Many people argue that our future lies in virtual and augmented reality. While their statement may carry with it a plethora of moralistic and ethical debates, it is pretty much an undeniable fact that technology as innovative and immersive as computer-generated imaging can definitely be put to some productive use.
A Small Nudge Before We Begin!
Throughout this text, we will be using Augmented and Virtual Realities distinctively.
Augmented Reality is a little more restricted than Virtual Reality. Just like the word suggests, it relies on an augmentation of something unreal and virtual into the ‘real’ world. Virtual Reality is the most widely-used term for technologies like these. It is more immersive and tricks all of your senses collectively by changing the way you touch, see, smell and hear the entirety of your environment.
Both offer a different set of advantages in the classroom, and we will be talking about them independent of each other.
All the Pro’s and No Con’s: VR and AR in the Classroom.
The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning1 presents the increasingly-utilized idea that the human mind is more receptive to learning when made to employ all five of its senses; touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste.
That is to say, we learn better in interactive, communicative and informal settings. Now, this is where augmented and virtual reality comes in. By incorporating them into the educational curriculum, we can dramatically change the way we gain knowledge.
- Exploring 3-Dimensional Structures: Diagrams in engineering, chemistry, geometry and even anatomy can be brought to life through stimulated computer technology. This allows students to actively interact with, explore and visualize concepts better, as opposed to just viewing them in the form of drawings in textbooks.
- Stimulations of Buildings and Sites: Any historical, cultural or archeological site can easily be explored by eager students without having to go through the expenses of travel. Computer-mediated reality allows for a complete experience of the visit, including stimulations of sight, sound, and smell. Students will take away from that more than they ever could from a dainty old textbook!
- Augmentations of the Solar System, Milky Way, Constellations: Not every school or parent can afford to buy a telescope, and even few can learn how to function it properly to learn about astronomy. The good thing about computer-stimulations is that they can very easily replicate the solar model for an up-close, hassle-free, detail-oriented and interactive view.
- Driving Classes: Educating our children is not just limited to the classroom, but can involve a variety of other activities that enable them to function fully in the society; one of which is driving. Most gaming-areas already have this, by the way. Your children can learn how to stick-shift and parallel park without risking injury to themselves or your expensive car. It will be just like a game!
In a Nutshell:
Yes, Augmented and Visual Realities have a lot of moralistic tests that they need to pass before they can be incorporated fully into the human society, but let’s give credit where credit is due, right? And the fact is that they have immense capability to revolutionize the way we educate ourselves because they have an immense impact on the way we sense our environments.
1 Richard Mayer, 2001.