case study: an undergraduate senior projects computer science course collaboration whose aim was to develop textual browsing experiences, among other library reference functionality, within the HTC Vive virtual reality (VR) headset. In this case study, readers are introduced to applied uses of VR in service to library-based learning through the research and development of a VR reading room app with multi-user support. Within the VR reading room prototype, users are able to collaboratively explore the digital collections of HathiTrust, highlight text for further searching and discovery and receive consultative research support from a reference specialist through VR.
Library staff met with the project team weekly over the 16 weeks of both semesters to first scope out the functionality of the system and vet requirements.
The library research team further hypothesized that incorporating reference-like support in the VR environment can support library learning. There is ample evidence in the library literature which underscores the importance of reference interactions as learning and instructional experiences for university students
Educational benefits to immersive worlds include offering a deeper presence in engagement with rare or non-accessible artifacts. Sequeira and Morgado (2013, p. 2) describe their Virtual Archeology project as using “a blend of techniques and methods employed by historians and archaeologists using computer models for visualizing cultural artefacts and heritage sites”.
The higher-end graphics cards include devices such as the NVIDIA GeForceTM GTX 1060 or AMD RadeonTM RX 480, equivalent or better. The desktop system that was built for this project used the GeForce GTX 1070, which was slightly above the required minimum specifications.
Collaboration: Library as client.
Specific to this course collaboration, computer science students in their final year of study are given the option of several client projects on which to work. The Undergraduate Library has been a collaborator with senior computer science course projects for several years, beginning in 2012-2013 with mobile application design and chat reference software re-engineering (Hahn, 2015). (My note: Mark Gill, this is where and how Mehdi Mekni, you and I can collaborate)
The hurdles the students had the most trouble with was code integration – e.g. combining various individual software parts towards the end of the semester. The students also were challenged by the public HathiTrust APIs, as the system was developed to call the HathiTrust APIs from within the Unity programming environment and developing API calls in C#. This was a novel use of the HathiTrust search APIs for the students and a new area for the research team as well.
There are alternatives to Unity C# programming, notably WebVR, an open source specification for VR programming on the open web.
A-Frame has seen maturation as a platform agnostic and device agnostic software programming environment. The WebVR webpage notes that the specification supports HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream and Google Cardboard (WebVR Rocks, 2018). Open web platforms are consistent with library values and educational goals of sharing work that can be foundational in implementing VR learning experience both in VR environments and shareable on the web, too.
why the sudden interest in VR and AR after years of hype that failed to live up to expectations?
Heather Bellini, of Goldman Sachs Research, noted in a report last year that faster microprocessors and more powerful graphics cards have allowed more images per second to be delivered since the industry’s potential was hyped a decade ago.
There have also been advancements in AR gear, like glasses that allow vision of the real world but also have data or graphical images projected onto part of the glass.
As such, Goldman Sachs is projecting VR and AR to become an $80 billion market by 2025 – roughly equivalent to the size of the current PC market.
he big problems with VR is “motion to photon latency,” which is the time it takes to turn your head and the screen to refresh at the same rate.
From the moment you open the browser, you will be presented with immersive experiences that can be enjoyed on a VR headset directly from the Firefox Reality browser. We are working with creators around the world to bring an amazing collection of games, videos, environments, and experiences that can be accessed directly from the home screen.
The FBI has released a public service announcement warning educators and parents that edtech can create cybersecurity risks for students.
In April 2017, security researchers found a flaw in Schoolzilla’s data configuration settings. And in May 2017, a hacker reportedly stole 77 million user accounts from Edmodo.
Amelia Vance, the director of the Education Privacy Project at the Future of Privacy Forum, writes in an email to EdSurge that the FBI likely wanted to make sure that as the new school year starts, parents and schools are aware of potential security risks. And while she thinks it’s “great” that the FBI is bringing more attention to this issue, she wishes the public service announcement had also addressed another crucial challenge.
“Schools across the country lack funding to provide and maintain adequate security,” she writes. “Now that the FBI has focused attention on these concerns, policymakers must step up and fund impactful security programs.”
According to Vance, a better approach might involve encouraging parents to have conversations with their children’s’ school about how it keeps student data safe.
Far too often, cybersecurity awareness-raising training fails to account for how people learn and proven ways to change behaviors. The cybersecurity community too easily falls into the trap of thinking that “humans are the weakest link.” In this talk, Dr. Jessica Barker will argue that, if humans are the weakest link, then they are our weakest link as an industry. With reference to sociology, psychology, and behavioral economics, as well as lessons from her professional experience, Jessica will discuss why a better understanding of human nature needs to be a greater priority for the cybersecurity community.
Outcomes: Explore how we can apply knowledge from other disciplines to improve cybersecurity awareness-raising training and communications * Understand where the cybersecurity industry can improve with regards to awareness, behavior, and culture * Develop ideas to improve how you communicate cybersecurity messages and conduct awareness-raising training
Two of the leading learning management system companies are cutting ties after a six-year partnership — a split that Inside Higher Education reported was likely “messy.”
U.S.-based Blackboard and Australia’s Moodle separately announced the end to the partnership, which will mean that Blackboard won’t use the Moodle name in the future, but its Moodlerooms product will be maintained.
According to both Apple and App Annie, a website that tracks the popularity of mobile apps by number of new downloads, Remind, a school communications platform, took the #1 spot on the chart of free iOS apps.
Remind’s app allows educators, parents and students to send and receive text and voice messages, as well as share attachments and links to digital educational resources. The company was founded in 2011 with a straightforward value proposition: to provide teachers with a safe and secure way to send homework or study reminders to students and their parents on mobile devices without using personal phone numbers.
Those features may seem simple by today’s standards. But it’s amassed a growing footprint, claiming users in more than 70 percent of U.S. public schools. Grey adds that Remind today has 27 million monthly active users (which breaks down to approximately 2 million teachers, 13 million students and 12 million parents). Across them, Remind says 17 billion messages have been sent since its launch.
Along with simplicity, Remind’s timing may have also helped the product find a receptive market. The company’s launch in 2011 coincided with the start of a period that saw smartphone adoption among U.S. adults steadily grow from 35 percent in 2011 to 77 percent in 2018, according to the Pew Research Center.
At its core, Remind remains very much a school communications tool, says Grey. But his grander vision is to evolve the app into what he calls an “educational platform” that allow users to share content from other providers. For instance, when Remind users compose a message, they can currently connect to their accounts on Google Classroom, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Quizlet and other tools to directly share documents, Powerpoint slides, flashcard sets and other kinds of files.
Kiwi enhances learning experiences by encouraging active participation with AR and social media. A student can use their smartphone or tablet to scan physical textbooks and unlock learning assistance tools, like highlighting, note creation and sharing, videos and AR guides—all features that encourage peer-to-peer learning. (my note, as reported at the discussion at the QQLM conference in Crete about Zois Koukopoulos, Dimitrios Koukopoulos Augmented Reality Dissemination and Exploitation Services for Libraries: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/05/21/measuring-learning-outcomes-of-new-library-initiatives/
Street Smarts VR is a startup that is working to provide solutions for a major issue facing America’s communities: conflicts between police officers and citizens.
NYC Media Lab recently collaborated with Bloomberg and the augmented reality startup Lampix on a fellowship program to envision the future of learning in the workplace. Lampix technology looks like it sounds: a lamp-like hardware that projects AR capabilities, turning any flat surface into one that can visualize data and present collaborative workflows.
Calling Thunder: The Unsung History of Manhattan
Calling Thunder: The Unsung History of Manhattan, a project that came out of a recent fellowship program with A+E Networks, re-imagines a time before industrialization, when the City we know now was lush with forests, freshwater ponds, and wildlife.
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, are able to recover user passwords by way of thermal imaging. The tech is pretty straightforward, but it’s interesting to think about the types of scenarios in which it might be pulled off.