Augmented reality is exactly what the name implies — a medium through which the known world fuses with current technology to create a uniquely blended interactive experience. While still more or less a nascent entity in the frequently Luddite education industry, more and more teachers, researchers, and developers contribute their ideas and inventions towards the cause of more interactive learning environments. Many of these result in some of the most creative, engaging experiences imaginable, and as adherence grows, so too will students of all ages.
While there has been a surge in the acceptance and prevalence of game-based learning in schools over the past decade, especially in light of the success of programs like Khan Academy, playing games in the classroom is nothing new. Educational games have been a commonplace part of the K-12 experience since the beginning of the 1980s (and in some places well before that), with early titles introducing students to fundamental math, history, and problem solving concepts just as games do today. While the graphics may not have been great, the games helped to engage a generation of kids with technology and laid a solid foundation for the educational games that were to come.
It always seems like the media and parent groups want to rush after video games in a flurry of pitchforks and torches for the allegedly horrendous influence they hold over the youth of today. Debate is great, of course, but in reality, gaming actually holds some amazing, engaging benefits perfect for the educational setting. Game-based learning continues fascinating edtech enthusiasts, who eagerly flock to social media to share their developments, research, designs, and strategies. And a few of them are listed here in no particular order.
Nearly a year ago, Corning (maker of Gorilla Glass), released a video encapsulating it’s vision of the future. It’s since gotten 17 million views on YouTube, and started numerous discussions and responses.
In the video, Corning predicted large scale desktop touchscreen displays, bigger video screens, and dynamic billboards. And while much of the video is still in the future, the OLED TV’s shown by LG at this year’s CES do seem to bring the video to life.
From Microsoft’s Office YouTube Channel:
Watch how future technology will help people make better use of their time, focus their attention, and strengthen relationships while getting things done at work, home, and on the go. (Release: 2011)
There are some interesting concepts in the video involving augmented reality (adding visualizations to one’s environment), new user interfaces and user collaboration, and “Web 3.0” style communication: where relevant information finds the user at the appropriate time (an intelligent filtering of the overwhelming information now being generated by “Web 2.0” technologies such as social media).
In the spring of 2011, Latitude Research launched a study to understand the recent explosion in gaming, driven in part by the popularity of mobile phones and tablets. Specifically, the study sought to uncover how the profile of the stereotypical gamer has changed, various motivations for gaming, and the evolving role of games in moving traditionally online experiences into the “offline” world—suggesting new opportunities for game and technology developers, educators, and social innovators.
Image: The interactive experience at UNSW’s iCinema Centre. Source: The Australian
Lost in cyberspace
You only have to be the parent of a child over the age of seven to know what I’m talking about: the vacant eyes so preoccupied by what’s on screen that they can’t focus on your face for more than a few seconds before being drawn back into the cyberworld.
As you talk, your little darling types or toggles. “Are you listening to me?” you ask, only to be told in a precocious tone: “Yeahhhh. I’m multitasking, Mum.”
Image: The avatar for Dr. Brian Ross welcomes participants to an online training session using Xbox chat technology (Stephen Brashear photos/PSBJ)
The sight of a surgeon playing “Grand Theft Auto” in the operating room might raise eyebrows, but it’s one example of how consumer technology is being repurposed to advance the practice of medicine.
Rising medical costs — bloated by expensive, complicated machines — are wrecking the nation’s economic health, while off-the-shelf consumer gadgets keep getting cheaper and more powerful. So the health care industry has discovered it can tap into the innovative wonders of an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 or an Android smartphone app.
IBM’s Supercomputer Has Implications for Healthcare, Information Tech and More
Wouldn’t it be nice to have your very own supercomputer in your pocket?
If your laptop crashed while you were working on a major presentation, you could ask your portable expert to help diagnose the problem. If you wanted to bone up on Middle Eastern history, you could ask it to comb every document available and then wrap it all up in a simple summary (annotated, of course).
Konami recently sent us a copy of their new title, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. After testing the game, it was clear that the game could be a case study to highlight the difference between usability and user-experience (UX).