During the summer period something has been quietly stirring within the City of Glasgow College’s (COGC) impressive building. Where once was a simple space with tables and chairs in the main library, now sits the first incarnation of the Visual Learning Lab (VLL); cutting-edge educational technology aligned with COGC’s aspirational aims to create a hybrid teaching space that simultaneously provides an equity of learning to both in-room and students connecting remotely.
Tom Duff, Associate Director of the Learning & Teaching Academy at COGC: “The Intel VLL is a major breakthrough in hybrid learning. It is the future of learning – freeing it from a fixed period, time and audience to anyone, anywhere, anytime access.”.
The Visual Learning Lab brings together technology and ideas from several partners including ViewSonic, Kramer, AVer, Top-Tec, IAConnects, SensingFeeling and LearnFromAnywhere – multiple interactive screens uniquely connected into a single canvas, with wireless presentation and sharing, coupled with cameras and microphones, environmental monitoring, and a height adjustable mobile mount – the ingredients for an ideal learning space.
In a way the VLL is not a fixed product but more of a journey, both in technology usage and in the way the partners are working together. ViewSonic’s Senior Director EdTech Peter Claxton explained: “This is an example of why collaboration between EdTech Companies and Colleges is critical to driving the future vision of Education”. Working closely with Tom and the team at COGC, the VLL concept has been defined, refined and the first iteration is ready for the start of this new term.
Some of the technology being used is in its infancy in the UK (albeit more mature in other GEOs) and its value in hybrid learning spaces is still being understood, in particular the use of computer vision. SensingFeeling’s Ajay Kurien – “Our technology helps instructors and learners at City of Glasgow College make the most of their experience of the Visual Learning Lab. Sensing attention helps instructors maintain energy and grow engagement during lessons, and measuring collaboration benefits the entire higher education experience.”
Data is another important and so far, poorly understood aspect of hybrid learning spaces. Much of the technology installed can generate data: student engagement, sentiment, gaze from SensingFeeling, room environmental conditions from IAConnects, usage statistics from Kramer and ViewSonic. The plan is to start collating this data in a single cloud-based dashboard and then begin to analyse it; maybe the data will give us some new insights into the VLL and help guide future updates to improve the learning and teaching experience.
Our journey with COGC continues. With a mixture of students back on campus in September and others based remotely, the VLL will be put through its paces by the staff and students. With regular feedback sessions with the staff, students and partners the VLL concept will be refined over the next 12 months, hopefully resulting in a complete solution for hybrid learning. A final word from LearnFromAnywhere’s Duncan Peberdy: “The commitment of Kramer, ViewSonic, Top-Tec, and AVer to collaborate on new technology configurations to develop the best possible outcomes for the City of Glasgow College has been a real pleasure to be a part of.”