Paola Paulino, President of the VR/AR Association SZ, on the Application of XR Technology on K-12 Education

4 Dec , 2017 Creator Stories Mina Bradley

About: Paola Paulino is the Director of VR/AR Immersive Technology Education at the International Baccalaureate world school — International School of Nanshan Shenzhen ISNS, and the global President of the VR/AR Association China Shenzhen Chapter. She’s dedicated to implementing XR technology in K-12 education. The following conversation has been adapted from an inspiring IM chat we recently had.

Hi Paola, really excited to be interviewing you! Before we delve into more details, could you explain what it is that you do?

Thanks so much for reaching out. Super awesome to connect with you guys! I am the Director of (VR/AR) Immersive Technology Education at the International Baccalaureate (IB) world school — ISNS in Shenzhen, China. I also teach Grade12 VR-Digital courses, AND recently accepted the role as global President of the VR/AR Association Shenzhen (China) Chapter.

One of my top favorite things about what I do is to explore the experiential possibilities of XR in Education. What’s even cooler is bringing our youth along for the journey. For example, Project Yearbook 360, a pioneer experimentation with VeeR by my grade-12 VR Digital students, became widely adopted by our school!

Whoo-hoo! Yes, let’s talk about the 360 yearbook. You represented this project for the Demo Slam Competition at #ACAMISTech17 and won. How did you come up with such a genius idea?

Bringing the idea to fruition was a team effort between my incubation crew of seniors and myself. I come from computer animation, game art/design, and technical design for MR background. I’m constantly keeping a looking at creating possibilities for end users in education to experience something for themselves via XR tech.

For Project Yearbook 360, I challenged the students to think of ways the yearbook can be more interactive for the end user. At this point, the students had completed their first semester in my VR digital class and had learned about the power of being able to drive empathetic experiences with VR.

I also gave them the goal to keep the end-users’ experience at the forefront when designing.

How did that go?

The students brainstormed and came up with 3 criteria for the design:

1) They want the end user to have an immersive experience;

2) They want the user journey to be as streamlined as possible to access the immersive content;

3) They want the end user to be able to access the content fine within and outside of China!

What happened next? I’m intrigued.

The students conducted real product research and experimented with various social video websites capable of 360 video… such as YouTube, Vimeo, Youku, Facebook, etc.

Then they practiced creating a user journey. Their initial journey’s entailed 3 or 4 steps. For example, 1) download an additional app to their phones 2) and/or create account(s) 3) search for the content on the app 4) access content.

I challenged them further by asking if there was a way to lessen the number of steps to access the content. E.g. 1 STEP ACCESS!

Can’t wait for their final discovery.

I had found VeeR’s QR feature in my research but didn’t share it at the time, because I wanted them to dig deeper in their research.

Midway, I asked, “What app do you and your family use the most for general purposes throughout the day (in

)?” What features are commonly used?

They responded with, “WeChat” being the most popular app used daily and “QR” scanning/extracting as being one of the popular features.

They thought about how these options are familiar to their friends and family and would require minimal time to learn for the end user, because they already knew about it. So they included QR scanning as a specific goal.

I also asked them to explore the advantages between this commonly-practiced use of WeChat and their research goals.

The students soon discovered VeeR’s website and learned the features including QR code sharing and they came up with a 1-step pipeline for the end user.

True. Can’t live without WeChat in China!

Fascinating how you integrated the heuristic approach into your teaching. How is your VR digital curriculum structured?

I have the VR class structured exactly like a tech incubation team that explores experiential design possibilities of far-future/emerging tech.

Why did you take an interest in teaching educational technology in China?

I’m passionate about experiential design for Immersive Tech and believe it will make an incredible impact in education and will transform learning. I’m fascinated by China’s fearlessness to try and adopt. I see this as an effective formula for opportunity to explore, iterate, and learn alongside the XR industry about the impact this could have for the future of education.

What experiences or projects are you most proud of that you spearheaded, besides the yearbook you already mentioned?

A personal initiative I am excited to explore is integrating high-end XR tech into K12 Education. Usually emerging tech takes a few years for authentic classroom implementation in intermediate and secondary education.

I launched VIVEedu pilot the summer of 2016 and have completed the first year. In year 1, I on-boarded the Grade 12 digital students to bring them along the journey of research and exploration. They became my VR incubation team and we explored the possibilities of high-end VR in education together. I wanted to give them the opportunity to experience learning about tech through real world incubation style project goals and foster the awesome collaborative environment one can find in experiential design incubation teams.

In Year 1, the VR pilot exploration extended to the Middle School Retro-game club and small collaboration pilots with teachers from math, visual arts, and biology.

Now we are in Year 2 of VIVEedu pilot. I have learned a lot from Year 1 and am now expanding the VR program to train/coach teachers and to collaborate on exploring authentic classroom and IB curriculum implementation.

How exciting! What gives you the most hope about VR’s prospective?

What gives me the most hope is how this technology provides the opportunity for people to experience the impossible, first hand. It is incredible that we can spend time in the same virtual space with family and friends who are physically across the globe. I have been exploring the possibilities of VR multi-user interactions in social applications such as Rec Room, for education space ideas. Imagine how this is will to impact learning in schools or from home? The most exciting part for me is the ability to interact and collaborate with others with physical distance no longer being a barrier.

For more information, follow Paola on Twitter and check out her immersive tech edu tutorials and explorations at www.TeachXR.org!