6 VR Apps That Transform Education

To be transported half-way across the globe in seconds, travel back in time to visit ancient civilizations, or shrunk down to microscopic size and placed within the nucleus of a human cell all sound like things out of a science fiction movie. With Virtual Reality (VR), you can do all this (and more) out of the comfort of your desk chair. VR, one of the top EdTech trends of 2018, breathes new life into the sometimes monotonous classroom experience by revolutionizing the way we learn.

 

So sit down, goggle up, and get ready to take learning to a whole new level with these 6 VR apps:

 

1. Unimersiv

Unimersiv’s VR app is the largest platform for VR educational content. Explore the interior and exterior of the International Space Station, take a tour of the Titanic, or transverse the Acropolis of Athens as it was thousands of years ago. Go beyond the confines of a classroom and expand your horizons. With new material published every month, this VR app will surely create an engaging learning experience.

2. VirtualSpeech

Have a fear of public speaking, or just want to hone your speech deliverance skills? VirtualSpeech is a speech learning app that offers many courses and public speaking training simulations including speeches, boardroom presentations, job interviews, press conferences, and more. VirtualSpeech also offers feedback by evaluating and reporting your speech scenarios. The app can track the number of filler/hesitation words, the volume and pace of the user’s voice, and eye contact performance. You can also record your training sessions for future review and analysis.

3. Eon Creator AVR

EON Creator AVR (Augmented Virtual Reality) is an app that allows users to create, collaborate and share VR content. The app helps users design incredible learning content without the need for advanced programming skills. Browse the EON experience VR library containing 3D objects and 3D scenes. You can scale the size of the objects, build, configure, combine, lay them out, and add information to them (like names, descriptions, videos, slideshows, and more). Users can take apart aerospace machinery, build an engine, practice a delicate medical procedure, and more with this hands on app.

4. ImmerseMe

One of the best ways to learn and become fluent in a new language is to immerse yourself in that culture, practice conversation and surround yourself with the local sights and people. ImmerseMe is about virtually stepping into a beautiful and authentic location to learn a language, so that when you travel to these wonderful places in real-life, you’ll be prepared! Choose from over 500 scenarios across 9 languages. Order coffee in a cafe in Germany, buy a loaf of bread in Paris, or ask for tapas at a Spanish restaurant with this innovative language learning app.

5. TheBodyVR

TheBodyVR creates an immersive teaching environment allowing students and healthcare professionals to interact with the human anatomy and physiology in a whole new way. The app simulates real-world healthcare scenarios to teach and train more effectively and efficiently. It provides real-time, anatomically accurate, patient specific, VR simulations to visualize medical diagnoses, illustrate the impact of procedures and treatments, and create more educated decision-making. You can also travel through the bloodstream and discover how blood cells work to spread oxygen throughout the body, or enter one of the billions of living human cells and learn how the organelles work together to fight deadly viruses.

6. Anatomyou

Anatomyou VR presents human anatomy to the user from a different perspective. Become a part of the anatomy in an immersive way. You can navigate along anatomical structures and travel through the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and female reproductive systems. This app is great for biology students or anyone with interest in the inner workings of the body. Topics that were once limited to the pages of a text book are now captivating experiences.

 

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

The Digital Textbook Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]

The way in which students access information is in a constant state of change. While many students are loyal to traditional textbooks, many seek to use more modern, digital textbooks in their studies. This infographic from OnlineUniversities.com outlines different aspects of the digital textbook revolution.

eBooks – These are often cheaper, lighter, and easier to store and transport than traditional textbooks.

Rentals – Companies offer both textbook and eBook rentals. Many students favor this over purchasing textbooks because it is less costly.

Tablets – Because they are lightweight and easy to use, tablets are a great way for students to access their textbooks digitally. Many programs allow students to interact with the text, making it an active learning experience.

Innovation – In addition to eBooks, other programs like education apps and iTunesU, are rising in popularity as a digital form of enabling learning.

Source: OnlineUniversities.com

7 Tips for Linking Videos to an Online Course

video cameraEverybody loves videos. Whether feature films or short, creative clips, they are viewed as a way to spark interest and take a break from the usual classroom rhythm.

The nature of an online classroom is ideal for video use. Instructors can easily link videos to the course and enable their students to learn beyond a limited text. However, if not implemented correctly, videos can be a roadblock which bring frustration prevent learning.

Here are seven tips to enhance your use of videos in your online classroom.

  1. Serve a purpose – Videos can be exciting and flashy, but make sure that they truly add something to the course. Inform the students why the video is important and what they can expect to gain from watching it.
  2. Accessible – A fantastic video will not be of any benefit if the students cannot view it. If you used the video in a previous semester, check that the link still works. Also, be sure that it can be played on different types of computers and operating systems.
  3. Appropriate length – A video needs to be just the right length to keep a student’s attention and to communicate the purpose of the clip.
  4. Engaging – A video is not necessarily engaging. Although it can be a break from the norm and be exciting because of special features, be sure that it is not boring. Try to find a clip which brings students in and motivates them to watch it until the end.
  5. Interactive – Just like an instructor might provide instructions for a guided reading, arrange a dynamic element to the assignment. Strategies could include things like a quiz at the conclusion of the clip, a response paper, or even something creative to keep students on track (think “Where’s Waldo?).
  6. Take advantage of the internet – The internet offers many educational video resources. Some websites like AcademicEarth, BigThink, and TED-Ed (learn more about TED-Ed here) offer great options. Also, many YouTube channels specifically focus on academic fields.
  7. Know about copyright – Be aware of each linked video’s copyright status. This information can often be found in the “Terms of Use”

How do you use videos in your online classroom?

Sources:

Lights, Camera, Learn!: Five tips for using video in eLearning by Veronica Phillips on eLearnMagazine.org

8 tips for creating video in online learning by Meris Stansbury on eCampusNews.com

Learner Interactivity in a Synchronous Classroom

In this interesting presentation, Claudia Dornbusch of Facilitador.com demonstrates how to promote learner interactivity in a synchronous classroom. Topics include maximizing visual and whiteboard potential, chat and breakout sessions, and polls and audio discussions.

While these suggestions are intended for employee training sessions, the concepts can be implemented in higher level higher education as well.

 

E-learning: How to deliver an engaging Virtual Classroom presentation by Claudia Dornbusch

 

Blended Learning: A Benefit for Teachers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Studies often point to the many benefits of online or blended learning for students. But what about the benefits for teachers?

The following infographic from teachthought.com outlines a number of ways that teachers benefit from the blended learning experience. This new form of education not only conveniences teachers and their busy schedules, but it provides the medium through which they can educate at higher standards. Furthermore, as personalized instruction increases in their classrooms, teachers’ networks and earning potential can grow as well.

Check out this infographic to discover how blended learning can truly be a win-win situation.

Blended-Learning-Teaching-Infographic

Source: teachthought.com

 

Debunking the Common Misconception about Flipped Online Classrooms

Hand coming out of laptop - CopyWith all the hype about flipped classrooms, people often wonder if it is possible to do that in an online course. How can a course be flipped when there is no physical setting in the first place?

In Can You Flip an Online Class? on FacultyFocus.com, Barbi Honeycutt and Sarah Glova advocate a redefinition of the term “flip” in order to implement the winning techniques into a purely digital learning environment. They argue that a flipped classroom’s strength lies in its’ focus on students, not the actual class time perimeters.

A flipped classroom – whether traditional or online – is one which practices student centered learning.

With this definition, class time structure is no longer the primary feature of a flipped classroom. Rather, the core element is a course’s utilization of interactive activities, personalized instruction, and an engaging atmosphere. These are tangible characteristics which can be applied in an online classroom.

Consider these techniques to focus on your students:

  • Encourage students to contribute additional resources to class discussions.
  • Ask students to tell you about their personal learning styles. That way, you can have an estimation of how your class learns and how to best serve their needs.
  • Vary the type of assignments so that they play to different students’ strengths.
  • Create dynamic discussion boards. It is always beneficial for students to express themselves.

How have you flipped your online classroom?

Making the Leap: 7 Tips for New Online Learners

28897238_s - Second Copy CroppedWill this semester be your first time taking an online course? While a syllabus should outline the technicalities and course navigation, the mental leap from traditional instruction to a virtual classroom can be daunting. Here are 7 suggestions to make the transition easier.

  1. Recognize that e-learning is different type of learning experience. Don’t compare it to a traditional course. Although it may seem strange, give the virtual learning methods a chance and explore a new pedagogical arena.
  1. Learn how you like. Enrich your learning experience by finding supplementary resources which you enjoy using. They could be familiar resources, like powerpoints and informative videos, or perhaps new tools like prezi or TED Talks.
  1. Share what you find with your classmates. If you liked it, chances are that they will too. You can create a larger and more united environment for your classmate community.
  1. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn. Don’t submit reading responses only in order to make the grade. Choose to make the most of the experience and continually appreciate learning new things.
  1. Team up with another first time e-learner. Whether or not you are taking the same course, it is a good idea to have a friend who can jointly relate to your position.
  1. Find a mentor who had a positive online learning experience. Look around – it is likely that a neighbor or a fellow student made this leap a little while ago. Ask for practical advice and do not scoff at comforting reassurance.
  1. Have fun! – Learning is great.

What helped you make the transition from a traditional student to an e-learner?

What is Rhizomatic Learning?

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Rhizomatic learning is a perspective on learning that has been promoted in the past few years by Dave Cormier, a teacher at the University of Prince Edward Island.

In botany, a rhizome is the term used for the stem of a plant, usually found underground, whose roots spread out in many directions. With this image in mind, supporters of rhizomatic learning believe that learning is a multi-dimensional process that has no defined beginning or end. Learning is a complex, chaotic process, in which each student independently chooses his or her own path.

The rhizomatic learning perspective is based on the premise that teachers cannot possibly know or cater to students’ individual needs, interests, and contexts.

As Dave Cormier explains on his blog about rhizomatic learning: “the whole idea of rhizomatic learning is to acknowledge that learners come from different contexts, that they need different things, and that presuming you know what those things are is like believing in magic.” Rather than providing a defined set of course materials in a predetermined order, teachers who support rhizomatic learning strive to create a context “within which a conversation can grow,” much as a garden provides the space for a plant to take root and flourish.

Furthermore, as Dave Cormier points out: If teachers want their students to ultimately surpass them in knowledge, why limit the students to a predetermined set of material? Students should be encouraged to engage in active learning, embrace the learning process, make their own connections, and form their own understandings.

For more information about Rhizomatic Learning, see Dave Cormier’s blog.

Add Interactivity to Video Lectures with eduCanon

EduCanon logo

eduCanon logo

Want to prevent the “zone out” effect for students watching your video lectures online?

Try using eduCanon to keep your students awake and actively engaged. eduCanon is an online tool that allows professors to easily add questions at key points during video lectures. Simply upload a screencast, YouTube video, or Vimeo video to the eduCanon site, and choose where you want to insert the questions.

Students will better understand and retain their learning when they are forced to pause, reflect, and process the information before continuing on through the lecture.

To learn more about eduCanon, visit the eduCanon website, or watch the eduCanon introductory video, below.

Also see this interview with the co-founders of eduCanon from the EdTechTimes.

* eduCanon logo is the sole and exclusive property of eduCanon.

Active Learning Techniques in Online Courses

Active learning is an engaging form of learning that involves higher-order thinking skills such as evaluation, synthesis, and analysis. It is much more effective than the passive learning that occurs when students simply listen to a lecture or watch a powerpoint presentation. When engaged in active learning, students are forced to process and apply the information that they learned.

How can professors create opportunities for active learning in online courses?

Mark Trego, Active Learning Technician at Northwest Iowa Community College, suggests dividing students into several small groups and asking each group to discuss a specific topic with their fellow group-members on discussion boards. Each group should then present their findings to the rest of the class. Finally, all groups should critique their peers’ presentations.

For a more detailed explanation of active learning and its applications, see Mark Trego’s full video below.