Virtual Collaborative Learning Environment
AST2’s Virtual Collaborative Learning Environment (VCLE) is a hardware-software platform based on Storm, a private cloud technology that integrates equipment, people, information and resources in a secure and virtual manner. VCLE enables collaboration, research, co-creation, and information sharing in a combination of virtual and mixed reality environments among geographically distributed, as well as collocated, groups and individuals. In Storm, students, educators, researchers and industry professionals, analytical and manufacturing equipment, 2D and 3D visualization technologies and software applications become an integrated network of learning resources enabled through the VCLE cyber infrastructure.
The InnovationSpace and CreationSpace provide the physical location for INVENTOR (Innovation Experimentation and Outreach) classes and the student group collaborative interactions, creativity, and learning through the VCLE cyber infrastructure. This open classroom lab frames the environment for students to learn in mixed real and virtual realities in a seamless, exciting manner that engages students and excites their interest in STEM disciplines.
InnovationSpace is space for group innovation, creativity, and learning where students can collaborate through both synchronous and asynchronous social media communications. Students will use familiar applications for chat, file sharing, wikis, creating calendars, maintaining class journals and project management. Ideas are turned into designs and virtual prototypes through the use of design software applications along with 2D, 3D and holographic 3D visualization.
CreationSpace is space where virtual prototypes are turned into reality through the use of on-site desktop rapid prototyping equipment such as 3D printers and CNC milling machines. In addition, VCLE’s technology platform allows for shared use and remote operation of geographically distributed, digitally controlled equipment through virtual presence, including video, voice, and texting capabilities. With this capability, students will experience real-time interaction with remote analytical, research, design, and manufacturing equipment.
Key Features of VCLE:
· Co-Creative Design: Social media applications that foster fluid, iterative communication and persistence of ideas in a virtual group.
· Collaborative Teaming Organization: Visual, audio, text, and information sharing capabilities that promote seamless engagement and cohesion of a virtual, geographically dispersed team of students and equipment.
· Virtual Collaborative Presence: Real-time remote interaction and operation of geographically distributed, digitally controlled equipment provide students a diverse range of manufacturing experiences while minimizing cost and maximizing safety and logistics.
· Assessment and Evaluation: Automated data collection and analytical tools enhance data reliability and minimizes teacher workload.
· Moderated and Guided: Storm, VCLE’s private cloud, enables learning and collaboration in a safe, secure, and mentored environment with appropriate oversight and the ability to monitor interactions.