Saïd Business School, University of Oxford has opened a new virtual classroom, which is the first of its type in the United Kingdom and only the second installation in the world.
Named the Oxford Hub for International Virtual Education (HIVE), it is a physical space that takes the appearance of a high tech conference facility, with 27 high definition screens that form a U shape in a seminar room. However, the technology – developed and installed by SyncRTC, and operated by their Mashme.io software – is far more sophisticated than a traditional conferencing platform. It employs robotics, facial recognition technology and 4D high definition projections to create a uniquely immersive learning and teaching experience.
In the Oxford HIVE, class leaders can engage with up to 84 participants, who can access the session via Mashme.io. The technology is fully interactive; the teacher can address the participants individually, split them into groups and conduct real time polls, and participants can see and hear one another. The software also monitors the level of attentiveness in each individual, which it judges and scores based on their facial expressions and engagement with the class.
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