Hands-On Learning With Microsoft Hololens

Microsoft is gearing up to release HoloLens, “the first fully untethered, see-through holographic computer.” HoloLens is a headset that allows the digital world to be overlayed on the physical world, what is referred to as augmented reality. Imagine being able to host a boardroom meeting where a coworker in Japan is holographically sitting right beside you. He hands you a paper (digital) and you pick up, write a note on it, and hand it back to him. Imagine playing Minecraft and seeing all of your creations filling up your living room.

InnovateMySchool.com has an article entitled What Can The Microsoft HoloLens Offer Education? One teacher in the article, Mike Tidd, talks about how this will revolutionize teaching geography. He writes:

As a Geography teacher, it has always been difficult to explain to students what different environments such as glacial, desert or rainforests are like from only using clips and photographs. Unfortunately, it is impossible to visit via field trips all of the wonders that Earth has to offer in 50 minutes, or even within a two-year course. The cost would be crazy to start off with, let alone the risk assessments! I think my local authority would have a heart attack at the sheer idea! But with Microsoft HoloLens, we could have virtual field trips. We could literally walk amongst the glacial moraine, investigate how the wind shapes a desert landscape or meet & talk to a tribe in the Amazon Rainforest. Actually touching and looking around different environments would make geography come to life to our students. We would actually be there!

Below is a video (a few minutes in length) exploring how Microsoft Hololens can transform medical education. Hint: think about how amazing it would be to practice doing surgery on a 3D model right in front of you as your teacher hands you the scalpel while floating arrows direct you to the specific place in the body that you’ll make the insertion.

The speed at which technology is changing is truly breathtaking and with that speed we are seeing a merging and cohesion between the digital and the real world. It’s an exciting time to be alive.

Digital Learning Report Card 2014

Image by MIKI Yoshihito CC BY 2.0
Image by MIKI Yoshihito CC BY 2.0

The Foundation for Excellence in Education released their 2014 Digital Learning Report Card. Introducing the report, the CEO of ExcelinEdu, Patricia Levesque, writes:

“Digital learning has the power to connect students with the best teachers in the world. It can offer all students access to hard-to-serve courses and groundbreaking career and technical education as well as vocational training. Digital learning promises better instruction, tailored to the progress and needs of each student. It can allow advancement when a student masters a concept. It can provide additional support for subject areas where students are struggling. Digital learning policies offer a new way to fund education and learning, not fettered by old constraints linked to time, but rather linking funding to learning and the needs of students.”

The report highlights 10 elements of high quality digital learning.

  1. Student Eligibility: All students are digital learners.
  2. Student Access: All students have access to high quality digital content and online courses.
  3. Personalized Learning: All students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider.
  4. Advancement: Students progress based on demonstrated competency.
  5. Quality Content: Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality.
  6. Quality Instruction: Digital instruction is high quality.
  7. Quality Choices: All students have access to multiple high-quality providers.
  8. Assessment and Accountability: Student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction.
  9. Funding: Funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation.
  10. Delivery: Infrastructure supports digital learning.

To gauge states’ progress, Digital Learning Now identified 42 actionable metrics that examine state laws, administrative rules and other policy levers that identify what is needed to ensure the 10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning are addressed. These metrics are divided among the 10 Elements and provide states with a framework of the policies that should be in place in order to create an environment that supports a broad system of digital learning.

PA scored a 65%, earning the state a disappointing D grade. Here is the breakdown:

  1. Student Eligibility: D grade
  2. Student Access: F grade
  3. Personalized Learning: C grade
  4. Advancement: F grade
  5. Quality Content: A grade
  6. Quality Instruction: B grade
  7. Quality Choices: D grade
  8. Assessment and Accountability: F grade
  9. Funding: F grade
  10. Delivery: D grade

The report, which you can access here, provides the in-depth metrics that lead to the grades in each of these ten categories. The report also details the 50 new digital learning laws passed in 2014.

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