minecraft Educational, Unity 3D [with InVEnTA software], 360˚ cameras and Snapchat glasses) for how it might help to enhance a critical engagement with ancient didactic poetry, and what the pedagogical implications and possibilities are for teaching texts more generally.
Sharing a Social Learning Pedagogy across the Institution
Lisa Harris, Beverly Hawkins, Alison Truelove, Stephen Hickman
Our multi-disciplinary online module will be based on a social learning pedagogy and open to undergraduates from all Exeter campuses. The online model offers flexibility of student participation, study time and tutor involvement without the usual timetable constraints of face to face sessions. It will equip students to develop the knowledge, transferable skills and graduate attributes necessary for a new age of work shaped by digital innovations that requires flexibility, adaptability and continual learning. For example, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and crypto-currencies will restructure entire industries and transform the nature and location of employment.
Damien Mansell, Steve Palmer, Anne Le Brocq
Following the successful first year (2017-2018) of the InVEnTA incubator project, this follow-on proposal seeks to develop and reinforce the preliminary outputs. InVEnTA is a tool that enables students and/or educators to quickly and efficiently produce ‘free roaming’ immersive Interactive Virtual Environments (IVEs). During 2018-2019 we will continue to develop this tool as well as assess the pedagogic benefits of using IVEs in teaching and learning contexts. The improved version of InVEnTA will be able to incorporate 3D models beyond digital terrain datasets, to widen the applicability of the tool to other disciplines, for example, for understanding complex microscopic models such as protein structures or neural networks. Following a successful ‘early adopters’ workshop in June 2018, we aim to expand the functionality of the tool to enhance the immersive capabilities. We will also be running focus-group style sessions with both students and academic staff to evaluate different methods of embedding interactive learning content.
We look forward to working with these teams as they bring their exciting ideas into reality (or virtual reality). Watch this space as we share a preview of some of the other projects which are happening in the coming 12 months. 2018-19 is shaping up to be a fascinating year in the Exeter Education Incubator.