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  • Keynote & Featured Speakers

    We are happy to announce our first keynote and featured speakers for iLRN 2024! More speakers will be announced soon.

  • Keynote Speakers

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    Immersive Learning in the age of AI

    Sara de Freitas
    Visiting Professor, University of South Wales

    Learning in immersive contexts is becoming a more central teaching tool for educators in the light of generative AI and immersive and connected technology. This is transformative for education. This talk outlines how the ‘quiet education revolution’ over the last fifty years has provided for the educational   infrastructures that have delivered educational improvements and social change, including near universal primary and secondary education and are close to universal university education for many. The next phase of the revolution will be more rapid and has significant implications for how we organize our educational institutions including what is taught and how it is assessed. This talk considers how new models of education will include blended experiences that utilise immersion and engagement of learners. Giving examples from past projects, this talk will provide a clear vision for the future of learning within blended learning experiences, outlining what educators can do, how policy makers can plan and what benefits there will be for learners. How we envisage the future of education will shape technological and social changes. 

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    Making Meaning Through Artistic Embodied Experience

    Steve Benford
    Professor, University of Nottingham

    Humans are meaning making machines, driven to make sense of our life experiences, relationships, wider world, and through these, of ourselves. Art can provoke meaning making by engaging people in aesthetically powerful personal experiences whose ambiguities demand interpretation. Meaning making is also deeply embodied, involving our senses, embodied actions, preconscious emotions, and fluid actions alongside conscious reasoning. I will present examples of working with artists to apply immersive technologies and robots to create provocative artistic and embodied experiences. I will reflect on these to articulate strategies for ambiguously glitching the mind-body to provoke meaning making. 

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    Crafting Immersive Learning Journeys: Key Principles in VR UX Design

    Helen Crompton
    Professor and Executive Director, Old Dominion University

    This presentation dives into the critical components of creating a compelling virtual reality (VR) user experience. It outlines key principles essential for designing effective VR environments, emphasizing their significance in shaping a seamless and immersive user journey. The presentation will highlight the practical application of these principles through a case study involving the replication of a large university campus in virtual space, aiming to foster an inclusive learning experience. Specific design elements will be highlighted, such as spatial arrangement, interaction mechanisms, and sensory engagement. This presentation underscores the importance of these design considerations in not only mirroring physical spaces but also in cultivating an environment conducive to diverse and inclusive learning experiences.

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    Immersive Learning That Works: Research Grounding and Paths Forward

    Leonel Morgado
    Associate Professor with Habilitation, Universidade Aberta & INESC TEC

    Dennis Beck
    Associate Professor of Educational Technology, University of Arkansas

    We will metaverse into the essence of immersive learning, into its three dimensions and conceptual models. This approach encompasses elements from teaching methodologies to social involvement, through organizational concerns and technologies. Challenging the perception of learning as knowledge transfer, we introduce a 'Uses, Practices & Strategies' model operationalized by the 'Immersive Learning Brain' and ‘Immersion Cube’ frameworks. This approach offers a comprehensive guide through the intricacies of immersive educational experiences and spotlighting research frontiers, along the immersion dimensions of system, narrative, and agency. Our discourse extends to stakeholders beyond the academic sphere, addressing the interests of technologists, instructional designers, and policymakers. We span various contexts, from formal education to organizational transformation to the new horizon of an AI-pervasive society. This keynote aims to unite the iLRN community in a collaborative journey towards a future where immersive learning research and practice coalesce, paving the way for innovative educational research and practice landscapes.

  • Featured Speakers

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    Immersive technologies for engaging museum visitors online and onsite

    Maria Economou
    Professor in Digital Cultural Heritage, University of Glasgow

    Virtual and augmented reality has been used in cultural heritage for several years offering a range of opportunities for presenting collections and engaging with audiences. Combined with digital storytelling, these have opened up opportunities for reaching out in impactful ways, especially to those not traditionally interested in the collections, or to reach more deeply those with prior interest. However, despite the technological developments in this area, the use of immersive technologies remains challenging to integrate appropriate in exhibitions, support appropriately the informal learning opportunities these offer, and be available to cultural heritage organisations in an affordable and sustainable way. Another challenge is supporting and not breaking social interaction in the virtual environment, which research has shown is crucial for the quality of the experience. The talk will address these issues drawing from the experience of recent research projects, like the Innovate UK Museum in the Metaverse and the H2020 EMOTIVE.

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