Virtual sets and augmented reality in learning process

Ricardo Montesa, CEO of Brainstorm Multimedia, explains how broadcast techniques can benefit education and explains Smart Set

âž¡ Q. After 25 years working in the broadcast sector and the film industry for companies like ILM, how is that a character such as yourself has decided to embrace a new adventure on the educational sector?

A. Immersive 3D graphics have always been our vocation and this has never changed. But the technology evolves all the time and the opportunities to develop our vocation evolve with it. In this regard we feel that now all the new technologies around immersive 3D graphics have a space in the educational sector and it is a big opportunity for us to develop what we most enjoy doing.

âž¡ Q. Could you explain how to merge real-time 3D graphics and virtual studios with education? What is the product you are introducing?

A. For more than 20 years we, and other companies, have been providing virtual sets to the broadcast market and nowadays people are used to seeing virtual graphics every day. But virtual sets have always been an expensive and hard-to-use technology. Now, however, the prices have come down considerably, the power of the graphics boards have multiplied and simultaneously we have developed techniques to greatly simplify the complexity of its use. We think that all of that together allows us now to create a product that can fit in the education sector. We have called it Smart Set.

 âž¡ Q. During  more than 20 years of experience you have previously worked within the higher education sector, but now your proposal goes far beyond. What are you now introducing that is specially designed to cope with current needs of teachers and students? What benefits do you think Smart Set will bring?

A. It is obviously a different market but we think that the same technology can be applied to the education sector in a similar way. In fact, in a much more powerful way, because the conservative nature of the broadcast market has always limited the use of our technology.

Our past experiences in the educational sector was focused on teaching virtual studio techniques and graphic technologies to students of media and broadcasting. Our new approach is to bring our technology as an innovative tool for powerful immersive teaching in primary and secondary schools and universities.

âž¡ Q. Smart Set is to become a real breakthrough on immersive teaching, especially on subjects such as Physics, Astronomy and Maths. Could you give us an example of how it works? Do you think that this solution will be suitable for other subjects?

A. Well, it is just a matter of imagination. Enabling the teachers and students to see themselves immersed in a three-dimensional environment can allow them to better understand complex contents, no matter what the subject.

âž¡ Q. Smart Set enables students to develop personal skills that are not included in traditional educational programmes, by the technique ‘learning by doing,’ such as public speaking or working in groups. You recently tested this use in Villena Secondary School, how did it go?

A. This application of the system allows the students to create presentations and simulate TV shows, debates and games. The students become very excited about making their own broadcasts and at the same time they are developing their presentation skills. It was a great success. The feedback from teachers and students was very positive, not only because of the increased motivation from the students during the collaborative projects, but also because the teachers were able to work more abilities than they usually work in the school with the current educational programmes.

âž¡ Q. Can e-learning platforms take advantage of Smart Set?

A. The output of our system is meant to be real time and live. But of course it can be recorded or used in any e-learning platform. The possibility to immerse the teacher in several virtual or real backgrounds during the class, to introduce images and videos in real time in the lessons and to show and interact with 3D objects during the explanations, offers added value that no current platform of distance learning does.

âž¡ Q. Is there space for real-time 3D graphics and virtual sets in the education sector? Will Smart Set revolutionise the education market?

A. It is becoming more and more common that digital contents are created and adapted to be used in digital boards, tablets or PC, although the truly immersive teaching is yet to come and SmartSet is our vision of that future.

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