What you see day to day, social media, news, games. We are all connected. Mobile computing and the Internet is making this happen. As we progress down this technological path, it's important to look at what's next to see where we might bring purpose. Without purpose in these devices, we will find ourselves in the living room with everyone just looking at their smartphones. Does this ring a bell? Enter the world of immersive tech, augmented and virtual reality. Virtual reality isn't just a view master for your video games. It's an entirely new medium whose true purpose is slowly being realized.
Let Me Clarify. I'm Inexperienced In This Area.
Recently we were invited to the Microsoft Store in Kansas City to participate with Washburn University in some VR activities. It opened my eyes to some opportunities that I would have otherwise dismissed. I got to enter new active experiences with the VIVE, Oculus Rift, and the new Mixed Reality device from HP. Microsoft is making a hard push into the mixed reality segment with Windows 10 as the platform of choice. Many of these headsets are much cheaper than their VR counterparts. Prices are around $399.
Here were a couple of videos we took as a part of the experience
So Where Does This Fit In The Classroom?
How we currently test new programs and solutions in Omaha Public Schools is through our Compass Program Adoption. This is lead by Eileen Heller, and many of the tiles in Office 365 you see today have come from that. Microsoft Classroom, Teams, and ClassFlow are great examples of Compass projects that the district ended up adopting into the classroom.
This last year at ISTE, there was a session on VR that described this taxonomy as to how to approach it in lessons and learning experiences. Here is the link to that session. Special shoutout to Eileen for sharing this with me.
As you can see there are many ways to consume media through virtual reality and that might be the only aspect you can see. That was how I had been before I experienced it first hand. After going through climbing a wall, exploring the solar system, and even looking into the sun, content in this will be key. In this week's research after the visit I found that many classes have used VR tools to collaboratively construct architectural models, recreations of historic or natural sites and other spatial renderings. Instructors also have used VR technology to engage students in topics related to literature, history and economics by offering a deeply immersive sense of place and time, whether historic or evolving. It is our job as educators to seek an ever-expanding immersive landscape, where students engage with teachers and each other in transformative experiences through a wide spectrum of interactive resources. In this educational reality, VR has a definitive place of value.