Some time ago, Trent Rosen (@TrentRosen) invited me to be a member of a panel on Exploring the World of Learning Technologies at his Melbourne event held on Wednesday 3rd May. Trent runs these events in Sydney and Melbourne for people in the Learning and Development profession to learn and meet with other learning practitioners. Delivered as fishbowl formats (where members of the audience are invited to sit with the panel, ask questions and share their own stories and experience), this style of presentation allows more engaging interaction and discussion to occur than the traditional presentation formats.
However, the most FABULOUS aspect about it was that I got to meet Donald Clark (@DonaldClark), an Educational Technology entrepreneur. Truth be told, I was in awe of him. I’ve been reading his blog posts for many years as they present a refreshingly honest, ‘no holds barred’ view and perspective of current thinking (or ‘not thinking’ some may argue) in the learning field. As someone who has many years experience across both business and education, all of what he writes and espouses is worthy of attention.
If you haven’t read his PlanB blog posts or seen his TedX Glasgow presentation on how much pedagogic change we’ve had in the last 10 years than 1000, I strongly recommend you check them out.
He also has a lovely Scottish accent. That’s always a bonus in my books.
The fishbowl discussion centred around how organisations can begin exploring the use of different technologies to support and build knowledge to improve performance capability.
What struck me most about the discussion on reflection was that each panel member had their own particular interest. Whereas one was more on the development of these technologies, another was interested in live video streaming, I was more about social technologies that allow people to work, connect and learn from each other and Donald’s focus was around artificial intelligence. My personal take-away from this event was that there is no one right answer. I certainly don’t propose that implementing technologies will solve every single workplace issue or problem. However, I do believe that as Learning and Development professionals, we open up our minds and at least explore these as to how, why and in what way they can be used and for what context.
After the presentation, Donald invited the audience to experience virtual reality themselves. He had the Oculus Rift Developer Kit set up and we all got a turn in an alternative world. Once again, who was I to say no to entering another world and having a bit of a laugh.
The presentation was quite timely as it’s Melbourne Knowledge Week at the moment. There’s various presentations, workshops, events and demonstrations happening in all parts of the city. Last night I entered yet another virtual reality world – this time for an application in engineering. By making gestures with my hands above the keyboard (a sensor recognises the hand movements), I was picking up components in the virtual world and putting them together. I got to speak to the Deakin University research scientists who have put together a certificate qualification in Virtual and Augmented Reality and opening up the IDC (Interactive Digital Centre) in partnership with EON Virtual Reality. I think this would be well worth a visit when it opens much like Monash University’s SensiLab which I visited this week too).
Here are some videos I’ve pulled together of virtual and augmented worlds that you may be interested in….
Trying to Pick up Things (Not People) in a Virtual World
Trying to pick up things in VR using my hand gestures above a sensor. Fiddly. Where’s a magic wand when you need it? pic.twitter.com/lYf6VyZ7HY
— Helen Blunden (@ActivateLearn) May 5, 2016
What is Augmented Reality?
Here I test out the new Plattar app and my augmented business card. It’s a nifty party trick to show this to people when I’m out. Gets a surprise reaction. Watch and see how it happens.
Trying to Shoot Arrows Out of Bows In a Virtual World
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