Saturday, February 12, 2011
The far horizon
Augmented reality: this is the layering of place-based information over a 3D view of the normal world. I was showing one such app to a colleague tonight as we sat by the harbour taking photos - the Swiss Peaks app shows you what mountain you are pointing your iPhone at, how high it is and how far away it is. A tremendous market is emerging for network-aware apps that convey information about specific places or objects, for example, in museums. Augmented books are also starting to emerge. Last year I experimented with holding a page up to the iSight on the computers to see 3D characters popping up from the pages. Really - how cool is that for our students!
Game-based learning: research over the past few years has shown the potential of gaming on learning - they have been shown to be effective for students of all ages and in particular the potential for fostering communication, collaboration, problem-solving and procedural thinking. Gaming allows play to be productive, allows for experimentation and for learning from failure. Players feel they are working towards success with a goal, and that they can become more skillful in problem solving, decision making and innovation as they collaborate and socialise. Schools are discovering that gaming content can be combined with course content to help students learn material in an innovative way and that games can engage learners in ways other tools and approaches cannot.
Gesture-based computing: involves motion, pressure and multi-touch being used to control devices, as opposed to using a mouse and keyboard. Probably the most well known devices currently being used are the Wii, the iPhone and the iPad.
Learning analytics: involves data gathering tools to study and interpret student engagement, performance and progress with the goal of using what is learned to predict future performance and to revise curricula. The goal of learning analytics is to enable teachers and schools to tailor educational opportunities to each student's level of need and ability.