Online Educa Berlin - a focus on the video components

Online Educa Berlin - a focus on the video components

There was a lot to see and do at the 25th edition of online Educa Berlin (November 27-29). 2500 visitors from 73 countries met to explore how we can play a role in shaping the future of learning with the focus firmly on EdTech (educational technology).
There was a lot to see and do at the 25th edition of online Educa Berlin (November 27-29). 2500 visitors from 73 countries met to explore how we can play a role in shaping the future of learning with the focus firmly on EdTech (educational technology).
I’ve been presenting my research on ‘Video Teaching’ at OEB since 2016. I’m a big fan of the great networking opportunities and interesting mix of diverse, international speakers. It is well organised and a good place to pick up on new developments (See my previous reports 201620172018)
This blog is part 1 and covers Video Teaching at OEB. Part 2 will focus on social and technology trends in Education.
Hologram Teachers
Imperial College Business School ran a seminar in 2018. Two speakers live on stage, were joined by two holograms, ‘live’ on stage, next to them. See the 45 second video here.
The holograms were two real speakers beamed in live from California and New York to join the discussion. The hologram speakers could see the audience and interact and answer their questions, looking at them in real time when asked questions. At long last, the holographic image of Princess Lea in Star Wars (‘Help us Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope’) has arrived into our educational context. Super Sci-Fi and mind bending, but what does it all mean for education?
Beamed in from Los Angeles and New York to join the discussion
Andrew Parry of the EdTech Lab and Researcher Dr Nai Li presented their findings from their exploratory study on understanding the strengths and potentials of holograms as an effective educational tool in higher education. A hologram is a photographic image without the use of a lens which involves lasers. Full motion holograms with video are not possible and may never be possible. But the holograms created on stage simulated this technique.
In their conference Women in Technology, in November 2018 they had two hologram speakers. It gave the effect of being 3d and being able to interact with someone in the audience with a good level of engagement. This saves cost on flying speakers in for the conference and opens many possibilities. You need two things to make it work; a capture studio with the right lighting, and a gauze material on which to project the image. Since the speaker can see and hear the audience this increases the sense of real presence. From a research perspective, Dr Nai explained that the novelty effect for students was very high. They could have synchronous two-way conversation in real time. The students and speakers enjoyed the event. Future research will focus on whether there is a difference in learning gains, rather than simply student perception.
Questions discussed were: how this is different from watching someone on a TV screen? Or a Zoom or Skype session? Under what conditions is it worth doing? What are the potential advantages of using holograms for education? Is it affordable and scalable? Is it just a fancier version of the technology we are currently using or does it have more to offer?
Perhaps holograms will feel normal at a later stage. As costs come down, we can consider in which pedagogical settings it could be used. In the trials, the audience knew the presenters were holograms but it did not hinder communication.
The software is operated by Ahrt Media who have studios to record the hologram presenters in North America, Asia and London.
I found this one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in a long time and can’t wait to try it myself. When can I give a holographic presentation? Ahrt Media can expect my phone call soon…!
Yes, Making Video 'is' Rocket Science!
When you are 400 km above the earth and travelling at 28,000 km per hour you don’t want to be messing around with poor quality instructional video. Matthew Day has made instructional videos specifically for astronaut training on the International Space Station.
Instructional video better be good if it is to meet the needs of astronauts in space.
Astronauts follow a rigorous training process. The last selection in Europe was in 2009 when six were selected. They follow intensive basic training to become a crew member and must continually re-train and update their skills. It may be 5 or 10 years before they make it into space. If they make it into space at all. On the ISS, astronauts have a daily task list in which they must carry out continual maintenance, repairs and experiments. This requires having a huge amount of Just In Time information readily to hand. With its multi-media qualities, video is a good format to support the online activities. Day is an instructional designer who has made many tutorials for the International Space Station. Crew members refresh themselves on the content of the video instruction and then go to the relevant place on the ISS to carry out the procedures.
What has Day learned in making these videos? He advises setting up a team and having a good design and production process. Astronaut’s time is very limited and extremely expensive. You need to have your equipment and information completely ready and tested well in advance (e.g., the day before). Carry spares of everything and have a clear checklist. Do not waste any time when filming. Astronauts have a lapel microphone, and they use green screen, good quality lights and a teleprompter when necessary.
When planning, it is important to have a logical sequence of events and to tell a story. Film the activities from multiple angles. Zoom in for detail and record more content than you think you need which can be useful for final edits. Keep the focus on your audience. Consider what is important and relevant for them. To give them the information they need, you need to ask them and collaborate. Keep text on the screen to a minimum. It is important for the astronaut to find the right video content at the right time. Each day they have a task list and timeline of activities. Each hour and minute is mapped out. Videos are attached to the specific moment in the timeline within the task list.
Next stop is Mars, so this will involve longer training. Crew Members must be more self-sufficient. It is clear that Day is an expert in this subject and it was good to see that the rules of video production in this ‘Rocket Science’ context related to the core guidelines of academic video.
Practicing presentations in VR
I tried out Virtual Orator developed by Dr Kristopher Blom. I had demoed a virtual presentation (BrainStud) in 2018. So was interested to see how Virtual Orator compared. 
I can practice my speech in a VR setting with a responsive audience of 70 students
Putting on the Oculus Riff headset I saw a lecture hall in front of me. I looked down and could see my presentation slides. I looked up at the ceiling and behind me. I looked down but could not see my feet. The lecture hall was filled with 70 individuals. All staring at me. Each had their own distinctive face, body position and movement.
I started talking and they looked at me. I could advance the slides in front of me using a virtual clicker. As I finished my practice, there was mild applause from the audience. I told them they needed to clap harder, so they did (this was controlled by Dr Blom who was managing the controls).
How did I do?
Having practiced presenting in the virtual space, I could then check my performance. The screenshot provides plenty of information. The setting was a very large meeting hall with chairs. My eyes focused more on the bottom left hand side, and not so much at the back of the audience. I looked at my laptop and at the ceiling.
Lots of data to analyse on how I performed
And my voice? Well, I varied it from my normal tone, had a reasonable speech rate, and raised the tone of my voice at the end of sentences. And in the one minute I was presenting, my voice tone varied 66 times which helps to hold audience attention. The time spent per slide is also shown which can show the pace and rhythm of my whole presentation. I hope to experiment with this format again in other contexts. 
This is certainly a valuable tool to practice presentations and the advantages that you get a lot of specific data about your own performance. Additional elements that may be available at a later stage are being able to see yourself in the context. I certainly enjoyed my practice experience and took time to explore and look at the whole virtual environment. I imagined myself to actually be there and worked hard to interact with the audience. I would like to be able to address certain people in the crowd, or to get questions from the audience so there is some interaction (rather than one way sending information). Very interesting use of VR and I look forward to further practice in the VR world.
Smart Classroom Solutions – DARIM
Based in Seoul, and with a background in professional news production, Mr. Reo Kim is CEO of Darim. I sat down in the smart studio, in front of the green screen. I took the microphone and began talking to Mr. Kim. Sitting behind the control panel and viewing all the screens in front of me, I felt more like a pilot in a 747.

See my interview with Mr. Kim here (7 minutes).
Am I teaching, or sitting at the control panels of a 747?
There were multiple screens and the sensory and cognitive overload were overwhelming. I would certainly need to spend sufficient time ‘test driving’ the technology to become conversant, fluid and comfortable using it. With so many options you need to have a clear goal of what you want to achieve, and not get distracted.
Based on my 5-minute try-out, this is a highly advanced and fully professional system. With the green screen I can choose from multiple 3d virtual studio settings, zooming in or out. The top left screen is the viewer image. I’m taking a photo. Behind me are several images. Pointing my laser pen at one of them on the screen, or holding the mouse over it, makes it bigger. Top right you can see the different studio settings and desks to be selected. This screen could also be used for an incoming channel of 30 online students (e.g., via a Zoom link). The bottom left are my PowerPoint slides which I can use to present with. And bottom right is an additional screen that shows another view. I could see this setting be used for MOOCS, or for complex online courses.
From Cowabunga VR to Soft Skills Training
In Russia, farmers are equipping Cows with VR Goggles. Viewing ‘virtual’ green fields, the cows are more relaxed and can produce more milk. The audience was shocked to see this image, but I wondered how different it really is to our children wearing VR for hours.
VR for cows makes sense, doesn't it.?
Luis Villarejo from Immersium Studio in Spain has created 3D Interactive 360 Video for Soft Skills Training in the Workplace. It is Immersive, interactive, and engaging. According to Villarejo, we learn 70% of what we need to learn regarding skills, while we are on the job. And VR can help to give this ‘on the job’ experience to students before they get to the workplace. Using actors, they created a number of scenarios in which students could practice ‘giving bad news’ to families. Based on the choices you make, the actor responds accordingly. You can become totally immersed in the relevant situation as you make different choices and see the effect on the actor. Based on the choice made, a presenter comes back and gives you feedback. Wrapping up the learning you can then go back into the VR environment and try again and change your decisions.
This is a safe environment to make mistakes, to compare and reflect. Experts from hospitals helped to define the real situations (whether a family acting aggressively or saying nothing). They use multi-disciplinary teams which takes more time but creates a more well-rounded final product. The costs are coming down (Oculus Riff Gold for 150 euros on Black Friday). One disadvantage, dizziness, is decreasing due to better technology and improved alignment between the image and movement. There are questions about privacy. What a student does inside these resources, how this information is stored and used? There are plenty of advantages; Lower costs and risk, saving on travel time, you don’t need to hire new actors each time, and it only needs to be recorded once. In addition, this standardises the learning experience so that students on different locations have the same experience due to the consistency of the video content. This format is self-paced, the student can choose how long they spend in each place and on each scene. It increases knowledge retention and engagement.
Should you talk to the customer in front of you, or pick up the phone?
Clara Hoeltermann of  Studio 2b  is based in Berlin. They have created some 360 Video scenarios for students in higher education. They face three challenges; there is an increased drop-out rate in vocational training, the schools lack the learning concepts to strengthen the social competences, and the changing labour market requires new tools to support student skill development.
The film we viewed was set in a hotel lobby. To give students real experience of working in a stressful environment, such as a hotel lobby, they created 360 videos from the perspective of the hotel receptionist. Customers arrive, the phone rings, the trainee must make the right choices. And at each point, the instructor can appear in the video image with a pre-recorded explanation as to the consequences of the choices made. If the student answers the phone rather than talking to the customer in front of them, the customer gets angry and interrupts. One step to involve the student at a deeper level was to have the manage come up to them and say hello which created more involvement. I see this form of vocational training having plenty of potential for future development. But hiring the actors and recording the scenes is expensive. The challenge will be to make training films in such a way that they remain relevant and don’t go out of date in a few years.
I’d rather fall off a ‘virtual’ bicycle
It’s safe to practice riding your VR Bicycle through ha busy Belgian City. Carl Boel of Ghent showed us his award-winning VR software VRkeer. In Belgium, there is a shift from cars to bikes but not everyone knows how to ride a bike. And practicing in the real world is dangerous. In this VR game, children can practice seven basic moves on a bike (overtaking, checking a blind spot). The complexity of the scenario increases from the countryside, to a village to a busy town. Children start by choosing the colour of their bike and their bike helmet. After practicing the controls, they get on their bike, and using a handlebar with a bell and ‘bike’ through various scenarios. The teacher accesses their own class to monitor individual competence of students, checks the level and adds the difficulty degree.

Very cool use of VR which combines safe practice and preventing injuries
It is much better to train this multiple times in VR than on an actual street. The multiple learning opportunities enable students to make mistakes without any physical damage. This is a good combination of providing what education needs and maximising the affordances of this technology. The course is developed soundly grounded in academic theory. The all in one package which includes the software, headsets and chargers, can be rented by Belgian schools for free. The sense of presence is very important in this context. They evaluated it and if the student feels a part of the environment, then it increases retention rate. If felt you were in the ‘real’ environment, then your brain recovers the images more easily. And transfer is easier if you‘ve done this VR practice. The student is doing this in their own safe space so does not have to be embarrassed by making a mistake in front of the whole class. This is a great example of how to maximize the affordances of VR, hopefully reducing accidents, and provided for free to schools.
Creating video and AI Based on evidence
I had seen Donald Clark present a few times. I am glad I attended this session. Clark gives a very clear overview of the learning theory behind video, grounded in a solid framework of academic evidence. Research has informed us of the correct ingredients for an effective academic video. We need to be reminded of these elements to ensure we create the optimum teaching and training videos. A detailed overview of the presentation he gave can be found on his website along with a complete bibliography of the sources.
Video is not the solution to everything. However, it is important to understand fully the things that video is good at. Then to deploy these strengths to the most effect. Video can convey emotions, attitudes, processes, and procedures. Moving through 3d spaces, whether inside the human body or an explaining a video. We have two types of memory. Episodic Memory is about remembering, whereas Semantic Memory is about knowing. When watching a video our attention is like a shooting star. It follows the section we are watching (the head of the shooting star). There is a ‘tail’ of 20 seconds or so trailing behind of short-term memory. And then it is darkness. After the 20 seconds, we forget what we’ve seen and move on to the next section. We often use video for semantic teaching, for knowing, but video is not so good at supporting this type of learning.
Video has its Pros, and its Cons.
Clark consistently references academic peer reviewed articles to each statement made about video. I’m familiar with many of the sources, but look forward to reading those articles that are new to me. Research into video has found some general guidelines.
After 6 minutes, we lose attention to most videos. It helps students to have control over the watching of the video (skip, pause, speed up, repeat, slow down). Multi-media theory has extremely important and proven guidelines on how to balance information on a screen between the visual and audial channels and these rules must be followed. Consider very carefully the added value of the ‘talking head’ which can act as a distraction to the information being shown. Communicate with informal and personal speech. Show demonstrations from the perspective of the learner (not as a third party watching someone else doing it). A larger screen size is related to better long-term retention of information so beware trying to learn on very small mobile screens. Quality of video images is not so important. Our eyes and brains are adjusted to picking up a lot of information from a weaker image. But audio quality is absolutely essential. Too many quick cuts in a video lead to reduced learning. Chunking video into segments is very important to help break up learning into smaller units, with pauses in between. Link active learning to activities after a student has watched a video. Having watched a video segment, it is better to explain what you saw to someone, than to draw it. Video can be used to ‘Nudge’ learning, to give a challenge straight after the video.
Clark finished with a list of 10 ways that AI can be used to support video learning. These include the ability to transcribe, search, code, tag and categorise all video content. ‘Fill in the blank’ tests can be generated by AI from videos. This simple text appears straight forward, but that can really support the learning process.
Overall an excellent presentation on evidence-based research into educational and training video. See the link above for the full overview.

OK.... get ready to go off the deep end!

 Volumetric Videography and Haptoclone Boxes
Two other future technologies (mentioned by Andrew Parry) are described here. 
Looking Glass Factory have developed a hologram display with no AR or VR equipment needed. It generates 45 simultaneous views of the 3d world at 60 frames per second. See their 2:45 intro film. It is fully 3d video on a screen that can be manipulated by your hand in space. For ‘rocket designers’, ‘3d animators’ or Volumetric Videographers’. 


Haptoclone has been developed by Shinoda and Makino laboratory in Japan. You put an object in one box, and can ‘feel it’ and manipulate it in a 3d space in a box at another location.
Touch and manipulate a virtual object in one box that moves it in the other box. 

At the point we start combining all the technologies described here, it could create some very interesting educational opportunities.

If you've read this far, thank you.