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Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education

November 28, 2017 - 3 Comments

Craig Tranter is a former educator, and now serves as a technology presenter for Cisco. This blog is the seventh in his series on advancements and opportunities in education. All views are his own. 

Textbook and PowerPoint are old hat now. So, what can we do as educators to really bring the classroom to life?

One way that a lot of teachers have done this is through the use of QR (Quick Response) codes.

Gone are long web links for students to access content. Instead, they can simply scan the QR code with their device and be taken directly to a website or particular resource. Some devices have QR recognition built in, but if you need to download a QR app, a free one that I would recommend is i-Nigma (available on your native app store). Once you have a QR reader, try scanning the QR code below, which will take you to a great website which will help you to create lots of classroom resources. For those of you already on your mobile device, you can also access the website via this link.

The advantage of this is that students no longer need to take down long web addresses and can quickly and easily access the content, which can then be stored directly on their own devices. However, we can take this type of technology one step further and really make the classroom experience come alive through the use of holograms. Rather than simply following a link to a video, imagine using your device to see your professor appear on the desk in front of you. Simply scan the code and away you go. Check it out:

Remember that we are a very visual society, so the more ways in which we can engage our students through visual stimuli, the more likely they are to consume and retain that information. There’s also the added benefit that this form of media can be revisited, paused, rewound etc. to suit each student’s learning speed.

Let’s take this even further and take a look at technologies such as Google Daydream, which brings lessons to life through the use of virtual reality. Simply load up the VR video on your personal device and put on the VR goggles for a fully immersive experience, or if you prefer not to lock yourself away from the world, why not try Microsoft HoloLens? Rather than Virtual Reality, this brings the physical world around you to life with augmented reality. Let’s look at an example: Imagine studying human physiology and being able to see the human body in front of you as well as being able to manipulate and interact with those visuals within your physical environment. Cool, right?

These technologies may seem like a thing of the future, but they are already here. That being said, these are not going to become commonplace overnight. However, while they may not be widely adopted in education any time soon, with further developments and content being created every day, these may become the new normal in classrooms across the globe sooner than you might think.

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  1. What an amazing time to be a student, and what a challenging time to be a teacher! Great article Craig, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing Craig!!! I agree with you.
    These technologies will be part of the teacher toolbox. The teacher will have more time to develop and be more like a mentor to the students. The teacher will be able to use videos from specialized professionals, adding more value to the class.

  3. Now then, one could argue that if we take away the human aspect of education that this would jeopardize our higher education system. However this argument is baseless because currently we already have a problem and it is no properly being addressed. By removing the human factor, we also cost costs, remove abuse and protect the integrity of the information being taught. The top professor can be video taped and we can use his holographic image and pay him royalties.