MAVR Presence at JALT2017

Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities (MAVR) (1)

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JALT MAVR SIG had (1) its first forum, MAVR SIG Showcase: Research, Projects, and Demos, (2) MAVR​ ​SIG​ ​Table, (3) Partnership​ ​Booth, and (4) After​ ​Party​ ​Gaming.

 

MAVR SIG Showcase: Research, Projects, and Demos

Digital content and the internet jumped into our pockets with smartphones. Now digital content is jumping back out of our pockets through mixed, augmented, and virtual realities. The MAVR team presented on different research topics and demoed some MAVR projects.

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Here are my slides on “A Virtual Trip to the Unseen Iran”

 

MAVR​ ​SIG​ ​Table

We had a table in the SIG room and introduced our research group and projects.

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Partnership​ ​Booth

Cengage Learning partnered with us to create an AR experience to showcase their
TED textbook line. You can find your pics here: 

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After​ ​Party​ ​Gaming

We rented a space, had a few drinks, and played some VR/AR games.

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Below are the highlights from MAVR presence at #JALT2017 – Included are our SIG Table, our SIG Forum, Poster and Oral Presentations, and our partnership with Nat Geo Learning (video created by Eric).

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A Trip to the HeART of the Unseen Iran via the VR Empathy Machine

 

Iran

I came to Japan in 2015 to do my PhD, and I realized in the first few days of living here that there are certain stereotypes about the Middle East, especially about Iran. This is why I actively give talks about the real Iran and the Iranian people behind the news, and blog about the Iranian identity at beyondyourstereotypes.wordpress.com (“I Am More Than A Stereotype”).

In my classes, I always allocate one whole session to introduce my country, and this helps me establish my identity and help my students see and perceive me as I perceive myself.

Here is my ELT chalkboard on Iran on the first day of my English Conversation (英語会話) class at Konan Women’s University.

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One of my MAVR teammates, Chris Hastings, who knows about my presentations on Iran, kindly contacted me. Here is a part of his email:

I want to help you add a VR component to your talks/workshops about Iran. I think your efforts to normalize ideas about Iran and squash ridiculous stereotypes are really admirably, and something I want to help with. So, I’m suggesting possibly adding a VR segment to one of your workshops that uses Google Streetview, Google Expeditions, or maybe even a VR movie about Iran. I think this would be really powerful in combination with your words. I recently heard a quote about VR being called an ‘empathy machine’ and it made me think about you and your recent efforts regarding “I Am More Than A Stereotype”.

This semester, I have five classes: Three classes at Konan Women’s University  (English at KonanWU) and two classes at Kobe Women’s University (English at KobeWU). Travel is the theme of all the textbooks that I teach. So, I took this opportunity and planned a virtual trip to the unseen Iran through little but powerful empathy machine. In our recent email exchange, Chris shared a TED Talk with me, titled “How Virtual Reality Can Create the Ultimate Empathy Machine”. It’s probably where the phrase ‘ultimate empathy machine’ was coined. Chris Milk, the speaker is adding ‘ultimate’ to what the film critic Roger Ebert originally said about movies being like ‘machines that generate empathy’.

I ordered seven Google Cardboards on Amazon and I contacted Chris to pick his brain about the VR integration into my lesson plan. According to him, the best app he has worked with so far is Google Streetview because it is simple and easy to use. He said, the only problem was maybe not a lot of content for Iran. He kindly shared a website which has a VR section on Iran: https://persiaport.com/en/hashtag/virtualreality. It has a lot of content and can be accessed on mobile devices and is compatible with Google Cardboard.

Then, he further explained that if you have your own 360 photos, you could use a service like https://roundme.com/ to upload them to and create a simple tour. There is a free version with somewhat limited functionality which will allow you to do this. It’s also really simple to use. If you want to get serious about making your own tours, then I recommend – https://ggnome.com/pano2vr. If there 360 images on Google Streetview you want to edit / upload to your own platform / make part of a tour, you can use this free software Streetviewgrabber – http://www.purebasic.fr/english/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=50248 (using Google’s photos for educational purposes is OK).

I decided to start with PersiaPort and 360cities  3D images of Iran . I created QR codes for each photo. As homework, I asked my students to find a tourist destination in Iran and bring a photo to the class (digital or in print).

 

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Many students found Nasir ol Molk Mosque as a tourist attraction in Iran. So, I decided to take them there! I also chose Masouleh, a village on the rooftops located in the north of Iran. I divided the students into groups and asked them to describe what they could see in English. We were at the heART of Nasir ol Molk Mosque and Masouleh village, and the classroom was filled with “wow moments”. Some of the students started walking around to be able to see the entire captured scene.

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Here are the QR codes and group number signs in Persian style.

Finally, I got the students to write a paragraph about their VR experience and their trip to Iran. In total, 65 students took a virtual trip to Iran. Here are some of their comments:

I’m planning to make the VR task more complicated for the future virtual trips to the real Iran. I am also going to add Tehrangeles to the activity to take the students to Little Persia in the US. In this way, I can also go there and overcome the travel ban with the help of VR 🙂

Here are my slides on “A Virtual Trip to the Unseen Iran” as part of the MAVR SIG Forum at JALT2017:

AR and VR Demo Slam at the University of Fukuchiyama

AR and VR Demo SlamPhoto created by Canva

Mehrasa and I recently joined Eric to help him with the AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) demo slam at the University of Fukuchiyama for Open Campus 2017.

The AR and VR experience area included:

  1. Eric’s ARientation cards (available at here)

Eric has two sets of cards, one is in A4 size and the other in A6.

Students were asked to install BlippAR on their smartphones to be able to scan the A4 size ARientation cards, which were hung on the wall. Some codes were overlayed in an image or video format on the cards to be used to unlock a cipher with mission accomplished signs inside.

Eric also demoed some of the A4 size ARientation cards by using a special camera. A number of the cards were overlayed with some keywords such as change, better world, and tackle inequality, and we took some screenshots while I was trying to scan them.

  1. Google Cardboard, which is a piece of cardboard that turns a smartphone into a VR headset
  2. Cameras to take 360 degree photos
  3. HTC Vive, which is a virtual reality headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation

Students tried HTC Vive by exploring some Google Earth VR demos, which provided opportunities for practicing English through explaining what they could see in the virtual world.

Eric is thinking of mixing AR and VR for his future projects and demos, and I am very much looking forward to it! 🙂

 

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Blog Post for the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group (LTSIG) 

Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities (MAVR)

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As Aaron Hogan truly tweeted, “Twitter is not going to change your life, but the educators you meet there will!” Recently, I have become active on Twitter and had the chance to get connected to teachers, researchers, and educators from different parts of the world! This is how I got to know Phil Longwell, also known online as ‘Teacher Phili‘. He kindly invited me to write a blog post for the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group (LTSIG).

Together with Mehrasa, we wrote a post on Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities (MAVR). We first defined MAVR, and then introduced some apps that help teachers bring MAVR to their classrooms. Following that, we shared our experience using BlippAR, an AR application, to augment poster carousel tasks in our blended English course (Osaka University Global English Online). Finally, we introduced the JALT MAVR SIG, which aims at promoting MAVR technologies in teaching and learning, especially in language education.

You can read our blog post, titled “How to Bring Mixed, Augmented & Virtual Reality to Your Classroom”, here.