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07/14/2017
  • Virtual worlds and game-based learning provide educators powerful new ways to enhance teaching methods. 

Taking a lesson from the games industry, educators are discovering the power of immersive technology to fully engage students and wrap their attention around all kinds of subject matters.  

Immersive Education uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), 3D games, and other immersive technology and media to put students deep inside an interactive learning experience. It takes the collaborative online learning environment to the next level, creating a virtual classroom where students can interact with their teachers as well as each other. But it doesn’t just bring the classroom to them…it can bring the world to the classroom. For example, students can go on virtual field trips to anywhere on the planet – or in the universe for that matter. Professors can share their research studies in the field as if the students were there by their side.  

The possibilities are endless. Immersive Education can be a great aid in teaching – and reaching – those with learning disabilities or conditions like autism. It can also provide more accessible and affordable opportunities for higher education – as well as a more “hands-on” learning experience. VR is already being used to teach teachers – enabling them to gain experience interacting with virtual students – and to train other professionals, such as immersive VR programs for doctors and nurses.  

For those seeking an active role, a good place to start is the Immersive Education Initiative, where members collaborate on open standards, best practices, and other developments. Participants include bastions of higher education such as Harvard University, MIT, and UCLA; corporate members such as IBM and Disney; and government entities such as NASA and The Smithsonian.  

Take a look at the power of immersive media to educate by tuning into the podcast about Wonder Buffalo, a VR experience that teaches lessons about bullying and body image. 

 

 

SOURCES 

Immersive Education Initiative
http://immersiveeducation.org/

Teaching and Learning with Technology, Penn State (First Class)
http://beyond.psu.edu/firstclass/

It's Accessible and Affordable: Immersive Media in Higher Education 
A Q&A with Kyle Bowen, by Mary Grush, Campus Technology, 02/27/2017
https://campustechnology.com/Articles/2017/02/27/Accessible-and-Affordable-Immersive-Media-in-Higher-Education.aspx?Page=1

Virtual reality may be a help to autistic children in the classroom 
By Natalie R. Catren, The Independent, 04/12/2017
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/virtual-reality-may-be-a-help-to-autistic-children-in-the-classroom-a7676391.html