03/20 Student participation with spherical media

"Student participation with spherical media", INTED 2020, J. Hoem, E. Helgesen

View abstract - view the presentation (online) - download the presentation file 6 Mb

Read the paper, embedded at the bottom of this page.

In this paper spherical media are understood as media that convey audio-visual information (3D models, image, sound and video) in a form that can immerse the user, audiovisually, and that allows the user to navigate in a mediated environment, spatially. The concept refers to the surface of a sphere. Spherical media can thus be defined as media that utilizes a physical or virtual sphere in various ways to represent the mediated content. Typically, such spherical representations can be viewed using VR-headsets.

Student participation wit...erical media – INTED 2020

Even though there are a number of analog precursors, in our context spherical media is truly digital, and can not be used without digital devices for production and playback. Digital spherical media is facilitated by affordable equipment for spherical still photography and video filming. A variety of solutions make it possible to publish learning material as well as student works. This opens up a number of opportunities in education, related to dissemination from places and perspectives that for various reasons are not physically available in a given learning situation.

The paper and presentation will address questions like: How to develop methodologies for teaching with spherical media? How can spherical representations be used in problem based learning? How can students utilise spherical media when documenting their practice?

The presentation at the conference will exemplify and discusses the possibilities of spherical media, especially when representing three-dimensional environments. Examples will be taken from self-produced, virtual walks as well as different types of field recordings used for reflection in the classroom. We will also show examples where students have used spherical media to, among other things, "step into" physical models, and explore the placement of self-produced objects in various scenarios, documenting their own practices, etc.

We also discuss how spherical media can accommodate internationalization in higher education. For international exchange students, spherical photographs and videos can be used as part of preparation for going abroad. By offering students the opportunity to immerse themselves in virtual reality (VR) representations of their coming destination, teachers can take advantage of spherical media to provide tutoring based on specific geographical sites. During their stay abroad, students can produce their own spherical still photography and video, which can then be shared with students back home. In this way, students can participate fully in the process of creating and disseminating spherical videos, while providing internationalization in the classroom for students back home.

Local internet infrastructure affects possibilities for sharing spherical videos. This is particularly the case with high quality videos. In countries such as South Africa, there are large differences in bandwidth between urban and rural areas. Real-time digital communication through spherical media is therefore difficult to achieve. A key challenge for internationalization efforts using digital media, is how to deal with the digital north-south divide. This paper discusses how global inequalities can be addressed through the use of spherical media. For example, although VR headsets are required for full immersion, students can also watch and engage with 360-degree videos on a computer or a smartphone.