Success Project

4.5. Multi-disciplinary Work when Teaching with Technology There is much debate within Higher Education about the opportunities of emerging technologies and practices - a debate that has been given increased prominence with the forced move to online learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as Veletsianos (2016: 6) notes, “technologies and practices emerging are not specific technologies or practices, but the environments in which particular technologies or practices operate. This definition recognizes that learning, teaching, and scholarship are sociocultural phenomena situated in specific contexts and influenced by the cultures in which they take place”. During the SUSCESS project, it became very clear that the specific context of the South African environment is of great importance when thinking about the introduction of new ideas, approaches and technologies. In this section, two emerging technologies and practices are introduced which have been trialled with considerable success in South African universities. Digital Capability Lab The University of Pretoria’s Digital Capability Lab is a unique environment for hands-on digital collaboration and capability building for students. It provides students with an enabling environment with access to industry data and hardware and software used by various industries in order to craft solutions to real life industry problems. Using the lab for digital collaboration, students share ideas and work in small groups in order to share their different skills and work on their communication and listening skills. Additionally, digital collaboration helps students understand the importance of teamwork and togetherness. At its essence, digital collaboration is collaborating and getting things done using technology and digital devices. Thus, the lab creates a work environment for digital working and digital teams and prepares the students for the new world of work. To be a successful learning environment, such facilities need to mirror the emerging world of work, both in terms of the actual technology used, but also in the new emerging practices in workplace collaboration. Real life industry projects, where students use industry data, creates a workplace simulation in the post COVID-19 world. Extended Reality (XR) Facility A key area of emerging technology and practice in Higher Education globally is that of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). The fact that these technologies offer access to real-time information makes them potentially very powerful tools for education. Wedel et al., (2020) describes the differences between these technologies as follows, “The main difference between VR and AR is that VR creates the perception of real world based on virtual information while AR improves the perception and uses the actual surrounding with added computer-generated information. 54