Advances in immersive technology, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), extended reality (XR), and mixed reality (MR), have the potential to revolutionize the dissemination of education today. Immersive technology in education is in its nascent stages with notable challenges in adoption.
However, these solutions offer unique features that allow for complementary and novel implementations that wouldn’t be possible with conventional teaching methodologies. These aspects include enhanced immersion, telepresence, gamification, engagement, and motion/biometric capture integration. Below is an overview of innovative ways immersive technology can be implemented in the education sector.
Enrich Classroom Experiences
With immersive technologies, the potential to enrich and enhance classroom experiences to accelerate learning is virtually limitless. One of the best ways to achieve this is to prioritize relevant digital content that strengthens the impact of classroom lessons. A study conducted by the University of Warwick demonstrated that learners recall study materials more effectively in the form of VR.
The key to effectively implementing immersive technology in this regard is to have and integrate a lot of content for it. You can collaborate with learners to create unique digital learning scenarios. Also, various vendors offer libraries ofimmersive educational technologiesand content that you can adapt to teaching objectives. Useful resources and tools in this area include:
- The Smithsonian Institution AR tools
- Google Arts and Culture
- NASA’s public immersive education resources
- The New York Times content collection
- ClassVR from Avantis
Expand Learning Opportunities
One of the major benefits of immersive technology for education is that you can supplement the physical environment with virtual access. This enables educators to develop and leverage novel learning opportunities in simulated environments that wouldn’t be possible due to physical, cost, and other constraints.
Immersive technology helps bridge such gaps. An example of a platform that serves this purpose well is Kai XR. This subscription-based platform helps tackle gaps in educational opportunities. The platform enables learners to access off-site enrichment environments and digital field trips. You can use Kai XR to provide guided trips to historical sites, museums, space, notable landmarks, and monuments. You can also use Kai XR and other similar platforms to collaborate with learners and build unique virtual experiences and spaces.
Enhance STEM Learning by Integrating VR/AR
Effective STEM learning is heavily reliant on technology, especially in higher learning environments. Immersive technology in STEM education helps engage the imagination and senses, allowing learners to visualize and conceptualize complex and abstract subjects in creative and engaging ways.
For example, HP’s immersive learning station known as Sprout Pro can help transform learners from passive observers to engaged students. This immersive solution that includes cameras, 3D scanners, a projector, and a touch mat stylus helps augment hands-on experiences across multiple disciplines.
Another area of higher learning that immersive technology in education benefits immensely is medical training. Complex medical procedures and patients’ interactions are aspects of medical training where you can integrate VR/AR solutions. You can provide low-risk, cost-effective, and more interactive learning approaches. Some of the immersive solutions in this field include:
Note that immersive technology extends far beyond STEM subjects. You can integrate various VR/AR solutions to complement the teaching of arts, humanities, law, business, and languages.
Cater to Special Education Needs
Immersive technology solutions have enabled many learning institutions to develop ways to make learning more interactive and easier for students with special needs, such as using sensory learning for disadvantaged learners in immersive spaces.
The flexibility of immersive digital environments means that you can control scenarios in different ways so that students of all abilities can benefit from and enjoy the lessons. Whether the learning environment needs to be stimulating or soothing, you can adapt your educational approach using VR/AR technologies to manage students with learning or cognitive disabilities.
Some of these solutions include:
- Floreo provides social and life skills lessons through VR for young learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
- Project VOISS is a project funded by the Department of Education that employs VR to help young students with learning disabilities practice and develop social skills.
Immersive technology can enrich learning, foster student engagement, and improve information retention/comprehension. As such, virtual, augmented, extended and mixed reality experiences are excellent tools that can be utilized successfully in all levels of education and across a wide range of subjects. Learning will be more impactful when students can explore unreachable environments, explore new virtual worlds, and experience visual contexts for abstract ideas.