PanSIG2018: MAVR Forum

Connecting to Puerto Rico through Augmented and Virtual Realities

After a massive hurricane hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, Antonio Vantaggiato, a professor at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in San Juan, started a campaign on social media for his students, asking people to send postcards of encouragement. In response, we designed a corresponding project for our university classes in Japan, titled “How Can I Change the World: Bookmarks for Puerto Rico”. We chose bookmarks as an “educational” item on which our students could write encouraging messages in English, and which could then become a keepsake for the Puerto Rican students. Through the use of virtual reality (VR), our students were able to “travel” to Puerto Rico to experience the devastating results of the hurricane. They were also able to explore the campus of the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón through 3D images. We also utilized augmented reality (AR) to bring our #care4sagrado message to life. Our learning objectives in this project were to teach our EFL Japanese learners to empathize and to become caring global citizens. In our presentation, we demoed our AR-generated message and introduced the AR app, Blippar, we used to create it.

 

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#MAVRLT Tweet Chat Summary: MAVR and ELT. A match made in Heaven?

MAVRLT

JALT Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities in Learning (MAVR) SIG teamed up IATEFL Learning Technologies (LT) SIG for a tweetchat, #MAVRLT, which took place on Sunday, May 13th, 2018, and that was the first #JALTchat.

The participants:

The guiding questions were:

  • What is MAVR and what has it got to do with language teaching?
  • AR, VR, and MR: How are they different?
  • How can we use MAVR to teach languages?
  • What are your MAVR recommended apps/devices?

MAVR and ELT: A Match Made In Heaven?

@SophiaMav started the chat by asking this question:

@Rach_Ribeiro said that we can use MAVR to enhance the experience within the language learning environment. She provided an example:

Let’s say a lesson theme is travelling and as a grammar focus the use of ‘there is , there are’ to describe places. Instead of just looking at photos, the students can actually experience walking on the street of the cities mentioned.

@teacherphili then mentioned that because it is up for debate, and he asked, “Are MAVR and ELT really a match made in heaven?” @Rach_Ribeiro replied, when MAVR is timely used and not overused, then MAVR and ELT are a match made in heaven. @ParisaMehran said that yes, if the devices are affordable and smaller. @Paul_Driver stated that there are lots of snippets about the technology; however, little said about theory or pedagogical implications. @ChrisRHastings added that he thinks we are at the stage where we all understand the obvious potential, but optimal pedagogies and applications are less clear. He also said that he thinks MAVR is great at tapping into that visual side of language learning and making input delivered through the medium very compelling.

@Rach_Ribeiro remarked that ELT teachers in general know that there is a potential but it is (unfortunately) mostly related to entertainment the way I see it, teachers who have been integrating some sort of VR and AR should share their real case studies. Also, sepending on the day and on how tired students are it does make a difference and changes the vibe of the class. She also emphasized that VR or AR it should be used for no longer than 5 minutes, because the aim is that this VR experience is a start to conversational activities, regardless of the level. Moreover, there is the concern of not getting students dizzy because people react differently to being in a VR environment.

@MehrasaAlizadeh said that entertainment or better say “edutainment” is a merit rather than a drawback especially in low-motivation contexts like Japan. @teacherphili then mentioned that so MAVR is used in Japan because it is more motivational – does that applying to learning a language, too? @MehrasaAlizadeh replied, in my experience, learners get more engaged in language learning activities with the use of MAVR tools such as BlippAR and Google Cardboard. Of course, not all learners but the majority I have worked with said so.

@mothralad said the immersiveness is such a huge advantage: The feeling of actually occupying a space. What @heikephilp likes about VR is that there is no keyboard which is great to encourage speaking, and @SophiaMav had these question for @heikephilp: “Speaking with whom though? Can students speak when wearing the headset – I mean, no eye contact and that does not make the experience a bit lonely? less interactive?”

Here are the answers:

  • @heikephilpThere are a number of social VR worlds only for high end headsets: Sansar, high fidelity, vtime, social vr, altspaces all have as feature voice over IP.
  • @Rach_RibeiroWhile ‘visiting’ a location they can be paired up with another student who is not using the VR set and describe what they see or answer the questions the other st asks. With YLE I ask one question only during the ‘journey’.
  • @oyajimboWith a headset on, you need a guide, i.e., your partner with different information and you cannot read the book. You can see but at the same time ‘blind’. Have to talk!
  • @Eric_Hawkinson: See social VR like Altspace or Facebook Social VR – basicly chatrooms for embodied avatars.
  • @mothraladIn the classroom, breaks in a VR activity where students discuss the content eye to eye can be helpful, then go back in. It’s also helpful for reducing eye strain.

@oyajimbo believed that MAVR is being tried in Japan because the tech is here and connectivity is not an issue and students sometimes need a cattleprodding to get going. @ParisaMehran added that the “wow moments” change the mood of our classrooms. The students come out of their seats and start walking (instead of sleeping). @SophiaMav then asked, “Don’t we need more than the wow factor when it comes to learning a language?” @ParisaMehran replied that she sometimes uses MAVR just to motivate and engage, because it works in Japan. @Eric_Hawkinson argued that wow is fleeting, especially when the content is not relevant and interesting, even in VR.

@SophiaMav pointed out that motivation is a significant factor in language learning. So can we say that MAVR pedagogy’s premises lie in motivation and immersion with regard to language learning? @ChrisRHastings said that not only motivation, but as a way to make input more comprehensible and memorable. @ParisaMehran tried to connect project based learning and TBLT to MAVR. But yes, motivation motivates her to use MAVR.

When @Rach_Ribeiro‘s A1 adult learners ‘visited’ London using VR it was memorable and she could see that her students had never traveled abroad. So, VR brings the understanding closer to you.

@heikephilp said that she is surprised that the extensive research on language learning in virtual worlds seem overlooked. Lots of research has shown the great benefits of real time communication at a distance and the lowering of effective filter. She also added that it seems to her that everyone jumps on a trend without looking at past and if you look at what VR is intended to be, it is certainly not 360° photo for a cardboard like device. It is much more. @SophiaMav then asked, “But where is the distance? We talked about real class environments here. Isn’t there a clear difference between MAVR and Virtual worlds – apart from the obvious similarities?” @ChrisRHastings argued that the VR in MAVR is more concerned with highly immersive headset-based VR, rather than simply any computer-generated 3D virtual environment.

@teacherphili then asked, “Is there a minimum age of students you would use VR in the classroom?” While @oyajimbo believed that he does not use with young learners as it can be addictive very quickly, @ParisaMehran pointed out that young learners are “digital natives” and are already addicted.

@SophiaMav said that all this sounds very promising. But how can we tackle the issue of VR equipment being so unaffordable? Aren’t prices prohibitive for the average classroom/ teacher/ institution?

Chatters provided the following answers:

  • @gegnagoyaIt depends on what you want to do. Google Cardboards can go as low as 500 or 600 yen, but if you want very immersive VR programs, it will be a while before the cost comes down, unfortunately.
  • @ChrisRHastingsStudents already own part of the hardware component, smartphones, and headsets can cost from as little as $10.
  • @gegnagoyaWith university students a BYOD policy usually works since they mostly own smartphones. If you provide the headsets as the instructor, the overall cost can remain quite low.
  • @SophiaMavWith BOYD policies though students – especially young learners and teens need digcit skills otherwise they may get very distracted – by using their devices for other reasons than learning.

What Is MAVR?

@Eric_Hawkinson raised the following question:

@ParisaMehran said, to her, MAVR is an extension but to make it more popular, we need to have specific research groups. She also mentioned that she has good examples of AR (e.g., Pokémon Go) and VR (e.g., Google Cardboard) but not of MR. She added that an example of MR can be Magic Leap but why it is considered as mixed reality is not clear to her. @heikephilp stated that Magic leap has produced a simple device that can be clipped on a cardboard to create hands without controllers.

@teacherphili asked, “Anyone got a good example / demo of Magic Leap?” He wanted to know how ‘mixed’ it is. @Eric_Hawkinson said that Magic Leap has been very closed about demos. “I personally am very suspicious of the videos they have released. But they got $$$”.

@heikephilp argued that we have had immersive learning since early Second Life times and it was not adopted. Not even a headset needed and Second Life was popular in 2006-2008.

@Eric_Hawkinson asked for the definition of CALL or MALL and @SophiaMav provided the following definition:

Back in 1997 Levy defined it as “the search for and study of applications of the computer in language teaching and learning” but of course there are more recent definitions.

@Eric_Hawkinson stated that if you were to follow the logic, you could replace computer in this definition with augmented and virtual technology, but it would not be accurate. In his opinion, this evolution has become more than about the technology. Eric has been focusing on how human interaction with this new media is different.


Research on MAVR

The following question was posed by @SophiaMav about the research done on MAVR: 

@mothralad said that the research on MAVR is still at its early stages. Together with his colleague, @ChrisRHastings, they have preliminary data that study abroad students can benefit from VR training before they depart. But we need to dig deeper with even more subjects.

@MehrasaAlizadeh shared more data on the impact of AR in an EFL class: Learning by design: Bringing poster carousels to life through augmented reality in a blended English course


MAVR Recommended Tools/Apps

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Photo shared by @Eric_Hawkinson 

  • Google Cardboard
  • GoPRO Camera
  • Theta Camera
  • Metaverse
  • Minecraft
  • ARientation
  • HTCVive
  • OculusRift
  • Google Expeditions
  • BlippAR
  • Zappar
  • HP Reveal
  • Aurasma
  • Flight Radar 24
  • Star Walk
  • Google Street View
  • YouTube VR

@SophiaMav asked, “How many of each do we need for a class of say 20 students? One for each student or can they share?” @Rach_Ribeiro replied, I teach 20 students per group and two Google Cardboard boxes are enough as we should use the rotation technique where the groups have different assignments and one of them is the use of Google Cardboard boxes.

@heikephilp said that as a great example for AR is Google lens which uses image recognition and Google search. Great for learning vocabulary. Go to market and point your mobile at fruit.

According to @ChrisRHastings, Google Expeditions is the most practical tool so far for teaching language in content-based classes. @Rach_Ribeiro then explained how to incorporate it into the classroom:

Expeditions has been greatly improved and now it is open to everyone. I’d like to highlight that there are 360º videos on YouTube that can be used as well. Last week, I took a group of 22 6 year-old Young Learners A1 to ‘visit’ Hamleys the toyshop and name the toys. While ‘visiting’ the shop, I asked each one of them: What can you see? They used the words they had previously learned: Teddy bear, action figure, doll, car.

@MehrasaAlizadeh added that with the newly released Google VR Tour Creator, the potentials for student-generated content are expanding more than ever before.


How Can We Use MAVR to Teach Languages?

@ParisaMehran stated that she uses VR as empathy machines to raise social and cultural awareness and promote social justice.

@Rach_Ribeiro said, it reminded me of a similar experience: A year ago the lesson for a group of C1 students was natural disasters and I used Google Cardboard box so my students could ‘visit’ a location in the US during a hurricane. Somebody had used a Gopro to film.

@Eric_Hawkinson also mentioned that others in JALT MAVR SIG have been working with AR and VR to give perceptive and raise empathy (#RefugeesWelcome).


Conclusion

@SophiaMav concluded the chat by asking this question: “So, can we say that we can see the potential in language learning but more research – including action research – is needed? Research that will explore the pedagogy of MAVR in language learning and possibly link to CALL and MALL?

Here are the answers:

  • @ParisaMehranYes, I think so. And I’d like to see more MAVR based lesson plans. I as a teacher need to know how to integrate MAVR into my classes.
  • @ChrisRHastingsSome rigorous longitudinal studies would be nice. Also, theory to link MAVR to key existing ideas in SLA.
  • @alsayeghazizI’ve been using a lot on VR games lately and looking for a possibility of going beyond flipped classroom teaching/learning. There are some issues that I do believe that needs to be looked at. Such as, nausea, full isolation, learners experience, etc.
  •  @Rach_RibeiroDefinitely more action research and case studies , Twitter chats and more sharing!

Here are the links that were shared during the chat:


If you have classroom experiences with MAVR or know other MAVR tools, please leave a comment.

Thanks for reading.

Peace

MAVR Presence at JALT2017

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

Photo created by Canva

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.

FB 360 Photo

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).

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)

Photo created by Canva

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.

MAVR Presence at PanSIG2017

In our presentation at PanSIG2017, Eric, Mehrasa and I showed some examples of Augmented Reality (AR) use in education, tourism, and event organizing (e.g., TEDxKyoto). We also introduced several student projects that use AR (e.g., Fukuchiyama AR Quiz Rally).

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Slides: PanSIG2017: Augmented Reality Design Principles for Informal Learning

In our interactive poster presentation, titled “MAVR (Mixed Augmented Virtual Realities): The Future or a Fad?”, we first defined Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities (MAVR) based on the reality-virtuality continuum. We also discussed the significance of MAVR, its merits and challenges, and the contribution it can make to education. Following that, we talked about the integration of MAVR in language teaching and learning. We then demonstrated some Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications, such as Aurasma, Blippar, Google Expeditions, and we also introduced a number of resources on the integration of MAVR in English language education; for example, Paul Driver’s learner-generated AR realia and AR Flashcards.

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Finally, we introduced our forming Special Interest Group, Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities in Learning.

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Poster: PanSIG2017: MAVR (Mixed Augmented Virtual Realities): The Future or a Fad?