Extended Reality (XR) in the Classroom

young man putting on vr goggles

Hopefully, you had a chance to catch some of the great sessions at OLC Innovate over these past few weeks. One topic that always elicits interest is the array of possibilities offered by the technologies used to create simulations falling somewhere along a continuum often referred to as Extended Reality (XR). The real world is at one end, while “fully immersive” simulations sit at the other, with things like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) represented along the way.

If you attended the 360 Degrees of Learning: Using Immersive Virtual Learning Technologies and Approaches session (contact us for access), you saw the possibilities and progress these approaches have created in the health sciences — but the applications for the technology spill over into many disciplines.

As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education a couple of years ago, “Syracuse University journalism students are using VR in storytelling. Hamilton College is exploring ways to use 3-D tools to prepare orchestra conductors. Florida International University has built a first-year experience around students working together through VR on a community project.” Be sure to check out Exploring the Use and Potential for eXtended Reality (XR) in Higher Education from our friends at Educause for in-depth examples across the curriculum.

XR does not offer a panacea for our pedagogical problems, but it offers excellent possibilities in various fields. As always, we must consider many things before embarking on a project. These include both the technological and the practical. The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning provides a great resource as you work through these challenges.

Progress can be slower than we might like in implementation, but gaining familiarity with the issues involved will make things easier as costs come down and barriers to adoption are overcome. As always, please reach out to us with any questions.