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Immersive Technology In Education: Extended Realities Explored

Mar 24, 2020 2:15:00 PM

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Extended Reality (XR) encompasses the variety of ways that virtualization can take the human experience beyond what the eye perceives. Human experiences, including learning, can be redefined and heightened through Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality - the three kinds of XR in wide use.

What is Extended Reality? 

Virtual Reality is a well-understood concept, but what is Extended Reality? Forbes posted a “simple explanation for anyone” in August 2019. Extended Reality, or XR, is an emerging umbrella term for virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality technologies. 

A Symposium of Realities 

Recently GeekWire posted the story of Seattle symposium XR Day. GeekWire stated that, in common vernacular, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) are mistakenly used as interchangeable terms. As the technology evolves and is more widely used, all these terms and "Extended Reality" as the overarching term, may come to be better understood and used. 

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GeekWire states that XR Day represents the belief that healthcare is one of the sectors with the most opportunity to enhance learning with XR. There are practical reasons for this. Surgeons require precise strokes to execute tricky procedures correctly. A surgeon in training is an obvious choice for an enhanced digital reality where they might perform an incredibly difficult surgery multiple times, possibly fail, but never injure or endanger a patient doing so. 

Learning Applications of Extended Reality

EdTech Magazine recently highlighted the work of Digital Bodies, an organization established by Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva, two well-known leaders in XR education. Digital Bodies is dedicated to researching the "transformative power of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence." It was stated that, from their research, XR has the power to create incredible new learning possibilities. 

Extended Reality Examples

Colorado State University’s VR Chamber 

Enter Colorado State University’s Department of Biomedical Sciences. The department's head was initially hesitant to bring VR headsets into his institution, but their lab is now equipped with 100 Samsung HMD Odyssey+ VR headsets for the 2,500 sq ft lab space. The headsets hang from the ceiling and connect to a high-performance HP computer. The lab is described as the planet’s first VR large-scale study room. Department head Todd Clapp has been quoted as saying “(VR) solved our problem of looking at two-dimensional images and requiring students to understand relationships three-dimensionally.”

Shadow Creator

Shadow Creator is a Shanghai-based manufacturer of XR tech. Recently, Forbes reported that Shadow Creator is gearing up to ship units expressly for educational projects. These are in the form of the JIMO headset. The headset is designed to be worn like glasses and adds new dimensions for classroom use. One significant feature is a holographic classroom that is capable of leveraging 5G. With this technology, the staff and equipment capacity of an institution will not prevent the education of students. 

Medical Training In Rio De Janeiro

The Global Spine Congress (GSC) has developed a VR seminar to train surgeons on spinal surgery without the use of cadavers. Seminar Chairman, Dr. Jeffery Wang, says: “the future of surgical simulation is now available, and we are extremely pleased to offer this unique opportunity to utilize modern technology and optimize the educational experience.” The GSC is hopeful they will be able to hold their seminar as planned in 2021.

Higher Education and XR 

Higher learning institutions and education advocates have started making a case for XR in their learning material. Educause posted research findings in 2019 that shows there is a need for XR in teaching and learning. Educause stated that XR can be effective and easy to use, with time-on-task value, a novelty factor that makes it engaging, and an experimental value that peaks student curiosity. 

Learning institutions should consider XR technologies for their immersive environments and ease of implementation. When curriculums are combined with or enhanced by XR technologies, an entirely new aspect of the educational experience opens up. It makes sense that the technology has been dubbed "Extended Reality" because this is precisely what it does. XR opens up the engagement-nature of immersive education and extends the range a student can explore. 

At GIGXR we strive to push the boundaries of conventional education, enhancing and transforming traditional teaching and learning. Our extended reality platform and applications break through the limitations of screen-based resources by placing the digital in a collaborative physical space thus broadening the range and deepening the impact of learning.

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GIGXR

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