Occulus Rift Review

I had the chance last night to try out Occulus Rift in my Gaming and Simulation class and thought I would share my thoughts. Keep in mind I only had the opportunity to try it one time as did each of my students. Here are my thoughts:

Its awesome, there are tons of possibilities for it, I am really excited for it, but there is still a glitch in VR tech.

So….its awesome. It has a tons of cool demos, that come with it, so that you can test the technology and its really fun to go through them. You really feel like you are in a virtual world. You can look around, move around, etc. in these virtual worlds. Some of these demos are fun and some are geared towards education.

When you first look at the goggles, you notice that there are two eyes, rather than just one screen, in the unit. You also need to put ear phones (really ear plugs) on to get a better effect. The unit is very light though, you dont even notice it is on except for the wires and I am sure they eventually come out with a wireless one.

There are tons of possibilities for the technology. I am most excited for this to use Kinect technology so that your whole body can be used with the VR screen.

There is one glitch that is slowly being solved – you can get motion sickness from it. I did after about a minute and when I took the goggles off I felt like I had just been on a roller coaster ride. Other students felt the same way after using it but I was one of the only ones that got motion sickness while using. Apparently the motion sickness goes away as you get used to the technology. This is why VR technology failed in the 90s. Apparently they are still working on this issue though and believe they have a solution. It should also be noted that I used an older version of the occulus rift – they have an even newer version out now, which solves this problem even more. This problem, in my opinion, will make or break this technology as it just wont be used on large scales if people get sick from it. But my fingers are crossed that it gets solved.

If you are interested in purchasing this, its only $300 for the developer kit, which is a beta version of the technology: http://www.oculusvr.com/

Here is a picture of me in the goggles during my class:

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Get certified to teach online!

The Watson College of Education at UNCW Introduces New Online Teaching & Learning Certificate Program

Beginning this summer, the Watson College of Education will offer a post-baccalaureate certificate in Online Teaching and Learning (OT&L).  The 18-credit hour program is designed to meet growing demand from K-12 schools, colleges and universities and businesses for professionals who are interested to gain knowledge and skills to design, develop, implement, manage and evaluate effective online and blended learning programs.

WCE’s Online Teaching and Learning certificate is the first program of its kind in the state.  Courses are offered in the evening and led by faculty with real-world experience in K-12, government and corporate settings.  Full time students and working professionals who enroll in the program can participate either face-to-face or online through synchronous conferencing technology.

The Watson College of Education is now accepting applications for summer and fall 2014. For more information please see the attached flyer, visit http://uncw.edu/ed/mit/otlcertification.html or contact Florence Martin, Instructional Technology Program Coordinator (martinf@uncw.edu or 910-962-7174).

See attached brochure:  MIT_OTLCertbrochure

Friendster founder in 2014

For those that remember friendster in the early 2000s, this is an interview with the founder. Pretty to read it. Friendster was the original social network before myspace and facebook. It had a lot of users and seemed promising when it was first released. If they would have pushed the marketing I think it would have been bigger.

“It was a really weird time. Friendster at the time was still a very small company,” he says. “We viewed ourselves as the David, not the Goliath. There were the Yahoos and the AOLs and we were this tiny, little startup. But the moment Friendster got the publicity, people started to copy it. Of course we were aware of all of them.” Even with all that competition, Abrams recognized early on that Facebook might pose a unique threat. On Friendster, users could set up profiles, connect with friends and family, search for new contacts (and, yes, potential dates) based on the people you were already connected to and interact with people on the social network through messages and groups. It was essentially a more pared down version of Facebook and the latter had the added benefit of quickly gaining popularity among college students.

Full article

Online learning: Have we reached market saturization?

A new report suggests that online course growth is slowing. This is not new either – there have been reports over the last 2-3 years that online growth has stagnated. We have hit a point in the market where demand is being met. We all knew this point would come and it took about 10 years to get there. Of course online learning has been around longer but it wasn’t really mainstream until the early 2000s and I think I am being generous by saying that.

The $38 Tablet

Yes there is an actual tablet for $38 and my initial review is that its actually not that bad. One of my students recently bought one and gave me a few minutes to play around with it. The tablet is a Ubislate. It runs Android 4.2.2. While its not very powerful, as in it has 512 mb ram, it does function as a full tablet. You have access to the android google play store and it has wifi. Honestly it looks, feels, and functions just like any other tablet. Its just has lower end components but for $38 I think its worth it. I would give this a buy for every single person that does not currently own a tablet. Also a quick note – it does ship from over seas and my student said it took her about a week to come in.

Here is the link: http://ubislate.us/

New smartband

I believe this looks awesome and has a lot of potential. Currently it will tell you when you have texts, emails, phone calls, and monitor your workouts and sleep habits. What I am most excited for is for devices like this to really manage our lives. They can tell us what our body temp is, if we have a sickness, what our heart rate is. Eventually we will be able to talk to it and it will respond back. I see these replacing many of the abilities smartphones have as voice technology gets better. That is not to say we wont still have smartphones but both might be very common in the future. Article here

What College Will Be Like in 2023

An article about the future of education that I can somewhat agree with. This is one point made that I think is dead on:

“In the future, tuition will drop dramatically. No, just kidding.

The expansion of online delivery has led some to believe that universities will be able to scale up their classes and reduce their costs per student. While this will happen in a few cases—Georgia Tech is now offering an online computer science master’s for $6,600—it won’t transform the university cost structure. That’s because so many of the added costs are the result of the expansion of university administrations and other nonacademic functions, from career counseling to student activities.

Technology will help increase the class size, says Anthony P. Carnevale, the director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, “but that’s pocket change in the whole scheme of things.”

read the entire article here

Facebook admits young teens are losing interest in the site

Now this is an interesting headline on cnnmoney this morning. For those who are not paying attention, more teens are shying away from facebook. Why? Its just not as cool when your parents are on it too (and probably reading your posts haha). Teens like to be using the ‘next big thing’ before everyone else. They do not like to follow the typical trends that everyone else does. If you dont believe me look at their music collection:) So what are they using? Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumlr to name a few. Go ahead, see if your kids are on these sites. You might be surprised to see what you find.