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Katia and I have partnered up to review and apply the critical lenses of Clark and Kozma to two techno-deterministic articles. We will be taking a look at two types of popular technology: interactive classroom display and immersive experience (AR/VR/MR).

Image by Josan Gonzalez. Click to navigate to Bright for two more illustrators’ takes on the future classroom.

Article 1 – See See No Touch

Samsung (2020, November 30). Samsung Puts the Spotlight on Hybrid Learning Solutions at ISTE 2020. Samsung Newsroom U.S. https://news.samsung.com/us/samsung-spotlight-on-hybrid-learning

Chalkboard, whiteboard, smartboard, 85-inch interactive display. Samsung announced their latest hybrid learning solution – a massive touchscreen display for the classroom paired with Boxlight’s digital learning platform, MimioConnect. The interactive display is intended to create a digital learning space for student engagement and collaboration that transitions seamlessly from classroom to remote settings. The screen offers content display and storage functions, and can record up to 20 simultaneous inputs from instructors and learners. To help with the transition from classroom to remote, the display is offered in partnership with MimioConnect. This learning platform offers built-in tools for lesson building and delivery, facilitates collaborative input on shared documents, and various other functions like sending assignments to students, videoconferencing, polling and interactive questions, tracking student analytics based on grades and time spent on tasks, and a mobile app for additional remote engagement.

In Clark’s perspective, installing this interactive display is simply a choice of technology and not a solution for learning. The method and content are confounded since the learning is simply a digital version of what would have been achieved in the traditional classroom setting. Essentially, instructors will be equipped with a new piece of technology but are not required to design their courses differently. For students, they may have a new learning platform to use at home and at school, but there is no objective feature to increase motivation or achievement. In summary, a learning space does not require a new display to be engaging or collaborative, nor does installing a large interactive display in the classroom improve learning experiences or achievements when students are at home. Applying Clark’s replaceability challenge, the media attributes of the display and learning platform can be easily replaced by existing technology that many instructors are already using, such as email, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, student information systems, learning platforms (Moodle, Blackboard, etc.), projectors, whiteboards, and Google Docs. With an existing library of free or previously purchased technology that offer the same features and functions, this interactive display and MimioConnect learning platform may offer increased efficiency in learning delivery, but is likely not cost efficient to transition to. 

On the other hand, having an interactive display in the classroom may encourage instructors to break away from the traditional classroom set up. Kozma’s perspective would describe this interactive display and learning platform technology to be a potential catalyst for instructors to reconsider their course design and student engagement strategies. For classrooms that have not yet made the transition to hybrid or remote learning, need a robust online learning platform, or would like to renovate the traditional classroom to a smart or high-tech classroom, this product may be a convenient option to consider. Depending on the specific tools offered by MimioConnect, instructors may be able to access new software and tools that can help them transform and redesign their courses to better fit hybrid and remote learning strategies. Additionally, the ability to record up to 20 simultaneous inputs and track student analytics based on grades and time spent on tasks can help instructors focus on areas of need for each learner. This is in line with Kozma’s emphasis on ethnographic and naturalistic observations of the learning process as it occurs in the students. Since the display and learning platform encourage high levels of user interaction in the learning space, hybrid and remote course design may continue to evolve over extended use.

Article 2 – Disk Wars

If you are a Tron fan, I have made use of Disc Wars and a little bon mot. Image by ThePr0crastin80r via DeviantArt.

Dick, E. (2021, August 30). The Promise of Immersive Learning: Augmented and Virtual Reality’s Potential in Education. Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. https://itif.org/publications/2021/08/30/promise-immersive-learning-augmented-and-virtual-reality-potential

In this article, Dick says augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) are media offering immersive experiences which will provide opportunities for students to participate in a more engaging way, being able to control and/or react to the respective learning activity. Dick explains that classrooms are using AR/VR technology for virtual field trips, experiments, simulations, and more. The learning experience these realities offer immerses the student into curricula versus a 2D experience where information is directed at them. The experiences can be designed for students with learning or intellectual challenges or target one specific part of a subject. Students can access new resources even as they update in real time. Additionally, these immersive experiences could apply to developing learning options, supporting students with challenges, lowering the risk associated with activities (ex. Bunsen burners), reducing barriers, increasing hands-on learning, and allowing individual programming. In addition to popular apps like Pokémon GO (AR), National Geographic Explore (VR), visit the article for successful applications such as Polar Explorer (VR), and HoloAnatomy (MR) which can benefit specialized disciplines. 

Comparatively then, Kozma would be all in and Clark would not, since Kozma looks at the potential relationship between learning and media. As tools used for mental models or model evolution exercises, AR, VR and MR technology allows students to immerse themselves in the 360 degree experience, and move through all of the phases in their 360 degree lab. The motivation would come from the mode of delivery and the potential to see results right away. Students could step into the problem, experiment, develop their behavioural laws and apply them. Being able to see and do and get immediate feedback could also speed up moving through a course and it could significantly lower costs around equipment, labs et al. Currently, it can be said that students’ learning is one dimensional but 3D learning opens many hands-on, direct feedback, and collaborative opportunities. Kozma is a techno-determinist because he feels technology is forever moving forward, fueling program and software development. Previously, students read about dinosaurs and visited museums to see models. Using AR at the Royal Ontario Museum, students can live with the dinosaurs, identifying the species, what they eat, and what era they are lived in. That option does indeed, augment the content the teacher delivers.

Clark would apply his ‘armchair experimental criteria’ and say the subject matter would be taught regardless of what technology was used. The students are assigned to move through phases and come up with conclusions. Clark’s main argument, the replaceability test would suggest that the realities are but one vehicle to deliver content. Because of that students do not need an elaborate 3D immersive experience to learn the material; the teacher is still the person to deliver the content. With reality software, how the company designs modules could impact the teacher’s ability to present the information in a formative way. Clark would most likely lean toward saying this ‘elaborate’ set up is costly and question the increase in costs when the teacher is capable of achieving the same results without the technology. Clark would say not all learners learn the same, nor take the same amount of time to understand something. Teachers are able to immediately adjust their lessons to meet a learner where they are. However, tweaking a technology-based medium would take more time and possibly have a negative impact on the learner. Clark may conclude that learning is organically part of the very premise of the activity and does not require augmentation of any kind.

 

References

Clark, R. E. (1994). Media will never influence learningEducational Technology Research and Development42(2), 21-29.

Dick, E. (2021, August 30). The Promise of Immersive Learning: Augmented and Virtual Reality’s Potential in Education. Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. https://itif.org/publications/2021/08/30/promise-immersive-learning-augmented-and-virtual-reality-potential

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will media influence learning: Reframing the debateEducational Technology Research and Development42(2), 7-19.

Samsung (2020, November 30). Samsung Puts the Spotlight on Hybrid Learning Solutions at ISTE 2020. Samsung Newsroom U.S. https://news.samsung.com/us/samsung-spotlight-on-hybrid-learning