It’s been a while since I actually made a post on my website updating my academic life. Well, since the education and technology class has finished, that’s pretty much what I am back to. We’ll see if I can keep up.
Anyway, this summer it looks like I’ll be teaching two classes in the Psychology Department: Health Psychology and Intro to Research Methods again. I’m excited to develop a student-focused Health Psych class from the ground up. I am also excited to re-tool and revamp my research methods class from last year. I’m probably going to use a new book which I believe might be better and more approachable.
However, the best part of teaching research methods again is the ability to implement part of the education and technology final project. Take a look at the video my colleague, Molly Metz, and I made below (it’s intentionally silly):
So we can’t really implement the personalized adaptive learning platform in 6 weeks, but I can implement and integrate the ZAPS portion (or something like it) into the class in that time, just to make sure the students know what the class is about, as well as understanding the need for psychological science at such an early part of their college career. We will pretest attitudes and interests, move through the ZAPS process, finishing up with a small paper and a posttest of attitudes and the like, then compare the pretest and posttest for any changes. Hopefully there’s a publication in there somewhere (Teaching of Psychology seems like the appropriate place, no?). And more importantly, hopefully the new perspective in this type of course will lead to better prepared students in the upper-division classes and lab classes at UCSB. One can only hope that becomes truth.
My health psych class won’t be as technologically advanced, but I do hope to get the students interested in health psych by having them participate in a health behavior change assignment for the 6-week session. College students are full of bad habits, so maybe a few of them will continue to change their behavior after the course is completed. Showing them real studies with important health implications is also important–my goal is to only use the book as a support, not a complete resource for the course. I find this boring and predictable.
There is apparently lot’s of work to be done in the next couple of months, since both classes are the first session of summer school! And then a trip to Berlin for a conference! 2013 is one heckuva year!
Last week, we had the chance to attend the Four Eyes Lab (Imaging, Interaction, and Innovative Interfaces) in the Computer Science department at UCSB. These computer scientists and engineers went through a few demonstrations of human and technological interactions. I found the use of technology for human information consumption engaging and intriguing.
I will speak specifically about the trip to the Allosphere and the demonstration of remote viewing for instruction or emergency feedback. First, the Allosphere (even with its kinks) was by far a fantastic demonstration. The use of 10 projectors to display images from multiple computers in order to create a sphere was fantastic. The programming of 3D images made it immersive. The applications (although immobile) are vast. It allows an audience to enter virtual worlds. With simple controls, a group of neurology students can enter a brain and discuss what each structure and do. It could act like a 3D planetarium for astronomy students, looking at the solar system. Forget 2D representations, or even the fantastical pipe dream of a Magic School Bus, this sphere has strong implications for education and communication. Obviously, the roadblock to this system is cost, space, and engineering (building). I would have loved to stay there longer and learn more. I can only imagine the system will become more streamlined and accessible as technology and engineering get better.
The other demonstration I found especially intriguing was the remote-viewing interface. While the system is in its early stages, it shows lots of promise. It is especially useful for helping during a remote emergency, from expert to novice. I thought the prototype example of a plane situation with a novice pilot is especially apt. However, this device and interface has more than just emergencies written over it. This could be used for remote-teaching, providing an augmented reality for museums or other education institutions. It might also facilitate distance education in a more interactive way, enhancing the basic static nature of the current system. It could also be used on a day-to-day industry-level, where office-bound techs can assist engineers in the field remotely, say in repairing a blacked-out power grid.
I really enjoyed hearing the other demonstrations and presentations from the Four Eyes Lab. It was something I didn’t realize was happening at UCSB, being insulated in my own little psychological world. I’d love to see some of these inventions and innovations make their way to mainstream consumerism or at educational institutions.
For the next few months, the Cog Blog will be active for a class I’m taking at UCSB. It is an Education and Technology course, where we are learning how educational challenges at all levels can (possibly) be solved by using the technology that we have available (or near-future technology that’s not quite there yet).
One of the tasks for the course is to write a blog entry each week for the class readings. So, each week, I regale anyone who will read with my thoughts on education and technology readings (it’s science!).
Feel free to comment/discuss!
PS: I won’t pretend that this temporary burst of activity will sustain itself once the quarter is done and I don’t “have to” blog anymore. As much as I would like to update regularly, I don’t have a great track record. Perhaps this will be the impetus I need to make that happen, but I won’t hold my breath!