Monday, February 19, 2018

Pop Up Thinglab 34: Agile Minds

Agile minds .. a flat image from the 360 Jump here

Pop up Thinglab 34 was a virtual realities workshop for children to learn about experience and make augmented reality, mixed reality, virtual reality, holograms. It was a fun practical introduction to virtual realities where children could see themselves in virtual reality, play an augmented reality instrument, make their own hologram viewer, make augmented reality images.

Talking about Pepper's Ghost 

We started of with an introduction that covered past present and future of virtual realities ... from the augmented reality smoke and mirrors of Peppers Ghost in Victorian theatres through to the various forms of virtual reality of today. 

We weren't at school so the children asked questions and talked about what we were doing all the time - this is informal education and we were free to go wherever the the young people wanted. I'm always impressed just how quickly and easily children learn when they are free to but I shouldn't be - learning is natural and children love to learn anytime, anyplace and in anyway they can. The children were so tuned into technology but this doesn't come from school ... they learn about things on-line (especially Youtube), on TV, in libraries, in museums, at home and even in shopping centres ... none of the children mentioned school at all!

Gather round ... using a 360 camera

We moved on to hands on practical activities with virtual realities starting with warm up activities with a 360 camera and seeing ourselves in virtual reality. While many children have used virtual reality few have used a 360 camera and seen themselves in virtual reality - looking around to find yourself is really engaging and makes the experience personal ... putting ourselves in the picture makes it relevant and helps understanding.

DIY volumetric display (hologram)

In the introduction we talked about holograms, optical illusions and volumetric displays and for a hands on practical activity all the children made their own volumetric display to take away that can be used with smartphones. The DIY holograms are a good example of what I call Citizen Tech the ability of the ordinary person to participate in technology as the "the science of craft" -  technology that is simple, friendly accessible, cost effective and able to do it yourself.

Playing the Zapbox mixed reality xylophone

The Zapbox mixed reality xylophone 

We finished off playing with the Zapbox mixed reality xylophone ... another example of what I call "citizen tech" ... its made of cardboard and its cheap and accessible. This was great fun and It was quite extraordinary how the children experimented and explored to learn how to play the mixed reality instrument ... in fact the younger they were the easier they seemed to find it ...  it seems that the younger you are the more open and agile your mind.

See more photos from Pop Up Thinglab 34 here 

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