Bryn Mawr College “Winterns” Design Educational App for HoloLens

Bryn Mawr College is making the most of their time with the wearable mixed-reality HoloLens during Pearson’s partnership with them to develop and test various educational VR/AR apps.

During what would normally be downtime on a college campus, Bryn Mawr College students were given a chance to get a first-hand experience in ed tech over their winter break. (Bryn Mawr College is a highly-selective women’s liberal arts college located outside of Philadelphia.)

Read the blog post to learn how four undergraduate students recently undertook an ambitious independent project for their three-week winter internship experience. In addition to becoming expert users of HoloLens, they learned a new kind of programming and experienced an Agile Scrum-style workflow.

On a campus visit at the conclusion of their internship period, Linda Bush had a chance to visit with this bright-eyed team as they put the finishing touches on their submission to the EdSim Challenge. Kara Breeden, a junior studying computer science and math, enjoyed working with holograms. “The most fun is definitely watching what you’ve made come to life on the HoloLens.” About wearing the HoloLens, she added, “At first I was like, I don’t know if I can do this. And then every time I use it more, I just get more excited. I don’t want to take it off!”

Sophomore biology major Linghan Mei found the teamwork aspect rewarding. “All four of us have different majors, so we come at problems from a very different angle, and it’s interesting to learn about other people’s perspectives. I also love working with Unity. ” Further commenting on the cross-platform programming engine she added, “The good thing with Unity is that you don’t have to have a very rich background in computer science. You just need to know a little bit of coding. If you’re more interested in the visualization part you can also work out that part. I think people can come at this with very different backgrounds in computer science or even art, and it’s a very good platform to form teams and work on projects.” When asked if she had any previous experience with Unity, Linghan laughed, “No, I didn’t even know it existed!”

The team designed and partially programmed an innovative learning app for VR focused on musical instruments. “Four interns, 15 days – that’s like one of those Amazing Race things, right?” quipped Palak Bhandari, a post-graduate digital curriculum assistant, who supervised the internship. The students also authored all the supporting information and documentation required for the EdSim Challenge.

Palak admitted, “I definitely had my doubts. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to complete anything, let alone develop anything.” However, the team of interns jumped right in and immersed themselves in learning the programming basics and coming up with an app idea they wanted to pursue. “Because this technology is so new, everyone is learning together.” Read the blog post for more details, and join us in waiting to hear whether their submission will be selected as a finalist!

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