Let us explore the possibilities VR and AR brings to education!

Last week, Logan and Bill gave a wonderful presentation about Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. They also introduced a variety of tools and apps that can be integrated into the classroom and/or workplace. Before Tuesday evening, I had very little knowledge about virtual reality and augmented reality, therefore I benefited greatly from Logan and Bill’s presentation. In fact, my only exposure to virtual reality was when I was in Disneyland, California. My sister and I were on a holiday together and we decided to go on a few virtual simulation rides. Although these rides were intense but enjoyable, I discovered I physically could not tolerate virtual simulation rides as afterwards I had my head stuffed into a garbage can, nauseated from the fast paced movements. Despite my motion sickness and fear of heights, I’d have to say my favorite virtual reality ride was Soarin’ at Disneyland California Adventure Park. This particular ride depicts a flight motion simulation. Beyond soaring over breathtaking wonders throughout the world, this simulation also presents the feeling of wind as well as the fresh citrus scent of oranges as you soar over an orchard field. You really do feel as though you are physically present within these locations, it is amazing!

Other than for entertainment purposes, such as Pokemon Go, SkyView, and Sky Map (which are all different apps for augmented reality), I had never really thought about how I could integrate virtual or augmented reality into my teaching. However, after listening to Logan and Bill’s presentation, I learned there are apps which can be integrated into the classroom. Aurasma is an app which supports all forms of digital content, creating a unique augmented reality experience simply by pointing a device at an image, object or location. Although I would need to spend more time familiarizing my-self with this new app, I can see it has potential to be used within my primary classroom. For instance, Rochelle shared her experiences using Aurasma when conducting book reviews with her students. By using Aurasma, her students are able identify particular books using an Aurasma sticker, which is pre-programmed.

Anatomy 4D is another app I was recently introduced to. I found this app to be very neat and interesting. Also, it seems relatively easy to use. Anatomy 4D presents teachers and students with the ability to learn about the human anatomy in an interactive 4D experience. Anatomy 4D is definitely an app I can see my-self using to assist in my health and science lessons. It is interactive, engaging and the students would find the screen shots very appealing. However, the only challenge I can think of at this point would be to use my personal cell phone or the classroom IPads for this app as I do not allow my primary students to bring their cell phones to school with them.

Overall, I do see potential to integrate virtual reality and augmented reality into my classroom. Within my school, I consider my students to be privileged as they have access to laptop computers and IPads. However, we must not forget about the disadvantaged students within our division. Factors which include geographical location or lower socio-economic status contributes to students not being presented with equal opportunities for learning. Therefore, how can we provide a virtual or augmented reality experience to only some of our students? It comes as no surprise that we are facing a digital divide within today’s society. How can we bridge the gap in order to create equal opportunities for all students? Although virtual reality and augmented reality provides both teachers and students with new opportunities for experiential learning, this is only possible when we have the necessary resources to utilize.

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