Lurie Children’s Hospital Offers Kids Virtual Escape from Intensive Care Unit.

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From scuba diving to snowboarding, patients in the pediatric intensive care unit leave the hospital behind with virtual reality For the first time in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), patients get a chance to scuba dive, snowboard, and go on a safari or other adventures, all from their hospital bed.

The 360 degree immersions into virtual environments were extremely well received by PICU patients and their parents, according to results from a pilot study from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago that were published in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. All 32 study participants, ages 3-17 years, reported that they enjoyed using virtual reality. All of their parents agreed, with over 80 percent reporting that virtual reality experience calmed their child.

“We conducted this study to make sure that it is feasible to introduce virtual reality into a pediatric intensive care setting and that kids respond well to it,” says senior author Marcelo Malakooti, MD, from Lurie Children’s who also is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics-Critical Care at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“We are now introducing virtual reality more broadly to critically ill children on the unit who are often alert, but stuck in bed just passively watching TV. Such minimal engagement with their environment over prolonged hospitalization can lead to delirium or other cognitive and emotional impairments. We hope that the stimulation and interaction that virtual reality offers will mitigate that risk and improve outcomes for these children.”

Based on the positive results of the pilot study, Dr. Malakooti, lead author Colleen Badke, MD, and colleagues at Lurie Children’s are now conducting a larger study to examine how virtual reality use in the PICU impacts pain, anxiety and physical factors like blood pressure and heart rate variation, among others. Research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is conducted through the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute.

The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 212,000 children from 49 states and 51 countries.

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Augmented reality in children’s books increases engagement translating into better learning outcomes.

53274772_384802738767478_1285140844453560320_nThe popularity of technologies like augmented reality is increasing as more publishers use them to engage young readers. In the US, only 38% of 4th graders and 19% of 8th graders report reading on their own time, and technologies such as AR are seen as a way to reach a generation which grew up constantly interacting with screens and digital content.

This also forms part of a broader shift towards empowering readers and engaging them in the creative process. A recent World Economic Forum report listed creativity as one of the top skills needed for workers to thrive by 2020, and such interactive technologies are key in accomplishing this.

Augmented reality is far from a new phenomenon, however, and many in the publishing industry have been investing in this area for some time.

Publishers in this space tend to agree that this technology has the potential to combine the best aspects of both digital and print. The personalized books 3.2.1 Publishing creates are printed and then coupled with a 3D augmented reality experience that can be accessed through a free mobile app on any smartphone or tablet.

We believe it is not about what AR as a technology can achieve—it’s about the way it is leveraged in the book so that it hooks and enriches the young reader’s experience in ways that a normal book could not.

It should address specific pain points perceived by those young readers, who tend to enjoy books in a different way and want to get involved, not just from a reading perspective. That is where AR can provide additional depth and richness to make reading more fun, interesting and engaging.

UK Lebanon Tech Hub conducted market research amongst a sample of parents aged from 25 to 45 to learn what factors might appeal to them and encourage their adoption of AR technology.

The surveys and interviews found that while the vast majority – over 93% – of parents habitually used devices like smartphones, tablets or PCs themselves (and often let their children use them), they were often concerned that the content their children consumed should be both educational and interactive. While many viewed AR as a gimmick, once they were introduced to it they often perceived it as a potential way of improving their children’s short attention span and enhancing interaction with them.

Many believe that augmented reality and virtual reality work on reading because it uses multimodal learning, meaning we are using more than one sense in the brain to learn.  Gerald Gentemann founder of 3.2.1. Publishing explains, “AR creates a strong emotional tie for young readers, like they are attached to the book and part of the story. If you watch any kid read with augmented reality it’s as if they are playing a game.”

Two PhD researchers at the University of Central Florida, Maria C. R. Harrington and Emily K. Johnson investigated how augmented reality has the potential to foster engagement, and their preliminary results chime with a recent article in Publishing Research Quarterly which notes the technology’s positive impact on literacy and overall learning effectiveness through cognitive attainment: ”Augmented technology contributes to increasing engagement, invites participation, and develops appreciation of the context. Augmented books are proposed to incentivize curiosity, facilitate the interpretation of text and illustrations, and provide a learning tool that relates to the reader,” the paper concludes.

In an article published in the Computers & Education Journal, however, researchers examining the potential of AR for education warned that while the technology did offer many new learning opportunities, it also presented significant challenges. It’s more productive, instead, to approach AR as a concept rather than a technology.

Dean Velez founder of Anvel Studios one the pioneers in VR and AR edutainment believes this is the approach publishers are adopting, ensuring that their titles are “future proof” by designing engaging experiences anchored on great stories. Velez concludes, “If you have robust content, it will engage readers whether they’re viewing it on a smartphone, through smart glasses…or using whatever new device comes next.”

Creative Block? Use the Dr. Seuss technique.

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While a creative block usually comes because we simply can’t come up with any new ideas, it can also come from having too many.

The blank page is scary, not only because of what’s not there, but because of all the potential it holds.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the work, follow the Dr. Seuss technique.

Before writing Green Eggs and Ham, his beloved children’s book that has sold 200 million copies around the world, Theo Geisel (Dr. Seuss’s real name), had accepted a bet from his publisher, Bennett Cerf. There was only $50 on the line, but Cerf said Geisel couldn’t write an entertaining children’s book using only 50 different words.

We all know what happened. But why?

There’s a few reasons the constraint actually made Seuss more creative:

It forced him to use novel solutions. 

If you’re a photographer and don’t have a lighting setup, you think up new ways to get the shot you want.

He wasn’t distracted by options. 

When your options are limited, you don’t fall victim to choice paralysis and can focus on getting things done.

It made him think practically. 

When your canvas or toolkit changes, you have to rethink what you can actually do. This changes the conversation from “What should I do?” to “What can I do with what I have?”