Artificial Intelligence Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

RSS Feed Item

[Berkman] Chris Dede on Immersive interfaces and education

Chris Dede is giving a Berkman lunchtime talk on using the new immersive environments. [Note: I'm live-blogging, which means IO'm not checking for errors, and that I'm missing stuff, getting things wrong, paraphrasing, etc.]

Why immersion? “Immersion is the subjective impression that one is participating in a comprehensive, realistic experience.” Immersion can help learning by providing multiple perspectives, situated learning, and shifts in identity. Chris is interested in how we can make meaning out of complexity, using immersive interfaces in middle schools.

He sketches three types of immersive interfaces:

1. Augmented reality. You’re in the real world — you’re not an avatar — with a device that lets you overlay the real with the virtual. Entertainment and education can be anywhere. He shows a bit of his middle school math curriculum called “Alien Contact,” which uses mobile phones. Aliens have landed outside the school. The students explore the area (the real physical area), interviewing virtual characters and using mathematical and literacy skills. Students see different pieces of evidence based on their roles (FBI agent, linguist, computer expert, chemist), and have to collaborate to see the entire picture.

2. Alice-in-Wonderland, like SecondLife. Chris’ project has its own MUVE (multi-user virtual environment). This is partial immersion because you’re sitting in front of a monitor. He shows a clip about RiverCity. It’s a 3D simulation of a 1880 town battling infectious diseases. The students have to figure out what’s going on, learning the scientific method.

Situated learning — e.g., a medical internship — i s another example. You learn by doing and by watching people who know what they’re doing. Chris is using a virtuated environment to created a distributed-learning community.

3. Full immersion. Head-mounted displays. E.g., NewtonWorld, where you can see how balls interact, varying mass, velocity, etc. Similarly for MaxwellWorld.

He opens up the discussion.

Q: Would this work with university students? More sophisticated students?
A: A virtual ecosystem can be easy enough for a middle school student, but you can also imagine one complex enough for a university or graduate student.
Q: Complex environments are hard to create.
A: The good news is that the tools are being created by the entertainment industry. We then re-fit them our purposes. E.g., the authoring shell for the game Oblivion is very powerful. Within 5 years we’ll probably be able to build mixtures of emergent behaviors and scripted behaviors that are really compelling.

Q: Why did you make RiverCity historically situated. Doesn’t that make less obviously relevant to the kids.
A: We needed our kids to be experts. Even the least sophisticated kid today knows more about medicine than the most sophisticated person in the 1800s. [I love this idea.] Also, I wanted to show you could teach multiple things at the same time: science, history, English…

Q: [jz] Harvard Libraries have an outpost in SecondLife but not in Wikipedia. There seems to be something about participating in virtual places. Do you think of Wikipedia as an immersive environment? What would it mean to make it so? And would it improve it?
A: Wikipedia doesn’t work for sensory immersion, actional immersion (being able to fly, e.g.), but it might for symbolic immersion (what you get late at night if you’re reading a horror novel), depending on what you’re reading about or co-creating. A better example might be a Harry Potter fan fiction site. You can imagine putting the Wikipedia for HP inside a virtual HP world — your HP avatar could write an entry in the inner Wikipedia. And would it be better? Lectures are generally better in the real world. But it’d take a lot of discussion to answer your question fully….

Q: Some manuscripts can only be experience in a group via a virtual environment.
A: Yes. You could set up a virtual museum exhibit that brings together works, and that might let you explore the artist’s world. Or, for Van Gogh, what the world looked like a schizophrenic.

Q: How can you keep up with the commercial environments so that the educational ones don’t look old fashioned?
A: It depends on what factors matter. In terms of fidelity, many studies show that you need high fidelity in the parts where the experience requires it — e.g., teaching how to read X-rays — but you can have low fidelity for the parts not directly related to what you’re teaching. If it’s engaging, users don’t care about the low fidelity. None of the 15,000 students who have used RiverCity have complained that it’s too cartoon like, even though it’s not even remotely as photo realistic as the games they play.

Q: Metrics?
A: All of these projects measure gains carefully. They’re research projects. Typically the research shows that if it’s well designed, you get gains in learning…which is what research shows for just about educational technique.

Q: [me] First, I love the idea that in RiverCity, students are treated as experts. How much of this would you do in a day? How much of this is the film strip break in the day?
A: It varies developmentally. For young children, I’d do very little. You learn over and under by crawling, not by having your avatar do it. As they get older, maybe 15-20% of the day? It depends on the topic, the age of the students, etc…For my courses, I’d use the virtual environment at the beginning to let them see the scope of the landscape. In the middle, they’d do a formative experience inside the virtual environment: Here’s what I understand so far. At the end, you’d do a summative experience.

Q: [ethanz] Have people done side by side studies of these environments and other creative interventions, including teachers putting in an enormous of creativity into changing a lesson plan. Your examples tell us about engaged teachers more than about virtual environments, perhaps.
A: It’s a question very relevant to policy. One of the considerations: RiverCity’s cost for 30 kids is about the same as for 3,000 kids. But even the most skilled teacher could give students the sense of going back in time. Where the world is not doing much more than lecturing, you’re right to be skeptical. How are we testing this claim? We have control conditions for RiverCity and Alien Contact. The control conditions are paper-based games. We found a strong difference in engagement. In RC, we found a big difference in learning; in AC we’re breaking even in learing, but it’s a first gen project.

Q: I teach law. You are expected to immerse students into being just, fair and convincing. That’s entirely inter-human. To what extent could this virtual, artificial interface enable the inter-human relation, or perhaps hinder it.
A: Immersive interfaces aren’t equally powerful for all subjects. I don’t know the answer to your question, but one of the thigns we can do in RC is have two people can be in the same room and have different experiences. E.g., you could build a pre-Civil War environment. Two avatars walk down the street together. They see the same things, but one is a slave and one is a slave-holder. That leads to an interesting conversation.

Q: [charlie nesson] Can you establish a transfer of skills from games to real world skills?
A: I’m skeptical about claims of far transfer. The evidence there is weak. I’m quite more convinced about near transfer. So, saying that you’re good at World of Warcraft and thus you’d be good as a lawyer isn’t going to get you too far. It might mean that you can make fast decisions, but WoW aggression probably doesn’t correlate with aggression in the courtroom. The first is a near transfer, and the second is a far transfer.
Q: Has there been a lot of research on this?
A: Not that I’ve found. Closest you get to this is the military that has evidence that military skills transfer to civilian life, and many of those skills are gained by simulation. [Tags: ]

Read the original blog entry...

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named "Media Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...