Recently, an article entitled: “Students Benefit from Exposure to Emerging Tech” in EdTEch magazine featured a report by the EDUCAUSE Center for Analytics and Research.
In this report, benefits were demonstrated for students who have access to emerging technology for experimentation, encouraging interdisciplinary work, and to remove barriers of access to improve digital fluency.
“Increasing student access to 3D technologies … encourages student experimentation, provokes innovative interdisciplinary applications of these technologies and may support larger institutional XR goals and initiatives,” the report states. “Limited or no access to these expensive emerging technologies, especially based on student major, may exacerbate existing or produce patterns of digital exclusion among students at U.S. institutions.” – EdTech Magazine “Students Benefit from Exposure to Emerging Tech“
Most noteworthy is that less than 4% of students have access to virtual reality and 3D printing. Further, the report encourages “…universities to invest in emerging tools for public spaces like libraries, makerspaces, computer labs or active-learning facilities.”
This is precisely where the Atomic Object Technology Showcase comes in at GVSU. Located in the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons, the showcase provides faculty, staff, and students with an immersive and engaging environment to: interact, discover, learn, and share how innovative emerging technologies can enhance teaching and improve student learning at GVSU.
Since August of 2015, the showcase at GVSU has exhibited over 40 different technologies, supported over 700 3D printing submissions, used 11 miles of 3D filament, and has had over 65,000 visitors.
The showcase highlights a variety of technologies including: wearable computing, augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D printing, and smart speakers, to name a few. Further, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is beginning to engaged with faculty around supporting the use of 360 degree video and virtual reality applications. In fact, Hunter Bridwell, digital media developer, has supported students (ART 394 – Interactive Studio) and faculty (Biomedical Sciences) in their use of the Microsoft HoloLens for teaching and learning, including a unique augmented reality vision loss application for medical education.