Wireless EdTech 2012, Augmented Reality Device, Infographics on Ed Tech, Broadband Deployment

“The Future of Education Is Wireless” — according to the Wireless EdTech Conference 2012, which was held in Washington, D.C., October 10-12. Why? “Mobile is innovative, affordable and provides 24/7 access to a seemingly endless amount of resources. That’s why there are more mobile subscriptions than toothbrushes. From low-income urbanites, to the suburban upper-class, to the poorest of poor in rural areas of the world, mobile connectivity has the power to transform learning in a 21st century environment” (conference site).

Then they go about showing, sharing and introducing policy, educational performance and international examples. There are powerful examples, and you really get up close and personal to the people who present and share their ideas.

I attended the conference. It’s the one conference that makes me want to attend all of the sessions. I usually go for the education section and the policy sessions. The conference is star-studded with people who know education and who are in touch with the pulse of the nation — educators, pupils, school board leaders, and policy makers. It’s a great conference to do powerful networking with, to name a few, the new president of ISTE, influential people from the Smithsonian and the wireless industry, and tried and true leaders like Dr. Chris Dede.

If international is your interest, here are a couple of videos for you:

I like the following video because I have actually taken kids on environmental field trips. It was a steep learning curve, and I had taken courses and worked with people in outdoor education. For me, the fact that kids could focus, do research and learn using powerful tools is so wonderful.

I remember taking kids and being so excited for them but having to handle clipboards, papers and string, and other tools was a challenge. We did it, but you might understand why a lot of teachers never did. I took courses and tramped in the woods learning on my own. I learned to make it simple, following patterns in nature, creating learning experiences that they could write about, and using a pile of posters and guidebooks.

We even made an Outdoor Lab Newspaper and did some art work. But my accumulated knowledge does not equal the knowledge that students are in touch with using an augmented reality device like the one in the video. Take a look and then think about the vast knowledge the kids had at their fingertips.

How technology has changed the possibilities for those of us who want to share the beauty of learning in the out of doors. I used mothers, cuisine, took birding courses, learned to read the woods, explored a rotting log, and handled a big telescope. But it was hard to individualize, identify, and itemize the things we found even if my s’mores were tasty.

What do we need to do to move forward? Here are some notes from Chris Dede’s plenary:

  • Old wine in new bottles: we have new media but don’t know how each empowers its message.
  • The vehicle is less than the sum of its parts.
  • We must go beyond using tools to empowering people.

Spectrum and Broadband Deployment

“Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski wrote an op-ed piece describing America’s standing in spectrum and broadband deployment, its continued progress, and what the country needs to do to promote the markets for broadband and apps” (Alton Drew, 9.18.12).  You may want to take a look at his statements about the use of 4G.

Infographics: Use of Technologies in Schools

At the beginning of the school year, everyone makes predictions about the use of technologies in schools.  So a company created an infographic to show results of what people think in an  infographic. The Edutopia site shares what happens when education is unplugged and schools are able to make cable free connections.

SodaHead.com, the web’s largest opinion-based community, asked its users about their thoughts on technology being used in schools, including when tablets and laptops should be allowed, thoughts on cell phones and texting in class and the potential change over to ebooks. In addition, the poll asked respondents about their favorite and least favorite subjects in school and their opinions on the importance of a college education for getting a job. The survey results are posted as an infographic.


Announcing Wireless EdTech 2012 – The Future of Education is Wireless
Qualcomm, September 2012 

The Evolution of Mobile Learning: Insights from the Wireless EdTech 2011 Conference
Chris Dede and Julie Evans, September 2012

Learning is Personal: Stories of Android Tablet Use in the 5th Grade
Marie Bjerede and Tzaddi Bondi, August 2012

Helping Life-Saving Lessons Reach Marginalized Indian Communities
Sesame Workshop, August 2012

Wireless Learning: How Mobile Technology is Transforming Classrooms and Empowering Young Women in Jordan
Ken Banks, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, July 18, 2012

CTIA Files Proactive Paper with FCC on Mobile Education and the Wireless Industry
July 13, 2012

Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey: K-12 Students and Parents Connect the Dots with Digital Learning
Project Tomorrow, April 2012
Updated 10.16.12: Two YouTube videos added.

7 Responses

  1. […] Wireless EdTech 2012, Augmented Reality Device, Infographics on Ed Tech, Broadband Deployment · CFHE 2012 Impressions: My Bumpy Start to a MOOC on Future Trends in Higher Ed – '505 Unread Discussion Messages …  […]

  2. […] “The Future of Education Is Wireless” — according to the Wireless EdTech Conference 2012, which was held in Washington, D.C., October 10-12. Why? “Mobile is innovative, affo…  […]

  3. […] “The Future of Education Is Wireless” — according to the Wireless EdTech Conference 2012, which was held in Washington, D.C., October 10-12. Why? “Mobile is innovative, affo…  […]

  4. NSTA Reports
    Engaging Students With Augmented Reality

    1/25/2011 – NSTA Reports—Debra Shapiro
    Teachers know students love to play games on handheld devices, and lament this pastime tends to keep them indoors. But a new technology called augmented reality (AR), which involves real-world learning experiences with additional information provided by a handheld computer, is getting students outdoors to learn science, and even helping them create their own learning opportunities.
    “AR is a mixture of the real world and the virtual world,” says Chris Dede, Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “We can now create powerful simulations of what it’s like to be a scientist in an authentic situation” that has never before been a part of science education “in a meaningful way.”
    Dede and his colleagues have developed two- to three-week learning exercises like Gray Anatomy, which asks students to discover why a gray whale has beached itself nearby. Assigned to different roles and using mobile phones and global positioning system (GPS)–enabled handhelds, students collaborate in groups to gather facts and solve the mystery. He describes AR as much less “immersive” than virtual reality because “you’re still yourself. You’re still standing in the real world,” and not an avatar in a virtual world.
    Dede’s collaborator on Gray Anatomy, Eric Klopfer, says he has worked on AR games related to “environmental science, ecology, climate change, public health, and epidemiology.” Klopfer, an associate professor of science education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), also directs MIT’s Scheller Teacher Education Program, which has been creating AR simulations for a range of subjects. One of their original science-themed games is Environmental Detectives, co-designed with Kurt Squire, now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It fea-tures a fictional chemical spill on the MIT campus, and uses data from actual chemical spills that occurred elsewhere, he explains.
    Working in small groups, students consult with virtual campus experts to determine what would happen if the chemical entered a nearby river and how to deal with that. On their “smart” phones, they see a campus map with an icon indicating where they are as they travel to areas of the campus as directed by the game, interview virtual witnesses, and use virtual water sampling equipment. The curriculum concludes with a mock trial in which students present evidence and recommend solutions. Simulations like this enable students “to educate their peers and the community in general” about local issues, notes Klopfer.
    AR also “can bracket science education in the classroom” by serving as an introduction to a topic or as an assessment tool, says Dede. Portable devices can capture student discussions, data gathered, interviews, and images, showing what students learned during the exercise. As the devices become more sophisticated, deeper knowledge can be conveyed, he observes.
    For teachers, mobile devices are “an attractive target” because they can be used “anywhere at any time” and can place students “in a rich context for science” when AR is added, says Dede. He notes smart phones have “fast market penetration,” even with low-income families, and says “mobile phones and AR are a much better equity case” than more expensive technology such as laptop computers. Both he and Klopfer believe smart phones are going to be prevalent in schools within two to three years: Klopfer notes “about 80–90%” of high school students al-ready have them. For students who don’t, Klopfer suggests schools obtain a supply of loaners, perhaps using grant funding.
    AR simulations can also save schools money on field trips. For example, instead of taking students to an amusement park to study physics, teachers could use an AR simulation that shows them the park plus its “underlying scientific representations,” such as momentum, Dede ex-plains. In chemistry, AR could show the molecular structure of an object, or speed up or slow down chemical reactions so they can be studied more easily, he notes.
    But Dede stresses “teachers need to experience what the students experience,” so it’s crucial that they learn about AR by creating simula-tions themselves “in a professional development setting.” By doing so, teachers will understand “how it integrates with their curriculum,” he concludes.
    Klopfer agrees. “We have teachers develop games themselves…for a particular location like their school or a nearby park, in which case they either determine the content or adapt [or] modify things that we have created.” He adds, “The technical aspects are really quite simple and can be taught in an hour or two. It is the elements of designing a good game with relevant science content, good characters…that takes time.”
    Rita Hagevik, assistant professor of science education in the Department of Theory & Practice in Teacher Education at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, helps preservice teachers create their own AR exercises. She emphasizes, “The way I use it, it’s not really a game, per se,” but “people collectively solving problems in science.”
    Her students use GPS units on campus to gather environmental education data for a wetlands unit. She and her students then visit “a primi-tive island off the coast of Georgia,” collect more data, and then “create a virtual version of their experiences on the island,” which they com-pare with the work they did in Tennessee, she explains.
    “My emphasis is on people creating their own experience and continuing to create that experience for others,” says Hagevik. She encour-ages her students to “think critically about what they’re doing and why” and judge how reliable the information is and what might be missing. “We have to help students make sense of what they’re learning,” she points out.
    Hagevik contends that children who ordinarily don’t like working with maps may feel differently when using them in AR simulations because they’re “able to create these amazing maps” using Google Earth, for example. She also appreciates how AR exercises “can get everyone in-volved—teachers, students, [and] citizens,” so it lends itself easily to citizen-science projects requiring sharing of data with scientists.
    In addition, as a classroom teacher, she says she “got tired of projects” in which activities and data could not be saved from year to year. With an AR simulation, teachers can save information and share it with other classes, she notes.
    Student-Created Simulations
    Klopfer says his current focus is on helping children create their own games to study issues in their communities. By developing their own AR games about what they’re studying, students can show what they have learned, he notes. They can also “explore various hypotheses” using the game.
    Students can create games that tie in to the science curriculum, according to Klopfer. “If teachers are training students to make games, we offer two-week workshops that combine technical skills, along with lots of other supporting educational technologies, and help them design their curriculum,” he says.
    Dan Toomey, seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher, and Amy Schiebel, K–16 science coordinator, at Edgewood Campus School in Madison, Wisconsin, say they “have used this technology with our students and have had some kids write games.” Toomey says AR “really has the potential to give students meaningful direction with their learning” because it gives teachers the ability to integrate “content, the science process, technology, writing, and creative writing.”
    To introduce AR games at his school, Toomey acknowledges he and his colleagues had to learn more about the technology. He even made that one of his professional development goals. He says having assistance from researchers from the Local Games Lab at University of Wis-consin-Madison was crucial because the researchers did the troubleshooting. “Without adequate tech support, it becomes frustrating,” adds Schiebel.
    Another challenge, admits Toomey, is “once [students] stand up and move around [outdoors], all bets are off,” so classroom management becomes more difficult. Teachers also have to contend with weather conditions, notes Klopfer. And Toomey advises teachers to be patient because students “have to understand the material and articulate it” before they design games.
    It’s all worthwhile, says Schiebel, because “I’m always astounded at the quality of work [students] do.” Toomey says when his students played a game involving saving a local lake, “they viewed [the lake] with a different perspective” and had “a deeper understanding” of water quality.
    Schiebel says the assessments completed so far show students have good retention of the subject matter, “even if they haven’t written the games themselves.” She envisions “a repository on the web of all of these games” so that anyone can use them.
    November NSTA Reports..

  5. […] “The Future of Education Is Wireless” — according to the Wireless EdTech Conference 2012, which was held in Washington, D.C., October 10-12. Why? “Mobile is innovative, affordable and provides 24/7 access to a seemingly endless amount of resources.  […]

  6. […] Wireless EdTech 2012, Augmented Reality Device, Infographics on Ed Tech, Broadband Deployment […]

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