Blended Reality article recently published in British Journal of Educational Technology

Recently the Blended Synchronous Learning team had an article relating to the 'blended reality' environment created in Case Study 7 published in the British Journal of Educational Technology.

Bower, M., Lee, M. J. W., & Dalgarno, B. (2017). Collaborative learning across physical and virtual worlds: Factors supporting and constraining learners in a blended reality environment. British Journal of Educational Technology, 48(2), 407-430. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12435

The article presents the outcomes of a pilot study investigating factors that supported and constrained collaborative learning in a blended reality environment. Pre-service teachers at an Australian university took part in a hybrid tutorial lesson involving a mixture of students who were co-located in the same face-to-face (F2F) classroom along with others who were participating remotely via their avatars in a three-dimensional virtual world. Video and sound recording equipment captured activity in the classroom, which was streamed live into the virtual world so the remote participants could see and hear their instructor and F2F peers; the in-world activity was also simultaneously displayed on a projector screen, with the audio broadcast via speakers, for the benefit of the F2F participants (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. F2F and virtual world students jointly participating in a blended-reality lesson

While technical issues constrained communication and learning in some instances, the majority of remote and F2F participants felt the blended reality environment supported effective communication, collaboration and co-presence. Qualitative analysis of participant evaluations revealed a number of pedagogical, technological and logistical factors that supported and constrained learning. The article concludes with a detailed discussion of present and future implications of blended reality collaborative environments for learning and teaching as well as recommendations for educators looking to design and deliver their own blended reality lessons.

Blended Synchronous Learning Update

Hi everyone. I hope you had a good Christmas break and are gearing up for what promises to be another exciting year for learning and teaching innovation. A few items of news...

The Blended Synchronous Learning Handbook recently won the 2014 Downes Prize. Stephen Downes writes:

This text was a runaway winner this year. It's reflective of a trend in these awards over the years - while something might catch the popular interest and spike briefly, it is the deep and insightful text with lasting import that attracts enough attention over the course of the year.

The Handbook was also highlighted in the 2015 NMC Horizon Report - Higher Education Edition that was released recently. Note that if you would like a printed version of the Blended Synchronous Learning Handbook it is available at-cost from Amazon for approximately $16US. Of course the digital version is still freely available from our website.

Have you heard about the new wave of telepresence robots such as Double, Kubi, and Vgo that are starting to infiltrate the education space? They certainly have potential to transform blended synchronous learning (again). We would be interested to hear from anyone who is using these in their classes.

Congratulations to Steve Waymouth from the University of New South Wales who recently won an iPad mini for responding to the 2014 wearable technologies survey. Steve is a member of the Blended Synchronous Learning Collaborator Network, and counted this as practically the first time that he's ever won anything. Thanks for participating Steve.

Here's wishing you all a great year ahead from the Blended Synchronous Learning team. We are looking forward to hearing about your innovations.

Best wishes,

Matt Bower, Gregor Kennedy, Barney Dalgarno and Mark Lee

Case Study Videos

It has been wonderful to meet so many of the BlendSync Collaborator Network during our Australian workshop tour. You will be pleased to know that the videos for each of the blended synchronous learning Case Studies have been appended to each of the case study page (select the 'Case Studies' tab above). Also, a summary video briefly outlining all seven cases has been placed on the Case Studies page (also provided below). Enjoy!!

Invitation: Blended Synchronous Learning Webinar 6/12/13 - The Final Phase

As we are in the final phase of the Blended Synchronous Learning project we are holding one last important webinar for the year where we reflect on the outcomes of the project, call for leaders to help sustain the vibrant community that has been created, and consider how to best progress blended synchronous learning in the future.

When: 12-1pm Friday 6th of December (Sydney time - for a time zone converter click here)
To register: http://bit.ly/blendsyncwebinar06dec

The registration link will be sent to participants after they have registered.

Please come with suggestions, questions and ideas prepared, or even forward them through in advance! We look forward to reflecting upon outcomes of the project, considering ideas for the future, and hearing from interested community leaders.

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Blendsync Australian Workshop Series

The Blendsync team is pleased to announce their Australian workshop series. The workshop schedule is tabulated below. Participants can attend face-to-face or online (of course:-). For further details and to register please see: http://blendsync.org/workshops

Where

When

Venue

Adelaide

Friday 25th October 2013, 1:00pm-3:00pm

University of South Australia, City West Campus

Brisbane

Friday 1st November 2013, 1:00pm-3:00pm


University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus

Sydney I

Thursday 7th November 2013, 12:30-2:50pm

University of Sydney, Camperdown Campus

Hobart

Friday 15th November 2013, 1:00pm-3:00pm

University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus

Perth

Friday 22nd November 2013, 2:00pm-4:00pm


Curtin University, Bentley Campus

Sydney II

Monday 2nd December 2013, 4:30-6:30pm


Macquarie University, North Ryde Campus

Melbourne

First half of February 2014

TBA

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