Remote Instruction with 3D Digitization

The Smithsonian Institution Digitization Program Office recently released thousands of 3D models for free to use in any capacity. Models include a bust of Abraham Lincoln and a digital rendition of the massive Orbiter Space Shuttle.


What is 3D Digitization? 

The Smithsonian models follow a process called Photogrammetry where multiple (sometimes thousands) of pictures from different angles are stitched together to produce a 3d version of any object, that can be shared, repurposed and even 3D printed!  View an example of a digitized Stephen’s Hall here at Towson!

How can I use something like this in my course?

Extraordinary circumstances may lead us to find ways of delivering instruction remotely. Digital models may be the next best thing to the physical object. Millions of models are already available. Models can be accessed and manipulated using many devices including computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Sketchfab has millions of models readily available that can be easily linked or embedded into Blackboard. Examples include cameras, archaeological sites and small objects such as fossils.

Do you teach a video production course? Help your students become better acquainted with equipment such as the RED Digital Cinema Weapon Dragon 8K Camera.

Do you need your students to get a better understanding of the human brain? Have them record themselves explaining the anatomy of the brain to assess their understanding.

Researching ancient architecture? View millions of readily available models.

Any topic you are teaching has easy to use models already available.

Other Resources: – 3d models – 3d models – Smithsonian 3d models  – Faculty Academic Center of Excellence




Recycling 3D Printing Waste Products

If you’re a conscientious environmentalist who also enjoys 3D printing, you’ve probably lain awake pondering the environmental effects of all your discarded rafts, failed prints and other PLA waste products. PLA is not biodegradable, strictly speaking, but composting is possible. The All3DP article New Initiative Aims to Recycle PLA Waste… describes a high school student’s laudable efforts (Project PLA) to address the issue and includes a helpful overview video.

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OTS Reality Checks Begin September 18!

Join OTS Student Computing Services (Cook 35) for one or more of these free weekly sessions to try-out our available Virtual Reality (VR) systems: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony Playstation VR, and Oculus Quest. Gain insight on VR and its potential academic and skill development applications. Each participant must sign a liability waiver and will be spotted by a staff member. Walk-in participants are welcome, but those who sign-up through the SCS Online Resource Booking System (ORBS) will receive priority access. Sign into ORBS, click Workshops and subscribe to the event(s) you plan to attend. Continue Reading

Uses for VR and AR in College Classrooms

Looking for inspiration? Check-out Dian Schaffhauser’s article 9 Amazing Uses for VR and AR in College Classrooms. Uses described include Grasping Concepts, Recreating Past Experiences for New Learners, Stagecraft for Theatre Students, Virtual Reconstruction of History, Going on Space Walks, Reimagining the Future, Practicing Clinical Care, Hands-on Railroading and Feeling the Impact of Decisions.




Actor Based Instructional Simulation & Teacher Moments

In the College of Education, Laila Richmond and other faculty are using cutting edge simulation technology to allow students to experience teaching firsthand. These simulations are created through mixed-reality and offer realistic opportunities for teacher candidates to practice their teaching skills in a safe environment where they can get feedback. The simulated classroom is one of several ways the College is using technology to create meaningful practice opportunities for teacher candidates. Another example is “Teacher Moments”, a web-based tool developed by the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, where classroom-based situations are provided for students to respond to on the spot and the responses are recorded. These recordings allow students to reflect on and deconstruct how they responded and get feedback on how they might improve their interactions.  Both of these simulations give students a great opportunity to think about how they should respond to unique situations so they can be better prepared to enter the real classroom.

Simulations of Situational Factors with VR

Jessica Stansbury has been taking instruction training to a new level in the with VR. She has been promoting VR to simulate many experiences, many of which are relevant to Clinical Psychology. One of the more intense experiences is called Transference. Transference is an experience that allows you to embody a child in a broken household. By letting learners experience this they are given a new level of empathy for their potential future patients.

On the more lighthearted side of things, there are experiences like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a puzzle game where a group of students outside of VR use a bomb defusing guide to help a student who is in VR interact with (and hopefully defuse) a bomb, performing a complex sequence of tasks. This experience helps students improve their communication, teamwork, and problem solving while having fun.

Lastly, students use an experience called job simulator to understand the experience of office work. From increasing students’ understanding of the mundanity of the simulated job to help them appreciate the emotional impact of firing employees, this experience gives students an important insight into office life. These experiences’ success is very much driven by the instructor’s guidance and following discussion but thanks to VR the students are able to have memorable, immersive experiences that have really helped increase the students’ empathy and understanding.

Z Space AR Computing for Learning

Iona Johnson has been using the interactive, 3D display Z-space to allow students to intuitively understand human anatomy. The Z-space display uses 3D display/glasses combined with a sensor that acts as a head and remote tracker that allows it to adjust to the perspective of the user and interact with the remote. With this technology, users are able to tangibly interact with 3D objects that are intuitively displayed to them in. This technology has been revolutionary for the study of anatomy as it allows learners to deconstruct anatomy, manipulating it and visualizing it with a ground-breaking 3D simulation.

Virtual Reality Mock Interviews

The Towson University Career Center is leveraging Virtual Reality Mock Interviews with the recent purchase of an Oculus Go headset to help students practice their interview skills. For software, we are using the VirtualSpeech app, which is free to download and very easy to use.

Within the VirtualSpeech app, the “Meeting Room” feature places the user seated at the head of a conference room table facing an audience of 8-10 individuals seated around the table. Continue Reading

Panel Recap Introduction

In March, there was a FreshTech panel presentation and discussion featuring Towson Faculty and Staff who are using emerging technologies in innovative ways on campus. This event provided attendees with many ideas for applying these technologies to their instruction. The participants painted a good picture of the broad array of technology available on campus. In the coming weeks, we will recap each presentation. By recapping their presentations, we hope you form ideas of how you can use the same technologies in your instruction.