Monthly Archives: April 2016

  • Virtual Reality in Today's Classroom

    That virtual reality holds a huge potential to be part of an educational setting isn't so farfetched. In fact, it's one of the biggest visions of VR and augmented reality pioneer Tom Furness, who exhibited the technology's potentials at the Air Force as far back as 1966. His work with research applications in VR has significantly contributed to social sciences, education, and medicine.

    With the leaps and bounds VR has undertaken in recent years, what other potentials does it have to offer in a classroom set-up?

    Heightened enthusiasm among students

    A VR device as a teaching aid also requires less of a learning curve and instructions, as today's digital generation is already familiar with the basics of its technology. The graphics appeal to the visual nature of younger pupils, while an immersive experience will set their imagination (plus decision-making and critical thinking) in motion in a non-passive way.

    Active engagement

    Dealing with the creatures of the nanosecond (AKA today's students) means attempting to broaden their attention span to that when they can actually learn something. VR has the capacity to do precisely this. It can engage students immediately without the dull preamble of many traditional classroom activities. Which also brings us to...

    More focus, less distractions

    The immersive experience that VR offers also means students soak up the experience with much more focus than, say, having someone lecture up front (while trying to hold their attention for at least an hour).

    Even more complex subjects and concepts can be explained better by virtual reality. Immersion is key in using this tool to further broach these subjects, and it helps students retain what they learn far better and for longer.








  • The Yin and Yang of Virtual Tourism


    Jeremy Story Carter from RN raises some pretty interesting questions about virtual reality tourism, centered around Australia's recent 360 video efforts:

            "If anyone in the world can access immersive experiences of Australia without ever leaving their home though, might such campaigns                  actually dissuade tourists?

             'I'm sure Tourism Australia has thought about this—why come if you can experience it virtually?' he (Professor Jim Blascovich from the              University of California, Santa Barbara) says.

            'That's the yin and the yang of it. I'm sure they've also thought, "let's not give the whole store away.'

            Blascovich, who has studied virtual reality for decades, says the potential for similar virtual reality technologies to be applied for education         purposes is fascinating."

    We see virtual reality as a way to augment real-world experiences. Nothing will ever replace the feeling of fine, powdery sand between your toes, or the overwhelming experience of seeing the Three Capes Track in person.

    But with that said, an immersive experience could entice potential tourists into booking their next vacation in Australia. To paraphrase an old saying: "To sell the steak, show them the sizzle." And as a promotional tool, virtual reality gives one helluva sizzle.

    Photo credit: Sarah Ackerman Amazing Great Barrier Reef, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

    Australian Broadcasting Corporation's RN: The 'paradigm shift' of virtual reality tourism

    Also, check out a sample 360 video below:

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