MFA Lighting Projections in the Snite Museum

Skylights digitally recreated in the gallery.

Skylights digitally recreated in the gallery.

Academic Technologies recently assisted student Allison Evans with lighting projections for her MFA project, on display in the Meštrovic´ Gallery at the Snite Museum of Art.

Evans’ project explores the relationship between light, space and perception by recreating the quality of light that existed in the Meštrovic´ gallery in the 1950s. At this time, the space served as a sculptor’s studio, featuring skylights that brought in abundant natural lighting.

Using three projectors, each using a Raspberry Pi as the video source, the skylights and lighting effects of the 1950s are brought back into the space, transforming its atmosphere. The projectors are controlled by the Pi to turn on at sunrise and off at sunset true to the calendar of the 1950s. In addition, each Pi is Internet-connected and syncs its clock to the US Atomic Clock multiple times per day to ensure that each Pi’s time is the exactly the same.

Allison’s project will be displayed in the Snite Museum until May 17th, 2015. To read more and see images from the installation, check out information about the exhibit on Evans’ personal site or in the MFA exhibition supplement and visit the Meštrovic´ Gallery in the Snite.

Horizon Report 2015: Notre Dame and the Digital Horizon

In February, the Hesburgh Library Center for Digital Scholarship hosted the Horizon Report 2015 Event: Notre Dame and the Digital Horizon, which looked at emerging technological trends and how they will affect teaching, learning, and creative inquiry at Notre Dame over the next three to five years.  The Horizon Report is published annually, in collaboration with the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. The event was a collaboration with the Hesburgh Libraries, the Kaneb Center, OIT, and the Office of Digital Learning. It consisted of a welcome lunch followed by lightening talks that focused on:

 

Online Learning

The value of online learning is now well understood and set to impact education with its flexibility, ease of access, and integration of sophisticated learning technologies. How can Notre Dame use online tools to enhance the excellent education we already provide?

 

Badges / Blending of formal and informal learning

Badges allow for reward incentive and progress monitoring with online learning. Incentives like this are increasingly prevalent with blended learning environments. The term flipped classroom refers to a pedagogical model where the in-class time with students is primarily focused on problem solving activities, rather than presentation of information.  The prerequisite information is reviewed by students prior to coming to class.  Many classrooms are being flipped in an attempt to integrate active learning. Blending this with traditional lectures promotes hands on, real world application of concepts that foster curiosity-based learning among students.

 

Data-Driven Learning and Assessment

Online applications and tools generate a lot of data as faculty and students use them.  Universities around the world are developing tools to help analyze the data in ways that can help us understand and predict student success or failure.  Learning progress can be monitored through data analytics services, providing a more personalized learning experience.

 

Makerspaces

Makerspaces are workshops that offer the tools needed to carry out ideas from start to finish.  These tools often include traditional shop tools used in woodworking, but they also include newer technologies conducive to rapid prototyping such as 3D printers, laser-cutters, and CNC machines. Makerspaces help students develop critical skills in design, engineering, and creativity, preparing for their careers.

 

Bring-your-own-device

Many institutions and organizations are supporting the use of personal devices. Students and educators are bringing their own devices into the classroom and connecting them to the University’s network.

 

Understanding the findings of the Horizon Report is important for the Notre Dame community.  These trends are set to have great impact on teaching and learning in the coming years. Implementing them properly and understanding their impact will prepare our students for the future.


Exploring Google Tango

Google TangoProject Tango is a line of Google smartphones and tablets featuring the ability to accurately track position in space with a new depth-sensing camera. Tracking position on a traditional smartphone is limited and has a large margin of error, making the technology largely unreliable in this application. The unique camera on Project Tango devices allows them to “see the world in 3D,” taking photos that capture the distance from the camera rather than capturing color for each pixel. Project Tango devices track movement of objects in the camera’s frame. Because of this, they can accurately estimate how the camera must have moved to cause objects to shift in this way. The tracking ability in the Project Tango devices opens up exciting new possibilities in a variety of fields.

“At Academic Technologies, we are very excited about Project Tango. It is extremely promising technology, and quite easy to program for,” says Ryan McGrail. Ryan has been leading the exploration of Project Tango at Notre Dame, and is in the early stages of understanding the device and its potential. “I am quickly discovering how I can apply these new features to the apps we create. It is a very well-built device, and lends itself to imaginative implementations in our apps,” he says. Ryan has also observed shortcomings of Tango. The 3D camera is not effective for scanning objects in the distance, or outdoor environments. If the camera is obscured, it attempts to interpret motion from a black image. This can lead to inaccurate data. “The good aspects of these devices far outweigh their problems,” Ryan says. He believes that the kinks observed in the developer version of Tango will be worked out before the devices hit the market.

Currently, Ryan is using Tango in a partnership with Notre Dame’s architecture program. They are developing a blueprint-reconstruction tool that would allow the user recreate a space inside a Tango device by simply walking around the building. The 3D model created with Tango easily translates into blueprints of the space, and can be imported into architecture programs. Beyond this current project, Ryan sees vast potential for Project Tango at Notre Dame. “Tango can be used as a handheld frame to see the world…We could use the devices to map out buildings on campus, such as the main building. With the models saved to a few Tango devices, Notre Dame admission officers could take them around the country, and allow prospective students to “walk” around the buildings for themselves.” Tango could also be utilized in the classroom, creating an opportunity for instructors to virtually bring students to a museum on the other side of the world, or for designers to see their work come to life. “The possibilities are truly endless, and this is just one of the simplest ways to implement Project Tango,” Ryan says. We look forward to continuing to explore the Google Tango technology, and will keep you updated as we progress.

Active Learning With Echo360

Echo360 is an active learning platform designed for use in higher education. It has many applications for digital learning, including:

  • Lecture Capture: Learning is optimized with lecture capture and webcast capabilities. Echo360 features 1080 pixel, high definition capture with the ability to schedule recordings in advance and publish automatically. These features make the system well-suited for remote teaching. Instructors can record course presentations on Mac or PC from their home or office, or they can capture lessons right in the classroom.

 

  • Instructional Content Management: Echo360 provides a Learning Library that streamlines the content management process, storing all materials in one place. Instructors can search and filter through their content. Materials are easily shared through the university’s learning management system.

 

  • Student Engagement: Echo360 allows instructors to cater to different learning styles. Students are able to follow videos, notes, and discussions at their own pace. With discussion threads and an active learning platform, students can ask questions and engage in course discussion in real time. Instructors can also build polls and quizzes directly into their presentation.   

 

  • Analytics: Instructors can access an analysis of course performance and individual progress. Further, instructors can establish what success metrics are most important to them, and prioritize the metrics they want to focus on.

 
Digital learning through Echo360 creates a unique opportunity for multi-media student engagement, bringing material beyond the traditional classroom.

Remind App: An Easy Way to Connect

Remind-22ydh5z-e1405910926695

Remind is an app that helps teachers to connect with their students, sharing quick reminders about course related information. With the app, classes can connect:

Easily. Teachers sign up for the app and create a class through it. Students then receive a class code which they use to participate in course messaging.

Safely. Phone numbers are kept confidential in the class messages to ensure privacy. Teachers can only message the class collectively, not individually. They also serve as administrators and can access the message history.

Efficiently. Messages can include scheduling, voice clips, and image or document attachments. The app allows you to see who has viewed attachment content.

At No Charge. Teachers, students, and parents can use the app for free.

This Remind app is an easy way for teachers and students to stay connected about course updates.

 

Making it easy to create video

There’s a growing need for faculty to create video content quickly and easily. There are a lot of potential use cases.

  • Flipping your class by having students watch a video before coming class
  • Answering student questions in a visual medium to enhance understanding
  • Creating content for distance education
  • Making training videos

Unfortunately right now this is a pretty complex process. It requires studio space, a videographer, complex editing tools, specialized lighting, etc. Additionally the turn around times can be lengthy. Right now there’s no good solution and no good system in place to help us provide this service to faculty. So we built our beta lightboard back in March with the hopes that people would see it and get excited about it. We Love Bright Ideas! It had the desired effect. The College of Science was all over it. We’re in the process of helping them build a full scale version and we hope to have it operational by July 1. Unfortunately that may not meet the needs of everyone. It’s also not currently the most user friendly setup and will require some handholding for users.

Enter the Penn State One Button Studio!

  • You plug in a flash drive and the system turns on.
  • You hit a button and the system starts recording.
  • You give your presentation.
  • You hit the button when you’re done.
  • The file is automatically saved to the flash drive as an mp4 which you can upload to Sakai, YouTube, Kaltura, etc.

We’re starting to take a look at this now because we feel it meets most of the requirements for video creation. It’s one of those 98% solutions. It may not be perfect for everyone but if it’s good for you, it’s really easy and really good. Look for more later this summer! http://onebutton.psu.edu/

Innovate Conference at Ohio State — March 25

Folks, if at all possible make time for the Innovate [engage] conference next week at Ohio State.

http://odee.osu.edu/innovate/

If you’re not able to attend in person you can watch online:

http://odee.osu.edu/innovate/live-stream

I’m looking forward to many of the sessions. The folks at the Office of Distance Education and eLearning are demonstrating a lot of strategic leadership in the area of academic technology!

@ODEEatOSU #InnovateOSU