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James Birt

Associate Professor at Bond University

Robina, Australia

James is an Associate Professor of Computer Games in the Faculty of Society and Design at Bond University, Australia, where he runs the Mixed Reality Research Lab (www.mixedrealityresearch.com). His research spans computer science and visual arts, with an emphasis on applied design and development of extended reality (XR) and games-based experiences for assisting learning and knowledge discovery. The distinctive contribution James brings to academia is evidenced in over 80 publications and multiple national media engagements including The Conversation, ABC News and The Project. James is recognised as an international leader in educational technology, XR and games with an editorial role with Springer Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D), a position on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) working group for AR/VR, an assessor’s role for the International Serious Games Showcase and Challenge (SGSC) and an expert role on the 2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report. In 2020, James received a Universities Australia 2019 citation for sustained leadership in the scholarship of mobile mixed reality innovations to enhance authentic experiential teaching and learning. This followed his citation in 2014 for improving student learning and engagement through practical juxtaposition of art and science in multi-media education. His service to higher education and the community has formed around his 20 year experience and leadership in interdisciplinary teaching, mentorship, presentations, and research led approaches to the enhancement of XR and games education.

Available For: Advising, Authoring, Consulting, Influencing, Speaking
Travels From: Robina, Queensland, Australia
Speaking Topics: Immersive Reality, Esports, Metaverse, EdTech

James Birt Points
Academic 70
Author 4
Influencer 0
Speaker 0
Entrepreneur 0
Total 74

Points based upon Thinkers360 patent-pending algorithm.

Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Company Type: Company
Business Unit: Faculty of Society and Design
Theatre: Australia
Media Experience: 10 Years
Last Media Interview: 04/18/2022

Areas of Expertise

AR/VR 40.06
Culture 30.28
Digital Transformation 30.21
Digital Twins 37.87
Edtech 33.33
Emerging Technology 31.87
Entrepreneurship 30.26
Future of Work 31.03
Health and Wellness 31.75
Healthtech 30.94
Innovation 30.13
Mobility 31.94
SportsTech 31.09

Industry Experience

High Tech & Electronics
Higher Education & Research

Publications

1 Article/Blog
The metaverse has been heavily hyped – but it could enable entirely new ways of screen production
The Conversation
April 04, 2022
Technology such as AR/VR/Deepfakes underpinning the metaverse may offer the solution to issues such as remote filming associated with screen production and the pandemic. However the question is if we can should we? This article explores this scenario for The Conversation.

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Tags: AR/VR, Digital Transformation, Emerging Technology

8 Conference Publications
Back to the Future Post Pandemic Socially Constructed Blended Synchronous Learning - Vignettes from the Mobile Learning SIG
ASCILITE 2021: 38th International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education
November 29, 2021
The initial impact upon higher education from the COVID19 pandemic was a rapid shift to online learning for a large proportion of the academic teaching community and for students as learners as well (Naciri et al., 2020; Zayapragassarazan, 2020). The on-going impact requires a more considered, designed response that takes account of the many socio-cultural issues that impact teaching and learning as higher education grapples with the new focus upon blended-synchronous learning for the foreseeable future (Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning, 2020; Ferdig & Pytash, 2021; Hodges et al., 2020; Lowenthal et al., 2020; Reimers & Schleicher, 2020). However, this concept, called Blended Synchronous Learning (BSL), is not a new approach to teaching and learning (Porter & Graham, 2016) or mobile learning (Cochrane & Bateman, 2009) - the difference is that, rather than being the domain of TEL innovators, post-pandemic it is now the norm experience of almost all higher education teachers and learners. To provide assistance for higher education academics to implement BSL, this poster accompanies the concise paper from the ASCILITE Mobile Learning Special Interest Group (ASCILITEMLSIG) and illustrates the vignettes of BSL practice in multiple discipline domains. The poster will contain a series of QR codes that will link to multimedia examples of these vignettes in practice and further resources for those interested in exploring the application of these scenarios in their own teaching praxis. In this way we present our varied mobile learning (BYOD) scenarios as examples of pedagogical strategies for BSL that move from a focus upon teacher-directed content (Pedagogy) towards student-determined learning or Heutagogy (Blaschke & Hase, 2019; Hase & Kenyon, 2001, 2007; Moore, 2020), applying the Pedagogy-Andragogy-Heutagogy (PAH) continuum to BSL (Blaschke, 2012; Kearney et al., 2020; Luckin et al., 2010). Finally, as a group, we have additionally explored the use of Activity Theory as a lens to analyse our BYOD practices (Bozalek et al., 2014; Leont'ev, 1978; Rozario et al., 2016; Uden, 2007), highlighting the impact of mobile technologies to mediate new approaches to teaching and learning that focus upon authentic learning experiences – or what the student does, supported by an interconnected blended or hybrid learning community. This approach is illustrated by the authentic mobile learning triangle (Cochrane, 2019, 2020, 2021), where authentic mobile learning experiences are built upon activities that facilitate user-generated content (UGC) and user-generated contexts (UGCX). This is detailed further in our concise paper.

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Tags: Edtech, Emerging Technology, Mobility

Mobile learning and socially constructed blended learning through the lens of Activity Theory
ASCILITE ‘21. Proceedings of the 38th International Conference of Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary
November 29, 2021
The pandemic has drastically changed the education landscape. The pedagogical practices, policies and procedures ingrained and refined over many years were suddenly rendered less effective. Overnight, new practices, policies and procedures had to be drafted to support teaching and learning. More than a year on, educators have found a new home, new pedagogies and practices have been refined and continue to be, policies and procedures are agile to support a volatile environment academia dwells in during the pandemic era. Building upon the work the Mobile Learning Special Interest Group (MLSIG) presented last year at the conference, we investigate the role mobile learning is and could play in emerging pandemic pedagogies. Eight vignettes are presented from universities around the world that are analysed using Activity Theory to understand the role of mobile devices and social tools for developing blended synchronous learning (BSL) and HyFlex learning.

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Tags: Edtech, Emerging Technology, Mobility

Design Science: How to demonstrate the Simulation Capability to Meet the Objectives in Human-Centered Environments
Australasian Simulation Congress
November 11, 2021
Demonstration activity is an essential part of the Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM). The popularity of augmented reality (AR) and gamified mobile and wearable devices instantiated multiple frameworks that implement gamified AR through DSRM. However, the demonstration part did not receive the required attention in the literature, with no explicit guidance on designing the activity. Thus, this study builds on the DSRM frameworks to address this problem by examining the demonstration of human-centred design artifacts, such as in gamified AR simulations. This paper proposes a design pattern for conducting a DSRM demonstration activity according to the best practices and extant frameworks. This demonstration pattern should guide designers, developers, and researchers in selecting the most efficient approach in performing the demonstration. We present a demonstration pattern that can be used to prove the effectiveness of AR (mixed reality), gamification and location-based services. We used this pattern in several DSRM demonstration cycles, from the initial development to a final product. We evaluated the demonstration pattern in two case studies, and the results showed that the demonstration process is reusable and reductive complexity wise. The pattern evolves in the iterations from formative, summative to mixed methods approaches to the demonstration. With this paper, we aim to increase the accessibility to the structured use of design patterns for the demonstration of gamified AR apps. At the same time, we inform the artefact demonstration as well as design and development in the fields of XR and gamification in general.

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Tags: AR/VR, Culture, Digital Transformation

Analysing Smartphone-Based Digital Museum and Cultural Tours
Living Digital Heritage Conference 2021: Integrating the Past into the Present and Future
November 04, 2021
In the last decade, we have seen a proliferation of smartphone devices including within cultural heritage. The accessibility of smartphones has allowed personalised storytelling using a variety of media methods and techniques. However, the method to extract the relevant data and the current design elements used in the market is not readily available outside proprietary bespoke data analytic environments. Therefore, we have combined multiple measures into a framework to analyse the competitors in the production of a digitised art tour. Specially we investigate interface usability, audio, augmented reality, gamification, text, video and 3d models. To evaluate the framework, we have applied the measures across 88 case studies. Case studies were sourced from the Apple AppStore and Google Play Store. The inclusion criteria were cost, novelty, relevancy, and artwork presentation. The apps were tested in simulated environments by using printouts of the artworks and location spoofing.
The results showcase the capability of the framework to filter out relevant apps and design elements. These can then be implemented to inform future developments in the cultural heritage domain. Finally, we present how this framework was used to inform the design and development of an augmented reality indigenous artwork tour.

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Tags: AR/VR, Digital Transformation, Emerging Technology

Adapting Esports for Critical Thinking Education using Rocket League
Games For Change Asia Pacific Festival
November 02, 2021
This presentation explores the question, “How can commercial esports be adapted for critical thinking education to support learning transfer?” We answer this question firstly by communicating the design methodology, process and efficacy testing of a structured lesson plan built on the well-researched foundations of critical thinking and reflective practice. Secondly through the authors' experience in training critical thinking for elite sports coaches and adaption of games for educational change. With critical thinking increasingly valued in learners, there is broad consensus that educational institutions should teach critical thinking skills. However, studies suggest that graduates are unprepared to think critically once in the workforce, leaving the efficacy of current approaches in doubt. By combining Rocket League with focused dialogues that emphasize good reasoning, reflection, and communication, we argue that video games provide an ideal substrate for teaching critical thinking.

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Tags: Edtech, SportsTech

Open plan office noise is stressful: Multimodal stress detection in a simulated work environment
EuroNoise 2021 Congress
October 25, 2021
Covid-induced changes in the workplace present a timely opportunity for human resource management practitioners to consider and remediate the deleterious effects of noise, a commonly cited complaint of employees working in open-plan office environments. There is little experimental research comprehensively investigating the effects of noise on employees in terms of their cognitive performance, physiological indicators of stress, and affect. Employing a simulated office setting, we compared the effects of a typical open-plan office auditory environment to a quieter private office auditory environment on a range of objective and subjective measures of well-being and performance. While open plan office noise did not reduce immediate cognitive task performance compared to the quieter environment, it did reduce psychological well-being as evidenced by self-reports of mood, facial expressions of emotion, and physiological indicators of stress in the form of heartrate and skin conductivity. Our research highlights the importance of using a multimodal approach to assess the impact of workplace stressors such as noise.

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Tags: Emerging Technology, Future of Work, Health and Wellness

Lessons Learned from Designing a Gamified Augmented Reality App for Indigenous Cultural Education
Games For Change Asia Pacific Festival 2021
October 07, 2021
This presentation explores lessons learned from designing an indigenous cultural tour through gamified augmented reality within a higher education setting. The audience will experience an indigenous art and story tour through the lens of the smartphone complemented by expert commentary on the constraints and design journey of the implementation process. We focus on supporting designers and developers wishing to build applications within indigenous and higher educational environments. To support the indigenous culture and education, we answer two questions, “How does one approach working with indigenous culture?” and “How does one work within a restricted and secure educational environment?” Finally, we present the limitations that concern research in culturally sensitive environments, technology limitations, and constraints that are in place at universities.
****************
Author of the abstract:
Nikolche Vasilevski (Bond University)

Speakers - video presentation
Nikolche Vasilevski (Bond University)
Narelle Urquhart (Bond University)James Birt (Bond University)

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Tags: AR/VR, Digital Transformation, Emerging Technology

Impact of room acoustics on cognitive performance and well-being
The Australasian Experimental Psychology Society Conference
April 09, 2021
Irrelevant ambient noise can have profound effects on human performance and wellbeing. Acoustic interventions (e.g., installation of sound absorbing
materials) that reduce intelligible noise (i.e., sound unrelated to the relevant speech, including noise from other talkers within the space) by reducing
room reverberation, have been found to be an effective means to alleviate the negative effects of noise on cognitive performance. However, these
interventions are expensive, and it is difficult to evaluate their impact in the field. Virtual reality (VR) provides a promising simulation platform to
evaluate the likely impact of varied acoustic interventions before they are chosen and installed. This study employed a virtual classroom environment
to evaluate whether an intervention to reduce reverberation can be simulated successfully in VR and mitigate the effects of ambient noise on cognitive
performance, physiological stress, and mood. The repeated-measures experimental design consisted of three acoustic conditions: no ambient noise,
typical open-plan classroom ambient noise without acoustic treatment, and the same ambient noise with acoustic treatment to reduce reverberation.
Results revealed that ambient noise negatively affected participants’ cognitive performance but had no measurable effect on physiological stress or
self-reported mood. Importantly, the negative effect of ambient noise was completely ameliorated by the acoustic treatment (i.e. indistinguishable from
performance in the no noise condition). The study shows that VR provides an effective and efficient means to evaluate the cognitive effects of acoustic
interventions.

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Tags: AR/VR, Future of Work, Health and Wellness

6 Journal Publications
The role of the Embodiment Director in virtual reality film production
Creative Industries Journal / Taylor & Francis
January 07, 2022
This paper proposes the role of an emerging job role within the virtual reality (VR) film production crew. This role we call the Embodiment Director, involves assisting the VR Film Director in the accomplishment of true immersive film experiences through the use of game engines and VR peripherals. The Embodiment Director will manage the inception of haptics and stimuli technologies that allow for the embodiment of humans within a virtual environment, and they must guarantee precise synchronicity between physical and virtual counterparts, while overseeing the safety use of software and hardware during the entire production process of the VR film experiences. This paper offers a contemporary review of the key creative roles within traditional and virtual film production, in order to generate a concise and valid argument for the role of the Embodiment Director supported by autoethnography.

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Tags: AR/VR

Open-plan office noise is stressful: multimodal stress detection in a simulated work environment
Journal of Management and Organization
November 01, 2021
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019)-induced changes in the workplace present a timely opportunity for human resource management practitioners to consider and remediate the deleterious effects of noise, a commonly cited complaint of employees working in open-plan office (OPO) environments. While self-reports suggest that OPO noise is perceived as a stressor, there is little experimental research comprehensively investigating the effects of noise on employees in terms of their cognitive performance, physiological indicators of stress, and affect. Employing a simulated office setting, we compared the effects of a typical OPO auditory environment to a quieter private office auditory environment on a range of objective and subjective measures of well-being and performance. While OPO noise did not reduce immediate cognitive task performance compared to the quieter environment, it did reduce psychological well-being as evidenced by self-reports of mood, facial expressions of emotion, and physiological indicators of stress in the form of heartrate and skin conductivity. Our research highlights the importance of using a multimodal approach to assess the impact of workplace stressors such as noise. Such an approach will allow HR practitioners to make data-driven recommendations about the design and modification of workspaces to minimize negative effects and support employee well-being.

See publication

Tags: Emerging Technology, Future of Work, Health and Wellness

Human-Centered Design Science Research Evaluation for Gamified Augmented Reality
Frontiers in Virtual Reality
October 01, 2021
As augmented reality (AR) and gamification design artifacts for education proliferate in the mobile and wearable device market, multiple frameworks have been developed to implement AR and gamification. However, there is currently no explicit guidance on designing and conducting a human-centered evaluation activity beyond suggesting possible methods that could be used for evaluation. This study focuses on human-centered design evaluation pattern for gamified AR using Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM) to support educators and developers in constructing immersive AR games. Specifically, we present an evaluation pattern for a location-based educational indigenous experience that can be used as a case study to support the design of augmented (or mixed) reality interfaces, gamification implementations, and location-based services. This is achieved through the evaluation of three design iterations obtained in the development cycle of the solution. The holistic analysis of all iterations showed that the evaluation process could be reused, evolved, and its complexity reduced. Furthermore, the pattern is compatible with formative and summative evaluation and the technical or human-oriented types of evaluation. This approach provides a method to inform the evaluation of gamified AR apps. At the same time, it will enable a more approachable evaluation process to support educators, designers, and developers.

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Tags: AR/VR, Digital Twins, Emerging Technology

Virtual and augmented reality enhancements to medical and science student physiology and anatomy test performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Anatomical Sciences Education
May 01, 2021
Virtual and augmented reality have seen increasing employment for teaching within medical and health sciences programs. For disciplines such as physiology and anatomy, these technologies may disrupt the traditional modes of teaching and content delivery. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to evaluate the impact of virtual reality or augmented reality on knowledge acquisition for students studying pre-clinical physiology and anatomy. The protocol was submitted to Prospero and literature search undertaken in PubMed, Embase, ERIC, and other databases. Citations were reviewed and articles published in full assessing learning or knowledge acquisition in pre-clinical physiology and anatomy from virtual or augmented reality were included. Of the 919 records found, 52 eligible articles were reviewed in full-text, with eight studies meeting full eligibility requirements. There was no significant difference in knowledge scores from combining the eight studies (626 participants), with the pooled difference being a non-significant increase of 2.9 percentage points (95% CI[-2.9;8.6]). For the four studies comparing virtual reality to traditional teaching, the pooled treatment effect difference was 5.8 percentage points (95% CI[-4.1;15.7]). For the five studies comparing augmented reality to traditional teaching, the pooled treatment effect difference was 0.07 (95% CI[-7.0;7.2]). Upon review of the literature, it is apparent that educators could benefit from adopting assessment processes that evaluate three-dimensional spatial understanding as a priority in physiology and anatomy. The overall evidence suggests that although test performance is not significantly enhanced with either mode, both virtual and augmented reality are viable alternatives to traditional methods of education in health sciences and medical courses.

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Tags: AR/VR, Edtech, Healthtech

Using Virtual Reality to Evaluate the Impact of Room Acoustics on Cognitive Performance and Well-Being
Frontiers in Virtual Reality
April 12, 2021
Irrelevant ambient noise can have profound effects on human performance and wellbeing. Acoustic interventions (e.g., installation of sound absorbing materials) that reduce intelligible noise (i.e., sound unrelated to the relevant speech, including noise from other talkers within the space) by reducing room reverberation, have been found to be an effective means to alleviate the negative effects of noise on cognitive performance. However, these interventions are expensive, and it is difficult to evaluate their impact in the field. Virtual reality (VR) provides a promising simulation platform to evaluate the likely impact of varied acoustic interventions before they are chosen and installed. This study employed a virtual classroom environment to evaluate whether an intervention to reduce reverberation can be simulated successfully in VR and mitigate the effects of ambient noise on cognitive performance, physiological stress, and mood. The repeated-measures experimental design consisted of three acoustic conditions: no ambient noise, typical open-plan classroom ambient noise without acoustic treatment, and the same ambient noise with acoustic treatment to reduce reverberation. Results revealed that ambient noise negatively affected participants’ cognitive performance but had no measurable effect on physiological stress or self-reported mood. Importantly, the negative effect of ambient noise was completely ameliorated by the acoustic treatment (i.e. indistinguishable from performance in the no noise condition). The study shows that VR provides an effective and efficient means to evaluate the cognitive effects of acoustic interventions.

See publication

Tags: AR/VR, Future of Work, Health and Wellness

Comparison of Single and Multiuser Immersive Mobile Virtual Reality Usability in Construction Education
Educational Technology and Society
March 28, 2021
Immersive virtual reality (IVR) and mobile technologies have been identified as important in reimaging information delivery and pedagogy. This, coupled with evolving research in single (SUVR) and multiuser (MUVR) IVR environments, may enhance educational practice. However, there is limited research on the impact of such technologies on the learners' experience in authentic learning environments, such as building information modeling in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) workflows. This paper addresses this through a study of forty-eight participants recruited from a postgraduate construction course at an Australian University to answer a research question on how mobile MUVR is more useable than mobile SUVR when experiencing building information models. A within-subjects' experiment was performed using a mixed-methods approach assessing participant mobile IVR Usability on a 5-point Likert scale across four constructs and analysis of reflective sentiment and essays. The results show that when the participants moved from SUVR to MUVR, this significantly increased the overall perceived mobile IVR Usability. Combined with the qualitative analysis, these results suggest that MUVR influences mobile IVR Usability and an increase in learner experience. This study can be used as a launchpad for future research that will explore the causes of the evolution of the enhancement that MUVR provides, expanding beyond the scope of AEC education and industries.

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Tags: AR/VR, Digital Twins, Edtech

1 Podcast
Mixed Reality, Computer Games and E-Sports Educator Podcast
Still Curious Podcast
April 12, 2022
In this episode: Using virtual reality in the classroom. How games taught James important life skills. Innovation and entrepreneurship in education and tensions between formal and informal modes of learning. The pedagogical value of game jams and hackathons. Parallels between e-sports and regular sports. How games helped James when he broke his back. The importance of standards and governance and an argument for formalised education.

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Tags: Innovation, Edtech, Entrepreneurship

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