Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

ARs,VRs, and MRs

Virtual Reality is one type of technology that still baffles my mind. I read the book Ready Player One a few years ago and I am still surprised of the amount of power that technology has on society. Ready Player One takes it to the extreme where most people spend their lives in VRs instead of real life. They play games, socialize, and make money…. Wait. That kind of sounds like some people in today’s world.

What Is VRs, ARs And MRs?

As Matthew explained, Augmented Reality (AR) superimposes digital content on the user’s device. (Pokemon Go). Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulation of a realistic experience. It replaces your world with a digital one. Some VRs are immersive, while some are non-immersive. (Oculus Headset) Mixed Reality (MR) is a blend of VR and AR. (Like Snapchat filters)

My Experience With VRs

This part of my post will be pretty short because I have almost no experience with any type of reality that isn’t the one I’m in right now. I’ve played video games, but I’ve never actually tried a VR headset or anything close to it. (Although I have used filters. I also was into Pokemon Go back in 2017). Excluding that, I have only really watched my students use a VR headset. I had a student bring his VR headset as a tech reward period and I watched them play. It was funny watching them move and fight, and get a bit scared while being chased by zombies. I’ve never really thought about how it could be used to teach and learn.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Can VRs Be Used In Classrooms?

VRs have a lot of potential in a classroom. If a teacher is mindful of why they are using VRs to teach and they have the correct training, it can make learning out of this world ( almost literally).

Reasons Why VRs Would Be Beneficial In A Classroom

  • It’s an active way to learn!
  • It’s super engaging- Being able to see, move, and walk through what.
  • Helps build important skills (strategizing, motor skills, practicing almost any real-life skill).
  • It’s immersive which means there are fewer distractions. This also means it can engage multiple senses.
  • It’s a hands-on way to learn and can benefit various learning styles- Think of the Magic School Bus! It could almost be like that.

Reasons Why VRs Wouldn’t Work In A Classroom

  • VRs are expensive- I only have 14 laptops for my 26 students. I don’t think my division would be willing to buy enough VRs, even if we shared.
  • It can be unsafe for children for so many reasons.
  • Not every student is able to use it ( medical reasons) or it can make them sick nausea, dizziness). ( Makransky et al,2021)
  • Not all teachers are comfortable with technology.
  • It takes a lot of time to teach students to use AR, VR, and MR properly.
  • Some kids struggle with keeping fantasy and the real world separate. It can be addicting to stay in the fantasy world.
  • Realities can’t beat the real thing- It’s always a better experience in the real world. ( This also includes meaningful teaching)
Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on Pexels.com

Final Thoughts

Before this week, I wasn’t itching to try VR. Now, however, I might be willing to try a headset if I ever come across one. I know some of my students have a VR headset at home and play it regularly. I would love to give my students the chance to learn in such an immersive way. ( I keep thinking of The Magic School Bus!) Imagine if your students could learn like that!) At this point, I don’t find myself trying VR in my classroom since I don’t have the tech. There is so much potential, I just don’t think we are quite there yet. I may look into AR or MR for my classroom in the future!

What would be the first thing you would teach/do with a VR headset in your classroom?

Thanks for reading!

Advertisement

3 thoughts on “ARs,VRs, and MRs

  1. Hi, Megan.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the desire to try out the technology. I am a bit of a computer nerd, so I really like the idea, but I am also cheap, so I have never bit the bullet. My older brother has a VR headset for one of his gaming consoles, so last Xmas I had the opportunity to play around with it. I was absolutely blown away with the technology.

    Would I buy one… I don’t know. I know that I seriously considered buying one to be able to present with, but decided that $500 for this course didn’t quite make financial sense.

    The educational links are vast, but as we discussed this week, the challenges around managing a class in a virtual space, as well as the pedagogical foundations are a major challenge.

    Like

  2. Similar to you I have never watched a VR headset being used in a real classroom. It is not that I wouldn’t be game to try one out, but I think of the pre-work required and start to shudder. I don’t think the benefit is quite worth the effort. If headsets ever become as ubiquitous as calculators I think the potential is there, but like you I wonder what a world like that would look like. I would love to think that it would more like Star Trek (utopian), but I think more realistically people would retreat from the real world and live in fantasy. Maybe I’m being bitter, but the last couple of years has not given me a lot of hope when it comes to people making educated decsions. It makes me uncomfortable promoting this type of escapism in the classroom (despite whatever benefits it may have).

    Like

  3. Great insights, Megan. As you outline – there are clear advantages and disadvantages to VR in the classroom. I often wish I could make class as engaging as the Frizz does – VR seems like the easy way to do that. Unfortunately, as my fellow presenters mention above, the cost and questionable human rights concerns will deter me from meaningfully implementing immersive tech. for the foreseeable future. I want to remain hopeful, but (like Matt) I have my doubts.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: