Next Level: AR and VR?

How does one virtually augment their students reality in education?

This week, the ‘two man show'(Logan and Bill) did a fantastic job presenting and getting me to consider Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, something that’s been on the outermost edge of my peripherals (I mean, I knew it was there -who hasn’t seen Back to the Future?)

Back to the Future Part 2 (5/12) Movie CLIP - The Future McFlys (1989) HDmake action GIFs like this at MakeaGif

While reading Reede and Baliff‘s article this week, I found myself questioning, if virtual reality has been around and a possibility since about the 1950s, why has it just stayed on the ‘outskirts’ of the technology world?  Why is it just now starting to make strides in the Ed tech world?  And what are the implications of bringing this type of technology into the classroom?

One of the biggest things that concerns me, echoes Erin’s worry this week:  Who is being left behind when we move toward implementing these technological advances?  We know that a digital divide exists – so how can we effectively pursue these advances, if we do nothing to address the gap that exists?

One of the promising aspects of incorporating AR and VR within classrooms, is that there is potential for real-life problem solving to occur:

One of the major criticisms of instruction today is the low rate of far-transfer generated by presentational instruction. Even students who excel in educational settings often are unable to apply what they have learned to similar real-world contexts. The potential advantage of immersive interfaces for situated learning is that their simulation of real-world problems and contexts means that students must attain only near-transfer to achieve preparation for future learning –Dunleavy and Dede

That being said, I still question (and have been struggling with) how to appropriately scaffold the skills necessary to utilize this technology (including things like maker-spaces and coding), because, if I am implementing these things, my students are going to come with a wide skill set (from those who need to learn how to appropriately log into various devices, to those who are already able to execute these skills independently)?

Finally, after looking into VR and AR a little further, even though I’m questioning why it has taken so long to become prevalent, I found this TedTalk, which had me thinking a little more globally, and positively about the potential for growth in these tools.

It was this video, and the following quote from our readings this week, that have me thinking that perhaps we can aspire teach some higher level things with these tools after all.

Knowledge is embedded in the setting in which it is used; learning involves mastering authentic tasks in meaningful, realistic situations (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Learners build personal interpretations of reality based on experiences and interactions with others, creating novel and situation specific understandings. Dunleavy and Dede

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Next Level: AR and VR?

  1. I was surprised to hear that VR has been around since the 1950’s as well and wondered if it has been around for that long why hasn’t it progressed or become more commonly used? My guess is that costs play a large role in it and I feel that the value in using it might be missing. I have read a lot of articles this week that discuss using VR to help in health care situations and it’s actually incredible to think about how this tool can help combat different disabilities or illnesses such as dementia.

    I think the empathy aspect has the potential to have a large impact on people. Through VR it’s possible to see the world through the eyes of someone else and that has incredible possibilities. I have no idea what it would be like to be a Syrian refugee making the journey from Syria to a country free of war but through VR I can experience what they go through by seeing it through their eyes. It’s almost as if I would be able to literally put their shoes on my feet (minus the physically exhaustion, smells, and increased emotions). Great video! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for reading Ashley!

      I agree- I think VR falls into the same category as solar power technology – it was likely too expensive to be mainstream but is now starting to become more obtainable!

      Your thoughts about Syrian refugees mirror my own- and given our increased population of refugees in our country I think this would be a valuable experience for many (me included).

  2. Thanks for your post, Amy. I feel like I resonated with a lot of things you said such as how to bridge the divide and how to implement with a wide range of skill sets. As I read Ashley’s post above, I wondered how a refugee new to Canada, our culture and language might be able to comprehend this type of technology and how do you adapt for him/her? Perhaps that’s somewhat dependent on the individual and the age group. I think I underestimate my students a lot. While I feel somewhat overwhelmed by AR/VR from a teacher’s perspective, I do see there are so many advantages.
    I really appreciated the quote you posted about the relevance to real life. I think that often escapes the classroom. Enjoyed your writing!

    1. Thanks for reading Natalie!

      I too, felt overwhelmed at the idea of AR/VR in the classroom, but I think sometimes if we just spend some time considering the possibilities we can find many uses and value in these new realms!

  3. Thanks for the great post, Amy! I appreciate all the questions you ask yourself as you reflect upon this topic, particularly the scaffolding of skills required to utilize this technology. I know that as teachers we can learn just as much from our students and they can from us, and that often times we are learning together in our classroom to better ourselves individually and as a group. However, I would still like to help my students achieve their knowledge and skills, and when I attempt to use something new in the classroom, I would feel more comfortable knowing at least some things about it to use it with students – and when it comes to AR/VR, I am completely out of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t know how to scaffold the skills necessary to utilize this technology either, because I don’t really know what skills are required. More experimenting on my part will be necessary before I can incorporate it meaningfully in my classrooms. Thanks for the post!

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