This session was easily the most uncomfortable session I’ve ever attended at a conference, for a variety of reasons (the primary one has already been covered by Cree in his blog post). That said, it came around for me by the end and I left with some new perspectives on VR and AR in education.
Prior to this session, I was feeling like I was behind the curve in exposing my students to the wonders of AR and VR. These are not worlds that I venture into personally, so although I’ve been aware of their educational potential, I haven’t explored the possibilities very seriously. This week, though, I saw (what I thought were) some very cool VR/AR programs that I felt I might be able to bring into my library program. After this session, though, I’m having second thoughts and I’m left with the realization that I need to know a lot more before I take that step.
Perhaps the best outcome of the session for me was a follow up conversation I had with another participant who made a very salient comment during the session. I asked him to help me understand the difference between AR and VR and as it turns out, he is a designer of STEM-based, free choice learning games that use AR and VR that “shift learning from looking down toward looking up and out.” For example, he’s created games that allow kids to go outside into nature, take photos, and then create a virtual reality game for other kids to use; he’s particularly interested in/concerned about kids’ nature deficit, so many of his games address that by combining outdoor ed with AR or VR. He invited me to come down to their learning lab in Boston to check out their games and since I clearly need to learn more about this, I’ll be psyched to take him up on the offer!