On March 3rd, the Centre for Innovation of Leiden University in the Netherlands organised a meeting with educators and researchers from twenty institutes for higher education. The subject was the development of a European Hub for Extended Reality.
Sharing apps and knowledge
Nearly everywhere in higher education people are experimenting with XR (virtual and augmented reality) for education. But there is not yet enough exchange of knowledge and apps, and the wheel continues to be reinvented. Shared use and knowledge exchange, will drive app development and lower the cost per user making the technology more available. As one of the participants stated, the bottom line in all of this is to keep the focus on providing better education for our students. We need to ensure that we learn from each other, and that educational processes are improved.
The vision of the Centre for Innovation on the HUB
The pivot of the HUB is a website with blogs and news. On the website will be resources like ‘how to’ guides, a project repository, event calendar and ‘address list’ of people and institutions working on XR. A mailing list with news and updates that connect to the site, will be sent regularly to the HUB community, whereas the members of the community will find each other on a platform like LinkedIn. Furthermore, we plan to connect or even merge with other similar platforms in the future.
One of the main targets of the HUB is to share apps and knowledge in order to maximise our efforts and avoid repetition. In the project repository members can share a lot, from project ideas looking for partners to finished apps. The basic premise is that each member is responsible for the content on the project pages and always stays the owner. He or she can decide to share the content or the app ‘openly or just publish an outline and redirect to his/her own site.
Part of the HUB activities will be off line, such as conferences, seminars, workshops etc. Because meeting people and getting to know them personally is still important for fruitful cooperation.
First partner: Media & Learning Association
The Media & Learning Association (MLA) is the first partner in the HUB project. The association acknowledges the rising importance of XR in education. With its broad international network MLA is making important connections for the HUB. XR will be an important recurring element in the annual Media and Learning Conference.
At the meeting lot’s of ideas were exchanged on what the HUB could encompass and how it could be organised. Practically all of the participants were enthusiastic and willing to help build the HUB. Durable funding and developing a sound business model were indicated as challenges.
Despite the challenging times, the Centre for Innovation will continue developing the HUB. In the next few months they will develop a basic website, forum and regularly publish a newsletter. Here is where you can sign up for the newsletter or contact the HUB builders.