CIT2017 - Virtual Reality & Student-Created Video for Learning
Developing Community and
High-Stakes Content Online
by Including a Virtual-Reality
Environment and Student-
EILEEN O’CONNOR, PH.D. - SUNY
EMPIRE STATE COLLEGE
Poll audience on applications & on need for knowledge development
Review the course structure and objectives
Position the interactive components within the larger course requirements
Consider interactions and community aspects (in light of research too)
Evidence of knowledge acquisition
Evidence of community
Challenge audience to consider some of these elements
■ How did the interactive elements within the online course further the
development of a learning community around the shared task of
preparation for a future high stakes ePortfolio assessment?
■ What aspects of the student communication suggested knowledge
building and active learning?
■ What knowledge building outcomes occurred as evident through the
interactive elements? And, how was the instructor able to know and
support student accuracy in knowledge building?
Data gathering from course elements
■ Recorded and transcribed virtual-reality sessions
■ Transcribed the student-createdYouTubes
■ Studied interactions in these two course areas using grounded theory and constant
■ Partial findings discussed here
■ More thorough explanation being prepared for publication
Course Objectives (Teaching & Curriculum)
“The overall learning objectives of this course address the need to:
■ extend the educational practices begun duringTeaching and Learning, allowing you to develop
inquiry-based lessons and practices and to reflect on your implementation;
■ develop successful uses of the Next Generation Science Standards, the Framework for K 12 Science
Education, NYS Core Curriculum, the NYS Common Core, and high-stakes assessments for your
■ familiarize you, through lesson development and commentary writing, with the processes and
practices that will be required by edTPA;
■ enable you to develop a network of colleagues with whom you can share advice, lessons,
projects, and support – during the course and hopefully during your professional career;
■ provide you with opportunities to learn, use, and share-with technologies that allow and support
21st century learning for both K12 operations and for communications within this course.”
building – relevant course
components – creating a
Virtual reality –
Webinar - content review &
correction - based on “intel”
The challenge of teaching inquiry
Although the preservice teachers learned about inquiry instruction and were
given the opportunity to practice it in an authentic school setting, the opportunity
was met with challenges. The preservice teachers were themselves unlikely to
have been taught with this strategy. This new knowledge of how to teach science
directly conflicted with the “apprenticeship” they experienced as students in a
secondary school setting. Therefore, they have had very little direct experience
with execution of inquiry instruction outside of the methods course. In addition, it
is quite possible that the mentor teacher with whom the preservice teacher was
paired may have used more traditional teacher-centered approaches over
student-centered ones. A recent investigation suggests this may be a common
Binns, I. & Popp, S. (2013). Learning to Teach Science Through Inquiry:
Experiences of Preservice Teachers. Electronic Journal of Science Education.
A solution? Community building
online and flow
Barker, V. (2016). Flow in Virtual Worlds: The Interplay of Community andSiteFeatures as
Predictors of Involvement. Journal Of Virtual Worlds Research,9(3), 1-17.
When the environment and interactions were right then the
survey respondents noted that they were completely
immersed and satisfied with the environment citing the
reference to "flow"
edTPA – Requirements & course elements
■ A required NYS licensure component – an ePortfolio
with a planning component & a video showing
evidence of particular teaching practice
– The type of teaching to be evident – maybe a new
approach for many (see the research)
■ The ePortfolio and video won’t be required for some
time AFTER the course ends, therefore:
– Hope to maintain the community beyond the
– Hope to have “memorable” understanding of
– Not readily measurable outcomes
Demographics / background of the class
Number of student 14
Age range Late 20’s to early 50’s
Male / female 6 / 8
Teaching* / not teaching yet 7 / 7
* Six students were the teacher of record. One student was a resident
in another teacher’s classroom.
Virtual-reality* - start off with
whole class – slide show & posters too
*Virtual-reality islands can be downloaded completely developed – for free on institutional
servers or for about $20 per month for 40 avatars (www.kitely.com)
Virtual community development and
“If you implement a very good tool, but you fail to train and elaborate a new culture of collaboration and
cooperation, your initiative won’t bear fruit. Once these key factors are in place, a new culture must be established what
is the biggest challenge. Our case has shown that trust building needs a long period of time, especially in a virtual learning
space. If people are not focused in the same matter, it is difficult to establish trust relations.
The relationship and human dimensions are much more important than the structural,
because if you can animate and motivate people to be open, share their knowledge all
technical issues are secondary. The basis is the human dimension, because a common topic
and certain know-how of the individuals are crucial for the knowledge transfer. The third
dimension, the relationship level, is even more crucial, because individuals only build trust
and work together, if they communicate openly together, if they get constructive feedback
and see the results and success of their communities.
Eggs, C. (2012). Trust Building in a virtual context: Case Study of a community of
Practice” The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management. 10(3), 212-222.
Ways to facilitate any distance
Common discussion board problems can include:
Discussions that drift off-topic; Procrastinators that wait until last minute to give input; Lack of netiquette
or respectful communication; too many discussions in the course - students merely “participate” but
don’t fully engage; Use of discussion board for the wrong reasons. For example, the regurgitation of
course materials or answering closed-ended questions. This does not allow for authentic conversation to
In order to avoid these difficulties, instructors must facilitate the discussion boards
in a way to allow for an organic conversation to develop. They must then work to keep it
on track and moving in the intended direction, which will allow students achieve course-learning
outcomes. For many instructors, it will take practice to find the right balance of involvement vs. hands-off
Mix it Up!: Question and answer, discussion, and reflection are great, but there are other
“outside of the box” ways to use discussion forums. You could make students the
moderators, ask them to submit video or audio comments instead of writing,
plan a debate, or have students upload presentations to the board.
Howard, E. (2016). Best Practice in Online Discussion Boards. Lethbridge College Learning Connections.
Retrieved on May 8, 2017 from http://www.lc2.ca/item/235-best-practices-in-online-discussion-boards
Virtual-reality discussion – points raised
during meeting & during loop-back
■ Extending the conversation about edTPA
– Teacher lecturing vs. teacher guiding
– Logistics of camera placement
■ Focusing on procedural details – that are essential ; 50 pages of densely packed
reading materials in edTPA
Virtual reality, as used for these meetings
■ Launch w/ an overview of the topic and edTPA
■ More autonomy and less hierarchical than webinar – giving authority to the student voices (they will
listen more to peers in some areas)
– Having the students refer back to instructor comments and ideas
– Dialog and extend
■ Students get to share and develop their own ideas / required time together
– not just an asynchronous d-board
– more personal and less intrusive than skype
■ Determining problems, such as, ideas from mentored teacher – an extended discussion
– “as per one of the mentor teachers, maybe one of the best ways to stage the actual filming of the
video is to offer hand-selected students extra credit for participating in an after school event,
where they recreate a laboratory activity that they have previously completed. This will allow
more control over the filming situation by limiting the number of disruptive students and
improving the flow of the activity.”
“I want a networked virtual theater where I can watch a movie next to my friends across the country, riffing
with them as we look up at the same screen from adjacent virtual seats” – Greenwald in PC magazine
Loop back - comments
■ Summaries of the discussion
– Analyze for content & thoroughness
– What points were brought up?
Ongoing understanding of students
thinking – real time
■ Tie to the conversations in the loop back
Intro by instructor
Posting of team
Virtual reality – loop back conversation;
Student 1: you say "don't want to see teachers" is this correct? I realize the students need to be
shown, but shouldn't the teacher also be shown interacting with the students? In the Literacy
class we are watching a video byTovani and she is shown prompting the students often and they
give lots of good responses that I think would be good for edTPA.The response of the student is
what's important, but it is the interaction with the teacher that helps create the response.
Reply to Student 1: Student 2: I agree with you,Tom. I think an important part of this is
witnessing the scaffolding that the teacher supplies during the discovery that the students are
making. I believe "don't want to see the teachers" refers more to "don't show a lecture or a long
teacher demo". That is my opinion so let's see what other people think.
Reply to Student 2: I interpreted it that way too, Christine. I would assume that the teacher
should be sprinkled into the video asking leading questions or trying to draw more conversation
out of student groups, but should not be feeding them answers.
Virtual-reality: secondary conversations
How do you now that you will get a job in your area I don't know if I'll get a job
at all.?. Kinda scary... I am looking in a 40 sq mile area so there are a lot of
schools I'm targeting but there's going to be some luck involved.
I also need a school that looks past my lack of teaching experience and sees the
value of a transitioning professional.?.
Sarah, very nicely done. If your classes are like this powerpoint set I want to
observe you teaching!
VR -secondary conversations; important
You saidYoutube is blocked but what about sites likeTedEd or PBS? Those could be better resources for educational
videos. I didn't try PBS. I tried NPR one day and it was blocked... I thinkTedTalks are blocked because they are videos...
Very nice job Sarah, I think finding online videos is a great idea. But the problem is making sure you find video that is
going to capture the kids minds and imagination. If you youtube is block can you convert the video and make it a mp4 and
download it to your computer and upload it that way.
Yeah I know that, but its a massive pain in the rear compared to just loading it at school, and requires prior
planning. Sometimes you just want to pop something up while you are thinking of it in the moment. Plus I really don't
want to download all those files on my personal laptop. I don't get paid enough to kill my laptop RAM with a zillion
downloaded youtube videos, and I don't have a school-issued one...
I was thinking about the problem of havingYouTube blocked. It is not blocked in my classroom (other useful sites are), but
I have to be extremely careful when showing videos. More times than I care to remember, an inappropriate image or
video to click on pops up in the end or on the side. I have to leap over to my computer to stop the video before it stops
itself. I've tried resetting and multiple filters, but I can't seem to stop girls in barely there bikinis from appearing.
The teacher made the mistake of logging one of our girls on under her ID today, and we looked up and the girl was
watching some pornography video, so that's it for letting students onto youtube... sigh.
Virtual-reality and loop-back data: findings
Topics Raised by Students:
Making the tape Camera movement & placement
Misunderstanding – video content Student must be center / not teacher
Misunderstanding – video process Planning / staging students for the camera;
getting students camera comfortable
Types of assessment that can be used Regents? Other?
Group disagreements Interpreting handbook differently
Instructor concern Are all reading students reading instructor
comments and corrections in discussion boards?
Final video-challenge assignment
■ M7.4a: Report on this approach to reporting and your classroom - video challenge (12/18/16)
■ This semester you have moved more deeply into the EdTPA requirements. Although this is an exit
portfolio requirement from NYS at the present time, the work has come through a progressive
implementation over the past number of years starting with work from Stanford University and from
the National Board of teachers. It is challenging and exacting because it requires you to articulate very
carefully what you are doing in the classroom and to think about this work not only from a procedural
perspective but from an academic perspective too. Like it or not, at the present time this is a
requirement for licensure in NewYork State.
■ Hopefully, despite the challenging aspects of documenting your work, you were able to grow from the
experience of thinking deeply and expressing clearly how and why you construct your lessons. In your
concludingVideo Challenge, take three or four minutes to apprise your
colleagues of lessons learned about good teaching practices during the
semester, particularly if the learning was prompted by the required
exercises from EdTPA. Please use Screencast-O-Matic and either “talking heads” or captured
screen evidence of areas you want to share with your colleagues. Please review and comment
meaningfully on at least two of your colleagues work.
Borrowing from problem-based
learning in online formats
Within the digital world, we have a myriad of opportunities to invite students to
develop these skills, if the instructor has the courage and tenacity to relinquish
some authority, and level the playing field. Expertise no longer resides in one
individual in a professional learning community, and so the roles of teacher and
learner meld. It is in the development of this safe and trusting environment,
envisaged here through the creative implementation of Digital Moments as a
teaching and learning tool, that growth occurs.
Barber, W., King, S., & Buchanan, S. (2015). Problem Based Learning and Authentic
Assessment in Digital Pedagogy: Embracing the Role of Collaborative
Communities. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning, 13(2), 59-67.
Instructors create the framework to
support knowledge building
Instructors must provide the scaffolding for the type of knowledge that their
students should build (Yücel & Usluel, 2016).
Garrison & Arbaugh (2007), in noting the contributing components of cognitive, social,
and teacher presence with the community of inquiry framework, found that the
teaching presence must be evident to create the common purpose and for
“moderating and shaping the direction of the discourse.” (p. 168).
Richardson & Lowenthal (2017) expanded the community of inquiry framework to
note how the instructor social presence as well as teaching presence is particularly
critical for online communities.
In properly designing for online discussions, instructors must plan to “facilitate the
discussion to allow for organic conversation to develop” such as finding ways to have
students use both video and audio comments (Howard, 2016).
Final video topics – essentially unprompted
responses / instructor assessment
Final video topics raised: Video Itself Comments Note:
Addressed the class personally 13/13 (100%) 6/13 (46%)
Shared general teaching tips 8/13* (62%) 3/13 (23%)
* All presently teaching
plus one from past
Complexities of reform-based teaching 7/13 (58%) 6/13 (46%)
Multiple issues, challenges
Greater comfort with edTPA process 6/13 (46%) 3/13 (23%)
Videotaping K12 students – issues and
4/13 (31%) 2/13 (15%)
Science writing & communication 3/13 (23%) 4/13 (31%) Challenges observed
Improved perspective on assessment 3/13 (23%) 3/13 (23%)
Role of community
■ Vygotskyian effect – beyond the course and materials
■ Sharing the new teacher experience
■ Sharing how to work within the requirements and reporting principles of edTPA
– the challenge of inquiry based - new culture & new language often
■ Personal sharing – marriage / babies / struggles as a new teacher
■ Reflections from new teachers – extended learning & reflection
– Mario – should have gained more insight from other teachers;
– Jennifer – should use lesson plans like other schools
– Chris – need to break into the school / student culture
Online interactions & their sense-
building and community building
■ Ways that community is shown
– Addressing the class directly – thanks and apologies
– Acknowledging what was learned from each other / honesty helpful for the teacher
– Freedom to make mistakes (Jennifer, Heather); talks of mistakes (Mario,George)
– Other areas of concern brought forth
■ Work in your content area local school support
■ Students want spoon feed and answers
■ Lack of writing skills and willingness
Evidence of presence & community
■ “I am thankful that I was able to meet with you and talk with you and share those
experiences to so that I can learn from them as well before I experience them for myself
and I can be more prepared.”
■ Often extending beyond the assignment to share other learning and techniques
■ Explaining things that did not go well – honesty - safe space – those teaching / tough
■ Instructor as facilitator – encouraging interaction from those within the new classrooms
with resistant cultures (Vygotsky social interactions)
Familiarity – and its nurturing and role
■ Type of discussion – from the lit / what they are to serve (community, content,
■ Terms that appear – enjoy (with videos) / you guys – learning from – (find chart on
community attributes) / acknowledging the peers and not the instructor
■ More honest revelations then if just to instructor (the real pulse) – inquiry confession
by student (not using)
■ Bringing in concerns from other courses (MT intoT&C) – new teachers
■ Holding students responsible to the class – more timely postings (anecdotal – less
nagging and point penalties)
Where is the need for community &
knowledge-building relevant in courses you
create or support?
■ How do you avoid student isolation in online course?
■ What role / voice does the instructor have in directing discourse and structuring
authority and interactions?
■ How might synchronous virtual-reality meetings bring to avoid the hierarchical
constraints of instructor-led webinars and streamed-video sessions?
■ How do you work on supporting knowledge-building that can extend beyond the
timeframe, and assessment, of the course?
List of References
Baker, K. A., & Badamshina, G. M. (2002). Knowledge management. In Management Benchmark Study. Office
of Science, Department of Energy. Available at http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/doe/benchmark/.
Binns, I. & Popp, S. (2013). Learning To Teach Science Through Inquiry: Experiences of Preservice Teachers.
Electronic Journal of Science Education. 17(1).
Eggs, C. (2012). Trust Building in a virtual context: Case Study of a community of Practice” The Electronic
Journal of Knowledge Management. 10(3), 212-222.
Garrison, D. & Arbaugh, J. (2007). Researching the community of inquiry framework: Review, issues, and
future directions. The Internet and Higher Education. (10). 157-172.
Howard, E. (2016). Best Practice in Online Discussion Boards. Lethbridge College Learning Connections.
Retrieved on May 8, 2017 from http://www.lc2.ca/item/235-best-practices-in-online-discussion-boards
Richardson, J. J., & Lowenthal, P. P. (2017). Instructor Social Presence: A Neglected Component Of The
Community Of Inquiry. Elearning & Software For Education, 2531-536.
Yücel, U. & Usluel, Y. (2016). Knowledge building and the quantity, content and quality of the interaction
and participation of students in an online collaborative learning environment. Computers & Education. 97.