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Technology innovation has had a tremendous impact on how education has changed, as well as how teachers instruct pupils and learning methods. Technology has provided graduates with the necessary, marketable skills in today's business. To improve knowledge, educational institutions are embracing distance learning, enhanced learning systems, and online engagement with research partners all over the world. With the great opportunity that technology provides, there are also significant challenges. Aside from the benefits, technology has remained disruptive and costly. Some learning institutions may hesitate to invest to invest in technology due to the time is taken to learn the new methods of learning and the lack of budgetary requirements for such supports. This paper will examine how technology and its components such as the virtual reality are changing the way education systems work.
According to the information collected from secondary sources; 65% of both private and public institutions agreed to the fact that technology has a significant effect on teaching methods in the future. Technology would become a primary differentiator in attracting students and corporate partners. Online learning among other facets of technology is establishing themselves as a necessary part of learning in various universities around the world. Different learning institutions also consider technology as a critical element in advancing their mission. The latter is done by making education accessible to people who otherwise might have the opportunity to access it. It is also the fact that universities and other institutions of higher learning view technology to have an affirmative influence on their university grounds. However, still recognising the effective challenges may hamper the full benefits from being appreciated. For instance, the institutional structures need to be adjusted to accommodate technology. Besides, technology can be disruptive in various ways such as the rise in plagiarism, and cheating among students due to the easy and ready accessibility and access to mobile technologies.
Significance and Innovations
Virtual reality is enhancing a multi-modal teaching, shifting syllabuses and reproducing rich systems of online studies and collaborations. Most scholars agree to the fact that lecturers will soon communicate in more than a single medium. At the New York University where most classes are filmed using for 30 minutes, students could access these classes anytime within 24 hours. When these students were surveyed, 50% of them indicated that online relations tools would create the most significant support in improving the value of education soon. Forty-five percent of the students pointed out on the dynamics of content delivery and software that supports individual learning. Most of the respondents surveyed admitted that sophisticated learning systems and improved video presentation tools are the essential elements that have profound effects on the academic experience (Dumitrescu, Lepadatu & Ciurea, 2014). It is also important to note that even though the range of technology enabling teaching, approximately three-quarters of respondents tented that the expected benefits of technology are straightforward. These interests include expanded access to education and its provisional references. Next years, online tools and software are expected to enhance learning and communication among students and teachers. The 2.0 web technologies such as instant messaging, wikis and social media are supposed to be used more as compared to the current times. Additionally, other online tools such as online simulations and gaming are cited to be adopted among universities and institutions of higher institutions (Dumitrescu, Lepadatu & Ciurea, 2014).
Most academicians are also exploring the various ways of how web technologies and freeware like Google docs can enhance effectiveness and lower the expenses incurred in the learning process. In general, these advancements may lead to insightful changes in the methods used in teaching. It is predicted that education will become more outcome-based and student-centred. However, for such changes to be effective institutions it would have to undergo a paradigm shift. Instead of aiming at memorization of materials by students, teachers will have to focus on the application of knowledge to specific problems (Hwang, Wu, Chen & Tu, 2016). It means that students need to take an active role in the learning process, rather than a passive role to plot their academic road. If a student wants to take the final exam on their first day, they should be allowed to do so. For instance, if they answer 70% of the questions correctly, the testing tool would examine the issues behind 30% wrong answers and focus the attention of the students on the areas that they got wrong. It is the idea that some people in the higher education spectrum share (Anthony, 2015). The researcher from the Sonoma State University has observed that the role of a professor is seen to have evolved from being an instructor to a mentor. Projects, homework, and quizzes must be designed such that genuine thoughtfulness by the student will be required. This shift in paradigm provides enormous potential for improving quality of education using technology (Selwyn & Facer, 2014).
Respondents from the Sonoma University study predicted that a range of probabilities on how technology would have an impact on the future academic offerings. It was prompted by creative faculty research, the pursuit of academic collaboration and student engagement. In the next five years, it was estimated that 56% of respondents anticipate seeing a more significant number of significant inter-disciplinarians combining environmental studies and chemical engineering (Hemsley, Cappellini & Stanke, 2017). On the other hand, 43% predict that broader inter-university cooperation among students from different institutions. After the five-year horizon, it has been noted that more than two-thirds of the respondents think that students are capable of crafting personalized degree programmes either by bundling units from different institutions or within their universities (Kiesler, 2014). More than a half of the respondents feel that the publishing world is evolving because of technological developments. It is evident that online resources are replacing the textbooks or the printed documents. The increase in online peer review means that texts exist in a computer-generated form, where they can be refined or updated in real time (Fowler, 2015).
Approach and Methodology
To come up with a standard ground where applications from different environments can be evaluated on fairgrounds, it is essential that the technological use should have the same features, visuals, and applications for this research to be successful. However, it can be challenging due to the various applications that facilitate virtual reality and are widely accessible to the public. It could make more sense if one virtual form were used in this study to get accurate results and set the grounds for a fair evaluation. Therefore, the proposed research approach is design research. It is the problem-solving model that identifies and examines the problems with a manufactured device. In this case, the study will examine the chosen application and evaluate it, instead of analysing multiple applications in the market. Consequently, this study would be able to fulfil the research objectives.
To collect the necessary data from the interviews that would be carried out, it is crucial to use the standard interview methodology. The reason behind using the standard interview is because most students and other respondents neither have had the opportunity to experience virtual reality, nor had the chance to interact with similar technologies in different environments to evaluate the variations. Therefore, it is vital that the study allow the respondents to experience related application in diverse settings before giving their opinions. For this study, the qualitative method is preferred over quantitative methodology. By applying interviews to collect data, the study will be able to understand the needs and desires of the users and explore various discussions on the topic from different perspectives of virtual reality (VR) in education. The qualitative design would also influence the type of question that would be used during the study. To access all the respondents, it would be suitable if interview schedules were done two weeks before the actual interview. The estimated time of each interview should be around 15-20 minutes and administered to 30 respondents. The latter will be divided into three different groups. The first group should include software engineers, then, students and the last team should consist of instructors and professors. This type of diversity would help the research assess how the three different groups react to technology.
The questionnaire queries would be divided into two parts. The first category of the question is general information about the interviewees and their experience with technology and Virtual Reality. The second questions would be administered after the experiment. The majority of these questions should be open-ended which gives more room to gather relevant data for the study. However, a few close-ended questions should evaluate whether the VR platform was biased or if they think that it would be a necessary technology. As for real interviews, every interview will commence by asking the interviewee to accept an audio record session. After they had consented, one laptop would be set up, and a sound recorder would put at the same time during the interview session. Safety measures are taken to make sure that recording would be available just in case any technical and software issues would come up. Nevertheless, if permission to audio record, the interview would be denied, the session would then be noted down by hand. As a result, all information would be captured. We proceeded with the interview by asking several questions concerning the user. It is to find a base understanding of the interviewee. It assists in informing us about the interactions among the participant and their previous relations, and the VR and educational applications through the technological platform.
Once the mentioned above has been done, we present both the VR and other applications. We first guide the users through the technological platform, we would allow them to interact with this application and take them through the different aspects. After exploring all the features, we will let them explore more if they wish to. Once they have mastered the technological application, we will change to the VR application, and the same process is done over again.
We will allow and encourage the users to “think aloud” when conducting these experiments. It will help us understand the thoughts of the user when interacting with the system. The think-aloud method permits us to find information regarding the VR. Nevertheless, we are not focusing on the design of applications. Instead, we are interested in the users to experience while using the application. Subsequently, we examine those areas by inquiring more regarding these problems to have a better understanding.
After the interviewee has tried using both applications, the second phase of the interviewee starts. A semi-structured interview is used in this stage because the territory is still young and many areas have not been explored. It is contrary to the structured interview where one has to follow a strict guideline of questions without diverging from the set questions. Semi-structured interviews however support a predefined pattern. Although, they allow us to delve further into the questions or ask relevant follow-up the questions that come up from the answers provided by the interviewee. It is some of the areas that had not been mentioned previously. It is wise to avoid asking the questions that would lead to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when asking to follow up. However, the questions should be open and allow the probability of following up with several questions if needed.
Combining semi-structured interview with open-ended questions provides an opportunity for following the interviewee when an exciting topic comes up. It will give a chance of digging deeper into those issues to investigate the domain. After the interviewee has answered all the questions, we also try to use an interview technique known as probing. Interviewers apply this method to get more answers from the respondents. There are various ways of examining, although only two are found to be more useful. It includes Tell-me-more probing and the Uh-huh probing method. The Tell-me-more type of probing is used together with open-ended questions. Here the interviewer asks more questions regarding that the topic brought up during the interview by the interviewee with follow up questions. On the other hand, Uh-huh probing is used after the interviewee has answered all the questions by either stating a neutral agreement towards the response or agreeing to the answer. It guarantees a longer and more informative answer.
We chose to use the grounded theory which is a standard data analysis technique for qualitative research. It allows us to generate ideas or explanations from our data. The data we collect from the interviews are transcribed and analysed in parallel to the data collection procedures as soon as the first interview starts. It allows us to capture all relevant aspects of all our research questions. The data were categorized as follows prototype-testing, comparison of the application, general findings, quality attributes, and the comparison of all the platforms after the interviews have been done and data has been divided and transcribed into different categories. We go through each classification with the purpose of identifying the prevailing trends and the causes of these trends, find out explain the underlying factors, and determine the common denominators. This analysis will be defined in the result or discussion section.
All the respondents that would be involved in this study should be above 18 years. It makes it easier to acquire an informed consent without involving third parties like parents, guardians, and teachers. The respondents have the right to withdraw from the study anytime they are willing to do. Additionally, if a respondent is not willing to answer any particular question within the survey, he/ she is allowed to do so without any consequences. The information collected would only be used for the sake of this research only and not for any other purpose. The respondents would be given a unique identity differently from their names or any different serial that may reveal their identity for the sake of preserving their privacy.
The information collected would only be accessible to the researchers and not anyone else. The data would be raised through paper or electronic questionnaires. In both cases, it would be kept safely out of reach to any unauthorized party. Electronic devices would be equipped with firewall and anti-virus application. It would prevent data from hacking or loss through the malicious programs that are common in online platforms. The original materials used, while collecting data will remain with research. However, in case an interested party needs the same, he/ she could only have access to the photocopies. In a similar suit, the researcher would also make copies, videotapes and digital images for future reference and preservation of the information collected. In both cases, the setting and the researcher will have copies of edited materials. In written documents, the names of the participants (both first and surnames) will not be used. The respondents would also be encouraged not to mention their names in any form of discussion or personal interviews. Though, people with specific disabilities, for instance, those who cannot speak or write (that in this case is not likely), would be allowed to choose any trusted person to help them through the process.
Lastly, this study does not have any intention of harming its respondents directly or indirectly. In case any respondent feels so, he/ she is allowed to terminate the survey immediately and report the incident to higher authorities. While collecting data, the rights of the respondents will be upheld as enshrined in the Constitution.
Anthony, K. (2015). Training therapists to efficiently work online and offline within digital culture. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 43(1), 36-42.
Dumitrescu, G., Lepadatu, C., & Ciurea, C. (2014). Creating virtual exhibitions for educational and cultural development. Informatica Economica, 18(1), 102-110.
Fowler, C. (2015). Virtual reality and learning: Where is the pedagogy? British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(2), 412-422.
Hemsley, J., Cappellini, V., & Stanke, G. (2017). Digital applications for cultural and heritage institutions. London: Routledge.
Hwang, G.J., Wu, P.H., Chen, C.C., & Tu, N.T. (2016). Effects of an augmented reality-based educational game on students’ learning achievements and attitudes in real-world observations. Interactive Learning Environments, 24(8), 1895-1906.
Kiesler, S. (2014). The culture of the Internet. London: Psychology Press.
Selwyn, N., & Facer, K. (2014). The sociology of education and digital technology: Past, present, and future. Oxford Review of Education, 40(4), 482-496.
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