An Overview of a Manuscript Writing Experience in the Emerging Technologies and Creativity Research Lab

Ayodeji Ibukun

One  of the things that you get to do as a graduate student is write, and write, and then write some more. In this blog, I want to share a little bit about that process by providing an overview of a manuscript writing experience on mixed reality (MR) technology paper. We began writing a paper on a HoloLens Research project in the Fall 2019 semester, which was published by the Research in Learning Technology Journal in February 2020.

The head-mounted mixed reality device called the Microsoft HoloLens is one of the versatile emerging technology tools available in the ETC Research Lab located at 326 Willard Hall, College of Education and Human Sciences of Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. It  is a wearable Windows 10 computer that allows interaction with mixed reality allowing the user to engage in complete spatial and tactile acuity (Essmiller et al., 2020). 

I have observed several visitors come to the lab to have fun using the HoloLens which is clearly a technological improvement to the regular head mounted virtual reality goggles. Most of the visitors are amazed by what they are able to accomplish after using the HoloLens for the first time. First-time users of HoloLens in the lab are initially confused about its mode of operation,  but through a little guidance and trial and error coupled with time, they learned how to navigate the device using basic hand gestures along with their voices, which serve as input commands to the device. Within 5 minutes of their interactions with the Hololens, it is interesting to notice that most first-time visitors were able to perform simple tasks such as browsing the Internet, checking their email, playing 3D games, taking pictures, recording and sharing videos with the Hololens. 

Our Lab Director is always encouraging us to translate what we observed in the lab into scholarship. This has been the utmost goal of all the lab facilitators, just as Kathy Essmiller, a doctoral student from the Educational Technology program who was inspired to carry out a study involving the HoloLens. Kathy subsequently worked with a project team from the Lab which was made up of the Lab Director, Dr. Tutaleni Asino and five other doctoral students all from the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Aviation to kick start the HoloLens Research Manuscript project.  The official title of the manuscript is Exploring Mixed Reality Based on Self-Efficacy and Motivation of Users

The project team collected data from a total of 63 college students over the age of 18 years using the ETC Research Lab between the middle of Spring of 2019 Semester to early Fall of 2019 Semester. Each study participant was handed the HoloLens to complete one out of three tasks before answering a paper questionnaire that consisted of 22 questions using a 7-point Likert Scale. The data analysis was done in the lab using SPSS data editor loaded on the lab workstations as well as project meetings both in-person and on Zoom all facilitated within the lab. The entire project took about six months from the time of the first draft submission in August 2019 to the final date of publication in February 2020.

From my perspective, the project was successful because of the hardware and software facilities made available in the ETC Research Lab such as the HoloLens, the Smart Boards, iPads, desktop computers, and SPSS software used on the project. All the graduate students who worked on the project learned on the go with the guidance of the Lab Director. I can confidently say, the ability to learn on the job is a very tangible experience I gained from the project. For being part of the lab facilitators, this experience provided learning opportunities for me as an emerging scholar in Educational Technology for which I will forever be grateful.  Such opportunities for meaningful learning through the use of mixed reality are enticing and the lab is ever ready to host impactful projects in any area of emerging technologies. 

References

Essmiller, K., Asino, T. I., Ibukun, A., Alvarado-Albertorio, F., Chaivisit, S., Do, T., & Kim, Y. (2020). Exploring mixed reality based on self-efficacy and motivation of users. Research in Learning Technology, 28. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v28.2331

The Paradigm Shift: Traditional Classroom to E-learning

Oluwafikayo Adewumi

Image: unsplash.com

When the Spring 2020 semester had to continue online, I had no idea what kind of change was about to occur because all my classes for that semester were already online. Then I started feeling the difference in my instructional environment when I had to coach all my clients at the university writing center virtually using Google Meet along with the Writing Center Software. The new challenges that I faced were related to the training I had to undergo personally, the training of some of my clients on how to use the virtual platform, and occasional breaks in internet connectivity disrupting our online sessions. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed education. Over 1.5 billion children in 195 countries were reported as being  out of the classroom worldwide by  mid-April 2020 (UNESCO, 2020). With tens of thousands of schools shut around globally, millions of school children have been forced to adapt to this new reality. For most schools in the United States, education and knowledge acquisition have now gone virtual. Though many countries are still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, others have decided to gradually open their economies and schools as they fight to keep the COVID-19 cases at the barest minimum. Countries such as Denmark have since reopened schools, but not without some guidelines in place (BBC, 2020). However, in many nations across the world, students respond to their teachers’ roll calls online.

Learning has experienced a sudden shift from the traditional classroom that the world has become accustomed to over the years to E-learning. Therefore, many people wonder whether online learning methods will continue post-pandemic and how such a paradigm shift will impact the global education market. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there had already been a high adoption of e-learning. As of 2019, the global educational technology investments had reached a staggering US$18.66 billion (Metaari, 2020). Additionally, the overall market for online education could reach US$350 billion by 2025 (Research and Markets, 2019). The pre-pandemic era’s major actors included Udemy, Coursera, Udacity, and other learning platforms, with each forum witnessing tremendous growth over the years. Many higher institutions across the world also embraced e-learning before the pandemic. However, since the world initially experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant rise in the use of online learning facilities. Examples include but are not limited to virtual tutoring, online learning software / applications, language learning applications, video conferencing, and the surge in use is hard to miss.

At the Emerging Technologies and Creativity Research Lab in Oklahoma State University, we explore online education platforms by creating classroom scenarios for pre-service teachers to engage with students virtually from the lab using the Mursion tool. Mursion provides a virtual reality experience to help pre-service teachers use simulations to further improve their self-efficacy in the classroom for long-term success as a professional educator. This tool can help create real classroom experience for online classes. Students will see themselves as avatars in the classroom as well as being able to interact with the teacher as if they are within the four walls of the classroom. 

With the recent integration of various virtual learning platforms in education, the million-dollar question is, what does this mean for the future of learning? Though some believe that the rapid and unplanned move to online learning might be disastrous in the long run, others do disagree. There is no doubt that information technology is here to stay. The world has witnessed tremendous growth in information technology over the years, and educational leaders will further accelerate technology integration. The way forward is for online education to form an essential part of school education where online learning and traditional offline learning can go hand by hand. We have already seen some successful transitions among schools, and this can only be the beginning. 

Major world events, most times, serve as an inflection point for new and rapid innovation. Though this might not eventually be the case with online learning post-COVID-19, one thing is exact; Investments are still trooping into the educational technology sector. It is only a matter of time before we witness a complete paradigm change to online learning, just like we saw when the focus shifted from the traditional offline stores to e-commerce websites. Online learning has changed the way we gain knowledge. Now the world needs to adapt and fully embrace it.

References

BBC. (2020, April 15). Coronavirus: Denmark lets young children return to school. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52291326 

Metaari. (2020, January 7). 2019 Global Edtech Investments Reach a Staggering $18.66 Billion [Press release]. Retrieved from https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/2019-global-edtech-investments-reach-a-staggering-18-66-billion-1028800669#  

Research and Markets. (2019, December). Online Education Market & Global Forecast, by End User, Learning Mode (Self-Paced, Instructor Led), Technology, Country, Company (No. 4876815). Retrieved from  https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/4876815/online-education-market-and-global-forecast-by?utm_source=dynamic&utm_medium=GNOM&utm_code=lww8wt&utm_campaign=1334315+%20+Online+Education+Market+Study+2019+%7c+World+Market+Projected+to+Reach+%24350+Billion+by+2025%2c+Dominated+by+the+United+States+and+China&utm_exec=joca220gnomd    UNESCO. (2020, April 29). 1.3 billion learners are still affected by school or university closures, as educational institutions start reopening around the world, says UNESCO [Press release]. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/news/13-billion-learners-are-still-affected-school-university-closures-educational-institutions

A Conversation on the Future of Education, Educational Technologies and Instructional Design

Emerging Technologies & Creativity Research Lab

2020 Speakers Series

September

Enjoy this recording of our conversation with Dr. Kyle L. Peck as our September 2020 Emerging Technologies & Creativity Research Lab Speaker.

Dr. Peck recently retired from Penn State University, where he holds the rank of Professor Emeritus, and is involved in a few studies and projects related to personalized online learning, competency-based education, and digital micro-credentials (digital badges).

Kyle was also Co-Founder of the innovative “Centre Learning Community Charter School,” served as Principal Investigator for the NASA Aerospace Education Services Project, and served as Associate Dean for Research, Outreach, and Technology, Head of the Learning and Performance Systems Department, and Professor in Charge of the Instructional Systems Program while at Penn State.

Before coming to Penn State, Kyle taught middle school for seven years in Pasadena, California and in Leadville, Colorado.

The Curiosity, Creativity and Exposure Alliance

Curiosity and creativity exist naturally. However, they can be enabled, nourished or squashed by exposure. Let me explain what I mean through an example of my own experience. It’s a bit long, so bear with me.

I was a standard 5 (grade 7) student at the Namibia English Primary school when a group of students from town came to play music at our school. They brought all kind of musical equipment that before then I had never seen or never heard being played in person.

I don’t know if the music was beautiful, nor do I even remember what was played. All I is that after their performance, I was hooked!! I knew I wanted to play an instrument! I wanted to make music just like them. This was not a fleeting thought of youth, like wanting to be a superhero or to be the most popular student in school. It was a desire unlike any other, and I knew I had to satisfy it. So, I decided that I was going to find out where this school was and enrol. That day I walked from my school to town, which according to google maps is a bit over 7 kilometres, so it was a distance. I walked the distance because I was going after school without permission from my family (so yeah, I snuck away). I did not really speak English at a time, so I must have asked a teacher or a friend for the name of the instrument that most fascinated me or I looked up the picture and found the English word. Either way, I remember walking from school to town practising the word “organ” and repeating it over and over to the point that if someone had asked me what my name was, I would’ve probably said organ. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember seeing anyone or anything while on my quest. I was in my determined world. I was on a mission!!

I finally reached the school. A bright yellow classic looking building that could be mistaken for a castle with white window trims, a black metal fence with a big black gate to match (to be fair, I was a kid and everything was big). I rang the bell excitedly a few times. I had arrived, and my musical career was merely a step behind the big black gate! The building door opened, and a woman came out. 

“Yes!?!”…she bellowed out in a voice that reeked of annoyance at the audacity that I dare have the nerve to push the bell. “What is it??!” 

I was a small boy, and suddenly the excitement turned to fear, but I gathered myself because Damn it, my musical dream! I mustered the courage and finally responded in a proud, loud voice (although it probably came out sounding like a squeaking mouse). In my broken English, I told the lady emphatically, “I want to learn how to play organ.”  Ok, maybe with my broken English it could have very well been – I Learn Organ!…either way, I communicated my desire.

Without skipping a beat, she yelled: “you’re too short to play an organ!” She walked away and slammed the door. 

I walked away, with my shame to keep me company on my walk back home – all the 7+km of it – angry at myself that my height has prevented me from achieving my musical greatness.

Years later, when I was fluent in English, I would discover that the instrument I saw at school was a piano and not an organ!!! I wanted to learn how to play the piano!

Beside it traumatizing me as a child, that was a formative experience. It all happened after I was exposed to a piano on that one day when a musical ensemble, visited my school. It was my first experience at the power of exposing people to new things and how that can either nourish curiosity and creativity or adversely impact it. I am not sure what comes first in terms of curiosity and creativity and exposure. I can make a case for any of the three being a starting point so I would probably conceptualists it as a cyclical process where no matter where you start the other follow or feed each other.

Connection to the Lab

How does this relate to the Emerging Technologies and Creativity Research Lab at Oklahoma State University? For me, this is why this space exists. It is the place where someone can come to because they are curious about something and explore it. It is a place where students and teachers alike can be exposed to things that they did not know existed, or they had a sense off but did not know what they were called. It is where people can come to be exposed to virtual reality, 3D printing, telepresence robots to many other exciting tools so that hopefully it will spark curiosity and take them on their journey of creativity.

There is though one major difference. The ETC Research lab is a supportive environment where a person does not need to know what the appropriate name for a tool is; where the person does not even need to understand how something work, all that is required is to be open to exploring their curiosity. In the end, isn’t that what education is all about? Shouldn’t learning spaces be environments where we can be exposed to ideas, where we can explore our curiosity and, in the process, find creative solutions? In our lab, we are learning how to do all of this, in a time when playing together is not encouraged, and virtual space is becoming the norm. But regardless, our mission in the ETC Research Lab remains the same, to expose visitors to new tools, for people to come to be curious and explore their curiosity so that we can  Transforming Education through Creative Habits.

Sharing (our)Practices Session

Teaching fully online or in a blended model for the first time?

Or do you have something that has just worked well for your teaching with technology that you want to share?

Take a look at our webinar for August 2020 with the Educational Technology Faculty.

Equity-focused Connected / Participatory Learning

As we do every last Wednesday of the month, today we were supposed to have a speaker for our Emerging Technologies & Creativity Research Lab Speakers Series. These days though, normal is not looking so normal anymore. Since many of us, who are privileged enough to have access to reliable internet have been spending (willingly or not) a lot of time on zoom, as a lab we decided not to forego this week. Instead we are sharing a recording from one of our past speakers. It is amazing how the April 2019 presentation is equally relevant to April 2020.

Dr. Maha Bali was our speaker for April 2019 and presented on “Emerging technologies for Equity-focused Connected/Participatory Learning”. In her talk, Dr. Bali discussed the potential for using emerging technologies for equity-focused learning that includes connected and participatory learning, while recognizing the nuanced and contextual nature of when technologies can reduce or exacerbate inequalities. She shared and built on examples from her experiences of Virtually Connecting, Equity Unbound, and working with Open Educational Resources.

Dr. Maha Bali is an Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo. She is co-founder of virtuallyconnecting.org and co-facilitator of Equity Unbound. She is an editor at Hybrid Pedagogy journal, and editorial board member of: Teaching in Higher Education, Online Learning Journal, Journal of Pedagogic Development, Learning, Media and Technology and Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. She has blogged for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Prof Hacker, DMLCentral blogs and Al-Fanar media. She is former International Director of Digital Pedagogy Lab. She is a learnaholic, Writeaholic and passionate open and connected educator. She blogs at http://blog.mahabali.me and tweets @bali_maha

eSports in Education

We had the privilege of hosting Dr. Raymond Pasotre and Dr. Jason Alphonso Engerman as our February 2020 Emerging Technologies & Creativity Research Lab 2020 Speakers. The recording for this exciting conversation on eSports in education is available below, as well as more details on our speakers. Dr. Pastore presentation was titled “eSports – A new pathway for the Instructional Technologist” while Dr. Engerman presented on “eSports – for Learning in the Age of Experience.

Speaker Bios

Dr. Ray Pastore
Associate Professor and Program Coordinator
of the Instructional Technology Master’s program
Esports Club Advisor at the
University of North Carolina Wilmington
@raymepastore

eSports – A new pathway for the Instructional Technologist

“eSports in education have been shown to satisfy “the growing desire to train and educate students on the soft skills emphasized in STEM and Career Technical Education (CTE) education, as well as in programs such as English and Language Arts” (Rothwell & Shaffer, 2019). Much of the learning takes place during events and competition, which is considered an extracurricular activity. These extracurricular activities can lead to school identities, behavioral engagement in the classroom, higher grades and test scores, higher educational achievements, more regularity in class attendance and higher self-confidence, leadership and teamwork abilities in students (Im, Hughes, Cao, & Kwok, 2016; Tariq, 2018). Without school eSports, passionate gamers often feel left out of mainstream school social life. Organized eSports bring these kids into the fold. Thus, it can help them become accepted and respected members of their school community. The following presentation will discuss how to communicate these advantages to stakeholders, how to start an esports program, and what esports curriculum looks like.”

Dr. Ray Pastore has extensive corporate, government, K-12, and higher education experience. With a background in management consulting and instructional design, he earned his Ph.D. in Instructional Systems including a minor in Educational Psychology from Penn State University in 2008 and is currently an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Instructional Technology master’s program as well as Esports Club Advisor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

He has worked on projects for fortune 100 companies, the department of defense, as well as a myriad of schools and universities. Over the last several years he has developed eSports curriculum for both undergraduate and graduate students, helped start eSports programs at middle and high schools, organized large tournaments, coached teams who have competed at the collegiate level, and worked with professional eSports organizations.

Dr. Pastore also runs a technology Youtube channel which has over 4 million views. More info can be found at his website: http://raypastore.com.

 

Jason Engerman PictureDr. Jason Alphonso Engerman
Assistant Professor Digital Media Technologies
East Stroudsburg University
@JaengermanA

eSports – for Learning in the Age of Experience.

“As educators and learning scientists seek to prepare learners for the Age of Experience, new digital tools have technical social and cultural meaning. A McCrindle (2020) report shows the drastic differences in intergenerational digital consumption habits and learning preferences among people over the last 70 years. These BabyBoomers, Gen X and Y represent the parents and grandparents for a new generation of digitally responsive youth. For example, Generation Zers prefer learning through collaboration and are influenced by social forums compared to directing learning through structure and being influenced by self-identified experts as their Baby Boomer counterparts (McCrindle, 2020). One specific emerging interactive movement revolves around Esports ecosystems. This spectator sport (Esports) is house forums that revolve around intense digital competition, teamwork and collaboration according to several academic scholars in the field. However, the definitions that are used to develop these fields neglect to inform the connection between economic evolution of a new age of human development which drive sociocultural and sociotechnical behaviors intergenerationally as well as internationally. The current presentation will unpack the trends associated with digitally competitive ecosystems known holistically as Esports and the impact these environments can have on preparation for an evolving economic landscape.”

Dr. Jason Alphonso Engerman, is an American learning designer, philosopher, learning scientist, educational change agent, youth advocate, and playcologist. Dr. Engerman is an assistant professor at East Stroudsburg University where he teaches courses in Digital Media Technologies, emphasizing the intersection of sports, entertainment, and digital media technology. Recently Dr. Engerman received a highly competitive Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers through the National Science Foundation to leverage Esports as STEM development for at-risk youth. He has published journal articles and book chapters and served on international editorial boards. He mentors and coaches young adults, particularly those from underrepresented populations, to help them leverage their passions towards advancing career opportunities.

With over 15 years of experience in education, instructional design and learning, his primary work and research revolve around the use of digital media, such as games, as learning tools. Dr. Engerman believes that as a Learning Designer, he is an engineer of understanding with the ability to design learning for all ages at all levels even across geographical space and time. Dr. Engerman advocates for learner empowerment so that they can take control of their own learning pathways by understanding the systemic implications of their learning ecologies. Instead of being passive consumers of traditional systems, learning designers should help young learners shape their own futures for the Experience Age. Based on his research and interest Dr. Engerman considers himself “The Pioneer Learning Design Playcologist”.

Emerging Technologies in the Age of Epidemics

by Yam Chaivisit

During the spreading of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 epidemic, I have received messages from my friends in China and South Korea to pray for students in the countries that are affected by the virus. During this turbulent time, people are trying their best to survive and be optimistic. I also had a conversation with my friend from Mongolia who told me that schools and universities have been closed for the entire month. My thoughts go to students who need help physically, intellectually, and mentally. As a student in the Educational Technology field, I was wondering how emerging technologies could help students during this difficult time. 

In the medical field, some hospitals are now using robots to interact with patients in order to reduce the chance of contracting and transmitting the virus. Technology has become crucial in aiding communication and interaction between medical staff and patients. In fact, the Japanese companies (e.g. Sony and Fujitsu) allow employees to work from home so that they don’t have to risk spreading the virus.

How about the educational technology field? What is the role of educational technology when facing these types of situations? Our world today is already advanced with online learning, where students can learn anytime and anywhere. Students can use virtual meeting spaces like Zoom and Skype. Additionally, they can control telepresence robots from their tablets. These robots are able to move and attend in-person classes. The reality is that there will be other challenging situations similar to this and possibly other epidemics that prevent people from traveling to their classrooms or places of work. 

Actually, we face this in a different way daily. There are people who are limited by mobility issues but would still like to fully participate in everyday activities. Therefore, what role can we play in ensuring that physical time and space is less of an issue? In the field of Learning, Design, and Technology, we need to consider how to better include individuals that want to take part in learning activities but might not be able to. My hope is that with various emerging technologies, we can think creatively about how to assist students to learn without the obstacle of the distance and the risk of other concerns.