Success Project

Through digital collaborative learning, students can develop the necessary capabilities in a safe-tofail environment. Making it safe to fail is crucial because learning happens through experimentation, and experimentation often results in failure. Technology can minimise the consequences of failing, which can often inhibit people from trying something new. The lab therefore offers lecturers and students an easy-to-operate environment equipped with enabling technology. Lab Features The lab features an assortment of technical features that enables it to be an environment for hands-on digital capability building and a test bed for piloting and scaling innovative solutions for students. Foremost is the lab’s design and layout, which is built on the premise of digital collaborative learning. Seven workstations with the capacity of seating six students each are fitted with a large display, webcam and high processing NUC. At the front of the lab is a smartboard that supports external HDMI, built-in PC and Android OS. The smartboard also operates as the central PC that can mirror any of the seven workstations. The lab allows facilitators to stream their class via Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom. A tracking camera follows the instructor around the room while the smartboard display is simultaneously shared on the call. Microphones are also positioned around the room to capture any discussion that may take place. The lab boasts an internet speed of 1gbps, and Wi-Fi 6 enabled. Facilitators can share their content via a variety of means as the lab allows casting from Android, Windows or Apple devices. Extended reality encompasses various modalities, including Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR). VR is defined as “A computer-generated stimulation on the whole picture of the environment, either real-life environment or a situation” (Weech et al., 2019). The purpose of VR is to fully immerse the user, allowing them to experience and interact with a simulated environment. This powerful tool allows the creator of the tool to have the undivided attention of the viewer. AR deals with the combination of real-world (RW) and computer-generated data. AR is a technology that allows for virtual objects to be placed in the real world in real time, thus enhancing the information about the world around us. To illustrate the difference between the two terms, Wedel et al. (2020) explains: “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. AR is different from VR since AR basically overlays the digital information in the real world on the time and environment, whereas VR totally transforms the whole environment into a virtual world”. 6.7. Extended Reality Facility, Food Evolution Research Laboratory, University of Johannesburg 89