If you walk into today’s classrooms, you may see students collaborating in groups, communicating with their peers and teachers with the help of Google Drive and Classroom, and sharing what they have learned through project based assessments. As we know with all technology, it never stays the same and is constantly changing over time. With this transformation comes a new avenue for students to experience and create content they are learning about. This latest transformation is called augmented and virtual reality.
What are these things you may ask, and how will it affect education? An example of augmented reality (AR) is scanning an image that has digital media attached to it, and watching the image come to life. Virtual reality (VR) is an environment that is created with a 360 degree video or image, or a computer generated simulation, that allows the user to be immersed in the environment. Instead of students interacting and watching web content, they become surrounded by the content, which allows them to wander freely in and around it. Using virtual reality headsets, devices, or iPads, along with apps like Google Expeditions, YouTube 360, Discovery VR, Blippar, CoSpaces and Quiver, students are able to interact, engage and experience what they are learning in the classroom. These experiences give them the illusion that they are really there.
Virtual reality goes beyond this though! Students can create their own virtual, 360 degree environment, using sites such as CoSpaces and the Google Street View app. Some of our students and teachers have had the opportunity to experience this technology by visiting Antarctica, viewing and learning about different types of trees, visiting the North Pole, as well as many other adventures using the Google Expeditions app. Teachers are also incorporating online simulations in order to bring the content to life for their students. This transformation of using augmented and virtual reality with students is just the beginning of what you may see when walking into today’s classrooms.
Technology Integration Specialist
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