The future of augmented and virtual reality in education

Augmented and virtual reality in education (ARVRinEDU) has continued to be increasingly popular in enhancing the learning experience. Immersive technology opens doors to new concepts and content through exploratory learning. The metaverse in education is often seen as the next step in this technology, allowing for a shared virtual space where students can interact with each other and their environment to deepen their understanding. The use of the metaverse in education is an emerging trend that has the potential to revolutionize the way students learn. From designing and capturing 3D models to building and collaborating in digital spaces, our students are ready to be the content creators of the immersive future.

In order to research and adopt the right resources, a basic understanding of these technologies is important. In some cases, these technologies overlap, and it can be difficult to differentiate between them. Identifying the technology’s capabilities is the key to finding the right resources to meet students’ individual needs.

Augmented Reality (AR) refers to adding digital overlays of information in the physical, real world. Ultimately the student can see the classroom through a device but also see digital layers such as the solar system. Imagine walking around the solar system as you watch the planets rotate around the sun. Using AR allows learners to interact with digital objects and information in a real-world context. 

Virtual Reality (VR), on the other hand, is a completely digital environment, giving the illusion that the student has been transported somewhere else. The simulation can be realistic or imaginary and often involves a wearable such as a headset. Students can study the Sahara Dessert without leaving the classroom while avoiding the intense heat and wind. Virtual reality allows students to explore content that would be otherwise impossible.

Immersive technology includes both augmented and virtual reality. Often, the term covers all the realities that blur the physical and digital world. Students find a sense of immersion or presence in a digital environment, interacting and engaging with content in realistic situations. Students can perform realistic science experiments using augmented reality while walking around the laboratory and practicing safety protocols in virtual reality. 

Combining these technologies together, the metaverse will use these digital and spatial interactions and connect them all, known as the “immersive internet.”  The metaverse is still in the formation period, although many companies claim their product is the metaverse, despite the fact that it is not interconnected, and completely isolated. While the hype of the metaverse has dampened, immersive technology is still thriving. 

ARVRinEDU can be seen in many ways, from immersive learning experiences to interactive simulations. We have the ability to use augmented and virtual reality technology to transform education by providing students with experiences that cannot be replicated with traditional educational methods. To ensure that all students can get the most out of their educational experience, it is essential to personalize the learning space by adopting emerging technologies such as ARVRinEDU. We are now at a pivotal point in the evolution of our classrooms, as we must be able to meet the varied needs of all learners. 

New technologies can play a vital role in helping students succeed in the classroom if they are used effectively and strategically. Beginning your journey with immersive technology doesn’t require advanced technical skills. Instead, it requires a carefully crafted plan. Below are a few recommendations when beginning the planning process to implement augmented and virtual reality in the classroom. 

  1. Set a Goal
  2. Identify Students Needs and Interests
  3. Assess Current Resources
  4. Avoid Steep Learning Curves
  5. Become a Beta Tester

Set a Goal

One of the most common errors I find while working with schools is jumping into augmented or virtual reality for the technology, rather than using the technology to enhance and expand the classroom lessons. Start with the lesson objectives, identifying where your students are struggling and how to use immersive technology to close a gap. Beginning with the “why” is critical to hit goals and measure the success of the technology. 

Identify Students Needs and Interests

Take an inventory of your student’s passions, interests, and what types of learning activities they respond to best. It’s likely these needs and interests vary by class, even by individual student. By integrating captivating immersive experiences with challenging concepts, you can pique the student’s curiosity and encourage them to delve deeper into the subject matter.

Assess Current Resources

I rarely recommend making a purchase when first implementing immersive technology. It is recommended to utilize the existing resources to create a compelling case for acquiring new purchases. Oftentimes, the devices available are sufficient to meet the conditions of the goal. 

When considering resources, one of the most common forgotten needs is professional development. Unfortunately, many teachers struggle to create immersive lessons aligned with the curriculum due to insufficient training and resources. To ensure the successful integration of this emerging technology, teachers must have access to the necessary training and resources to understand ARVRinEDU capabilities and how to apply them in their lessons. Discovering pre-made immersive lesson plans and activities is an excellent method to efficiently use your time and steer clear of duplicating work already done.

Part of your assessment should include impacted departments. Don’t neglect to connect all departments to collaborate on the goals and classroom needs. Planning together will help avoid major setbacks and roadblocks, plus provide potential new ideas and resources. Administrators should provide support and guidance for educators to ensure that the technology is being utilized to its fullest potential. 

Avoid Steep Learning Curves

The best way to introduce immersive technology to students is by making it easy for them to use it right away. If the technology necessitates substantial training and expertise, it is probably not the appropriate tool to use initially. The interest and enthusiasm for immersive technology could be halted by a challenging learning curve. Learning immersive technology should be intuitive for students, with the level of complexity gradually increasing over time.

Become a Beta Tester

Take the immersive leap! Understand that immersive technology is rapidly changing and there is no expert that knows it all. Be aware that many of the tools are in progress and your feedback is valuable to improve the product for the classroom. Incorporating immersive technology into your lesson can be challenging, and it’s important to embrace trial and error in order to become comfortable with it. Extend an invitation to the students to join in exploring these resources, while keeping in mind the specific privacy policies and expectations of the district.

With immersive technology, the possibilities for learning are endless, and students can explore new concepts in ways that were once impossible. Ultimately, the successful integration of immersive technology in the classroom can have powerful results with personalized support for all learners. The future of education is immersive, and it is up to educators to embrace this technology and use it to enhance the learning experience for their students