Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Out and About: Aaron at RSC Eastern eLearning Forum

I spent Friday 7th October at The Moller Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge attending the JISC RSC Eastern eLearning Forum. I was really looking to the event as the programme looked really interesting, I was especially interested in the Focus on Augmented Reality (AR) by University of Exeter, as this is an area that we are working with at the moment.

Dale Potter gave a really enjoyable presentation around the work that the University of Exeter having been doing in the AR field, particularly their "Unlocking the Hidden Curriculum" work with Layar and the eco systems around their campus.  Dale started by talking about the types of AR, marker and location-based.  Dale demonstrated a really fun way of explaining what marker AR was, a member of the audience was brought to the front, a marker icon was placed on their chest and they were then stood in front of a webcam that was projected on to the screen.  When the webcam identified the marker it displayed all the major body organs overlaid on the projected image, so we were seeing the audience member in real time with an image of organs placed roughly in the correct positions.

From here we looked more at the project that has been run at Exeter and a demonstration video was played, shown below:



This was a really interesting session, it was nice to see what other institutions are up to in the same field as us, it was also really helpful to hear that Exeter have released some of the code from the project on their website, as well as making available an AR Resources Toolkit.

The next session was titled "The Virtual Dropdown Menu" and was run by Adam Blackwood of RSC South East.  This session was looking at new technologies and the way they can make gain accesses to resources quicker/simpler, the text below is from the programme:
Spatially-sensitive information will become increasingly more important over the next few years as the technologies become more ubiquitous on mobile devices. This short online session provides an outline of these technologies, giving participants a ‘heads up’ on what you might consider for further developments within your own organisations.

People are already becoming familiar with QR Codes to enhance hand-outs, objects and learning opportunities; some organisations are using Bluetooth; and some are just starting to look at Geo Fencing, Geo Tagging and Augmented Reality solutions. In addition, further newer technologies are appearing on the horizon. All these will be examined in this short time trip into the future of ‘The Virtual Drop-Down Menu’.

This again was an interesting sessions as it is also an area we have been working, with our QR Code Tour and Quiz Generator.

After a very nice lunch we resumed with a presentation from Geoff Stead, Head of Innovation at Tribal.  The presentation was entitled  "m-learning: aligning the present with the future", and was looking at the work that Tribal are doing with mLearning, we were shown a video of the work that Tribal have been doing for the US Government, looking at improving the communications of workers in distaster zones.

Below is one of the last slides from the presentation, showing tips for success with mLearning materials.



The event was really worthwhile attending, it is always good to see what others are up to and to hear their experiences as well as the thoughts of those other attendees.  It is also good to know that UCS isn't being left behind with its work in these areas.

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