Virtual reality explained

Constructivism

Constructivism says that people learn by making sense out of the world – they make meaning out of what they encounter” - Reiser & Dempsey

The theory that resonates the best with my teaching practices and philosophy of learning would be the constructivist model. Supporters of constructivism understand that learners make meaning and are able to learn only when they are allowed to apply that new knowledge to what they already understand. That knew knowledge must be connected to their external world. This means that the learning process is an active process, it’s one that must be authentic, collaborative and reflective. What I love about this theory is that the learners need to take a primary responsibility over their learning. This “ownership of learning” is something I strive to show to every one of my students.

Benefits of the Constructivist Learning Theory

  1. The method behind constructivism (being active and having a real connection to the world) is a theory currently supported by the scientific community:

The brain innately seeks meaning through seeking patterns. The patterns give context to information that may otherwise be discarded as meaningless (Coward 1990). Freeman (1995) suggests that it is the making of familiar connections (relevance) and the locating of conforming neural networks (pattern making) that are critical to the formation of meaning. For younger children, learning that is hands-on, experiential and relevant enables patterns to develop. Relevance helps children to make personal connections between what they already know and the work they do in class. Relevance can be created through linking with prior learning and experiences, and context and pattern making may result from the use of universal concepts and core organizing principles (Jensen 1998). [LINK]

  1. Current research behind how we learn is showing us that we must be active and we must link new knowledge to already existing knowledge.Constructivist teaching focuses on problem solving and critical thinking, placing it high up on Blooms taxonomy. This also helps to prepare students for success in the real-world, since they will face situations where they need to synthesize, evaluate and solve problems.

But it’s important to remember that constructivism, like all the other learning theories, is not without drawbacks or flaws.

Downside of the Constructivist Learning Theory

In order for students to take charge of their own learning they must be mature and prepared to handle that level of responsibility. Before I assign any form of student-led assignment or project, I always ask “Are my students prepared to take on this form of work/responsibility?” Unmotivated or immature students would fail under a constructivist approach to teaching.

Constructivist Learning Theory & eLearning

Constructivist learning can be applied to the development of multimedia materials by making sure the content creator is creating activities that require full student participation, and that have a firm grounding in real-world applications. In her essay “A Constructivist Approach to Online Teaching and Learning”, Julie Carwell focuses on the importance of collaboration between students in the online setting:

Constructivist learning also incorporates collaborative elements. This can easily be accomplished by the discussion board, but I try not to lean too heavily on any one mode of delivery. While group projects are not always favored by students, they have great value in many classrooms, including those on the Internet. There are many things that can go wrong in a group project, which I need not elaborate on here. As with any element of online instruction, much advanced planning should be done to diminish any negative effects of group work on students who favor online learning. The instructor should build in as many collaborative opportunities for group work, including but not limited to face-to-face meetings, private discussion forums for groups (even giving points for everyone making an initial post in their forum), and encouraging the use of virtual chat components such as instant messaging and the component in content management systems like Blackboard. This instructor attends the first such chat for each group. Other group management and grading tools used may be identical or similar to those used in a traditional classroom.

Hemingway on how to become a good writer…
The audience actually wants to work for their meal. They just don’t want to know that they’re doing that. That’s your job as a storyteller is to hide the fact that you’re making them work for their meal. We’re born problem solvers. We’re compelled to deduce and to deduct because that’s what we do in real life. It’s this well-organized absence of information that draws us in.
Pixar filmmaker Andrew Stanton
Will the Micro bring 3D printing to the rest of us?

For all the  excitement swirling around it, 3D printing today is mostly a complicated affair that requires competence with specialised software.

The Micro, a Kickstarter project by Maryland-based company M3D, promises a 3D printer that’s not only cheap, but also compact, quiet, power-conscious, and highly user-friendly.

 

The Micro will support ABS, PLA and nylon filaments (Photo: M3D)

M3D says the printer will come with intuitive, touchscreen-capable software. A simple-to-use interface will allow you to search and browse different objects online, pick a model, and simply hit “print” to see it starting to take shape. On the other hand, advanced users can still fiddle with the settings and use third-party software, such as open-source slicers, to explore the full potential of the device.

A sensor built into the print head will provide auto-leveling and auto-calibration, which will make it easier to maintain. The company also said that because of its small size, it will be able to run on about one tenth the power of a standard 3D printer.

The Micro will support PLA and ABS filaments, both in the standard 1.75 mm spools and in the company’s own format, the “micro filaments,” for $12 a spool. These weigh about half a pound (225 g) each. They are smaller and cheaper than your typical spool, with the idea that you’ll want pick a few different ones and experiment with color.

 

The Micro will ship with a 'micro filament' spool –  more can be purchased for $12 each (P...

Technical specifications

  • Size: 7.3 x 7.3 x 7.3 in (185 x 185 x 185 mm)
  • Weight: roughly 2.2 lb (1 kg)
  • Windows, Mac and Linux compatible
  • USB connection
  • Filaments supported: ABS, PLA, Nylon
  • Removable print bed
  • 50-350 micron layer resolution
  • 15 micron X and Y positioning accuracy
  • Print height: 4.6” (116 mm). Base print area: 4.3” x 4.5” (109mm x 113mm). Print area above 2.9” (74 mm): 3.6” x 3.3” (91 mm x 84 mm)
  • Included in the price: Micro 3D Printer, M3D software, instructions manual, USB cable, country-specific power adapter, one Micro filament spool

image

WPLMS

WPLMS is not just a WordPress theme, it’s a full-fledged LMS system which runs on top WordPress plugins BuddyPress, BBPress and WooCommerce. The theme comes packed with custom plugins which turn it into an LMS system : Vibe Course Module ,Vibe Customtypes and Vibe Shortcodes. It’s a complete academic and educational framework for managing courses, tests, evaluations, statistics and much more. This is the perfect WordPress theme for schools, educational institutions, or certification programs.

The theme includes support for courses as well as course descriptions, units, course pricing, length, ratings, reviews, instructor, and even number of students enrolled. With the integrated WooCommerce e-commerce plugin it’s easy to sell your courses after you’ve added them. Plus as students complete courses they receive evaluations, scores, badges and certifications through the online system. Students can create their own profiles to then register for courses, participate in the bbPress forums, or take part in the BuddyPress social network. Learning facilitators have an even more powerful user dashboard from which they can track course activity, see quiz and test submissions, view course statistics and contact students. WPLMS makes it easy for students and teachers to interact with each other online. It includes comprehensive statistics for administrators and teachers, private forums and groups (perfect for study groups), an easy to use drag & drop page builder, live them customizer support, tons of custom widgets and shortcodes, and much more.

Version 1.4.1 released on 28th March 2014:

  • Courses
    • Create and Sell Courses
    • Create and upload custom badges and certificates
    • Free Units for Course Preview
    • Supports Audio/Video and Attachments in Units
    • Course Curriculum and Course Timeline
    • Course Reviews & Ratings
    • Exclusive Course Groups & Forums
    • Front End Functions:
      • Course Manual Evaluation
      • Remove reset Courses for Students
      • Overall Course Stats
      • Students Course Stats
      • Course Result
      • Auto Messages & Notifications
      • Bulk Messaging
      • Live status in Course Timeline
    • Custom Widget : BP Course Widget
      • Displays Courses ordered by # students, # ratings, #reviews, date
      • Displays Courses in Single Items, Course lists and Course Carousels
    • Custom Widget : BP Course Instructor
      • Displays Instructor of the Single Course
      • Displays other courses taken by Instructor
  • Quizes
    • Question Bank
    • Auto Evaluation
    • Quiz Timer
    • Quiz Timeline
    • Quesiton Types : MCQ with Single answer,MCQ with Multiple answer, Small text & Essay Type
    • Detailed Result
    • Auto Messaging & Notifications
    • Front End Functions:
      • Quiz Manual Evaluation
      • Reset Quiz for Student
      • Quiz Auto Submit on timer expire.
      • One Question per frame
      • Live status in Quiz Timeline
  • Statistics
    • Instructor Stats (Front End):
      • Full Course Stats
      • Student Wise Stats
    • Admin Stats:
      • Overview : Total Students, instructors, courses, # students courses graphs
      • Course-wise stats : Each Course with # students, Average marks, # badges, #certificates
      • Instructor-wise stats: Each Instructor with # students, Averge marks, # badges, #certificates
  • Shop
    • Multiple Course in single product
    • Enable/Disable Subscriptions
    • Custom Subscription <straon>duration</straon> for each Product
    • Custom WooCommerce Widgets
      • Price Filter
      • Advanced WooCommerce Carousels
  • Custom Header Login Panel
  • Unique BuddyPress Layout
  • Custom LSM Modules
  • Private Course Groups
  • Private Course Forums
  • BuddyPress Privacy Options
    • Enable/Disable Activity Access to Students, Instructors, Admin or All
    • Enable/Disable Groups Access to Students, Instructors, Admin or All
    • Enable/Disable Group creation to Students, Instructors, Admin
    • Show/hide Single user Profile Activity
    • Show/hide Single user Profile Groups
    • Show/hide Single user Profile Forums
  • Responsive and RetinaReady
  • Compatible with latest WordPress & WooCommerce versions
  • Widgetized Mega Menu
  • 5 Step Checkout Process
  • CSS3 animations
  • Supports WordPress Native Audio & Video shortcodes
  • Premium LayerSlider Plugin Worth $15
  • Drag Drop Page Builder
========== UPDATES IN 1.5 [7, April 2014] ==========
  • Course ASSIGNMENTS in link
  • Course Status bar in link
  • Integration with PMPRO Membership Plugin link

Building your WordPress LMS site

  1. Purchase a domain name and web hosting. I recommend 48-14.com.
  2. Install WordPress on your hosting account.
  3. Buy a license to and download the WPLMS.
  4. Upload and activate it.
  5. Import the demo content. You’ll replace everything with your own stuff. This is easier than starting with nothing.
  6. Install the plugins you need and integrate them with the theme.
  7. Call your webhost and activate a SSL (Secure Shell Certificate) for your website.
  8. Get your free credit card payment gateway account with Stripe.
  9. Purchase your Stripe payment gateway extension for WooCommerce and integrate it with your site in the WooCommerce settings.
  10. Create a course. Add a title, description, and a course image.
  11. Create lessons for your course. Add video, audio, text and/or attachments. I recommend using Vimeo Pro to host your lesson videos.
  12. Attach your lessons to your course.
  13. Create a product in WooCommerce to represent your course.
  14. Set a price for your your course and attach it to a WooCommerce product.
  15. Have a friend purchase your course to test the system.
  16. Customize the design of your site.
  17. Delete all the unused demo content.
  18. Repeat steps 10-15 to add more courses.

Video tutorials from VibeThemes

When a library is open,
no matter its size or shape,
democracy is open, too.
Bill Moyers
WPLMS now works well with LearnDash

WPLMS is Learndash-compatible but since Learndash architecture is different, WPLMS loses much of its functionality when they are configured to work together. These two WordPress-base learning management systems are both excellent. Each has its advantages and disadvantages relative to the other, and to non-WP-based systems. There is, for example, no “Instructor” in Learndash.

From VibeThemes a bit more than a month ago:

There are some CSS changes coming in the next update which will fix most of these [Learndash] issues.

We’ll continue to explore and report on their integration.

 

 

 

Check out the live demos here and here

The new Phantom 2 Vision Plus quadcopter

Messenger for Google Docs

The best place to discuss and see changes to your documents.