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1) Please read the article Towards a Smart World 

A. Both Augmented Reality and Smart Spaces have something to do with a blend of real and virtual. For example, this article says that the "future world will possibly be a highly computerized physical world", and later mentions that Smart Spaces are not easy to distinguish from Augmented Reality. We're going to be careful about the differences in class on Wednesday, but we thought it would be useful if everyone mentioned one difference they found in this Smart Space reading compared to our Augmented Reality talk from last week.

My ideas will probably be simplistic, but with respect to both there is an interaction with 'reality', but in different ways. Smart spaces are spaces that adjust to a person's wish - coming into a room and requesting an adjustment of lighting. I believe Smart spaces could possibly be an adaptable system that will be able to adjust by 'knowing' the person's wishes. For example, if a table is being set, the 'house' knows to adjust the setting of the lighting that would be appropriate for dinner. Or as seen in this article, having a sensor system that tells parents when and where the children are, where are the desired toys, etc. However, augmented reality seems to be more of a 'superimposing' of 'images' upon reality. For example, the little animal that the kids were playing with or seeing a 3D geometric shape in the air. So overall, it is about interacting with the world, but one anticipates reality, the other superimposes upon the reality. Hope this is on the right track! LM

LM, I really like the distinction you've made between the two "realities". One is invasive, one you choose to participate in. I remember reading of Bill Gates' house that you had to wear a sensor so the house would know who you were. I'm hesitant about "smart" spaces likely because I'm ADD and don't think a smart space could ever keep up with my changes in activity/intent. Augmented Reality, on the other hand, isn't dependent on me - the data is coming from external sources based on where/when I am. Cal.

My thoughts echo the distinction that LM made in her post. Augmented reality adds a layer of information on top of a physical or digital space. Within an environment that is enhanced by augmented reality layers can be turned on and off by the user, and the original environment remains unchanged. As we read in the "Hear&There" article, one sense was isolated and heightened (hearing), altering one's perception of a familiar environment. According to this week's article, ubiquitous computing seeks to seamlessly integrate virtual and physical spaces. It would seem that the user has less control over the degree to which he or she experiences the altered reality. These ideas raise a lot of interesting questions, especially as smart spaces try to anticipate the requirements of the user. It is interesting to consider what the technological possibilities are, but at the time we should question what the "social, psychological and ethical" implications are of developing these technologies further. Rebecca

B. The utility of isolated smart spaces is questioned by these authors. They suggest that our activities are not isolated, that they cross space and time boundaries, and that "smart hyperspaces" are required to truly be able to adapt to context. To what extent do you think this is true for educationally based smart spaces? Is it OK if they are limited only to a "smart classroom"? What might the vision for a "smart school" be? How might this sort of smart space be incorporated into a broader Internet of Things/Web 3.0 paradigm?

Given the growth of independent and online courses, it's difficult to argue that smart spaces should be tied to a physical classroom. It not only denies the reality that even in "traditional" courses learning is not tied to classroom but neglects the growth of teacher/student interplay that is already occurring through hybrid environments such as CMSs or less formal structures like instant messaging or email. Of course, the entire model is predicated on the willingness of the student to be monitored in such an omniscient fashion; while it may be easy to convince (or hoodwink) very young children into accepting this, it's unlikely in the extreme that crafty young people will find ways to avoid or mislead any such monitoring system. (Cal)

It is strange to imagine a space that could anticipate your every need and yet perhaps this is the direction we are definitely heading in, which could lead to a better and dedicated education for today's student - I am not sure. Can smart classrooms really exist? Can they lead to a more isolating experience or can they actually as stated above "cross space and time boundaries" and create a truly interactive experience? Technology is playing a greater role in today's classroom, albeit more slowly than the technology that is being created, so as teachers we need to become more comfortable with it's potential and use in the classroom. I am probably off topic again - sorry! (LM) However, I do have to say one more thing, I have to agree with Cal that the 'big brother' aspect may not be too appealing to very many people, especially teenagers. If you look at the comments written under the video you asked us to watch, (words like "e-prison" and "big brother") it does make you wonder if this kind of 'intrusion' would be accepted...

I think the possibilities of smart classrooms and schools are intriguing and exciting! As Jim Slotta described in his article, pedagogical approaches such as collaborative learning, autonomous learning and constructivism may be facilitated through technological tools. Students can engage in real world problem solving spanning several class periods using a variety of methods including visualizations, journal responses, online discussion, class debates and so on. Teachers can guide student learning by working with pairs or small groups of students and addressing the class as a whole as necessary. The classroom environment has remained largely unchanged for so many years, that I suspect a fundamental change will be slow and gradual. As Larry Cuban advocates, it is really important to involve teachers and students in the integration process, or the gains that educational researchers make may not be adopted in the school environment. (Rebecca)

2) Two additional items...

A. Please watch the video Multi-Sensor HCI for Smart Environments

Hi there - these ideas will be clarified during class? If understood correctly, are they placing cameras around a room with the idea that eventually the cameras will have collected enough data to create a system that will be anticipate a person's wish/desires/thoughts? Be able to adjust environmental controls based on a person's placement/activity within the room? The exercise programming was interesting - it would make working out at home more enjoyable for others if they could work with others through an avatar. Would this way be more cost effective than joining a gym?

Mr. Aghajan alluded to a privacy issue, but didn't really seem to fully address it. With this type of system, should one worry about privacy, especially with the necessity of the cameras? Does the possibility of having every notion/wish being fulfill actually save time/money, etc.?

B. Also...Jim Slotta will be joining our class on Wednesday, March 23rd -

Here is an additional reading of his current work and ideas...

Slotta2010 Evolving the Classrooms of the Future

Jim Slotta is an associate professor of education in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at The University of Toronto. He holds the Canada Research Chair in education and technology and co-directs several NSF-funded grants involving technology and science education. His research employs technology-enhanced learning environments to investigate cognitive models of learning and instruction. He also promotes the development of open source materials for the learning sciences, and has recently designed the Educational Network and Community for Open Resource Exchange (ENCORE - see

3) (Optional)

You may find it helpful to read the article How Smart are our Environments 

4) Today's Activity

  • Download Google Sketchup
  • Revisit last week's slides in your groups, paying special attention to the revealed connections between AR and smart space development. The groups are:
    • Stian; Jaclyn; Leslie
    • Cal; Jane; Angela
    • Gabby; Kyungmee; Rebecca
    • Dan; Lixia; Minoo
  • When you open Sketchup for the first time, select a "template" that uses measurements you are comfortable with
  • Click view/toolbars/ and select Large Tool Set
  • Click file/3D Warehouse/Get Model
    • Search for different models that are relevant to the subject (e.g. classroom; smart classroom; smart device; augmented reality)
    • Select a model and, upon clicking download, choose to import it directly into Sketchup. Familiarize yourself with the tools to explore your new model. Ask questions!
    • Select the cursor tool. Hover over your model. Right-click it and select "edit component" to be able to edit parts of it. Try taking walls out, moving things around, changing perspective, changing surface colours or textures. 
    • If you think it will be useful, add more models and scale them accordingly. 
  • Recall the artist's rendering of the SAIL Smart Space from Slotta (p, 229, Figure 5).
  • Now, start to incorporate the AR designs from your transparencies in novel and unique ways. 
  • Provoke your conceptual inquiry with the following questions and thoughts:
    • What are smart objects, and how do they figure in your design?
    • Is this a smart environment?
    • How might it fit into a broader smart system?
    • How might you work outward from a starting point that interprets classrooms as communities of learners (Scardamalia and Bereiter, 1996)?
    • What are some of the negative and positive implications that you might anticipate?
    • How does the spatial construction engender cooperative engagement among students?
    • How are you, as a group, connecting with a broader knowledge community?
    • How can you draw from existing pedagogical frameworks that we have discussed - Knowledge Building, for example - to encapsulate your conceptual design in this activity?
    • How might you contextualize your design into a community of open resources (as described in Slotta's paper for this week), not just on the pedagogy side or the software side, but on the hardware side as well? Importantly, how might a community of developers be engaged to support your design (as a component of a wider smart system)?
    • Bearing in mind that smart space design is a long process that requires "a sequence of careful design experiments (Slotta)," try to imagine the essence of you design as part of a collaborative process of knowledge building.
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