Augmented Reality to Boost local Economy in Italian Village

by Gina Marcello

Over the past few months I’ve been exploring how 360, virtual reality, and augmented communication technologies can be incorporated into the journalism and media production courses I teach at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey. While not every communication tool is appropriate to tell every story, the newer technologies offer promise. Most virtual, augmented, and 360 experiences are currently associated with gaming, but this is quickly changing. Journalists and newsrooms are exploring ways to use the technology to share immersive stories. The New York Times now produces one 360 news story a day and other major news outlets are following suite including the Washington Post and USA Today.

Scientific research in the field is scant but quickly growing as more people adopt and experiment. Those who research VR and augmented technologies believe these types of immersive experiences can create empathy in the viewer and provide a sense of presence not possible with traditional storytelling techniques. Continue reading “Augmented Reality to Boost local Economy in Italian Village”

VR Technology is a Modern Day Miracle

If you’re like most non-tech people you’re probably wondering what the big deal is with VR technology. I mean its just for gaming, right?

I’m going to make a sweeping generalization and say if you are still wondering what all the fuss is about you’ve not actually experienced it. Virtual reality using an Oculus Rift or Vive headset is a modern day miracle. You feel as if you are fighting the alien, flying over Rome, or running from the dinosaur. Okay, maybe those are bad examples.

Webster dictionary describes a miracle as an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.  This technology is going to change how we communicate. There are some who believe VR is the next mass medium. The technology provides us the ability to transport to locations limited only by the imagination. Once there we are PRESENT in the environment. Continue reading “VR Technology is a Modern Day Miracle”

Welcome to the future, 360 storytelling is more than just buzz

Over the past few months I’ve been exploring how 360 degree technology can be incorporated into the journalism and media production courses I teach. It seems as if the more I learn the less I know. To a casual consumer 360 degree, augmented, and VR (virtual reality) experiences are associated with gaming platforms. And while this is where the technology started it isn’t where it is going.

Welcome to the Future – On a daily basis another sector reports experimenting with the technology. Last week NASA aired the first ever 360 live shuttle take off and Facebook now offers 360 degree live streaming. In a relatively short amount of time journalists and newsrooms are exploring ways to use the technology for immersive storytelling. For example, the New York Times now produces one 360 news story a day. Other major news outlets are following suit including the Washington Post  and USA Today.  The way we tell stories is forever changing with 360 degree, VR, and AR (augmented reality). Continue reading “Welcome to the future, 360 storytelling is more than just buzz”

Immersive Storytelling to promote Ecotourism in Emilia-Romagna Region

FullSizeRenderLast summer students from the Department of Digital Communication at Georgian Court University spent three weeks exploring Italy.  The purpose of the trip was to “live like an Italian” and raise awareness of the Emilia- Romagna region.

This area of northern Italy offers beautiful landscapes, delicious locally grown foods, and many outdoor activities. Bedonia, a small hamlet located at the base of beautiful Apennine Mountains, is where the GCU group spent the majority of their time exploring and eating.

Towns like Bedonia are places where family, friends, and good food are at the heart of daily life. Residents are deeply concerned this way of life will become extinct if steps are not taken to bring visitors back to the region. “We are in a situation where the town is decreasing. Many members of the community are going away for work. We are looking for ways to keep them here”, stated Marco Mariani, a local resident and grocery story owner.

Active members of the community continue to explore ways to revitalize the economy.  A group of local business owners have unified their resources. Claudio Agazzi, President of the newly formed consortium states, “Love Taro & Ceno was created to improve this area of Italy. We have over 130 small companies participating to promote the valley and increase tourism.”

The region has so much to offer visitors. Travel to places like Bedonia typically do not make the list of places to seeGina Marcello, a Spring Lake resident, is trying to change this perception.  “I think tourists travel Italy and never really get to experience what being Italian is all about.  When you visit Bedonia, you meet the local residents, visit local shops, and experience what it is actually like to live in Italy. I want to be able to share this experience”.

13838330_10206590442895626_666489823_oDr. Marcello is returning to Bedonia this summer with former student Denielle Balint to continue the work started more than two years ago. This time will be different, however. Dr. Marcello is exploring how to use 360 degree video to create digital stories about life in the small northern town.

“When people are able to immerse themselves in a location using VR, I think it will inspire them to want to go there. Eco-tourism can greatly benefit from the new VR and augmented technologies. I hope to show through my storytelling why a 360 view can promote travel to a location you might otherwise never have considered”.

The pair will also shoot and edit video highlighting the region’s beauty using more traditional forms of storytelling. A multimedia exhibit is planned for the fall.


La Dolce Vita – Italy! Study Abroad 3 Weeks

Experience Italy Like the Italians. Learn About International Tourism. Visit Small Business. Be Part of an International Tourism Social Media Campaign. 

The Department of Digital Communication presents a unique, once in a lifetime experience to visit Italy, learn about tourism and develop a digital communication social media campaign for Bedonia’s Tourism Authority while experiencing the best of Italy. Space is limited, so if you are interested see Dr. Marcello as soon as possible. Must be a Georgian Court University student. The trip is open to all students in the GCU community with priority given to Digital Communication majors and  minors. Continue reading “La Dolce Vita – Italy! Study Abroad 3 Weeks”

Are you Gritty? Five Things I Want my Son To Know

Everyone desires happiness and success, but do you have what it takes?

More times than not people are all too willing to give up when the going gets tough. They stop, change direction, and quit. The road to success is a narrow one. It is narrow for a reason. Not everyone has the courage or the fortitude to persist when the going gets tough.

That said, I believe the real reason people fail is because they lack GRIT.

According to the experts, “The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.” 

What do gritty people know? How do they approach life? Here are the five things I want my son to know and do as he grows into a man.

1 . Success and Happiness: It’s A Marathon, Not a Sprint!

We live in a world obsessed with quick fixes and easy results. Very few things in life really worth achieving or having happen quickly.  If you are not enjoying your life — your journey– it might be time to change direction. But, don’t stop prematurely. Many times the breakthrough comes when we are at the point of wanting to quit. You’ll want to quit. Don’t!

2. Accept Where You Are. It takes time and patience to achieve success. The first step is to acknowledge your starting point. You want to lose 10 pounds? Begin by accepting the process might take some time. You are more likely to lose the weight safely and keep it off. Only after you acknowledge and accept where you are can you set a realistic goal.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others – We live in a world of social networks. It is entirely too easy to look at what your peers are doing and become depressed or discouraged. In fact research reveals heavy Facebook users are more like to report dissatisfaction with their own lives. Recognize what you are seeing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is only one small slice of a person’s life. It cannot and does not capture all of the ups and downs. Focus on your own journey. Do NOT compare yourself to others. Understand you are exactly where you need to be in this moment.

4. Never Stop Learning. Real success comes from a desire to always learn. The desire to want to improve yourself. No one can do this for you. The motivation to do better must come from within. If you lack sustainable motivation ask yourself why. Are you engaged in activities you really enjoy? While we are not going to enjoy every task we need to complete in order to achieve our goal, we should enjoy the overall process. What skills do you need to learn in order to keep moving forward? Go out and learn them!

5. Never stop trying  – Sister Catherine McAuley said it best, “Resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow”. If you are not where you want to be in life only YOU can fix it. Resolve in your heart and in your head to make it better. Enjoy your journey, do better tomorrow, and have fun!

I will leave you with one of my all time favorite movie speeches. If you haven’t seen it, take a few minutes and indulge. You might find a little inspiration too.


“Now, if you know what you’re worth, go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying: You ain´t what you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain´t you! You´re better than that!”