What’s a Headless CMS?

What’s this Headless CMS I keep hearing about?

A Content Management System (CMS) is an online platform that helps with organising and displaying documents, blogs, wikis, or even websites. CMSs deliver most of the web content through browsers but now there’s pressure to deliver more than just html pages. 

Smartphones, wearables, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), and AI-enabled voice assistants are delivering visual/audio and even sensory content that falls out of what a standard html document was originally designed for. This is where the concept of a headless CMS comes to the rescue. A headless CMS separates how the content is managed and how it is presented. Headless is the principle of not forcing the content to be in the same form in which it might be presented; that is, content does not have to be saved or delivered as a html format. With this operational imperative, immersive experiences, whether in the guise of virtual or augmented reality, can be managed by a headless CMS which is now structured to distribute any type of digital information.

A headless CMS stores and manages the content as data (files) and live feeds (connections with data streaming options). With this approach the content manager, as the person delivering the goods to their audience, is free to transform the content into presentations that include many of today’s cutting edge technologies, such as: 

  • The delivery of VR/AR experiences as presentations; simulations; digital twins; or panoramic remote instances which control distant processes or machinery in real-time.
  • The implementation of AI visual/speech-enabled agents to aid us by providing information, recommendations and other assistance.
  • The design of visualisations related to IoT or complex data analysis, to facilitate understanding and enhance engagement ( and the list keeps growing…)

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So, what’s the value of a headless CMS?

What was the value of a CMS, when all you could do before they became popular was to hand code html pages whenever you needed an online solution? A nanosecond of consideration (or perhaps a bit more) provides a list of benefits: 

  • The time saved through streamlined processes. 
  • Cost reduction gained through content development becoming accessible to non-technical staff.
  • Risk mitigation through having access to a much larger pool of potential content developers.
  • More control by having a workflow which could include moderators and QA personnel.
  • Enhanced security since all web-pages were addressed by industry-accepted security protocols; and more.

All these gains are now paralleled when people shift from their CMS to a headless CMS model, as custom purpose content that previously would have required software development and technical oversight is transformed into non-technical workflow, still requiring artists and designers, but not the software and technical business analysts of old.

 

How does the headless CMS improve content development and distribution?

Content, regardless of its source, is always classified and accessible: Data and digital assets that were used for earlier projects are not lost in the mountain of material that may have been left behind. Since all material is managed by the headless CMS, every piece of data and digital object is always ready to live another day under a completely different content presentation (for instance, turn your old video into an AR experience.)

Economic value: What could have been a custom purpose, time-limited, silo experience (AR/VR, complex data visualisation, etc.) Can now be an experience that can be managed by your headless CMS. You may wish to extend such experiences to generate new value (for instance, recast a visualisation from just exposing the variables that drive certain business transactions or behaviours to perform forecasts for different scenarios, with the further implementation of AI support.)

Integration of new Solutions: New functionalities within the headless CMS are much easier to develop and deploy since the functionality can be easily encapsulated as a module of a much larger set of modules that form the system. These modules connect and support each other, but are designed in a way that changes to any of its parts does not negatively affect the running of the system.

Uniform Security rather than piecemeal efforts: Any product that is not designed, built, and distributed under a uniform system will always have its security protocols questioned (and rightly so.) A properly configured headless CMS must include the appropriate security protocols to satisfy industry standards. Each product, as a published content type, will be stamped by the umbrella security protocol of its headless CMS, ensuring a better reception by its audience.

The Headless CMS is not going away. They are here now and will continue to grow in acceptance and value. It is no longer a decision of whether you should invest in a headless CMS solution but rather when. 

Digital Twin Technologies: The Game Changer in 2020

Have you heard about the latest technology trend “digital twin?” While it is not a new idea, the term has been gaining huge momentum in the modern era. The concept has been in existence since the initial days of in-depth space exploration. However, with improved connectivity along with the advent of high-end technologies like IoT and Virtual Reality (VR), the overall hype around the technology of the digital twin has been spreading lately.

It has been revealed that the digital twin technology is expected to grow from $1.8 million to reach around $13.5 million by the time of 2025. 

What is the Digital Twin Technology?

A digital twin can be stated in terms of a visual representation of some physical system, process or object. The fact that makes this technology so interesting and functional is that real-time data from meters, sensors and other relevant sources can be utilised for informing the respective digital copies of the given assets in a typical virtual space. This allows for the overall monitoring as well as analysis and opportunities for optimisation, future simulation and machine learning.

Importance of the Digital Twin 

For the upcoming future, the concept of the digital twin helps in providing the most value in equipment management. The digital twin is also capable of providing property managers as well as building engineers the capability of:

  • Visualising and monitoring building equipment along with systems in real-time
  • Connecting contrasting systems and promoting traceability through a common digital thread
  • Optimising building operations with top-end predictive analysis
  • Troubleshooting equipment from some distance

The given insights into the inner system of buildings and how the same can be improved could imply major savings in maintenance repairs, operations, utility consumption, and optimised IoT-based asset performance.

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Outbreak of the Digital Twin Technology

Just like other high-end technologies such as blockchain, the technology of the digital twin is also estimated to be utilised in a myriad of industry verticals. The overall use of digital twins is going to extend much beyond the concept of commercial real estate – reaching far into other industries including city planning, manufacturing, healthcare and marketing, to name a few. 

As per a recent study, it is estimated that around 21 billion connected endpoints and sensors by the end of 2020 will be existing for the digital twin technology. While the overall assurance of such predictions are yet to be analysed, businesses are still excited about what this would imply for the commercial real estate industry. 

For example, when digital twins are amalgamated with VR technology, the natural interaction and immersive views that VR technology has to offer might ensure tweaking designs to make the same less cumbersome and more intuitive. At the same time, simulations can be implemented in real time for observing what the given product in action would appear – enabling rapid-speed design phases. 

We recently interviewed digital transformation influencer Antonio Grasso. In our chat Grasso explores the opportunities of the digital twin for businesses in the future. Read more about the digital twin and our chat with Antonio here

My COVID Story Competition

Appearition is excited to announce the launch of ‘My COVID Story’. A fun, new competition to beat the school holiday boredom blues and inspire young minds to share their experiences during the pandemic in a new and exciting way.

Students will be required to create an AR experience of their life under COVID. This may include something new they’ve learnt, how this time is making them feel, what they’ve missed, or something they’ve done that is different. The possibilities are endless. With Appearition’s EducART AR Studio they can create an experience that will be capture this time in history.

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The competition is open to Australian school kids of all ages across years K-12. The winning student in each age group will win a 2021 subscription to EducART Pro for themselves and their school. The top 5 students’ experiences in each age group will take home a published book with a full page feature of the winning experience plus 4 runners up from each age group will receive a quarter page feature.

The competition closes on 11th October 2020, so if you know someone who might be interested make sure to pass it on.

For more information on how to enter the competition head to https://educart.appearition.com/my-covid-story/ 

Appearition Insights with Jaime Donally from ARVRinEDU

In this interview, Appearition team members Mark Hillebrand and Brittney Smith sit down on the couch for an e-coffee with Jamie Donally from ARVRinEDU, to chat about immersive technology in education and the future of learning.

Jaime Donally is a former maths teacher turned instructional technology specialist. Jaime is passionate about providing new immersive learning experiences to staff and students. She provides staff development and training on immersive technology as an EdTech consultant.

http://vimeo.com/458779816

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If you would like to hear more from Jaime Donally and her work in the education industry you can find Jaime at:

ARVRinEDU Twitter Youtube

 

The Difference Between STEM & STEAM Education

Understanding the difference between STEM AND STEAM

combination of the subjects Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths are collectively referred to as the acronym STEM. On the other hand, STEAM is the acronym for the combination of Arts in addition to all subjects from STEM i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths.

Arts refers to subjects such as humanities, dance, language, drama, music, design, visual arts, and media studies. The primary contrast between STEM and STEAM, is that STEM solely centres on the subjects of science and the ideas of logic. While STEAM researches similar ideas, this technique does this through a practical approach to learning strategies utilised with the help of creative ways.

This generally appears as though students are working cooperatively to make an engaging concept or article that depends on the comprehension of a STEM idea. For example, the arithmetic of the parabola used to make compelling symbolism through artwork.

The idea of learning through the STEAM technique is not a new concept. Leonardo Da Vinci, convinced us about the significance of joining science and creativity to make new revelations. In a similar manner, Indigenous Australians have a long-standing convention of passing on various ideas and scientific knowledge in the form of songs and music. This is a classic example of the fact that science, combined with the creative arts, can result in wonders!

While both these methodologies follow a different approach, it is important for both students and educators to study and understand how each works.

Understanding the importance of STEM

Science and technology lead to the creation of new items and distinctive procedures that aid in a nation’s economy. The innovation with science education banks upon a robust data base in the realm of understanding the basics of STEM. Unmistakably, most occupations in the upcoming years will require an individual to possess an essential comprehension of maths and science. In spite of looking at these convincing realities, the average scores in mathematics and science among students are lingering behind others. Let us try to understand how STEM training can be extremely essential for the youth of any nation.

Innovation  and science is constantly venturing into each part of our lives on an everyday basis – making STEM a significant subject. Science lies in every field and occupation of our lives along with each action that we take in our day to day living. By introducing students to STEM while presenting them opportunities to analyse and investigate the knowledge and ideas related to STEM, they will propagate a new sense of enthusiasm for it.

Educational programs that are based on STEM have real circumstances to aid the students in the learning process. STEM offers a hands-on and minds-on experiences to the students. Making maths and science, fun and fascinating encourages students to enjoy education and explore a new kind of learning

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Understanding the importance of STEAM

STEAM training in schools offers individuals a chance to learn and create – utilising critical thinking and practical applications. These overall abilities are essential to growing a workforce that is prepared for the future that understands and owns the capability of tackling complex situations occurring in real life. This technique leads us to ’22nd-century skills’ – that are predicted to be around connection, care and culture.

There are a myriad of opportunities to provide hands-on learning coming up in schools and institutions around the world. These are better known as “maker spaces”. Each of these opportunities usually focuses on combining the skill of discovery, along with the learning process. They encourage the utilisation of science and tech assets, in order to achieve different phenomenal results, such as data art and gaming.

It’s fascinating to see such a significant number of STEAM ideas appearing in current mainstream society, motivating trust – especially among young women. Elements like Shuri’s character in the film Black Panther – the wise, imaginative and lively technologist – encourages individuals to move past the notions related to STEM embedded in history and embrace new ages of interdisciplinary pioneers.

Similar creative examination and assets completely understand the association between science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, on the impact they have on one another. Educators who have adapted the STEAM learning technique usually observe the students discovering certain connections among various concepts. They also notice that the problem-solving skills of their students have enhanced visibly. Moreover, they strongly witness their students being actively engaged in the whole learning process, which is usually reflected with their expressions caught in experiencing varied moments of joy. 

If we adopt the learning technique of STEAM, we can challenge assumptions that all these territories of learning are independent and move ahead of the “I am acceptable at maths and science, so I am not imaginative” perspective. This will transform the way in which the world is perceived and generate a new thought process on being connective, multifaceted and comprehensive, along with an assorted variety of ideas, expressions, and thoughts. After all, that is exactly how things and situations work in real life.

Conclusion

Both STEM and STEAM are learning techniques that have been used by previous generations and will be embraced by generations to come. The most critical aspect of choosing between the two is understanding the needs and capabilities of an individual while making the right decision accordingly. Choosing the right approach will naturally lead towards a successful futuristic learning experience.

Find out how others are using our Immersive Learning solutions and access your free EducART trial here>> 

Industry Insights with Antonio Grasso

Appearition was very fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with the insightful and thought-provoking Antonio Grasso to chat about all things digital transformation, digital technology adoption and the rapid development of technologies enabling it’s users to perform powerful tasks.

Antonio Grasso is the founder and CEO of Italian company Digital Business Innovation srl. Antonio is a expert in the digital technology world and highly regarded as one of the top digital transformation influencers on Artificial Intelligence, cyber security, digital transformation, Internet of Things, and blockchain. He is an advisor, enterprise and public sector consultant and mentor to numerous startups.

The following Q&A has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

A: Antonio, tell us a little bit about how you’ve been spending your time during lockdown. Unfortunately in Melbourne we have just been placed into further lockdown measures. Italy faced challenges early on in the pandemic. What was this experience like for you?

AG: I am very fortunate because so much of my work and documents is stored in the cloud, so it has not been so much of a change whether I work from the office or home. Although some activities stopped, the majority of my activities were performed and fulfilled as normal.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was travelling and attending events and suddenly everything has moved online. In terms of my work I consider myself a very lucky guy as I have been able to continue as usual, however many others have struggled due to the closure of shops, restaurants, recreational activities and entertainment. So, yes I am very lucky in this context as it has not changed too much for me.

A: You are well known in the digital technologies space and highly regarded for your work and advice. What drives you to play in this space and what brought you to work in this exciting area?

AG: I have always had a strong passion for technology. 37 years ago when I was a software developer, I began to feel a strong link with my work and the desire to explore. About 10 years ago, digital technology began to emerge thanks to digital infusion like the introduction of iPhones. No longer was it just a mobile phone, but now a computer – small yes, but very powerful. About 3 years ago, I started to share information on my social media channels and that was amazing because it was a shift in my job. Now, I split my time between running my company and online activity with my followers, 50:50. I publish educational posts, I create infographs, I try to give other people something to think about, something to discover. My relationship with technology, it’s a passion, it’s something that I have in my heart and in my mind.

A: When you were growing up, was there a certain turning point in your life that influenced your passion for technology?

AG: In the 1970’s when I was young, we had no digital technology. I was always interested in machines; so I pulled apart and destroyed every machine I played with to discover the inner mechanisms. In the 80’s and 90’s, I began to work with many other types of technologies. At the time computers and hard disks were very big compared to now. So it was different, but the relationship was the same every time – always keen to discover what was happening inside.

“My relationship with technology, it’s a passion, it’s something that I have in my heart and in my mind.”

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A: You have worked in the digital technology space for many years now. Across your years in the technology space, what has been the greatest piece of digital technology advice you have been given?

AG: When I started 37 years ago, computers and software were a lever – you know a lever helps you do your task better and faster. If you need to do reports, accounting, invoices, payments, you can begin to do this all very fast with the software. That was the previous technology, but now we are starting to see a shift. The role of technology is changing, it is no longer just a lever that helps you do your tasks better but an enabler. So, my advice is to think about the role of technology, not only, does it leverage you to do things faster, but also, what it can enable. What new product can enable you to do something you could not do before. When we think of digitalisation, it allows your product or service to become digital. For example, the streaming of video is changing the entertainment movie market, as it is creating something that before did not exist. This is possible thanks to digital infusion.

Digital infusion is phenomenal at bringing technology to our fingertips. Not only is it bringing technology as a lever but also as an enabler. An enabler for new things, new markets, new opportunities. So the approach needs to be holistic, a 360 degree approach. With purchase automation you can fulfil the customers purchase very quickly due to new technologies. It is creating new opportunities; new sources of revenue, new products, it’s amazing.

“The role of technology is changing, it is no longer just a lever that helps you do your tasks better but an enabler.”

A: How consumers interact with your business has changed. With that, traditional product development methods need to change. A world class digital experience is expected. What should business leaders consider when it comes to product development? What technologies should be at the forefront of consideration?

AG: It depends on the industry, one side does not fit all in this case. When we talk about product development, one thing that comes to mind is one of the latest developments of the digital twin. The digital twin is something that is unbelievable, it really helps the product development stage. When you develop a product, you need to also develop a prototype, this prototype is usually physical. The digital twin is a technology that you can create a digital representation of your product. This type of technology in product development is unbelievable and once again we come back to the leverage in technology to do better and enable you to do something you could not do before. Augmented reality is something that can aid in customer service or workforce. This enables you to give a workforce a different kind of training. With AR you can put the necessary knowledge at the fingertips of others when needed, right there, right now.

A: At the moment, what do you think is the most interesting trend in digital technologies?

AG: One very important and exciting thing is confluence. This requires bringing together two or more emerging technologies to create new outcomes. If we talk about emerging technologies, we have some technologies that are horizontal or AI that can work on all kinds of industries with different approaches and different outcomes. There is also blockchain security. If you say AI adoption in my company has a value of 2 and the blockchain has a value of 3.  But if you put the two together these two technologies would not equal 2+3=5, the result is more like 7. This is because they work together to create more than just the single technology. It is something that is happening now, but in the future it is something that will be happening with even more integrated technology.

I wrote an article about confluence robotic optimisation and the confluence of AI  that explores the software that can do so much more than just reading emails. It can read the emails but also send the invoices. It is programmed so if ‘this’ then ‘do that’ or ‘if that’ then ‘do this’. But, if you inject this model with deeper learning it can use technologies such as AI to do it. So, when you inject the technology with another emerging technology you create something bigger. This is an area of technology I’m very passionate about.

If you would like to read more from Antonio Grasso and his work in the technology industry you can find Antonio at:

Twitter  Facebook  LinkedIn  Blog

All About Blockchain

Blockchain technology allows digital information to be distributed but not copied’. It’s a  growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Outside of the widely known ‘Bitcoin’ application, blockchain as a technology has lots to offer for several industries. Appearition’s Developers Simon Galanakis and Sujanth Sebamalaithasan talk about the technology, its application and the future:

  1. Blockchain – as a technology seems scalable. What are the sectors that can adapt to it?

Blockchain as a technology is useful when you keep an open and transparent record and history of data. This is so that people can look at the history and trust it if it is true. No one can manipulate it if that is the case.

Blockchain will be able to benefit sectors that require large data sets to be stored with a high-level of encryption. Some industries include:

– Banks and finance

– Medical sectors – patients medical records

– Industries using copyrighted content or sectors like film or software where patent plays an important role.

– Law firms where client details need to be stored securely

– Property ownership and management

  1. Blockchain and AR – do you see a plausible future? If so, how?

There is definitely a future (for blockchain and AR). There are a number of areas that we need to explore where blockchain could work with AR. If AR is treated as an object or a commodity, for example, an AR experience in a bottle – in which you can scan for a promotional video. If you consider that to be one package/entity, something that people want to share or retain ownership and for that to be genuine, you can employ blockchain. It is possible to record the particular details (eg. who created it, when it was created) that make up an AR experience in that blockchain.

  1. AR and blockchain – is it possible to keep the AR data/commodity, private/free from misuse?

Yes, it is possible. Conceptually it is a block – and if the block is used to play a video (An AR experience) and suddenly shows only a picture – it is a change in experience. If someone tries to tamper with the history of this block saying it was originally designed to showcase a picture – that’s a situation when blockchain can come into the picture and vouch for what was originally planned.

When used privately blockchain is not very useful. It will gain value when people start creating Augmented Reality (AR) products and begin to own them, share them and want to track its usage.

For instance, people create and upload videos on YouTube, which only YouTube can control and view the analytics and claim its accuracy. Whereas, if you want to de-centralise a control – it can be done by allowing every AR experience to be posted into the blockchain record. This is potentially a way in which we can track it. The concept of blockchain application needs to be considered here. Its power is very useful when you want to ensure that records are not tampered with; especially publicly visible records, that are available to others.

The idea of the blockchain is that it is an ever-growing ledger. Think of it as one big file, which continues to grow as blocks. The data is out into the blocks. In the example of Bitcoin, it is close to 160 gigabytes now. It is how big the blockchain is. As more and more transactions occur, it is going to have problems as it continues to grow. So, I think it is going to become a technological issue that needs to be solved. There are some solutions being proposed currently. Like, Hard Fork – decentralised ledgers, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – digitised version of cryptocurrency rather than the crypto version.

Right now, the scalability for blockchain with all the services around the world (for Bitcoin), when a new node/server wants to come on board, they must download 160 gigabytes of data for the first code. Then it is going to work on just partial data received all over the internet. The rise of the internet and email system in the 90s, meant people could only send a few emails and can only have a few contacts or a few hundred megabytes in their inbox. These days, some email servers offer unlimited storage for these data. I think the role of technology is evolving to keep up the demands of blockchain. It needs to be seen as not really the kind of one-stop solution kind of tool, it is just another tool in the tool world that can potentially solve a particular business problem.

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  1. What are some things one needs to be cautious about when using this technology?

If an individual or an organisation tries to build their own blockchain, then they need to create their own node/service. The idea of the system or its integrity is the fact that you have more than 51% of all nodes of the network belonging to a particular chain or block is valid or correct. If you’re constructing your own blockchain, you need to manage your own nodes. Again, that kind of defeats the purpose of decentralised responsibility. You’ll still own the blockchain, you’ll still manage the nodes, so it kind of defeats the purpose. I’d question whether it is useful. When many people acknowledge this technology and start to use this in their day to day life then blockchain technology will become more stable.

  1. Business IPO and blockchain – Can you please elaborate?

Business IPO means initial public offerings. Companies who need capital to expand their business, usually do the IPO and distribute the company’s shares to the public. Likewise, in the Cryptocurrency environment, companies who are involved in this technology use ICO (initial coin offerings) to collect their capital before starting the project. The public who backed these projects will get cryptocurrencies and some useful benefits if that project successfully implemented

  1. How do you see blockchain aiding digital transformation?

Digital transformation is driven by four main factors, Internet of Things, big data, business platform models and collaborations between businesses. Using blockchain technology we can easily improve the above factors. Blockchain is increasing the trust between the unknown participants which can give a more collaborative environment to businesses. It helps to secure data and protect from anonymous access. Securing information is the major challenge in the digital world so blockchain will take a major role in digital transformation in the near future.

Learn More About Blockchain

Want to learn more about blockchain? Check out this TED Talk by Bettina Warburg

Like our Facebook, Twitter and  LinkedIn or contact us to find out more.

Education Digital Transformation Trends

Education Digital Transformation Trends 

There is no doubt that digital technologies make our life easier. Up until now, digital technology has been dominating every aspect of our lives, except for education. Times are changing, and digital technology is advancing to change the education sector for all the right reasons. The traditional learning environment is now enhanced due to the digital transformation that’s available.

In the 21st century, digital transformation in education is a necessity and the need of the hour. The benefits of technology in the classroom is valued by all educators across all levels of education.

The current digital trends are making rounds in the education sector and making a name for themselves. Digital transformation in the educational sector is already leading teachers to make drastic changes in the way of planning lessons, the physical appearance of the classrooms, and assigning assessments, at a much faster rate than expected. Or one might say, it was unexpected for educators to adapt to digital transformation so quickly.


Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality / Mixed Reality  

Today, it is hard to expect our students to sit quietly in the classroom and pay attention. Gone are the good old days, when students used to sit quietly and follow instructions. Teaching is evolving and is beginning to focus on a more interactive way of learning. Classes are beginning to become more collaborative and interactive with the introduction of educational technology.

Examples of transformative technology include; Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality. These technologies enhance the students’ experience of receiving instructions from the teacher, which helps in creating immersive lessons that are a lot more fun and appealing for the students. 

The idea of Immersive technologies is to bring the outside world inside and take the inside world outside. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies have the capability and potential to do the same. There are educational apps that allow students to travel to Greece of ancient times, while others apps allow students to go ahead with sharing the respective virtual creations with the outer world. Immersive technologies as a learning tool increases technological literacy, visual literacy, and attention skills, potentially transforming every classroom and enhancing the learning experience for students.

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Artificial Intelligence 

The use of Artificial Intelligence in ChatBots ensures that students answer all the questions related to the set homework, and can help in the case of urgency to understand the process of paperwork – such as financial aids and paying bills. Also, the use of Artificial Intelligence helps in easing the workload of the people, who otherwise have to go through the tedious process of explaining the same thing, individually to each student, whenever they have a query. 

These new technologies and opportunities are a fun and exciting way for students to learn. These advanced learning opportunities offer endless possibilities, in which otherwise would not be possible for the students to experience.