By Mark Miles
Gone are the days when class plans are solely based around exercises from a text book, supported by a teacher dictating direction with the aid of a black chalk or white boards. These days the kids in nursery classes are already competent operators of smart phone and tablet devices, together with various multimedia apps. The exciting #edtech challenge is for educators, content and platform providers to constantly look for ways to enhance learning and expand the horizons of both students and teachers in an engaging and interactive way.
The team at Rendermedia were more than happy to step up to the #edtech challenge when they were commissioned to create a 3D animation for a TV documentary called ‘Sir Frank Whittle’s Jet Engine’ for the UK History Channel. This topic was linked to the national educational (UK) curriculum for 12-16 year olds, linking engineering, maths and science.The initial animation highlighted the history of the jet engine and how it worked.
This was the start of the Rendermedia #edtech CSR program which is all about driving core educational messages through the use of rich visual mediums from 3D to augmented reality to interactive apps and beyond. It is about driving the core learning objectives and expanding horizons in terms of understanding and creating a truly interactive and immersive experiential learning experience.
Following a great deal of positive industry feedback regarding ‘Frank Whittle’s jet Engine’ 3D animation Rendermedia decided to drive the #edtech agenda further by providing open access to the asset by reformatting it into an animated clip for YouTube which to date has attracted over 5.2 million views and continues to help students visualise how a Jet engine works as well as comment and share the assets with peers.
The next stage of development was to form a working group and collaborate with UK curriculum leaders and two hundred 12-16 year olds. Rendermedia engaged with teachers and students to develop the animation much further by creating an augmented interactive reality (AR) experience via IOS devices. This allows users to dissect their physical environment by using digital imagery on a handheld device. Interactivity provides the ability to select or hide different 3D elements by selecting visuals of the physical jet engine’s thrust or the stage by stage journey of the air flow supported by infographics and text. The app is now available for free via IOS app and it is now available for free download on the Apple store (link).
There #edtech space is certainly an exciting one, we shall soon be looking beyond the next generation of cloud based, mobile and app based tech of 2015. What will the future bring? The technology itself must be secondary to the education goal a teacher or student is trying to achieve but at the same time there is some really cool stuff on the horizon and who knows it may well become mainstream.