I’m co-designing a new Irish literature hybrid course where college students will use Google Cardboard with their mobile phone applications (app) for virtual reality (VR) experiences with 360 media. This is my first time preparing VR learning experiences, and I wanted to share what I’ve figured out so far. This is a work-in-progress in prep for spring quarter, so I’ll continue to return to this blog with updates as I learn more.
The English course is lecture-based and will include other interactive technologies for blogging reflections, annotating text, and georeferencing sites. For their virtual travel blog, students will view selected areas in Ireland that are referenced in the literature and write a reflection. Our team will use both professionally made and self-produced 360 VR media of the Dublin environs that match specific instances described by Irish lyricists, poets, and writers. Here’s a professional VR example of Glendalough, an Irish monastic cemetery.
The purpose of using VR is to provide a sense of being there. It provides the viewer with the sense of being present within the 360 media. It removes the artifice of flattened images and stills. It serves as a virtual field trip for situated learning when actual travel is not a viable option.
Any VR device manufacturer and app will suffice; we selected the Google Cardboard as a low cost option. Our students will install the free Google Cardboard App on their smartphone. Those without a smartphone can tab through the 360 images on their desktop.
Unfortunately, the Google Cardboard app isn’t compatible with all phones! My husband tried to install it on his LG Android that’s only 2 years old, and it states it’s not compatible. Here are industry recommendations: “In general, Cardboard apps and games will work with any Android 4.1 or above phone and even iPhones, as long as they’re running iOS 8 or above” (3G, 2019, para. 12).
We’re using the free Google Cardboard camera app to capture spherical VR images and videos. It’s fairly easy to use and share images between smart devices. However, sharing VR media in a course setting presents a challenge, as it requires a VR hosting platform to view. Our learning management system (LMS) uses Kaltura for video hosting, which states that it supports 360 video for VR interactions. So far, it’s not working. Our workaround is to use a free basic account with 360cities.net to host our VR media for the course. Keep the full size of your original VR image, as reducing the size corrupts (flattens) it.
I practiced capturing photos with the Google Cardboard Camera app. It instructs you to hold the phone vertically and snap the photo and rotate 360 degrees with your phone to capture your surroundings. I noticed that by focusing on the main object with the first snap, you’re left with a slightly visible vertical line where the images don’t match up. To avoid ruining your focal point, begin the first snap to the side of the main feature. The Cardboard camera photos are cylindrical. They don’t capture the ground or sky above. You’ll see blue for sky and grey for ground, but there’s a distinct line between the image and artifice.
VR Viewing Procedure
From your smartphone, access the linked content via the web or, in our instance, course page on the LMS app. Select the icon for VR to enable it. Then place the phone in the Google Cardboard device. You may need to remove your phone’s protective case for it to fit. The experience will feel as if you’re there instead of looking at a picture. The intended VR experience should provide situated cognition of the environs and, as is the case with our course, neural connections to the topic of study.
Some VR experiences include annotated media. The Google Cardboard device has a metal button on it that you use to select projected annotations. The mobile app also comes with some great examples from around the world. Right now, I’m reviewing Irish content readily available on the free Google Expeditions app that provides both VR and augmented reality (AR) experiences. If you have experience with any of the aforementioned technologies, or want to suggest related ones, please leave a comment below.
This article was originally posted on the AACE Review by Sandra Rogers.
The Data & Society Research Institute has produced and shared informative articles on the many facets of fake news producers, sharers, promoters, and denouncers of real news as part of their Media Manipulation Initiative. In Dead Reckoning (Caplan, Hanson, & Donovan, February 2018), the authors acknowledged that fake news is an ill-structured problem that’s difficult to define in its many disguises (e.g., hoaxes, conspiracy theories, supposed parody or satire, trolling, partisan biased content, hyper-partisan propaganda disguised as news, and state-sponsored propaganda). Nevertheless, they stated the critical need for it to be defined to produce a problem statement. Only in this way can a proper needs assessment and subsequent solutions be explored.
Based on their critical discourse analysis of information reviewed during their field research, they identified two descriptions for fake news, problematic content and the critique of mainstream media’s efforts to produce trustworthy news. [They reported how]… the denouncement of mainstream media as fake news serves to legitimatize alternative media sources. Beyond defining fake news, the authors seek parameters for what makes news real in their efforts to address information disorder.
Neither Man nor Machine Can Defeat Fake News
Kurzweil (1999) predicted that in the year 2029 humans will develop software that masters intelligence. However, the idea that cognition can be produced through computation has been refuted (Searle, 1980; McGinn, 2000). In Dead Reckoning, the authors addressed the problem of combating fake news as twofold; Artificial intelligence (AI) currently lacks the capability to detect subtleties, and news organizations are unable to provide the manpower to verify the vast proliferation of unmoderated global media. The problem is that once addressed, fake news producers circumvent the triage of security. Several efforts are underway in developing algorithms for machine learning such as PBS’ NewsTracker and Lopez-Brau and Uddenberg’s Open Mind.
Fake News Endangers Our Democracy & Leads to Global Cyberwars
The social media applications that have become part of the fabric of our society are used as propaganda tools by foreign and domestic entities. For example, prior to the 2016 Presidential election, Facebook’s ads and users’ news streams were inundated with fake news that generated more engagement from August to September than that of 19 major news agencies altogether (Buzz Feed News, 2016). The authors shared how concerned parties (e.g., news industry, platform corporations, civil organizations, and the government) have moved beyond whether fake news should be regulated to who will set standards and enforce regulations. “…without systemic oversight and auditing platform companies’ security practices, information warfare will surely intensify (Caplan, Hanson, & Donovan, p. 25, February 2018).”
The potential for fake news to reach Americans through digital news consumption from smartphone apps and text alerts compounds the issue. The Pew Research Center surveyed 2004 random Americans who consume digital news and found these habits based on two surveys per day for one week: 36% used online news sites, 35% used social media, 20% searched the Internet, 15% used email, 7% relied on family, and the remaining 9% was categorized as other (Mitchell, Gottfried, Shearer, & Lu, February 9, 2017).
Strategic Arbitration of Truth
Caplan, et al. state how organizations and AI developers approach defining fake news by type, features, and news signifiers of intent (e.g., characteristics of common fake news providers, common indications of fake news posts, and sharing patterns). For example, one common news signifier of fake news is the use of enticing terms such as ‘shocking.’ Digital intervention efforts include developing a taxonomy for verification of content, developing responsive corporate policy, banning accounts of fake news promoters, tightening verification process for posting and opening accounts, and informing users how to identify fake news. See the Public Data Lab’s Field Guide to Fake News and Other Information Disorders.
Caplan, et al. raise many unanswered questions in the struggle to defeat fake news. How can we arbitrate truth without giving more attention to fake news? Will Google’s AdSense allow users to control where their ads are placed? Can Facebook really reduce the influence of fake news promoters on their site all the time? Caplan, Hanson, and Donovan (2018) proposed these powerful strategies to combat fake news:
Trust and verify- By trust, they mean going beyond fact-checking, and content moderation, and incorporate interoperable mechanisms for digital content verification through collaborative projects with other news agencies;
Disrupt economic incentives- Stop the pay-per-click mill of online advertising without a say in the type of site it will appear in;
Online platform providers need to ban accounts or otherwise not feature content based on falsehoods, click-bait, or spam; and
Call for news regulation within the boundary of the First Amendment’s Good Samaritan provision.
This was previously posted on the AACE Review by Sandra Rogers.
In Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online, Marwick and Lewis (2017) of the Data & Society Research Institute described the agents of media manipulation, their modus operandi, motivators, and how they’ve taken advantage of the vulnerability of online media. The researchers described the manipulators as right-wing extremists (RWE), also known as alt-right, who run the gamut from sexists (including male sexual conquest communities) to white nationalists to anti-immigration activists and even those who rebuke RWE identification but whose actions confer such classification.
These manipulators rally behind a shared belief on online forums, blogs, podcasts, and social media through pranks or ruinous trolling anonymity, usurping participatory culture methods (networking, humor, mentorship) for harassment, and competitive cyber brigades that earn status by escalating bullying such as the sharing of a target’s private information. The researchers proposed that the use of the more digestible term of alt-right to convey the collective agenda of misogynists, racists, and fascists propelled their causes into the mainstream discourse through various media streams. Therefore, I’ll use the term RWE instead.
MEDIA ECOSYSTEM MALEABILITY
The Internet provides a shared space for good and evil. Subcultures such as white nationalists can converge with other anti-establishment doers on an international scale thanks to the connected world we live in. Marwick and Lewis reported on how RWE groups have taken advantage of certain media tactics to gain viewers’ attention such as novelty and sensationalism, as well as their interactions with the public via social media, to manipulate it for their agenda. For instance, YouTube provides any individual with a portal and potential revenue to contribute to the media ecosystem. The researchers shared the example of the use of YouTube by conspiracy theorists, which can be used as fodder for extremist networks as conspiracies generally focus on the loss of control of important ideals, health, and safety.
The more outrageous conspiracies get picked up by the media for their viewers, and in doing so, are partly to blame for their proliferation. In the case study provided with this article, The White Student Union, an influencer successfully sought moral outrage as a publicity stunt. Why isn’t the media more astute about this? “The mainstream media’s predilection for sensationalism, need for constant novelty, and emphasis on profits over civic responsibility made them vulnerable to strategic manipulation (p. 47) (Marwick & Lewis, 2017).”
ONLINE ATTENTION HACKING
Marwick and Lewis shared how certain RWE influencers gained prominence based on their technological skills and manipulative tactics. One tactic they’re using is to package their hate in a way that appeals to millennials. They use attention hacking to increase their status such as hate speech, which is later recanted as trickster trolling all the while gaining the media’s attention for further propagation. Then there are the RWE so-called news outlets and blogs that promote a hyper-partisan agenda and falsehoods. These were successful in attention hacking the nation running up to the 2016 Presidential election at a scale that out-paced that of the regular news outlets on Facebook (Buzz Feed News, 2016). Are they unstoppable?
The researchers indicated that the only formidable enemy of alt-right media is the opposing factions within its fractured, yet shared hate, assemblage. Unfortunately, mainstream media’s reporting on political figures who engage in conspiracy theories, albeit noteworthy as to their mindset, raises it to the level of other important newsworthy of debate. Berger and Luckmann (1966) referred to this as ‘reality maintenance’ through dialogue, reality-confirmation through interactions, ongoingly modified, and legitimized through certain conversations. The media needs to stop the amplification of RWE messages; otherwise, as Marwick and Lewis stated, it could gravely darken our democracy.
ONLINE MANIPULATORS SHARED MODUS OPERANDI
Marwick and Lewis reported the following shared tactics various RWE groups use for online exploits:
Ambiguity of persona or ideology,
Baiting a single or community target’s emotions,
Bots for amplification of propaganda that appears legitimately from a real person,
“…Embeddedness in Internet culture… (p. 28),”
Exploitation of young male rebelliousness,
Hate speech and offensive language (under the guise of First Amendment protections),
Irony to cloak ideology and/or skewer intended targets,
Memes for stickiness of propaganda,
Mentorship in argumentation, marketing strategies, and subversive literature in their communities of interest,
Networked and agile groups,
“…Permanent warfare… (p.12)” call to action,
Pseudo scholarship to deceive readers,
“…Quasi moral arguments… (p. 7)”
Shocking images for filtering network membership,
“Trading stories up the chain… (p. 38)” from low-level news outlets to mainstream, and
Trolling others with asocial behavior.
This is a frightful attempt at the social reconstruction of our reality, as the verbal and nonverbal language we use objectifies and rules the order (Berger and Luckmann, 1966).
According to Marwick and Lewis, media manipulators are motivated by pushing their ideological agendas, the joy of sowing chaos in the lives of targets, financial gain, and/or status. The RWE’s shared use of online venues to build a counter-narrative and to radicalize recruits is not going away any time soon. This was best explained in their article as, with the Internet, the usual media gatekeepers have been removed.
Some claimed their impetus was financial and not politically motivated such as the teenagers in Veles, Macedonia who profited around 16K dollars per month via Google’s AdSense from Facebook post engagements with their 100 fake news websites (Subramanian, 2017). “What Veles produced, though, was something more extreme still: an enterprise of cool, pure amorality, free not only of ideology but of any concern or feeling about the substance of the election (Subramanian, 2017).” …Google eventually suspended the ads from these and other fake news sites. However, as reported in Dead Reckoning, new provocateurs will eventually figure out how to circumvent Google’s AdSense and other online companies’ gateways as soon as they develop new ones. This is because, as aforementioned, the RWE influencers are tech-savvy.
PUBLIC MISTRUST OF MAINSTREAM MEDIA
Marwick and Lewis acknowledged a long history of mistrust with mainstream media. However, the current distrust appears worse than ever. For example, youth reported having little faith in mainstream media (Madden, Lenhart & Fontaine, 2017). Republicans’ trust in the mainstream media was the lowest ever recorded by the Gallop Poll (Swift, 2016). Why has it worsened? They pinpointed The New York Times’ lack of evidence for various news articles on the Iraq War’s nuclear arsenal, as an example of long-lasting readership dismay. The researchers reported on how a lack of trust in the mainstream media has pushed viewers to watch alternative networks instead. Moreover, the right-wing extremists’ manipulation of the media demonstrates the media’s weakness, which in turn sows mistrust. Marwick and Lewis acknowledged that the RWE subculture has been around the Internet for decades and will continue to thrive off the mainstream media’s need for novelty and sensationalism if allowed. I, for one, appreciate what Data & Society is doing to shed light on the spread of fake news and hatemongers’ agendas on the Internet.
One of the first issues I encountered on the job as an instructional designer was the misuse of copyrighted media by instructors. Unfortunately, this was propagated by the previous uninformed instructional designer. According to the U.S. Copyright law and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), copying copyrighted material is a violation. Basically, you cannot modify the existing format (e.g., copying a VHS to DVD format or converting it to a MP4 file) Review your faculty manual or school guidelines on the use of copyrighted material in the classroom. Also, I recommend talking with the copyright expert on your campus. For example, I learned a lot from a librarian at our College who is knowledgeable on the topic.
Here are a few useful websites to reference to aid your understanding of the topic:
Copyright and Fair Use at Dibner Library This NYU LibGuide has extensive information on copyright laws as they pertain to educational uses. See this excellent video to find answers to frequently asked questions.
The following are some practical solutions that I put together for a job aid when redirecting instructors to best practices within the law. Here are some recommendations to show copyright-protected videos to students:
1) Only show a small segment of a privately owned video in your class to illustrate a lesson, as part of the Fair Use laws (Title 17, Section 107, U. S. Code, Copyright.gov). Avoid showing an entire video of copyrighted material, as this constitutes a public performance of it and is prohibited by law. Use a Fair Use checklist to determine the purpose, nature, amount, and effect of the media use for educational purposes.
2) Place your videos on course reserves for checkout by students in the library for one semester only to meet spontaneous requirements. Fill out the necessary paperwork with the library at the circulation desk for course reserves. If a student does not have a VHS or DVD player, they may be able to check out one on a TV cart to take to a study room in the library for viewing. Meanwhile, place a request order with the purchasing librarian for the library reserves. See solution # 4.
3) Search the library’s video databases to see if the same content is available (e.g., Films on Demand and WorldCat). Films on Demand provides Live Media Streaming. Students log in with their school credentials to view.
4) There is an option for the library to purchase DVD formats for multiperson use to include in their collection. Contact the purchasing agent in your school’s library to learn more about this option.
Please share any of your recommendations on this topic!
The following instructional design strategy is based on Gagné’s (1985) nine events of instruction in which he provided a format for designing effective training by correlating internal cognitive processes with that of external instructional activities. Many K-12 school systems utilize his sequence of instructional events as a framework for lesson planning. I have previously blogged about Gagné’s work.
These are the instructional events adapted from Gagné to teach k-12 students how to upload an audio file to publish a podcast channel on Podbean.com:
Gain attention by first showing a short video of the purpose and meaning of podcasting by Lee LeFever.
Inform the student of the learning objective(s).
Stimulate recall of prior learning by reminding them of the images and vocabulary for technical terminology. Use a KWL chart to make meaningful connections to the sample podcast and informational video with their personal experiences. Have them share these experiences with their peers.
Present the content in a demonstration screencast depicting examples from the actual Podbean site to enhance the retention of information. In this way, learners will be more likely to apply the information to their
own project and internalize the content.
Provide learner guidance by utilizing callouts (arrows, highlights, & focused lightening), labels, and screenshots in the demonstration or recorded presentation. Use a how-to guide to support the presentation and provide for students with different learning preferences scaffolded instruction. These components will help students stay on track.
Elicit performance by having students follow the instructions in the how-to guide and/or presentation.
Provide feedback by having students conduct a self-assessment or peer-assessment of their performance with a checklist. Students can read each other’s user profiles and hear the final audio products when they share the links among themselves via email.
Assess performance by having students submit final project link to an instructor via email.
Enhance retention and transfer to the task by having them send their podcast to another student and have each of them upload it to their own, therefore, replicating the process again. The teacher could also send them an audio file to upload after a week has passed to have them revisit the steps. Encourage students to upload podcasts on a monthly basis in order to rehearse the skill, and therefore, submit to long-term memory.
The complete learning module (teacher guide, CCSS, pretest, KWL chart, student checklist, rubrics, vocabulary PowerPoint, how-to guide, & posttest) is available for sale in my TeachersPayTeachers store, Teacherrogers.
(Note. Gagné’s 9 events of instruction are italicized. These do not need to be done in this exact sequence, as this is an iterative process.)
Gagné, R. M. (1985). The conditions of learning. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
Here are three main takeaways for proper use of copyright protected material in online courses.
I. Follow the Law on Copyrighted Media
Please note copying or changing the original format (e.g., VHS to DVD) of copyrighted material is a violation of the U.S. Copyright Law and Digital Millennium Copyright Act. I recommend you review your institutions policies (e.g., Faculty Manual) on the use of copyrighted material in the classroom. Here are some recommendations to properly show copyright protected videos to students.
Only show a small segment of a privately owned video in your class to illustrate a lesson, as part of the Fair Use laws (Title 17, Section 107, U. S. Code, Copyright.gov). Avoid showing an entire video of copyrighted material, as this constitutes as a public performance of it and is prohibited by law. Use a Fair Use checklist to determine the purpose, nature, amount, and effect of the media use for educational purposes.
Short-term, one time use– Place your videos on course reserves for checkout by students in the library for one semester only to meet spontaneous use requirements. Fill out the necessary paperwork with the library at the circulation desk for course reserves. If a student does not have a VHS or DVD player, they can check out one on a TV cart to take to a study room in the library for viewing. Meanwhile, place a request order with the purchasing librarian for the library reserves. See solution # 4.
Find it online– Search the library’s video databases to see if the same content is available.
4. Purchase institution-wide license of media object– There is an option for the library to purchase DVD formats to include in their collection. Contact your library liaison and the purchasing agent for the library to learn more about this option.
II. Proper Use of Copyrighted Articles
Articles in the library databases are very easy to share with others. When you share an article from one of the library’s databases, look for the shortened URL for the article. It is called the permalink, stable URL, or persistent URL – different databases use slightly different terminology, but all three versions are the same thing – a shorter URL that acts as an anchor for the article that you’re interested in. Databases normally place the permalinks, stable URLs, or persistent URLs in the Tools section of the article record. This URL doesn’t work by itself or anyone could access it. Your institution’s EZ Proxy service authenticates school users and allows them to access content that your school licenses.
Why do I need to do this for my course?Posting copyright protected articles directly in your online courses constitutes a copyright infringement. Copies of written works are permissible if they are made for personal use only and the copy will not be shared or distributed to a group without the documented permission of the copyright owner. As an instructor, you’re encouraged to direct your students to the original source of the work to avoid copyright infringement.
III. Cite Your Sources
Cite your sources in your online course and material according to the appropriate style guides (i.e., APA, MLA, & Chicago Manual). This sets a good example for students and covers your general use of the copyrighted material (Quality Matters™ Rubric Standards, 2014). Also, cite any media sources (e.g., images, sound, video clips) reused in your video lectures and/or PowerPoint presentations.
This is a cursory list of important concepts and items to consider when preparing to conduct educational research that involves the use of videogames.
Use media selection criteria (e.g., Chapelle’s 2001 computer-assisted language learning media criteria or Jamieson, Chapelle, & Preiss, 2005 revised version)
Determine reading level of videogame text by analyzing chat logs with the Flesch-Kincaid readability index. Make sure participants’ reading levels are within 2 grade levels of the index.
Use vocabulary concordancer (e.g., Range software) to obtain frequently occurring words from chat log texts for assessment.
Learn commands pertinent to research analysis to capture chat logs (e.g., /log) and/or images (e.g., print screen) to computer station public folder.
Determine participants’ gaming literacy skills and complexity of the game.
Determine participants’ propensity for pathological gaming behavior: low social competence, high impulsivity, and excessive gameplay (i.e., 30 hours) (Gentile, et al., 2011).
Determine participants’ perceived relevance of gaming as a learning tool.
Provide videogame tutorial and ongoing support.
Provide explicit instruction on the benefits of strategies used to enhance learning.
Consider participants’ preferences for gamingsession location, time, and features.
Consider Reese’s (2010) Flowometer to determine gamers’ self-perception of flow and other mental states of engagement to achieve optimal learning condition (i.e., advanced skill use during challenging gaming tasks).
Provide warning of photosensitivity to persons with epilepsy (Daybreak Games, 2016).
New! Use Discord as a communication backchannel during gameplay.
This list was shared during a gaming panel at the SITE 2017 conference in Austin, TX. Here’s the citation if you would like to reference it:
Willis, J., Greenhalgh, S., Nadolny, L., Liu, S., Aldemir, T., Rogers, S., Trevathan, M., Hopper, S. & Oliver, W. (2017). Exploring the Rules of the Game: Games in the Classroom, Game-Based Learning, Gamification, and Simulations. In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2017 (pp. 475-480). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
What advice would you add?
Chapelle, C. A. (2001). Computer applications in second language acquisition: Foundations for teaching, testing, and research. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Reese, D. D. (2010). Introducing Flowometer: A CyGaMEs assessment suite tool. In R. Van Eck (Ed.), Gaming and cognition: Theories and practice from the learning science. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
“The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled.― Paulo Freire