The future of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) in a continually dynamic industry is exciting and, as technology further evolves, is becoming increasingly evident for its enormous potential in the improvement of a learning and working environment. While VR and AR were initially seen as entertainment or an out-of-reach technology solution, it has now found itself to be an enthusiastic companion for innovative learning in classrooms and the corporate domain.
But, what actually is AR and VR and is it really becoming the new textbook?
AR refers to the integration of digital information in the form of text, graphics, audio or other virtual enhancements onto the real world, adding value to the user’s interaction with their physical environment. This works by super-imposing computer-generated images onto your surroundings with a camera-equipped device, such as a smartphone or tablet, while VR is a technology that allows users to experience a simulated three-dimensional environment that mimics a real one. VR utilises an electronic headset and controllers and transports users to a virtual world, allowing them to interact in an immersive online experience.
Integration with the modern classroom
When incorporating this technology into a modern classroom, AR and VR can transform the typical learning experience for students into an engaging and captivating academic domain. Students are given the opportunity to explore simulated historic sites, take virtual field trips out of the country or explore scientific phenomena, creating an endless list of educational content that is otherwise difficult to replicate in a traditional classroom. AR and VR technology can also be used for advanced employee training and development, product design or even remote collaboration. It becomes a pivotal instrument in improving efficiency and freedom in the workplace, with upgraded practicality for employees such as architects and designers alike, allowing them to create 3D models of buildings or products. Remote teams can also use VR to visualise data and prototypes in a virtual meeting space.
Benefits of AR/VR
There is a laundry list of benefits when it comes to VR and AR, notably providing a memorable and fascinating learning experience in the classroom. For students that were born into an online world, the use of this kind of technology allows teachers and schools to keep up with content that stays engaging and meets the prerequisite of intriguing education. It can allow students to effectively retain information that is often demanding to learn in a conventional, passive classroom and enables users to practice real-world skills in a safe and controlled setting.
The future of AR/VR
As AR and VR technology continues to evolve, we can expect sensational developments across the board. Though, despite the many benefits, some educators and businesses stay hesitant in embracing these technologies and are citing concerns about cost, accessibility and the potential for distraction. While an obvious entertainment tool for some, VR and AR is slowly becoming a valuable investment for education and can improve engagement, retention and knowledge transfer. In addition, with the increasing availability of affordable VR and AR hardware and software, it becomes an accessible product within reach of utilising.
The future of VR and AR as an every day digital partner is advantageous and bright, with endless opportunities for elevating and revamping a typical learning and working climate. So, whether you’re a student, educator or business leader, it’s time to embrace the potential of VR and AR and take a deep dive into its pool of possibilities.
And remember, if you’re still feeling a little unsure about the world of VR and AR, just think of it as the modern-day equivalent of the Magic School Bus. Only this time, you don’t need to worry about getting eaten by a T-Rex or shrunk down to the size of a pea.