November 28, 2016

3D @ ISTE 2016: Sessions

Some pundits feel that 3D in education has peaked. But it didn’t seem that way

at all at ISTE 2016, where 3D technologies evidenced their strongest and most mature presence in the history of that event. The ISTE 2016 educational conference held just this summer, with over 16,000 in attendance hailing from 76 countries, is the largest ed-tech conference held in the U.S. 3D was well represented in a number of conference sessions:

Five concurrent sessions featured 3D at ISTE 2016 (all showcasing 3D design technologies), yet the strongest 3D presence and audience could be found in the panel presentation sponsored by the ISTE 3D Network. This panel featured comments by Pavel Solin (University of Nevada-Reno), Tom Adams (Costa Rica), Len Scrogan (University of Colorado-Denver), Kristin Donley (Monarch High School, CO), and Mattias Bostrom (Sensavis), followed by discussions and breakouts. Professor Solin spoke about the importance of student-created design for promoting 3D; Mr. Adams spoke about 3D printing and its role in school ‘makerspaces’; and this author spoke about the morphing of 3D technology into the current VR meme. Most notably, Kristin Donley summarized some of her recent research on using passive 3D displays with high school students, while Mr. Bostrom spoke of the potential of stereo 3D visualization in world-wide classrooms, providing a number of insightful teacher anecdotes.

November 21, 2016

New VR/AR Competition

New U.S. Department of Education VR/AR Accelerator Competition

“Seeking next-generation educational simulations that strengthen career and technical skills.”

The U. S. Department of Education recently announced a $680K competition, the EDSIM CHALLENGE, for individuals or groups to develop new and immersive VR/AR experiences for use in education. In this multi-winner competition, 5 finalists will receive $50,000, while 1 grand prize winner will receive $430,000. In addition, Samsung will offer a Galaxy S7 Edge, a Galaxy Tab S2 9.7″, a Gear S3 watch, a Gear VR headset, and an Oculus Mobile software developer kit (SDK) to each of the five finalists. Additional prizes will likely be announced later. The deadline for First Round Submissions is 4:59:59 PM ET on January 17, 2017.
 “Successful simulations will pair the engagement of commercial games with rigorous educational content to prepare students for the 21st century workforce” and will “help define the future of applied learning.”
This opportunity is open to a wide audience, but note the all-important specifics here: “[They are] looking for concepts for immersive simulations that transfer academic, technical, and employability skills.” In the application, they specifically ask: “How might your simulation fit into a future ecosystem of simulations for career and technical education (CTE)?” Digging deeper reveals that this competition is being offered under the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) (can you say “vocational education?”) Plus, there's the '"applied learning" notion mentioned above. 

So it appears to me that any VR/AR submittal in the arts, social sciences, literature, or in elementary school content will likely sit on thin ice. That’s my thinking.

November 10, 2016

Immersive VR Meetup in LA

Are you in the LA vicinity on December 3rd? If so, please join us for a the Los Angeles VR and Immersive Technologies MEETUP being held at noon at the Creative Technology Center.

In this eye-opening gathering, I will introduce some controversial topics that will appeal to the interests of all corners of the VR industry–and will unwrap some completely unexpected conclusions.
Three things you didn’t know about VR (and were afraid to ask):
“Why does VR make people sick?” (and is there anything I can do about it?)
“Is VR bad for children?” (or is there something quite hopeful here?)
“Where is all the educational VR content hiding?” (Marco?…….Polo!)
Then the small-group discussions will start, with your own contributions making for an enlightening mashup. You’ve simply got to be there to help unpack this all-new idea set.