Connecting to one another, thinking together, and sharing experiences was an important component of our exploration. With more than 50 events to choose from, we wanted to make it easy for people to join in whenever they could, in whatever way they could.
We also visited people outside of Penn including a field trip to Penn State's Teaching and Learning with Technology team and a webinar with the University of Oklahoma Libraries to learn about their immersive programs and facilities.
There is incredible work happening at Penn albeit distributed widely. Students are an amazing source of knowledge, energy, and inspiration. Also, there seem to be very few courses where people can formally learn design/production skills for immersive techs.
“I learned the real potential of virtual reality as not only a teaching tool, but as a healing tool for humanity (recovery from strokes, teaching students about refugees, etc.). During a time where we sorely need people to understand what it is like to walk the path of another different human being, technology is offering that opportunity.
“There is an interested network with a wide open opportunity to work across silos at Penn and with external partners to shape the future of education.
The Library is the perfect place to share expertise and equipment across the University, and I hope that this type of engagement will increase substantially over the coming year.
Thank you for an amazing year!
1. SharE Stories
There is a substantial amount of immersive content creation and use at Penn in teaching, research, and learning. Documenting Penn-specific examples and sharing stories to inspire more people on campus is a future priority.
2. Build Capacity
We need more capacity at Penn to develop immersive content. Many faculty, staff, and students have ideas for immersive projects but lack the expertise, experience, or staffing to realize them. Foundational skills in the following areas are recommended: immersive storytelling, immersive interaction design, and 3D modeling. To the extent we can provide opportunities for the community to build or enhance their skills in these areas, we will create greater capacity on campus.
3. Widen the LENS
The boundaries between virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D environments are elusive. Initially, PennImmersive focused on technologies. For example, we mentally filed Oculus Rift under "VR" and HoloLens under "AR." However, as technologies evolve and converge, we need to broaden our thinking. We propose expanding PennImmersive to encompass the mixed reality continuum of immersive experiences. This reframing makes possible the inclusion of machine learning and robotics as well as the study of emerging competencies related to programming, algorithms, and blockchain, to name a few.
1 Adapted from Paul Milgram, Haruo Takemura, Akira Utsumi,& Fumio Kishino. (1995). Augmented reality: a class of displays on the reality-virtuality continuum (Vol. 2351, pp. 2351–11). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1117/12.197321
4. A #FutureTech Model
The open community research project approach worked well for PennImmersive. This may be due to a rapidly evolving technical landscape, limited access to technologies and real-world academic examples, high-demand/high-interest, and the power of networked learning (as opposed to the learning an individual alone could achieve in the same time). Given that changes to our technical landscape show no signs of slowing, it is in our collective interest to learn faster, better, and smarter together.