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Interactive Media

Virtual Reality Musical

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Virtual Reality has been making its rounds through medical school, engineering, and even underwater. And now, it’s headed towards the Arts department. At the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia, the students are making history by becoming one of the first institutions to use virtual reality for a musical. Recently, they showcased their first VR musical, bringing together 116 from 14 unique programs over a course of 20 weeks to create their 360-degree story. “Say It With Music.”

The film was shown as a part of a VR showcase at the recent Savannah Film Festival in which students were able to watch a snippet from different vendors. The music for the movie was motivated by Irving Berlin’s composition, “Say It With Music.” The plot follows an unexpected romantic connection between two servers at a restaurant. Viewers get to use sound cues to continue with the narrative and can experience a 360-degree perspective that showcases the multiple plotlines best.

Even though VR devices are still not entirely common, this institution already has experience with it in the previous year. The SCAD sent out 10,000 pairs of Google Cardboard, a VR set by Google, to students who had already been accepted to the institution, and to potential students, to allow them to visit the campus virtually. They worked with the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) for these projects, bringing together students from all fields, such as film, animation, dramatic writing, and production design. The CLC brings professionals into student work to challenge them with real-world challenges. For example, the students SCAD have created advertising campaigns and prototype plans for NASA, BMW, Google, and Disney.

The VR musical that the school produced is a first in a line of stories they are going to produce. Michael Chaney, a professor of film and television, explained that: “We consulted with the leading pioneers in this industry and we ourselves are becoming pioneers.”

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Technology Can Help Expand Creativity

The next generation of college students, Generation Z, has had technology as part of their life since birth. It should come to no surprise that 93 percent of students in an Adobe Education survey said that technology in the classroom was essential for their career preparedness. Eighty-nine percent also believe that creativity will also be a big part of their success. Colleges are already preparing for the needs of Gen Z students with programs that combine creativity and technology. Technology in higher education can help expand creativity in higher education and one way is helping designers innovate through engineering.

Staff from Parsons School of Design has already started reaching out to show how technology can help with problem solving in art and design. Noelia Bautista made a music box that could communicate with a computer using the Arduino open-course computing platform, which in turn inspired her to study to be an interior designer. She said that by engaging in the iterative design process, as well as user testing, sketching, and prototyping, she was able to cultivate the skills needed to tackle a wide range of design challenges. Tech-filled spaces also encourage new ideas and collaboration. Clemson University works on a partnership with Adobe to open a digital studio in their library to create a teaching, training and collaborative environment. Adobe even gives access to students to the Adobe Digital Studio, which gives an open access earning space on the Creative Cloud to ensure that students get the best digital tools needed to succeed.

Technology creates an entirely new Artistic experience. Rochester Institute of Technology announced the launch of their MAGIC Spell Studios which is a new building dedicated to supporting game development, film and animation and other digital media. The ways that people engage with games and interactive content is rapidly changing and the industry is more multi-faceted than ever. The school of interactive games and media will challenge students to build into new horizons that expand into the ever changing industry.

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3 Ways Pokemon Go Can Create Learning Opportunities

Pokemon is taking over college campuses all over the country. If you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go, it’s a modern Pokemon game available for free via Android or IOS app. Users are trainers in a virtual reality attempting to catch all the Pokemon within the user’s reach. How can schools use Pokemon Go as an education experience?

Pokemon Go uses the location and camera to create a virtual reality. Students can screenshot the Pokemon they are about to catch and save the pictures to their camera roll. Later, students can use the pictures for classroom projects to create digital stories.

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PokeStops are popular locations that provide users with educational information before collecting Pokemon Balls or Potions. A journal in the app collects all the Pokemon users catch, including date and time. Students can use the date to figure out the average number of events per day or graph the items collected from a PokeStop.

Washington State University is now incorporating Pokemon Go in their campus tours. WSU Tri-Cities will incorporate a portion of their 15 Pokestops. The tour will also includes stops at 2 different Pokemon gyms and extra time to hunt for a Charmander or other characters in the game. Seanna Coleman, lead WSU Tri-Cities student ambassador, shared “We thought this would be a fun way to incorporate an additional digital element in the tour, while allowing prospective students and their families to view our beautiful university campus along the Columbia River”.

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Click here to learn more about WSU’s Poke Tours.

The Majority of Institutions Offer Other Forms of Credentials

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According to a new study done by University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), Pennsylvania State University and Pearson, millennial students tend to lean towards badging and certificate programs as opposed to the traditional bachelor’s degree.

The study, titled “Demographic Shifts in Educational Demand and the Rise of Alternative Credentials” includes research conducted from 190 institutions, including community colleges (11 percent), baccalaureate colleges (12 percent), master’s colleges or universities (27 percent), and doctorate-granting universities (50 percent). Of those surveyed, 61 percent of them were public institutions. Overall, the research revealed that offering alternative credentials, such as digital badges, certificates, and micro credentials, have become popular, with 94 percent of institutions reporting that they offer this.

Digital badges are online representations of skills learned by students, typically with visual iconography; certificates are usually issued by educational institutions to students who have completed significant programs of study that do not culminate in a specific degree; while micro credentials are digitally presented certifications providing evidence that an individual has mastered a specific skill or area of knowledge that demonstrates their learning.

Director of UPCEA’s Center for Research Marketing Strategy, Jim Fong; director of the Center for Online Innovation in Learning and a professor at Penn State, Kyle Peck; and senior director of business development at Pearson’s Acclaim, Peter Janzow all conducted the study. They have also found that:

* One in five institutions offers digital badges

* Digital badges are most commonly offered in business-related domains

* Institutions with corporate engagement value alternative credentialing more than institutions that did not

* Sixty-four percent of those surveyed agree that their institution sees alternative credentialing as an important strategy for its future

According to Fong, “The degree will always be an important credential, but it won’t always be the gold standard. As millennials enter the prime years of their career and move into positions of greater power, we’ll see more alternative credentials for specific industries and possibly across the board. Higher education institutions, especially those in our survey, are showing that they are being progressive with workforce needs.” For more information, please visit UPCEA’s website for more information.