Progressive Pedagogies

By Alex More

The traditional vs progressive debate keeps resurfacing in education. Tom Sherrington does a fine job of balancing both viewpoints. I have a foot in both camps but must admit, the progressive is intriguing.

In this blog post I am going to look at some very progressive pedagogy. 5 ideas at the cutting edge. They are so cutting edge so little is known about their potential in the classroom. Technology is the driver so let’s dive in.

1. Hologram Teachers

Like a scene from Star Wars the reality of Hologram teachers is real. Imagine beaming into lessons remotely. I am not convinced behaviour management would be great but it would certainly help educate in the times of the Corona Virus.

Imperial College London; University classes are set to be given a futuristic spin by letting lecturers appear as hologram-like apparitions beamed in from afar

Lecturers at Imperial College in London have started beaming. The lecturers have a high-definition monitor in front of them which is calibrated so they can point at people and look them in the eye. The illusions are not holograms, you project upon a glass screen, and a backdrop behind it uses software to give it an illusion of depth. To send their image, lecturers need to use a “capture studio”, which involves filming them against a black backdrop while being lit from both sides.

Imperial plans to make use of two external studios – one in Los Angeles, the other Toronto – as well a portable kit to invite overseas-based guest speakers to give talks to its students.

This one feels a way off for schools at the moment and quite pricey too!

2. Catchbox Mics

An engagement microphone that has potential to change the way we question in the classroom. A great company with a unique product.

I saw the Catchbox in action at BETT London this year and instantly recognised it’s potential for the classroom. Imagine throwing a microphone around the classroom and projecting student voices and ideas. With a 30m wireless range, wireless charging and a range of bright colours the Catchbox will be an instant hit.

I have been thinking of an alternative to the traditional teacher led questioning methods for a while now. This fun and engaging product will allow high quality questioning and add a wow factor. Catchbox have 3 models; the Lite, the Plus and the Mod. You can also design custom covers to suit your organisation. Catchbox would be great for Teachmeets, TED-X and ResearchEd events. The product is competitively priced and affordable for most schools.

We have a Catchbox arriving in April and I can’t wait to explore the potential. I have so many ideas and will write a Catchbox blog when I have tried and tested some ideas in our new future classroom at Shaftesbury School. https://catchbox.com/

3. MergeCube

I have been using Google Expeditions AR (Augmented Reality) for a while now and really like it. The new Merge Cube from Merge takes AR to the next level and adds a 3D interactive interface for the user.

AR gone mad – in a good way!

I picked up a free MergeCube at BETT London this year and signed up to the 7-day free trail. It’s £7 per month and the cubes cost £15 approx each. The concept is very similar to Google AR in that you hold a cube, the App scans the cube and allows you to view various objects in AR. The quality is higher than Google’s AR and models are vast and very immersive.

It would be a good investment for Science departments potentially but I still feel their pricing is too high. I think if the pricing came down I would consider purchasing a class set.

4. LightForm

LightFrom uses a 4k camera to scan items. This could be a work of art, a feature or physical entity. The program allows the user to design beyond the screen and projects AR images using projection.

It’s a complicated concept but essentially you could build a scene using a laptop and a scanned image. From that scene you can project what you scanned into another space, a classroom, outdoor area or gallery. The result is a high resolution AR image created from light which is not really there, it’s a light projection. No VR headsets are required to see the projection and it would be a game-changer for student engagement as you could beam in real images in to the classroom. Impressive!

With a price tag of £1.5k just to get going this one might be beyond the budgets of most schools but it’s worth keep an eye on the potential of LightForm as it evolves as a business https://lightform.com/

5. 360 Cameras

360 Cameras allow the user to capture omnidirectional fields in 4K. A 360 camera, also known as an omnidirectional camera, has a 360-degree field of view so that it captures just about everything around the sphere. 360 cameras are needed when large visual fields need to be covered, such as shooting panoramas.

These cameras are mostly used by the Insta-influencers. I can see two ways educators could use 360 cameras in a classroom setting.

  1. To capture student work written on walls. This capture could then be uploaded to a flipped learning style platform
  2. To take 360 images of amazing places (Lulworth Cove, Tate Gallery etc) which could be viewed in VR (Virtual Reality) headsets back in the classroom

The RICOH Theta 4k retails at about £350. We have one for the future classroom so will explore its’ potential and report back.

We are currently building a Future Classroom at Shaftesbury School in Dorset. To keep posted with developments subscribe to the blog or follow us on Twitter @Alex_MoreEd and @shaftesbury_sch

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