TalkTech is a collaboration between Dr. Diana Andone, the director of the Center for Electronic Learning at University Politehnica of Timisoara, and Mark Frydenberg, Sr. Lecturer of Computer Information Systems at Bentley University, in Waltham, MA, USA. The project explores technology, digital media and culture across continents.
This project pairs students from Bentley’s IT 101 (Introduction to Information Technology Concepts) and UPT’s Technologies of Multimedia courses to work together each fall semester to explore a current aspect of technology. Students must figure out which tools to use for communication and collaboration, as they research some aspect of technology and create digital media to share their results online. The theme of the project in 2018 was Digital Culture Using Virtual Reality.
Immersive Technologies were the vehicle with which we encouraged students to develop tech literacy skills and share international culture in a collaborative project as members of global teams. Participants visited similar venues in their own countries (a sports arena, a Starbucks, a university library, a mobile phone store, a public square or landmark), and create VR artefacts that they could share and view with their international partners. Students created scenes from each country in the same VR project with a button to “teleport” them from one country to another.
Student learning is evidenced in their projects, which required demonstrating proficiency with collaboration and communication tools, mobile devices, moving information across platforms and devices, using the Internet as a research tool, creating multimedia, troubleshooting networking issues, and managing a seven-hour time difference when communicating with their international partners.
The project also resulted in two best paper awards, first, at EDSIGCON 2017, with our paper Enhancing and Transforming Global Learning Communities with Augmented Reality and also at the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), with our paper Open Virtual Reality Project to Improve Students’ Skills .
During the past ten years, we have published and presented more than 15 journal and conference papers related to our work at conferences such as IEEE ICALT, ISECON/EDSIGCON, EdMedia, and IADIS e-Learning, and in journals such as Journal of Information Systems Education, Information Systems Education Journal, and ITSE (Interactive Technology and Smart Education) Journal, and a book chapter from our participation at the Manchester AR/VR conference in 2017 was published in 2019 in a volume by Springer.