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AI AR/VR/XR Metaverse Twine

Ed tech must reads: Column #38

First published in Campus Morning Mail 7th June 2022

Is information power? Exploring the potential of data and analytics for student representatives from International Journal for Students as Partners

The Students as Partners movement seeks to engage learners in meaningful ways as co-creators of their learning experience. Academics like Kelly Matthews and Mollie Dollinger (among others) have worked tirelessly in support of these more equitable approaches. This paper from Rates and Gašević makes a strong case that giving student representatives in this process access to the rapidly expanding pool of learning analytic data in universities offers great opportunities for even more meaningful contributions.  

The problematic metaphor of the environment in online learning from Jon Dron

The upcoming paper stood out because it relates directly to a piece of work that I am currently engaged in. How exactly do we conceptualise the entangled network of technologies, systems and processes that sit behind learning and teaching to best understand it? The environment or ecosystem metaphor (Ellis & Goodyear, 2019) has been popular but Dron argues here that this way of thinking may lead to simply replicating the problems of the physical world in the online. I don’t necessarily agree but it is a thoughtful piece.

Understanding Group Behavior in Virtual Reality: A Large-Scale, Longitudinal Study in the Metaverse from 72nd International Communication Association Conference

This paper from ICAC (not that ICAC) explores some of the practical aspects of teaching in Virtual Reality environments over a period of time in terms of presence and engagement. Interestingly, providing learners with the ability to customise their avatars increased their sense of self-presence in the space but decreased their enjoyment.

Having fun with Twine from Laura Gibbs

Twine is a delightful open-source tool for creating branching stories – think Choose your own adventure books. This slide deck from Laura Gibbs provides a basic overview of the tool and then a rich set of exemplars of creative ways that Twine has been used to create interactive fiction.

All these images were generated by Google’s latest text-to-image AI from The Verge

The AI-based text-to-image goldrush continues as Google plants its stake in the ground. They have announced (but not yet made available) their tool for creating images from simple text prompts called Imagen. Clearly, they have cherry-picked the most outstanding results but this quirky selection shared in The Verge sends a clear message that the days of believing what we can see are long behind us.

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