The report finds promise for AR / VR in K-12 and higher editions

Although augmented and virtual reality technology is still in the early stages of development, K-12 and higher education instructors have become increasingly open to making it a staple of instruction in classroom, according to a recent report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. think tank on science and technology policies.

The report, The promise of immersive learning: the potential of virtual and augmented reality in education, said AR / VR technology could prove to be a “promising addition” to ed technology toolkits in schools and universities in the coming years. Ellysse Dick, ITIF policy analyst and author of the report, said the future adoption of AR / VR editing tools and technology could provide schools with more immersive content and experiential learning opportunities to help close the achievement gaps.

“It expands access to opportunities,” he said of his applications. “A virtual tour is not a complete replacement for a real-life tour, but for those students who otherwise could not visit places that could be a bus trip for other people, virtual reality can give opportunities to experience some of these things.

“A lot of that is possible right now,” he added. “We are talking about the potential, but the technology already exists to do so. It’s just a matter of getting it in the classroom. ”

Dick said interest in AR / VR for education had already increased by 2020, when schools and universities adopted digital learning tools mostly out of necessity. According to the report, 85 percent of public school teachers reported seeing “great value” in ED / AR technology platforms in a 2019 survey. In addition, two-thirds of education institutions had partially or fully deployed AR / VR solutions in 2018.

Dick said cost and content supply remain two key barriers to the massive adoption of AR / VR in schools.

“It simply came to our notice then. People want to put it in the classrooms: teachers, parents and students are enthusiastic, but the [lack of] content is a huge problem. There’s not a lot of relevant content, ”he said.“ Cost is still an issue and we generally understand how these technologies can fit into existing curricula and pedagogical approaches really have to happen before this can explode in a way. that a lot of people would love to see. “

Although Dick said it could take years for RA / VR tools to become commonplace in schools, the report noted several case studies describing their applications in K-12 schools to date. K-12 instructors now have access to programs such as BioDive, a web-based virtual reality platform designed to teach high school students about marine biodiversity, as well as the VOISS Project, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Education which uses VR to practice students of neurodivers. learn social skills, among other use cases.

“Gamification, which has been widely shown to be beneficial for learning, is one of the huge advantages of RV and RA in education,” Dick said of current use cases. “This really brings them to experience and provides them with a more lasting knowledge base for the future.”

According to the case studies in the report, the Center for Applied Second Language Studies at the University of Oregon launched a virtual and augmented reality language training (VAuLT) program in 2018 that allows students of languages ​​practicing foreign languages ​​in real world environments. Oxford launched a virtual reality-based medical simulation platform to practice patient care scenarios, while other institutions explore applications in health sciences.

“I think the top edition looks good for RV, especially when we talk about things like STEM and medical education and even vocational and technical training,” he said. “For the K-12, there’s a lot more in the air.”

Thirty percent of parents remain “very concerned” about the potential negative impacts of virtual reality in schools and the increase in screen time among children, according to a 2018 Common Sense Media report. Another 2020 study by Perkins Coie and the XR Association called education as “the second sector most likely to be disrupted by immersive technologies in the near future,” indicating some mixed sensations.

Taking into account concerns about effectiveness and adoption costs, the ITIF report recommended funding from the Department of Education for research and development of AR / VR in education, as well as funding for school adoption efforts.

Although schools have received billions in federal coronavirus funding for technology, Dick said most are not specifically targeted at AR / VR.

“There have been investments in RA and VR, but they are part of broader technology considerations,” he said. “This kind of technology comes at a certain time when we need a concerted effort to bring it to the classrooms and bring it to the classrooms in the right way.

“The only way to do that is to do the research to understand what that means and use that research to solicit specific investment proposals in the content area, as well as [making sure] the right technology enters schools. ”

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