Returns to Innovative Teaching: a focus on VR, AR and Video


The December ITE Forum brought a fitting conclusion to the ITE 2019 theme of ‘returns to innovative teaching', with its focus on virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and using video for reflection.

Professor Silke Grafe and her colleagues, Gabriela Ripka and Thomas Schröter ( School of Pedagogy, University of Würzburg) shared their methodology and initial findings from the ViLeArn research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education.  The aims of this project are to foster media pedagogical competences of student teachers and teacher educators through the development of a virtual situated learning environment with avators and agents. A key point from the needs analysis of the teacher educators was the importance of flexibility in both the learning scenarios and the learning environment (e.g. furniture). The importance of the social factor (communication and interaction) has been a key learning point. The student teachers missed communication signals (e.g. body gestures), however felt an increase in their concentration as a result of no other distractions in the ‘room'. 

Peter Claxton, SMART Technologies then shared details of a small augmented reality  app SMART Ink Scan which is free to download from the Apple app store.  The app converts handwritten artefacts to digital ink, with teachers and students finding it useful transform notes and capture pictures to then share with others as a pdf or jpeg.

The final session considered the use of video for deliberate practice, with Dr. Shawn Edmondson and Vesna Belogska from IRIS Connect explaining the research behind ‘Learning Zones' and ‘Performance Zones' which helps explain why most of us don't improve, despite working harder!  In the ‘learning zone' the expectation is to make mistakes, where in the ‘performance zone' we focus on minimising mistakes and seek flawless execution. With schools based around timetables, teachers focus on the ‘performance zone' which minimising the experimentation of the ‘learning zone'.   Shawn shared how video technology can support teachers to work in the learning zone with a feeling on control, and with support of coaching and mentors.  The advice was to start in the learning zone by focusing  on sub-skills, on something just beyond current capabilities to improve performance.  The IRIS Connect video app is available from app store.  As part of the ITELab project, you can register for an IRIS Connect video platform user account and complete the short Module C induction activity on the IRIS Connect platform.

The session closed with co-chair Dr Conor Galvin, University College Dublin highlighting the discussion comments made by Professor Floriana Falcinelli, University of Perugia that one of the most useful elements in both VR and video is the analysis and the opportunities for reflection with peers.

The ITE Forum slides and video recording are available here.  With the end of the ITELab project in December 2019, the ITE Forum will move under European Schoolnet's  Future Classroom Lab (FCL).  Sign up to the FCL newsletter to keep in touch