Saturday, 17 November 2018 11:18

Panolingo – Learn Languages in VR

panolingo logo is a relatively new application that stands out from the plethora of Virtual Reality tools for learning foreign languages ​​that are available nowadays. The main reason for that is the excellent quality of the graphic depictions in the application. High-quality 360 ° panoramas are able to offer the user the viewing of environments in a natural way therefore enhancing the immersion of use, while limiting possible feelings of nausea due to the use of the medium.

 

The user through real life scenarios is required to complete activities by locating objects. For example, starting from his bed, the user is asked to locate his slippers in order to get up and then he has to find the door to get to the bathroom. The instructions for the execution of these actions are in English through incitements and natural expressions. This visualization of the necessary information will strengthen the imprinting on the user's subconscious, as it helps him to connect the new knowledge with real objects, in a really efficient way.

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Panolingo - Learn Languages ​​in VR offers a point system, personal progress check and leaderboards for enhanced competition. Those features support the enhanced maintenance of the user's interest over time.Finally, it should be noted that there is also a conventional version in which the use of an HMD is not required.

With regard to its technical features, the application works seamlessly with the most popular HMDs such as Google Cardboard, Oculus Gear, Archos VR etc. At this stage, it is only available for Android but will soon be available for iOS devices while adding more languages ​​other than English.In conclusion, Panolingo is an excellent solution for a home-based tool, and is aimed at teachers who want to introduce Virtual Reality technology into the learning process.

Published in Virtual Reality
Monday, 24 September 2018 07:24

Mondly VR

If you tell me I'll listen if you show me I'll see but if you let me experience I will learn.

Lao-Tse 

mondly vr 4

Mondly VR is a new application by Mondly, which uses virtual reality to help students expand their language learning skills. What makes Mondly VR stand out is its language recognition ability. Users can take part in conversations with virtual characters in a variety of different real life scenarios. Those scenarios include talking to a taxi driver, a hotel hostess, a waitress in a restaurant a stranger at the train station and a few other interesting choices.

Inside the application

I was really shocked when I first found out that you can practice from a selection of over 30 languages. Obviously the first step is to select the desired language. After the language is selected you are supposed to pick the conversational situation that you would like to engage with.

Mondly VR learn 30 languages in Virtual Reality

The conversation begins when the virtual character asks you a question or makes a remark. Then, you are prompt with a series of answers in the language you have picked at the very first stage of the application as well as their explanation in English. As soon as you pick a suitable answer you will hear a voice which pronounces the answer. Afterwards your task is to repeat the answer. If your answer is detected as correct the conversation continues. Otherwise you are kindly asked to repeat your saying. Note though that the voice recognition mechanisms of the app are not flawless and need to be improved.

It is also worth mentioning that the level of difficulty between each conversation is different. For example it’s way easier to have a short chat with a passenger in the train, and harder if you are trying to reserve a hotel room.

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Level of interactivity and immersion

Although one shouldn't expect object manipulation by the user, it can be concluded that the level of interactity is higher than other similar applications, thus leading to a more immersive experience. After all immersive VR experiences are considered more advantageous compared to less immersive ones. In my opinion this characteristic of the app, along with the beautiful graphics make MondlyVR worth giving a try.

Specs and characteristics

Mondly VR is a paid application which is available for Android smartphones (inside a Cardboard obviously) and Oculus rift. You can read more about the application at their official site here 

Final thoughts

All in all, Mondly VR is a decent attempt to combine language learning with VR but certainly needs work in order to steal the show.

Published in Virtual Reality
Wednesday, 14 February 2018 11:06

Virtual Speech (Language VR)

 

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Undoubtedly, virtual reality has been one of the most discussed topics between educators since the past year. Multiple applications try to exploit its characteristics in order to enhance students’ learning process.

Virtual Speech (Language VR) is an application which through scenarios and a wide range of language situations, aims to use the virtual reality to teach foreign languages. Besides English the user can choose between the following languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Chinese. Russian, Japanese, Italian and Korean are soon to be released.

 

 Originally the app was developed to help people learn English through simulations of the English culture and landmarks. The idea behind this was to create a more exciting way of learning in a virtual environment. Research shows that visual representations help in maintaining information and learning new vocabulary (Jones, 2010). In addition the use of images helps in making abstract ideas more specific to students.

 

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Below are listed the categories that the user can pick from.

Experience Culture: Virtual Reality (VR) is the possible solution for creating genuine language learning environments in EFL countries for a variety of reasons. The most beneficial part of using VR is the creation of those situations that simulate the physical environment through digital representation (Chen & Chen, 2016). London, Cotswolds, Warwick, Cornwall and many other British places are available to visit.

Language VR VirtualSpeech Screeenshot

Vocabulary: The user is asked to locate various objects in beautiful and well-designed rooms. Despite the fact that we really liked this option it should be mentioned that the free version of the app includes only room.

RED vr language app vocab office

Audiobook Chapters: The user can choose to listen to renowned books such as Treasure Island or Alice in the Wonderland. Of course, it would be an addition if moving or static images could be added as to enhance the student's involvement.

Basic Tenses: The player interacts with different shapes and objects trying to put them in order while creating sentences. Each object represents a single word. At the moment the user can choose from Present Simple, Past Simple and Future Simple.

Numbers: A realistic space ship simulation game in which the player tries to maneuver his spacecraft to the right number. It's not just a language learning game, but it certainly enriches the whole experience.

Roleplaying Speeches: It is a fact that through virtual reality it is possible to simulate situations that would be either too expensive or unfeasible to perform (Dávideková, et al., 2017). On this axis the user can simulate a speech, an interview, make a reservation for a hotel etc. It is a fact that there is no feedback based on what is said, but this may have had dubious results and would certainly require some financial consideration such as the purchase of the application.

Rewards and statistics: Finally, it is possible to record some of the user's achievements which are earned after completing certain activities.

Language VR will help teach English language and culture by providing photorealistic virtual reality environments to students to talk, listen, interact, and ultimately play.

The application is fully compatible with Google Cardboard and is available for Android, IOS, and GearVR devices. You can find out more here https://virtualspeech.com/

 

Bibliography

Chen, X. and Chen, M. (2016). The Application of Virtual Reality Technology in the EFL Learning Environment in China. Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Sensor Network and Computer Engineering.

Dávideková, M., Mjartan, M. and Greguš, M. (2017). Use of Virtual Reality in Education of Employees in Slovakia. Computer Science, 113, pp. 253-260.

Jones, A.D. (2010). Science through photography. Science through photography. Science and Children, 47 (5), 26-30.

Published in Virtual Reality

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According to Gee's evaluation criteria (2003), educational video games must be pedagogically driven and appropriate to promote learning. These criteria refer to the motivation given to the student when using the application or game, the potential problems he / she will be faced with and his / her level of interactivity.

Johnny Grammar's Word Challenge is an application suitable for Android and IOS devices. It is really beneficial for students who learn English and want to improve their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. The aim of the game is to answer as many correct questions as possible within a minute, with the user receiving badges depending on his performance (Grammar Guru, Word Wizard and Supreme Speller badges). By winning badges the player is placed on a leaderboard competing with other players worldwide.

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There are three levels of difficulty (easy, medium and hard) depending on the level of questions asked. In the vocabulary category there are 10 sub-categories related to food, travels, idioms, movies, hobbies etc. In the grammar category there are 12 sub-categories related to intentions, irregular verbs, auxiliary verbs, etc.

After completing quizzes, the application offers feedback so the user can evaluate the answers given. In fact, through this gamification process, the user indirectly aims at improving the cognitive knowledge’s capacity as this improvement will also lead to a better placement in the ranking board.

Assessing the "Johnny Grammar's Word Challenge" application with Gee's criteria for mobilizing the student, this game is structured in such a way that it makes the user feel that his action have a meaning (Gee, 2004). Problems in the application are well organized as there is a scaling difficulty so the learner can easily start from the lowest level of difficulty and reach the highest, making the challenges easily manageable (Gee, 2004). Another advantage is the immediate feedback given as the student quickly acquires an image of his level and knowledge. This is a valid update on the processes that should or have been applied, which serves in understanding and building new knowledge. After all it is widely known that people learn skills, strategies and ideas better when they see how they fit into a more general frame which is meaningful for them. In fact, every experience is reinforced when we understand how it fits into a more important set.

Bibliography:

Gee, J.P. (2004). Learning by design: Games as learning machines. Interactive Educational Multimedia, (8), 15-23.

Published in Learning on the go
Friday, 24 November 2017 10:39

Quizizz

Eyes on the board please!

The integration and exploitation of technology in in recent years takes place through pleasant environments of learning, collaboration and authenticity. Such an environment is the Quizizz. It requires the student's active engagement and the emergence of a learning experience that no longer relies on the sterile knowledge of the content. The use of such tool keeps students' interest and commitment to acquiring new information (The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017).

Quizizz is a free learning application designed for mobile phones that uses wireless handhelds to collect student responses and then show the results in the classroom while collecting direct feedback by answering questions posed by the educator (Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017). The teacher selects a quiz that has been structured for the particular subject of interest and then provides a pin for the students. Students then use the pin and the questions appear on their mobile devices. They are required to answer a timeframe predetermined by the teacher. Questions appear randomly to each student, and then the learner observes the results of the choice he/she made (Boulden, Hurt & Richardson, 2017). The total results are also shown at the interactive whiteboard with the help of the teacher’s computer and a projector.

Students play together, but each at their own pace. Gamfication elements like avatars, leaderboard and funny memes add to the fun. At the end of the game, the educator receives detailed class and student-level reports to understand where the pupils need help.

Instructions on quizizz

Pedagogical background:

It is a tool based on behavioral learning theory as learning through quizizz is done with specific activities to achieve goals that are designed by the teacher (Learning Theories, n.d.). Thus, the student is not in control of the application since the teacher is the creator. As far as the evaluation of the learner is concerned, the behavioral patterns are also followed, since the results of the quiz appear at the scoreboard.

Effects on the learning process:

By studying the positive results in the learning process, many pedagogical benefits are attributed to Quizizz. Students perceive commitment and acquire a different perception of learning as their motives multiply (The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017). Studies show increased collaborative learning and engagement as well as increased learning outcomes (Boulden, Hurt & Richardson, 2017). Then the concentration of children in the process increases as well as their active engagement (The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017). As far as the teacher is concerned, the contribution of the tool is to control the level of understanding or lack of knowledge through the feedback system provided at the end of the process.

In conclusion one could imply that the inclusion of games and technological tools offers all the resources to students for communication, contact and collaboration. In the context of teaching, the tools that technology has provided us, ensures a more extensive and cost-effective exploratory work on the subject of teaching (Cardet, 2013).

Create your own Quizizz at http://quizizz.com

Bibliography

Boulden, D. C., Hurt, J. W., & amp; Richardson, M. K. (2017). Implementing Digital Tools to Support Student Questioning Abilities: A Collaborative Action Research Report. I.E .: Inquiry In Education, 9 (1), 1.

CARDET (2013). Authentic Learning. Report within the project Developing Authentic Learning Environments through School and Business Collaboration. Nicosia: CARDET Press.

The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz and Google Forms on student perception in the classroom response system. (2017). 2017 International Conference on Digital Arts, Media and Technology (ICDAMT), Digital Arts, Media and Technology (ICDAMT), International Conference on, 178

Published in Gamification
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 10:16

Vocaroo

Help your EFL-ESL learners improve their pronunciation and accent with Vocaroo

 

Vocaroo is a free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need to install any software. You don't even have to create an account to use Vocaroo. All you need to provide is a microphone

Vocaroo is a particularly useful tool especially for educators that teach teach foreign languages. It is available at no cost and allows the voice of the user to be recorded, allowing him to download the soundtrack to his computer, send it as an e-mail or share it directly on a social network (Charles & Dickens, 2012).

Its possible uses in the learning process are many, ranging from creating Podcasts, transmitting messages between students and teachers, reading short stories, and providing feedback to third parties (Charles & Dickens, 2012; TeachersFirst, n.d.). 

Depending on the activity that will be requested by the student, the tool can function as either constructivist or behavioral, but  the widest range of exploitable activities can be found under the "behaviourism umbrella"

Several studies have shown that using Vocaroo as a means of enhancing students' oral speech has ultimately led not only to the improvement of this but to the general perception and expressiveness of its users (Kim, 2014). Students' language skills also improve as pupils can repeat the activity as they wish and as many times as they want, while promoting self-assessment building on new knowledge, giving them learning autonomy (Kim, 2014; Budaghyan, 2015).

One of the great advantages of Vocaroo is its ease of use as it does not even need to create an account to use the service, making it extremely easy to be used even by the most inexperienced person(Charles & Dickens, 2012; TeachersFirst, n.d.).

Use Vocaroo at https://vocaroo.com/

Bibliography

 

Budaghyan, S. (2015). Technology Teacher Training in a Remote Region of Armenia. Procedure - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 197 (7th World Conference on Educational Sciences), 197-200. doi: 10.1016 / j.sbspro.2015.07.12

Charles, K.J., & Dickens, V. (2012). Closing the Communication Gap. Teaching Exceptional Children, 45 (2), 24-32.

Kim, S. H. (2014). Developing autonomous learning for oral proficiency using digital storytelling. Language Learning & Technology 18 (2), 20-35. Retrieved from http://llt.msu.edu/issues/june2014/action1.pdf

TeachersFirst. (n.d.) Vocaroo. Retrieved Oct 15, 2017 by https://teachersfirst.com/single.cfm?id=9921

 

Published in Creativity
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 21:28

Kahoot

 

Games in education are the teacher’s weapon to try and involve students in activities that combine the element of fun and learning with a meaning. Mobile devices have reshaped the way of teaching and have created new opportunities towards this approach.

This article will present one of the most useful tools, Kahoot! which combines beautiful graphical representations and sounds, turns the classroom into a playroom, with the teacher being the "show" coordinator and the students to be the contestants (Fotaris, Mastoras, Leinfellner & Rosunally, 2016). Students are asked to give the appropriate answer to the current question they are dealing with using their mobile devices and according to their responses they earn points that rank them in a rating scale (Wang, 2015).

A Kahoot! is a collection of questions on specific topics. Create a fun learning game in minutes – called ‘kahoot’. The format and number of questions are entirely up to you. Add videos, images and diagrams to your questions to amplify engagement and make learning so fun that your students will literals beg to be assessed

 

The benefits that Kahoot offers! in the learning process are many, but in summary, one could claim that it transforms the learning process into a more efficient and productive one (Katyshev, n.d.). The ease with which students receive feedback individually on their devices promotes self-evaluation, while the teacher's report on the distribution of student responses gives him the opportunity to identify potential gaps, make further analysis as well as explanation of the right choices (Katyshev, nd; Wang, 2015; Dellos, 2015; Fotaris, Mastoras, Leinfellner & Rosunally, 2016). Besides, as Dellos (2015) points out, creating the conditions for a comfortable environment for feedback in their responses without the stress of evaluation is critical to assimilation of knowledge. The user-friendly interface is also enhanced by the fact that there is no need to download a separate application, although there is such a possibility, since the game can be played through any web browser (Katyshev, n.d.). Even the existence of the scoring system exploits the innate tendency of man to compete, effectively giving players an incentive to improve the position on the ranking board (Katyshev, Wang, 2015; Fotaris, Mastoras, Leinfellner & Rosunally, 2016)

 Being a system of responding to student choices in a pre-created game of questions by Professor (Dellos, 2015) and according to the foregoing, it is concluded that this application is largely a behavioral tool in which the right options have been set beforehand and students are asked to identify them, ultimately leading to the reward of this desirable option. Of course, if used in ways other than the above, it has the potential to become a tool of social constructivism

If used properly, It has the potential to create a social, fun and game-like learning environment.

Visit http://create.kahoot.it to make your own quizzes using Kahoot! or discover Kahoots! made by others

Bibliography

Dellos, R. (2015). Kahoot! A digital game resource for learning. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 12 (4), 49-52.

Fotaris P, Mastoras T, Leinfellner R and Rosenally Y (2016). Climbing Up the Leaderboard: An Empirical Study of Applying Gaming Techniques to a Computer Programming Class. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning Volume 14 (2), 94-110.

Katyshev, V. (2005). Effective Educational Use of Kahoot. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://meantechtools.wikispaces.com/file/view/Kahoot%20description%20of%20use%20new.pdf/541271970/Kahoot%20description%20of%20use%20new.pdf

Wang, A. I. (2015). The wear out effect of a game-based student response system. Computers & Education, 82, 217-227.

Published in Gamification