Tag Archives: computers

What Has Kathrine (Katie) Learned?

Over the course of the semester I have obviously learned a myriad of diverse things. In the video above I have described all factors I have learned as well as my thoughts and opinions about these topics. All of my information is based off our previous blog posts or personal knowledge gained from the classroom.  I hope you enjoy my video and I would love to ponder about your thoughts if you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to email me kathrine DOT dwyer AT student AT shu DOT edu. I would like to thank my teammates Allison, Spencer, and Daniel for having a successful semester as well as Professor Shannon. Thank you Professor for all your patience, guidance, and trust in me. And always pushing me to exceed your expectations to make me into a stronger student. Enjoy the video 🙂

Headsets and Devices putting Virtual Reality on the Map

There are a plethora of Virtual Reality (VR) products and devices that are available in the current market, the objective of this post will be to provide an in-depth look at the capabilities of current VR devices. One article from TheVerge.com categorized all VR devices in “three general classes” as “Cheap” “Mid-range” and “High-end”.

Cheap forms of Virtual Reality include things like the Google Cardboard where a smartphone can be put into the cardboard hold to generate a low-quality VR experience using various apps on both Google Play and the App Store. This form of VR is a very basic experience where the user is staring at their smartphone using a simple holder with holes to see through.

The absolute best-quality VR experiences, unfortunately, can’t be powered by a mobile phone. High-end virtual reality devices include devices like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR all run on external devices such as computers or game consoles. These devices can offer sophisticated features like motion tracking, high-resolution screens, and the best graphics possible. Higher end devices also offer more comfort, they are better at blocking outside light and are less prone to inducing motion sickness. The HTC Vive, in particular, is known for its seamless integration of external controls in your VR experience.

Motion tracking involves both tracking of your body with external controls and even tracking of your eye so that the display screen can shift based on where the user is looking. One groundbreaking VR headset that has integrated eye tracking technology is called FOVE. The most notable examples of high-end VR headsets are the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR. A comparison of these devices can be seen in this short video.

Google has produced numerous VR devices including goggles, headsets, monitors, video case holders, glasses, etc. These new VR accessories  cost roughly between a dollar for a do it yourself cardboard device, or up to $1,716, for an Editor’s Choice gaming computer used to power a VR headset. These devices are the latest and hottest trend on the market.

Samsung is offering customers for a limited time a deal when they purchase a Galaxy S7 edge or Galaxy S7 cell phone. Once the customers purchase a new phone they will receive a free Gear VR or 256 GB memory card. This Gear VR headset allows the customers to obtain 360-degree angles to truly experience their surroundings while capturing special moments to always remember later on. This headset not only takes pictures it enables customers to dive into video games, movies, and news like never before.

Apple has recently announced their newest additions to the latest iPhones the iPhone 7 and the iPhone Plus. With the new iPhones having many advanced features they are perfectly compatible with a VR headset or device. Apple failed to describe to future customers that they were releasing the first mass-market virtual reality camera. Apple has not necessarily released a headset for virtual reality but we can look forward to FaceTime VR in years to come.

Sony has also taken a leap to create its own virtual reality device. The product will be released October 13th, retailing at $399. According to Sony, PlayStation VR will be most people’s introduction to ‘good’ VR. The device has some flaws but is tailor made for console gamers. PlayStation VR uses Sony’s PlayStation 4 game console along with the PlayStation Camera to provide tracking. The screen in the headset allows for a 100-degree field of vision of and is able to locate the back of the head as well as the front so users can look directly behind them. The camera tracks the VR headset around 1,000 times per second providing a seamless experience.

As we approach 2017, VR is beginning to take itself beyond entertainment and move closer towards an everyday part of our lives. Check out Google’s incoming headset, the Daydream. The Daydream immerses its viewers into a realm that incorporates VR apps into it. These apps are not just games but can range from anything between YouTube, CNN, and video-chats. Once these headsets become assimilated into our culture, we may find ourselves plugging into a VR device instead of our clunky laptops. During Google’s I/O 2016 Conference, Product Manager Nathan Martz invited the audience to be developers of the Daydream; “For all of this information about how you can be a Daydream developer, including how to build your own Daydream developer kit, check out developers.google.com/vr/” This is significant because just like Facebook, Amazon, and Uber don’t own inventory and rely on their customers to create their product, Google is now allowing people to develop their own stuff. Lindsay Metcalfe, Design Manager at Google, said “What we are really excited about is seeing what you are all going to create.” Not only is Google looking ahead and anticipating new technological products of the future, but it is also creating its own innovative business and research strategies in order to get ahead of the competition.

Virtual Reality: The Next Logical Step for Education

We’ve seen the traditional education model and current trends in education. Without a doubt, modern technology integrated with education has caused disruption in education for the benefit of knowledge seekers. Although they might not receive college credit, there are free platforms available online to anyone wanting to learn, such as Coursera. Anyone that wants clarification in a certain topic can watch a tutorial video online on Khan Academy for free. All these materials are readily accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

We have managed to fit hefty textbooks and learning materials into a portable device, whether on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. With all this knowledge available at the palm of your hands, the next step is applying that knowledge to the world, which is where virtual reality triumphantly comes in. In our early educational years, we learn about animals, so we take a field trip to a farm. Then we learn about Native Americans, so we learn about pueblos and teepees. We move on to Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, World War II and the Berlin Wall. We learn about the struggles not only in the Middle East, but all around the world. Maybe we take an engineering class and want to observe the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Geography, travel costs, safety, and liability are only some of the factors that limit one from observing all these interesting locations, scattered across the world.

Virtual reality eliminates all of these barriers from education and wonder. Whether you want to see the Pyramids at Giza or the canals of Venice, Italy, it can all be available to one in the comfort of a classroom, bedroom, or wherever one pleases. If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to visit your childhood neighborhood or you want to learn about where your ancestors come from, it’s all possible. The possibilities with virtual reality are limitless, not just limited to a new kind of gaming experience. Google has acknowledged this and is working on making these virtual experiences affordable and accessible. With its Expeditions Pioneer program, Google is making these virtual field trips available for free for schools, starting in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. The program includes giving schools Google’s basic Cardboard virtual reality headset and smartphones to use with the headsets. Whether a school is well-funded or underfunded, students can all have the same kind of access. If you’re not a student but still want to have these virtual experiences, Google’s Cardboard is still extremely affordable for $25 or even cheaper. It’s hard to put a price on an unlimited supply of experiences, but it’s safe to say that $25 is well beneath that price.

Virtual reality may seems like an abstract platform for education, but it is exactly what we need to supplement our evolving education system. If we can access the classroom and educational materials from virtually anywhere, why not access the world from anywhere too?

Identifying Disruptive Trends in the Traditional Education System

Current trends in education include online learning programs, new technological hardware, virtual reality, and the classroom outside of school. Online learning platforms, such as Khan Academy and Coursera, are free options for anyone to access. The two platforms vary in their background, but ultimately they allow anyone to educate themselves without a hefty price tag. Online classes allow students to take a class at their own time and pace. Classes can also keep their material online, leading to the idea of flipped classrooms. Students can watch lectures at home and use the class time to ask the professor questions, effectively saving time. Virtual reality further extends online classrooms. Students, professors, and visitors can virtually sit-in and participate in a classroom from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, students can take virtual field trips without the cost, expenses, and liability that comes with traditional field trips.

These trends are visible in all levels of education, from K-12 and higher education. Textbooks no longer have to be carried around since they can all be accessible in a lightweight computer, tablet, and even a smartphone. Schools have also invested in smart boards, which make a traditional white board more interactive for students. Technology also allows students to collaborate together on their work and projects without necessarily being together at the same place. Students can also refer to material online if they miss a class or just want to refresh their memory.

The Traditional Education Model

           Traditionally, a student will come into school, listen to the teacher, work on their assignment, and repeat that process until the bell rings and the school day is over. Teachers set the curriculum, students memorize and regurgitate the assigned information, and then shortly thereafter forget about it when they don’t need it anymore. If a student asks the teacher a question, it’s usually because they didn’t get it the first time around, not because they are curious about the topic and want to learn more. For the daily classwork and homework assignments, students just complete their work, turn it in, and repeat. A student’s intelligence will be measured by how well they can simply memorize some material and then translate that onto paper for a test. For the daily classwork and homework assignments, students just complete their work, turn it in, and repeat. It turns into a unexciting, monotonous cycle and students are left uninterested. In the past few decades, we’ve seen a disruption in the traditional education model through the use of computers. By being able to shrink the classroom into a portable device, computers have helped students engage in their work and interests in a limitless amount of places outside the classroom. Computers have breathed a new life into the traditional education model.