Big Potential: Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education

This week Logan Petlak and Bill Cook presented on the topic of virtual reality and augmented reality. The image below is a screen shot I took during their presentation which explains the differences between reality, augmented reality and virtual reality.

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Last week, I proposed two assistive technologies I would like to see created for the education sector.

This week, I felt it appropriate to carry on the ‘futuristic’ discussion of where virtual reality and augmented reality could take teaching and learning in the  foreseeable future.

Virtual Reality (VR)

                                                                                                                             Photo Credit: Daneel Ariantho Flickr via Compfight cc

Imagine a virtual trip to a museum. No travel time!

Virtual Reality (VR) reminds me of the television show, The Magic School Bus.  Imagine if you and your students could put on a pair of VR glasses and be transported into an ‘alternate dimension’. You could visit locations you were learning about. Your class could be on a field trip everyday with ‘virtually’ no cost, travel time or need to sign permission forms!  Yes, I think teaching and learning would be more authentic and engaging if we all had the ability to teach like The Magic School Bus’s teacher Mrs. Frizzle.

In the following video, Mrs. Frizzle takes her class to learn in space!

Imagine VR in kindergarten during play time. Students could put on their VR glasses and be playing with their friends in a castle, in a pool or on a mountain. Some students have a hard time pretending that they are holding a baby in their arms or driving in an imaginary car to grandma’s house. VR could assist a student having difficulty with visualizing how their friends are ‘playing make believe’ by projecting a VR world. (I do see a downside to having an over dependence on VR and not using our own imagination for creativity, but that is another post for another day) From a cost saving perspective, VR could eliminate the need for many play props in my kindergarten room, as most of the ‘props’ could be virtually created with one pair of VR glasses!

I see VR playing an important role in my safety unit. It could simulate a street for when I teach students to look both ways before crossing the road. It could simulate a fire and the importance of evacuating a building, having a safe family meeting place, stop drop and roll or how to crawl under the smoke. As stated in the article, When Virtual Reality Meets Education,

This global distribution of VR content and access will undoubtedly influence a pedagogical shift as these new technologies allow a literature teacher in Chicago to “take” her students to Verona to look at the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, or a teacher in the Bronx to “bring” her Ancient Civilizations class to the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.

VR makes the possibilities of teaching and learning endless!

Augmented Reality (AR)

I see augmented reality helping my kindergarten students learn how to print their names. Instead of me showing students step-by-step, hand over hand or having them trace the dots to learn to write their name, student could trace over the virtual dots.24495237233_5c31cbfb56

Augmented reality could be used to guide students in remembering how to hold their book upright and how to turn the pages of a book from right to left. 

Photo Credit: architecturegeek Flickr via Compfight cc

I also see AR help students track letters or words when learning how to read (left to right progression, top to bottom of the page)

I am hoping AR aids my students in becoming more independent learners. Augmented Reality could guide my students to the library and back to our room by placing arrows on the floor in front of them (kind of like IKEA has for us adults). Our school is so big, my students always seem to get lost a few feet past our classroom door. 

The following video got me excited about where AV will be in the future.

Do you see AR or VR playing a role in your future teaching or learning?

Nicole also asked a great question that I am eager to discuss:

Are our kids ready for a virtual world when they have yet to experience the real world? #eci833 #PLN #edtech #VR #AR
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Let me know your thoughts.


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