We’re now seeing a move toward mid-range, standalone VR headsets with everything built into the device. Some include their own processors, while others, like the forthcoming Microsoft headset, will work with current desktops. Microsoft’s device claims to do both VR and a modified version of mixed reality
The low end of the VR spectrum has been dominated by Google Cardboard, with over 10 million distributed
AR burst into the public’s consciousness with the Pokemon Go craze in 2016. And Snap (formerly Snapchat) expanded the range of their social media platform with the release of Spectacles, their wearable glasses and World Lens filters that add digital objects to your environment. A second version of Spectacles may include far more extensive AR capabilities.
At Facebook’s spring F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg made the case that our mobile cameras will be the first popular AR platform. Apple just announced ARKit for iOS at their June WWDC developers conference.
Meta Glasses has been developing its own mixed reality unit that offers a wider field of view than the 40° of HoloLens. And Intel’s Project Alloy promises a “Merged Reality” headset prototype combining both VR and AR by the end of this year.
Aryzon which is creating a Google Cardboard-like device for simple AR experiences. Another is the NOLO Project, which offers an HTC Vive-like experience with full freedom of movement using only a plastic headset and your phone.
Technology is changing higher education, but the greatest value of a physical university will remain its face-to-face (naked) interaction between faculty and students. Technology has fundamentally changed our relationship to knowledge and this increases the value of critical thinking, but we need to redesign our courses to deliver this value. The most important benefits to using technology occur outside of the classroom. New technology can increase student preparation and engagement between classes and create more time for the in-class dialogue that makes the campus experience worth the extra money it will always cost to deliver. Students already use online content, but need better ways to interact with material before every class. By using online quizzes and games, rethinking our assignments and course design, we can create more class time for the activities and interactions that most spark the critical thinking and change of mental models we seek.
The design of blended learning curriculum will be more diversified and personalized with the integration of creative in-class active learning strategies and innovative educational technologies, such as adaptive learning, virtual reality, mobile technologies
Quality assurance is the biggest challenge with implementing blended learning in the higher education environment today. I would propose institutions to adopt evidence-based standards for course evaluations. For instance, the OLC Quality Scorecard for Blended Learning Programs
MEL Science aims to release more than 150 lessons covering all the main topics included in K–12 schools’ chemistry curriculum. Later this year, MEL Science also aims to add support for other VR platforms, including Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.
Augmented reality adds computer-generated content as a contextual overlay to the real world. This technology, often powered by devices we already carry, has enormous applications for training and development.
Virtual reality has existed for decades, but technology has finally emerged that makes it truly accessible. VR allows us to put learners in a truly immersive environment, creating entirely new opportunities for training and learning.
AR and VR are just the start of the alternate-reality conversation. There are additional technologies that we can use on their own or as part of a blend with AR and VR to increase the level of immersion in the experiences we create.