The headset goes on and the student is handed two controllers. She begins to manipulate a virtual model of a protein, turning it this way and that to study the structure. It’s not exactly like playing in Star Trek: Bridge Crew, but it’s still way better than looking at a flat illustration in a textbook, which is exactly why Washington & Lee University’s Integrative and Quantitative (IQ) Center is trying out the use of virtual reality in as many classes as it can. Even though it may feel like VR has been around for a long time (Oculus Rift began taking pre-orders in 2012), in education its use is still on the bleeding edge…
A faculty member at New York University’s Stern School of Business entered Amanda Justice’s office, apparently after binge-viewing Breaking Bad. “He asked me if we could end [his videos] with a cliff hanger,” recalled the educational technologist. She remembered thinking, “This is an operations course. I don’t really know off the top of my head how we could get Breaking Bad-level engagement and trauma into it.”
On the other hand, that’s just the kind of challenge Justice and her colleagues on Stern’s Learning Science team within the W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs like to tackle…
The idea that students could still be over-paying for course materials all over the country really burns Brad Wheeler, the vice president for IT and CIO of Indiana University. A big part of the problem, he believes, is that it’s taken a long time for textbook publishers to own up to the “fundamental flaw” of their industry: “They are obsessed with counting their gross margins on the things they actually do sell.” And, he added, they ignore the enormous amounts they lose through the other 75 percent of the market made up of used and rented books and other kinds of substitutes. Because of those blinders, the publishers have “long pursued a model that has been failing, year over year.”
Wheeler has arguably been one of the loudest voices telling textbook companies to change their ways. In 2009, his university began piloting an e-textbook program that eventually pollinated to numerous institutions and started a movement that led to the founding of an organization dedicated to helping schools reclaim ownership of their decisions and data.
Image courtesy of Indiana University
“Here’s the deal… You can either give me functional WiFi or you can give me back a portion of my tuition. Which one is it gonna be?”
“What if this is all some kind of social experiment to see what happens when you take WiFi away from college students?”
“How to academically ruin a college student: shut off their WiFi on a Sunday.”
Two institutions are using those kinds of disparaging tweets from their community of students as inspiration for improving delivery of wireless networking.
The new Secretary of the Department of Education told an audience of education innovators that she believed the role of technology in education has just begun to “scratch the surface,” particularly in bringing “new opportunities” to rural populations.
Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke at the ASU+GSV Summit, taking place this week in Salt Lake City. The event brings together people from education, industry and government to discuss education and workforce innovation.