Just imagine: It’s geometry class. 8th grade students are about to face their final examination. A student needs to demonstrate her understanding on congruence.
So she dons a virtual reality headset.
The definition of geometrical congruence can sound vague to a 13 year old. Part of her challenge involves translating the liberties allowed by the words into the evolving precision of her own tought, as it becomes more mathematically formalized. Does she have to find two figures such as that, when properly rotated or proportionally resized, will be identical to each other? Is all there is to it, or does the answer need to prove a higher insight on Cartesian coordinate systems, or the properties of polyhedrons?
As it turns out, she doesn’t need to think about that. In fact, doing so would run her timer, as she moves in a virtual space full of lots of triangular shapes, all similar but not all exactly alike. Soon, the clock will run out. If before then she fails to submit two congruent virtual shapes, the game will be over, and the examination will be done too.
The Massachussets Institute of Technology’s Education Arcade and the Teaching Systems Labs are in the process of envisioning what they’ve dubbed “Game-Based Assessments.” As the name implies, it considers gamification technniques for the assessment part of the learning process, as opposed to the teaching part where it’s more commonly used. The use of virtual environment is a key ingredient of the approach, as interaction with space and physical objects can be quantified.
The MIT researchers argue that virtual reality settings offer a “psychometric” dimension to the evaluation process, which might inform the whole program. Game engines can be adapted for a number of areas, starting with the obvious applications in geometry and physics, but with seemingly endless scenarios.
Playful assessments have gained traction by themselves. But they can also be seen as part of a trend where more “real” (including virtual) applications of knowledge are preferred over standard examination techniques. While the “play” or “game” element could lead to ideas about leisure or fun, for a workplace where gamification is ever present it can actually mean serious business. Virtual reality in particular can help make environments more measurable. This is true in learning, as well as in the workplace and professional settings.
GeoGebra, Moodle plugin and AR app for iOS
The GeoGebra plugin for Moodle adds a powerful visualization interface for the open source Dynamics mathematics software. A plugin family for Moodle features a file picker, a Question Activity Type and a Submissions interface. While the plugin on the Official Moodle Directory remains compatible up to Moodle 3.4, a version for Moodle 3.5 and 3.6.1 is already available on the Microsoft GitHub repo.
GeoGebra has released the gorgeous GeoGebra Augmented Reality app for iOS (Apple iPhone and iPad devices), which gives students new ways to explore plots and geometrical figures. It is already a highly rated, one-of-its-kind tool with a potential to cement mathematical concepts on a three-dimensional context.
This Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: eThink Education, a Certified Moodle Partner that provides a fully-managed Moodle experience including implementation, integration, cloud-hosting, and management services. To learn more about eThink, click here.