1. Jessica Ochoa Hendrix
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-ochoa-hendrix-56bb772/
  3. CEO & Co-Founder
  4. Teaching Human Health and Water Stewardship using Extended Reality
  5. Killer Snails, Wildlife Conservation Society, Hudson River Park
  1. Corinne Brenner
  2. Director of Learning
  3. Teaching Human Health and Water Stewardship using Extended Reality
  4. Killer Snails
  1. Mandë Holford
  2. https://holfordlab.com/
  3. Chief Scientific Officer/Associate Professor
  4. Teaching Human Health and Water Stewardship using Extended Reality
  5. Killer Snails
  1. Noelle Posadas Shang
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/noelle-posadas-445a5621/
  3. Design Director
  4. Teaching Human Health and Water Stewardship using Extended Reality
  5. Killer Snails
  1. Varun Saxena
  2. Game Writer
  3. Teaching Human Health and Water Stewardship using Extended Reality
  4. Killer Snails
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Lorna Quandt

    Lorna Quandt

    Facilitator
    Asst. Professor, Educational Neuroscience
    May 10, 2022 | 10:21 a.m.

    Hi team! This project looks so fun--my kids love games like this where they're learning real science content in a fun game-like environment. I'm curious: when you mention you're using Augmented Reality, what parts of the system are you referring to? I know AR/VR/XR terminology is not particularly well defined at this time, so I would like to understand how you're framing it here. 

    Where are you with deploying this project? Have you tested it on children--if so, what ages? And how might you look ahead to scaling up or making it more accessible to more people? This looks really polished and professional! 

     
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    Jessica Ochoa Hendrix
  • Icon for: Corinne Brenner

    Corinne Brenner

    Co-Presenter
    Director of Learning
    May 10, 2022 | 11:03 a.m.

    Hi Lorna, thanks for these questions! WaterWays is split up into 5 modules, and each one features an AR activity. For example, in the first module, students take on the role of a shark scientist and learn about the anatomy of a Mako shark, then put a GPS tag on the shark to track where it goes during the year. In the second module, students visit the site of a CSO outfall, and note the changes before and after a city tried to reduce the impact of its sewer system on the local waterway.

    It's a good point that the terminology is fuzzy! Since not all students can easily switch between a laptop (the rest of the activities are organized on a website) and a phone or other AR-friendly device, the AR activity is also available as a webVR scene. We think the important feature of this part of the experience is having a first-person perspective and being in charge of the action, and both AR and webVR can accomplish that. We then use the website activities to help students consolidate and build off of what they've seen and done in the AR/webVR scene.

    We are in the middle of developing WaterWays: 2 of the 5 modules are complete, we're in the development stage of the third, and writing/designing the 4th and 5th.

    We have tested it with children! Most of our testing the past 2 years has been conducted over Zoom due to Covid. On the one hand, that's been a limitation, but on the other, we've been able to work with students all across the U.S. Our process is to do one-on-one user tests as each module is being developed, refining the interactions and content early and often. Once a module is in a stable technical state, we partner with schools and teachers to try it out as a whole classroom activity, and hear from the teachers what worked, what could use more polishing, etc. We've been working primarily with the target audience of 3-5th graders, but some 2nd grade and older students have also taken part along the way. A larger scale evaluation will also take place once we've completed development. Our plan is definitely to make it commercially available once all the pieces are finalized! 

     
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    Jessica Ochoa Hendrix
    Lorna Quandt
  • May 10, 2022 | 05:02 p.m.

    What a cool curriculum! I'm curious if you are considering any components related to social issues when discussing impacts of pollution, particularly water ways. I'm a secondary educator and work primarily with high schools. I know your work is in the elementary level but I wonder if this program could begin an age-appropriate discussion related to inequities such as access to clear water for example.

     
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    Jessica Ochoa Hendrix
  • Icon for: Corinne Brenner

    Corinne Brenner

    Co-Presenter
    Director of Learning
    May 10, 2022 | 10:41 p.m.

    Hi Cathryn, thanks for your reaction! One of the partners on the project, Mount Sinai's Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures, has special expertise on environmental justice. One of the modules of the project is going to focus on highlighting how issues come to light within communities, and avenues to resolving them. Every community we've worked with can find a connection to different issues, and we love the idea of using WaterWays as a springboard for deeper discussions that can be tailored to local issues.

     
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    Jessica Ochoa Hendrix
  • May 11, 2022 | 10:19 a.m.

    What a wonderful project to involve young children in both fundamental science and science-based solutions to societal problems. I'm curious about two things that I see from your responses and from the written notes. I see that you have delivered the material in both AR and WebVR form. From our own work on the CEASAR project, we too have seen a need for supporting available devices. I'm curious if you have evidence of how the experiences differ for children using the different devices. Also, I see that the program offers online notebooks to capture their discoveries. I'm curious what students capture in their notebooks, and if they can share their notebooks.  Do the notebooks play an important role in class discussion?

  • Icon for: Corinne Brenner

    Corinne Brenner

    Co-Presenter
    Director of Learning
    May 11, 2022 | 02:06 p.m.

    Hi Nathan, thanks for these questions! We haven't specifically compared the AR to the webVR, it's been mostly driven by the availability of devices under different circumstances. Anecdotally, using AR on a mobile device makes a big impression on students, and I think the experience of scale really contributes to that. Students who observed the Mako shark, for example, would comment on its size. At the same time, distracting tech issues can occur while setting up and using the device, especially when we're testing remotely and can't fully facilitate.

    The notebooks provide a structured set of activities to work through the scientific method (it's not just a blank page). One function of the notebooks is consolidating students' observations after the AR/webVR experience, and expanding on or explaining what they observed in more depth. For example, in the first module students see a Mako shark and learn about how adaptations in its anatomy, like having many rows of teeth, help the shark survive in its environment. In the digital science journal, students are asked to describe one adaptation, so it's an opportunity for a little recall and generative processing to take place. The educators can see students' notebooks through the dashboard, but students can't share notebooks with each other (aside from looking at each others' screens). 

     
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    NATHAN KIMBALL
  • Icon for: Zenon Borys

    Zenon Borys

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2022 | 10:42 a.m.

    What a great way to help younger students make connections - awesome project.  Being new to AR/VR tools for school, I find myself wondering about the revising process.  In the early phases of developing the curriculum what types of details did you notice about how students interacted with the technology?  And, did those observations lead to any revisions?  I'm imagining students usually use tools in new and surprising ways.  There is so much opportunity to keep this growing, too!

  • Icon for: Corinne Brenner

    Corinne Brenner

    Co-Presenter
    Director of Learning
    May 11, 2022 | 02:24 p.m.

    Hi Zenon, thanks for this reaction! Revising and iterating on the content and the technology are a constant part of the process! A few examples come to mind. AR is still relatively unfamiliar for a lot of students, but the design of games and other digital interactions are familiar, and we know students would much rather tap on things/try things out than read lengthy instructions. As a result, we try to draw inspiration from visuals that students will be familiar with to invite interactions, and make any text instructions very short! Subtle sound cues can also help. We also like to ask students if they were surprised/what they were expecting to happen while we're testing out the project, and sometimes those responses lead to revisions. One of our experiences requires students to turn around to see all the parts of a scene, and that's often something we have provide visual cues for (a trail of points to interact with, leading off to the sides) instead of staying fixed in one direction. Once they realize they can move, students will test the boundaries of the world and see how far they can go in every direction, so our design has to take that into account, as well.

  • Icon for: Dan Roy

    Dan Roy

    Facilitator
    Research Scientist, Interest-based Learning Mentor, Learning Game Designer
    May 12, 2022 | 02:17 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing. Looks like a cool project. I'm curious about the cross-platform design philosophy. Each platform has its own unique affordances, so when you design for a few platforms, you'd either need to take a lowest-common denominator approach (e.g. emphasize looking over embodiment/gesture) or do a fair bit of redesign per platform. Can you talk about how you approached those opportunities and costs?

    Is there one platform that you see as the ideal platform to experience WaterWays on, or are they all best in different ways? If so, what ways?

    Do you have some kind of model or simulation under the hood? How are you determining how things change over time?

  • Icon for: Corinne Brenner

    Corinne Brenner

    Co-Presenter
    Director of Learning
    May 12, 2022 | 10:36 a.m.

    Hi Dan, good to see you here! WaterWays has parts of the experience on a website (the digital science journal) which structures activities, introduces new information, and provides opportunities to consolidate learning using multiple choice and open-ended questions. The AR/webVR activities are a chance to have a first-person experience of something like seeing the anatomy of a Mako shark, or visiting the site of a CSO outfall before and after changes have been implemented. We know that that kind of experience makes a big impression on students, but doesn't necessarily lend itself to strong recall of facts, so the XR experience is followed by an activity to connect the experience with explicitly articulated learning goals, or process the experience students have just had. WaterWays had been conceived as an AR project before covid, when the expectation was that our team could facilitate testing with students. When that was no longer possible, and managing multiple devices for each student was really a disadvantage, we did decide to pivot to make it more accessible. In our design, the most important element is for students to be making choices and interacting with the content in the role of a scientist, more than any physical movement or embodiment (we're not training for transfer of any psychomotor skills, for example). We think that's preserved across AR and webVR, although the AR gives a better sense of scale for some of the features. The XR activities are built in Unity, which allows both options to exist.

  • Icon for: Marcelo Worsley

    Marcelo Worsley

    Facilitator
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2022 | 03:41 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing this video. One idea that comes up is helping students think about complex systems. Do you have any ways for studying/assessing complex systems thinking? What are the other measures you are looking at related to student learning and interest?

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