Unit 6: World Wide Technology Leadership

Before beginning this blog, I wanted to peek at my classmate’s blogs to see who/what they have picked as a positive note to end on.  I have a feeling that my positive may be a bit different, but it is a direction that I am headed in for the fall and have already begun moving towards by procuring equipment, etc.

I found Krista’s post extremely well representative of my views regarding the iPad roll in L.A. and how “unplanned” it was.  I found myself shaking my head at the county not thinking that their students could not bypass the security systems they have set out – come on – you are have just handed these out to high school students who are digital natives!  The programs to block all unwanted materials viewed were not developed by digital natives, rather digital immigrants.  A native is going to find their way around the system much, much faster.  I also wondered why YouTube???  But, I can understand why we just use it for so much currently like uploading vlogs, etc… that my students have created during PBL and Innovative Deeper learning.

Going back to my first paragraph, I am a big proponent of Virtual Reality in the classroom.  This could be because of the subject I teach – it really lends itself well to science at all levels.  I found Scott’s and Adam’s blogs to be quite interesting as they showcased all levels of VR that can be used in the classroom.  I will let you pop over to their sites to read about the difference between each as there is no sense in re-writing what has already been done so well.

Instead, I will focus on the benefits of VR in the classroom and explain the experience that led me to bring this into my class.  However, I am only one teacher, and I feel that many teachers could benefit from the use of VR in their classrooms.  Ashley McCann elaborated on how the immersive nature of virtual reality can enhance our students learning.

I believe that there is a place in education for gamification and that VR can help bring together problem-solving, deeper learning and gamification into one package while allowing students to be curious.  Using a game based system can give students who need immediate feedback to keep them on track engaged (such as earning badges, etc…).   It also has the ability to take students places that we would never, as educators are able to take them by opening up the world to digital field trips or investigations that would be too costly to explore or simply unavailable such as layers of the body systems.

I have had the experience of using VR at the University of Saskatoon during Science on Stage Canada, 2018.  I met Dr. Sean Maw who is a professor at the College of Engineering.  He is using VR in one of his first year engineering classes to have his students build a bridge that will be able to handle a truck carrying a force across it (you can increase the weight of your truck the more confident you are – Newtons).  I was so captivated by this experience that I visited Innovation Place in September to discuss the possibility of bringing this technology into my classroom – but to use it in a bit of a different way.  Besides being able to build bridges, etc… I want my students to build the chassis of a car and then have another program (not developed yet) send the design to our 3D printers.  The idea is that the students can build, test and walk around their cars first before during the creative process, then send it to be physically built, tested, and ran against others.  I have begun to collect equipment, we will see how long it takes my dream to become a reality.  I have a number of students who would benefit greatly from this and I feel that it would level the playing field in my room, meaning that inclusivity may be achieved through the use of this tool.  Would this tool entice our poor attendees to come to school more often? Will VR allow for all types of learners?  Kinesthetic, Visual, Spatial, Aural? I feel that my creative leadership style lends itself well towards using VR.  Have a look at the following video and see what you think – are you hooked?

Note – I did get to experience space in VR – it was UNREAL!!!

Take a look at the difference it made in a school in Tennessee.

Let me know what you think!  I would love to hear your feedback as I learn from everyone and there are many of you who have already ventured where I intend to go.

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4 thoughts on “Unit 6: World Wide Technology Leadership”

  1. Hey Carla! Great post!!!

    I agree with you completely…..there is a huge place in our education system for gamification and like you said the VR can help with problem-solving, a deeper level of learning and and gamification for our varied leaner’s needs. …….I just hope that the Ministry sets aside some money to support these initiatives!

    This is something that I have never specifically tried in the classroom and I would love to see how this works for those school buildings who do have access to VR systems. The most I have come close to is the Cardboard Google version.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas Carla!
    Krista

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Carla, I also agree that VR is one part of technology that may be very useful in education and the experience you receive when using it is very engaging and truly surreal. I also love project based learning, as I am a woodshop teacher, but building actual projects is costly. So to build projects (like the bridges you speak of), or explore mars, or operate heavy equipment virtually would be of huge educational potential. Students could learn critical labour skills, understand the vastness of space or explore molecules in a virtual scenario, much like Ms. Frizzle does with her “Magic School Bus”, the possibilities are very exciting! Excellent work in in striving to implement this in the classroom. I teach a Media 9 course and attempt to have students look critically at technology and show this somewhat ‘dark’ video to display the potential future of VR (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXX0TRtg5Vk) .

    Thanks for the post.

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    1. I’m absolutely excited to see where VR takes us! I’ve been reading articles about VR and Human Resource development. Bennett (2014) “argues that HRD must adopt new skills and develop explanatory models for growing organizational learning capacity in virtual work”. Educators continue to work towards culturally relevant pedagogy, surprisingly to some, VR and technology based learning can be considered culturally relevant approaches to learning. The realistic nature of Virtual Environments make them limitless to what they can do for learning. While this technology just like others can create a digital divide, they can bring education to remote areas and perhaps meet the needs of particular learning styles. If VR developers are able to individualize the learning experience and provide hardware/software and support at reasonable rates, VR will move educational capacities to an all time new level. I’m just really hopeful that training and development is not left to teacher weekends and evenings as technology has required in the past! Carla, it is evident that you are one of those dedicated and hard working teachers that most likely is using your time to continue to develop and embrace technology – lets hope one day, your development is incorporated into the work day!! Great post!

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    2. Dylan – I love the idea of showing students the ‘dark’ video (cool vid by the way) and the potential use the VR does hold. I really don’t think we have even begun to unpack the potential that VR can have in the classroom. And I could not agree with you more about the opportunities VR could give to our students to learn and practice critical labor skills in a safe and controlled environment.

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