Here it is: release nr 9 is now officially live! If you wondered what was keeping us so occupied, this was it 😀
We launched a lot of big changes recently and in this post I will give an overview of the most important updates.
This is quite a long one so if you don’t want to read it all, here is a short summary:
- We now offer a free plan for creators. So if your trial expired recently, log in again on imedu and upgrade to the free plan to keep experimenting.
- You can now import your own 3D worlds and use them for your spaces.
- The UI for uploading content is improved, including the option to add 360 images.
- The updated ClassManager has a better UI and works with 6 new learning methods. It is cleaner and less cluttered to work with.
- You can now directly test your spaces from your dashboard. These tests do not count towards your monthly quota of classes.
- We launched a first version of a public profile page. You can turn this on and add spaces to let other people see your work and get in touch.
- More free advice and tips are coming up this summer. Follow us on linkedIn or Twitter.
Experiment longer with our free plan
If you want to experiment a bit longer with imedu, then check out our new free plan. This allows you experiment freely and even organize some free classes for students.
If you are running a free trial, or recently finished one, you can simply login and select the free plan on the Settings page
Together with our upcoming community events (see below), we hope this helps more creators and educators to apply virtual education!
Import your own 3D worlds
Use the now fully integrated Spoke editor to add your own designs to the ClassManager. Build your world in Blender and use the Mozilla Hubs plugin (or a simple .glb file) to create your project in Spoke. Then use it directly as the basis for a new learning space in ClassManager.
We see a lot of instructional designers and creative teachers trying out imedu, but using your own designs was always a bit of a hassle. With this update we automate the complete design process, from building 3D models to inviting students in your spaces! Read more about the design workflow in this article.
About our compatibility with Mozilla Hubs: imedu is using an adapted version of Mozilla Hubs to host the ‘virtual world’. This is an amazing open source project that can serve as basis for customized virtual (metaverse) platforms. We created imedu by changing the functionality to have a better fit with education, and adding our ClassManager. But we still use the same underlying technology, which means you can reuse other Hubs scenes or build your own custom 3D worlds with Spoke and Blender.
Upload 360 images and video with the new and improved upload buttons.
A much simpler menu, and more options for uploading assets means you spend less time on setting up your spaces. To upload 360 images or videos, you only have to toggle a switch!
With our standard templates, creating a virtual learning space is a matter of a few clicks. But the menu options and buttons to add your own content to these spaces, were a bit ‘technical’. So we made that less confusing and added more customizations while doing so.
The new buttons show directly what you can upload by having a separate button and dialog for each type of content. And we also added specific options to customize how your uploads look in the space. If you ‘drag’ a file into the screen (yes, you can do that!), we also show this popup to give a uniform experience.
Maybe the best feature is that you can now simply add 360 images or videos! Just select ‘show as 360’ when uploading an image or video, and it will be shown as a sphere where you can walk into to admire.
It’s also easier to change the preview image of a link or info panel. By default it shows up as a preview of the webpage you are linking to, or a ‘poster with title’ for quizzes and articles. Now you can now upload your own image or select one of the default icons.
So, you can use a big floating question mark to represent a quiz, place an article behind a photo in a gallery, or hide some tips under a picture of a treasure chest. Keep that creativity flowing, because we will make this even better soon!
More updates for imedu world: less distraction and support for dark mode.
When you are in a learning space you don’t want to be distracted by the UI around it, but hiding it always is also inconvenient. That is why we toned down the colors in the menus and also added support for a dark theme (uses the settings of your browser).
The virtual interface also got more small updates like a better visible mouse pointer, clearer name tags, and less annoying blue glows. There are also new personalization settings under ‘Preferences’, and we fixed our high resolution screen sharing.
A new version of the Classmanager to help you make better spaces
Check out the improved UI that makes it cleaner and less cluttered to work with. There are also some new standard templates, and we use more support popups. But most importantly: we now guide you through a special space creation process to help you make learning spaces that have an impact.
Our long term strategy is to collect more and more best-practices for virtual education and integrate them in our platform. Defining and sharing common learning methods is one of them, and now we used them in the space creation process.
Just click on ‘Add a space’ in the Spaces overview and you will enter the new flow. You will see that we defined 6 categories of ‘learning methods’. You can choose which type of space you will make and we will suggest templates (and more in the next updates) that works for your type of class.
Let’s say you want to make a class for ‘instruction & demonstration’, we will suggest spaces that are suited to move around 3D models, or have big screen(s) to share your webcam or screen. Ofcourse, it’s up to you how you build your space and you can still make another choice, or even import your own design (see above!).
Like every month we added more standard spaces. You can now use a small city, coffee bar and large art gallery as context for your classes. During the summer we will focus more on updating and improving our existing spaces, because fair is fair: some could use some love 🙂
“Several bug fixes and improvements” doesn’t say much, but be assured that we always try to find ways to make the application better and faster. To provide better support we will be using our support widget more to send you messages and display useful help and tips in every supported language (English and Dutch at this moment).
Quickly test your spaces
Although it was already possible but very hidden, you can now easily test your spaces with a student or colleague without losing a class from your monthly quota.
We put the option to test a space straight on the homepage (and in the schedule), so it is close at hand. It replaces the ‘start an instant class’ button, which was mostly used for testing anyway, and if you schedule a class you can very easily let it start right away.
Publish your work on your personal profile page
You don’t need to have a group of students to build great spaces, so why not put them on your profile and show them to the world? With a public profile we want to support creators and help them to get in touch with educators looking for content.
With your profile page we make the first steps in this direction. We believe spaces should be shared, and this is a way to connect creators with educators. And we really don’t believe in lock-ins, so everything about your space that is not linked to our specific features, will be able to be export.
To personalize your imedu environment you can now also upload a logo and short public introduction for your organization. Your logo will also be shown on the invitation pages for your classes.
By default the profile page is disabled and empty, but you can decide to switch it on and add spaces to it. Let us know what you miss most, or don’t like! And…. we’re also running a small private beta for selling access tickets (codes you can sell or share, and people can use to enter directly). Let us know if you are interested.
Free creator community
We already started on the next big update so we have something to do during summer. Expect, among other things, more tools for building gamified experiences and improved spaces.
Last but not least, we’ll be kicking of with a new ‘creator community’, where we will share regular free tips, tricks and webinars. Stay tuned via linkedIn or Twitter for more info.