Taiwan Tech Institute of Digital Learning Focuses on Metaverse After Winning Social Responsibility Award for Use of Animations and Virtual Reality

University social responsibility

Social accountability is increasingly becoming an intrinsic aspect of global higher education systems, following the World Declaration on Higher Education in the 21st Century developed at the UNESCO Conferences on Higher Education in Paris in 1998 and 2009. Today, social responsibility has gone far beyond the “philanthropy” of the past. Instead, it focuses on the organization’s contribution to sustainable development and proactive solutions to societal and environmental challenges. As a result, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) around the world are now embracing sustainability issues and engaging their campuses and communities in such efforts, which has led to the development of integrity and ethical values ​​in these organizations. and their relationships with stakeholders. Universities see it as the best route to the personal and professional development of students as well as the promotion of critical and engaged global citizenship, commonly referred to as University Social Responsibility (USR). As a result, a USR Global Network was established in the United States of America in 2008 to provide platforms for the exchange of ideas, resources, policies, practices, issues and solutions among member institutions . Its members have since spread across Asia-Pacific, North America, Western Europe, Africa, Australia and the Middle East.

In Taiwan, the Ministry of Education (MOE) promoted USR from the year 2018 to position universities as active contributors to local sustainability. The monthly magazine Global Views describes USR projects as essential steps to link the 17 United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to efforts to meet the development needs of local communities, as universities offer solutions to global issues. Between 2019 and 2022, Taiwan’s USR projects were executed in two phases, with the MOE funding 97 universities to complete 217 projects out of the 437 applications received. Local universities are encouraged to actively affiliate with regional schools and develop international exchange platforms that extend their impact on higher education transformation locally and internationally through the SPROUT Higher Education Project.

Higher Education Sprout Project

The “Higher Education SPROUT Project” was launched in 2018 to deepen links between local HEIs, create global networks and take the future lead in improving the quality of higher education through development. multi-faceted. The project also aimed to strengthen the international competitiveness of HEIs and research centers in Taiwan and to support disadvantaged students. “Sprout” is an acronym for “Sustained Progress and Rise of Universities in Taiwan”, and symbolizes the beginning of robust growth after the seeding of the educational foundation. In the long term with this project, the ministry envisioned the development of innovative teaching, increased publicity for Taiwanese higher education, the advancement of university characteristics, and the fulfillment of the university’s social responsibility. As a result, certain mechanisms have been put in place to energize local exchange networks through public discourse between professors, students and society in general on development issues. Many universities are now looking abroad to broaden their horizons through increased international engagements and strengthened global ties. To create a stronger social network of students, faculty, and the wider community in today’s digital age, some Taiwanese universities are now using advanced digital technology to solve problems in a socially responsible way.

Taiwan Tech uses animations and virtual reality

Taiwan Tech has made exceptional use of modern digital technologies in fulfilling its social responsibility. In the 2021 Higher Education Sprout project, the digital learning institute showcased an impressive act of bringing junior high school students to study with community elders through digital storytelling, which involved animations, graphics and virtual reality to convey their life stories. He created an immersive experience for attendees, which earned Taiwan Tech a prestigious award in the University Citizen category.

National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST), or Taiwan Tech as it is commonly known, stands out as one of the local universities that have seized the many opportunities presented by current digital technologies to promote social responsibility. personal and professional. As the most internationalized university in Taiwan, NTUST has implemented several USR projects to integrate its expertise and strengths into national and international programs. In the 2021 Higher Education Project Sprout, Taiwan Tech ranked first in the University Citizen Award category for the third consecutive time. Since universities are facilitators of social innovation and industry-university regional partnership linkages, foreign and local Taiwan Tech students have formed volunteer teams to introduce new immigrant school children to the culture of their home countries. ‘origin. Faculty and student teams from the University Institute for Digital Learning and Education brought junior high school students to study with community elders, encouraging them to pass on their life stories. The activity was conducted through digital storytelling, which primarily involved multimedia elements such as images, text, audio, graphics, animations, filming, and even virtual reality (VR) footage. NTUST students first met community elders who shared their life stories, experiences, societal issues, cultural issues, and environmental concerns. The narrations then constituted the plots, and to facilitate transmission in the digital age, animations and virtual reality sequences were then developed. The final digital stories were then passed on to junior high school students, who found them interesting and valuable.

Taiwan Tech students listen to and record stories from community elders

Using multimedia elements like animations, graphics and virtual reality provides a truly authentic experience and builds attitudes and motivation to share even more. Movable Ink reports that the human brain processes visual images 60,000 times faster than text due to its open receptivity to images. Additionally, people can remember 65% of visual content for up to three days after viewing it. These claims came into sharp relief when Taiwan Tech’s digital stories had a huge impact on high school students and community alumni. In fact, the ability to edit and adapt stories for different audiences has shown that digital stories are not only effective at engaging audiences without formal planning experience, but also at creating cross-generational and cross-cultural conversations. Additionally, the digital stories in this exercise were easily made to create community memory and can be flexibly shared as needed.

Taiwan Tech Animation Production Interface for Digital Stories

Most of the participants expressed their joy and satisfaction with the transition from the traditional art of storytelling to modern digital storytelling. For them, it was a realization of Jason Ohler’s dream: “I only know one thing about the technologies that await us in the future: we will find ways to tell stories with them. They praised Taiwan Tech for coming up with such a vital program and chose to integrate technology to convey people’s experience to the world. Community elders also noted that integrating technology into storytelling to high school students was the most appropriate way to get their attention as they were digital natives. Typically, this activity uniquely manifests Robert McKee’s quote: “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, and meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact. NTUST is now looking to the future to leverage even more technologies to meet USR.

The Future of Taiwan Tech Animation and the Metaverse

Through the successful use of graphics, virtual reality, and animations in the USR 2021 project, Taiwan Tech now joins the USR global network to find state-of-the-art approaches to social responsibility service delivery, especially at home. digital era. The Digital Learning Institute is currently exploring a future of the virtual world, in which social media is more personal. A metaverse is a place where people can connect, with the ability to do almost anything, from creating art and games to creating content and instant teleporting. It will be easier for people to interact more freely, make more friends online and meet colleagues in the virtual world. The NTUST Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education has focused on a metaverse community, which should be more fun and beneficial. Later USR projects will more likely include the Metaverse.

About the SparkAmplify Cast

SparkAmplify was founded in 2016. It is a California and Taipei-based SaaS company specializing in media outreach and influencer engagement. The team is made up of a group of passionate data scientists, engineers, designers, and marketers who seek to reshape digital marketing through machine learning and influencer social network analytics. SparkAmplify was selected as one of the Top 50 Startups from over 6,000 startups from 80 countries at the Startup Grind Global Conference 2017 and one of the Top 100 Startups at the Asian Echelon Summit 2019.

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