Saturday, February 22, 2020

2020 #VWEDU: #DTA: Entrepreneurial thinking and design thinking for the virtual world Digital Teaching Assistant

Entrepreneurial thinking 
and design thinking for 
the virtual world Digital Teaching Assistant 

Entrepreneurial thinking discovers an opportunity to market a new product or service.   Design thinking develops a plan for producing and marketing such a product or service. A Digital Teaching Assistant is potentially a new product or service.  A collaboration of ideas.  This article is explicitly licensed Public Domain (CC0).

Group meeting in a virtual world
Click image to enlarge


    Design Thinking tackles complex problems 

    • 5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process
    • Empathising: Understanding the human needs involved.
    • Defining: Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways.
    • Ideating: Creating many ideas in ideation sessions.
    • Prototyping: Adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping.
    • Testing: Developing a prototype/solution to the problem.

    Entrepreneurial thinking

    • Entrepreneurial thinking
    • Identity unmet demand that you think you can meet.
    • Identify a product (or service) that you think can meet that demand.
    • Identify the potential market and start to specify the needed product.
    • At this point we reach the empathize stage of design thinking.
    • But entrepreneurial thinking does not stop with empathy:
    • Assess the potential market in terms of needs, accessibility. and pricing.
    • This is the product definition stage of design thinking.
    • Note that the entrepreneurial problem is marketing as well as producing.
    • Specifying a practical problem calls for ideation (as in design thinking).
    • The next stages are prototyping and testing as in design thinking.
    • The process may be iterated several times as a result of what is learned.

    What is the product and potential market?

    • Start with the idea that the product is a Digital Teaching Assistant in virtual worlds (MUVEs).
    • We know this product is highly modifiable, so we can leave the specs till later. 
    • We think that education could find this product useful, so that is a potential market.
    • Virtual worlds and education are terms at high levels of abstraction.  
    • A major skill for any kind of planning is concretization.  
    • Here that calls for matching a specific kind of virtual world with specific educational objectives. 
    • That is already being done by entrepreneurial teachers who have been shaping virtual places to their own needs.

    Who are the customers?

    • Here we must resort to entrepreneurial thinking. We don't have customers.
    • Students are the potential customers, but not exactly.
    • Students would be the ultimate users, but they will not be the buyers.
    • Who might have a hand in the buying decisions?
    • Teachers, school managers, deans.
    • And these have to consider the satisfaction of parents
    • So we have to consider the interests of students, teachersmanagers, and parents.

    What is the current status of the product idea ?

    What benefits can this product offer?

    • Lower costs:  Once done, the cost per unit time is tiny.
    • Wide market: Installed in a virtual world, it can support teaching anywhere.
    • Individual attention:  Each student gets the full attention of  DTA.
    • Reliable performance: DTA provides services as designed, 
    • No human foibles: no bias, no emotion, no sick days, no change in practice.
    • No behavioral problems: Those happen, but they stay at home.
    • Always available:  DTA is available whenever students want help.  Office hours:24/7.
    • Available online: No travel, DTA is always on call in any computer or smart phone.
    • Digital records:  Data can go directly to a learning management system.

    What benefits would attract school managers and deans?

    • Lower costs than a human teaching assistant.
    • Can eliminate building and travel costs.
    • Never produces "inappropriate behavior." 

    What benefits would attract teachers?

    • Frees the teacher to spend time on things only teachers can do.
    • Reliably does what it is programmed to do.
    • Never produces "inappropriate behavior." 
    • No human foibles: no bias, no emotion, no sick days, no change in instructional practice.
    • Provides teacher supervision of "homework."

    What benefits would attract students?

    • Can provide practice as a game, and as a social game if students want.
    • Can provide immediate or prompt feedback on learning efforts.
    • Can let students choose among alternative instructional methods.
    • Can provide guidance without being judgmental.

    What benefits would attract parents?

    • Can be part of a low-cost, safe, controlled-access environment.
    • Can let the student study at home (no transportation costs).
    • Can give the teacher (and so the parent) frequent updates on student progress.
    • Can let parents see and use the content material as they wish.
    • Can let parents try out the assignments as "guest students."

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    • Drop by my web offices Weekdays: 12:-12:30 pm Central time (US)
    • I am available for free consulting on any topic in this blog.
    • Cybalounge and 3DWebWorldz (Orientation room)
    • I will be in both places, so you may need to speak to get my attention.
    • Web-worlds, 3D virtual worlds running in a browser. Summary
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    • Don't register -- enter as guest.  


    • Original text in this blog is CC By: unless specified public domain.
    • Use as you please with attribution: link to the original.
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    • Annotated screenshots made with Jing
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