For the 2017/2018 academic year, Dr. Kimberly Cox had the opportunity to use a Kubi in her face-to-face classroom to bring in a student participating in the class from a distance. These are exciting times for Chadron State College as it provides several opportunities for students to learn from CSC instructors. Now, with the recent addition of Zoom to the services CSC offers to instructors and students, the Kubi makes it possible for remote students to engage and interact in face-to-face classes via active, synchronous videoconferencing.
I recently asked Kim Cox to share her perspective on using the Kubi, a new device in the Teaching and Learning Center’s library, for one of her classes. Dr. Cox answered a few questions relating to the set up and requirements of using the Kubi, her experience using the Kubi technology paired with Vidyo, and how the Kubi could benefit other students and faculty.
Teaching with the Kubi
How are you using this technology to enhance your teaching?
CSC is a Frontier and Remote intuition and is also open enrollment. This means that we teach many students who work full-time in addition to attending school, have family responsibilities, and travel long distances to attend face-to-face. Those who can’t are then left with online classes, which work exceptionally well for some, but does not meet all types of learners’ needs and does not always support best practices in every discipline or for every class. Shakespeare, for example, could be taught online, but is more interactive in the face-to-face classroom because part of delving into the literature is delving into performance and considering how stage directions, lighting, and especially line delivery affects our reading of his various plays. The Kubi-Vidyo-iPad set-up allowed a student who has a full-time job and lives three hours away to attend a face-to-face class. She was able to participate in discussion, work in small groups with her peers, and engage in performances. She was even able to work with a partner and use an iPad to explore the Globe 360º app put out by the Globe Theater in London to explore the theater that Shakespeare’s plays were performed in and stage a short scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Without this technology, my student would have had to take the course as an Independent Study online, which would have meant a more isolated, less interactive experience. Further, the Kubi allowed me to use a classroom that would allow us to push back the desks and perform when need be; it wasn’t restricted to the IVN classrooms, which are designed for lecture.
Do you have plans to use this technology differently in the future?
I’d love to explore more fully the Kubi’s capabilities. It has a lot of potential for providing our distance learners with a face-to-face experience. Virtual attendance is another option that holds the capacity to expand what we think about as online education. In the future, I would want to have more than one student attend virtually. I’d want to test how this would work having both students on a single Kubi and having more than one in a class. I’d also love to explore its potential with my colleagues who teach other courses. It might, for example, allow for a more engaged workshop experience in 200-level and above writing courses than would simply sharing work over the Sakai forums. There’s lots of potential here.
Do you see other departments benefiting from this technology?
Absolutely! The device can be as useful as we want to make it. It could offer a more interactive way to engage in office hours with online students. It could allow students who have to travel for various events to still attend class, as long as they have a computer and internet connection. It also holds the potential to offer a new way of holding workshops in online courses. I see a variety of possibilities. While the iPad and Vidyo are essential, what the Kubi does is give students attending class virtually agency: they can turn their iPad to better interact with their peers or their professor in the classroom.
Did you run into any problems with the device/technology?
There were a few times when we lost the charge or had Wi-Fi issues. But, those had a more of an effect on the iPad and Vidyo than on the Kubi’s functionality. My only other note is the packaging. It was a bit tricky to transport to class every day, so a cart, or a room with a storage safe, or a bag for its transport would be helpful. (Though I now realize that I should have just asked about that last semester.)
Do you have any suggestions or advice for faculty interest in using this technology in their classroom?
Ask! Jereme might hate me for saying this, but he is super helpful, so ask him. We explored numerous options for virtual attendance before landing on the Kubi, and then we spent as much time testing it out in the space. If you can think of a reason for using a stick capable of holding up an iPad and swiveling both horizontally and vertically, Jereme can help you figure out how to make it work!
Quick Kubi Facts
Does the Kubi require a computer?
Yes. The computer allows students to actually control the direction that the Kubi faces. It provides a range of side-to-side as well as up and down motion. While it does not allow for 360º rotation, my students were able to follow me around the front of the classroom and angle the Kubi so that they could see the board as they needed. When working in small groups, the limited range of motion was not a problem.
What software requirements are there for the Kubi?
This is a bit more technical than I’m prepared to answer. From the faculty side, I can say this: easy! I had an iPad with a Kubi app on it that I turned on every morning to get the Kubi up and running. Jereme handled everything else, and my students were entirely responsible for turning and angling it so that they could see.
What are the requirements for the remote student?
While one student was the primary user, I did have two that signed into Vidyo, attended virtually, and made use of the Kubi app one day. For them, they just needed access to a computer with a stable internet connection.
If you could recommend updates to the Kubi platform, what would they be?
Jereme mentioned the possibility of OWL technology that would allow students to rotate a full 360º in the classroom. Such a device would only improve on what the Kubi already offers. If there was a remote charger, or something to make the charging easier, that would be lovely. But, overall, the Kubi worked brilliantly.
Resources to Further Investigate the Kubi
To explore the Kubi more, Kubi Specs is a great source for basic information and how the Kubi works. Be sure to also check out Education Data for Kubi, a source that illustrates the benefits of using a Kubi in education! And finally, if you would like to start using a Kubi, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve one for your classroom. Please feel free to check out Zoom With Kubi Instructions and a study done at the University of Arizona for Zoom and the Kubi, Zoom Case – Arizona.
This article is part of a series intended to highlight educational technologies or teaching and learning strategies that are working well (and in some cases, not so well) for CSC instructors in the classroom or online courses. Whether you are a senior faculty member or a new one, please contact email@example.com if you have a story to share with your colleagues regarding what works well (or not so well) in your teaching and learning efforts.