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Technology in education beyond ‘e-learning’: Augmented reality, virtual reality & motion sensing

Technologies

Upcoming technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Motion Sensing, can be that ‘Revolutionary Change to Learning’.

With the technology growing faster than ever before, the education sector is failing badly at catching up with it. Technology in the school today only limits to two things so far E-learning and Mobile apps. While these are still good enough at a basic level, they are not the only means to bring revolution in the education industry.

Content or app developers think ahead of time. Yesterday’s mobile app developers are currently working on Virtual Reality apps, Console Game Developers are moving to Motion Sensing and so on. On the other hand participation of educational institutions, researchers or mentors always happens too late.

Teachers across the world these days are aware of the benefits of using mobile as a platform when the developers have already moved ahead to something even better. The problem here is, they need to think alike with the technology early adopters. They, in fact, need to become the early adopters of such revolutionary ideas.

Unlike games or media apps which are available on platform, be it a Desktop application, Tablet, Smartphone or even Smart TVs, the education has not received its place in such ecosystems. And the obvious reason being, they are lacking the enthusiasm, knowledge or even technology support systems.

For most of the useful collaboration of the technology in education has happened only when some content developer approached with a great idea for the schools, or some institute, and made it a reality, which instead should have happened conversely. And this is only possible if schools, institutes or universities are walking side by side with the ever growing technologies.

Augmented Reality (AR), where we produce additional content in our existing world, can have multiple applications that will help students learn in a better way.

It can add the fun element in learning, and bring futuristic holographic experience they can explore. Contextual learning has huge potential to use existing gadgets to ‘learn more’, simply with your existing textbooks, which was not possible without AR.

Virtual Reality (VR) with devices like Oculus, HTC Vive or Samsung GearVR tries to bring the experience from totally different world to us.

They create artificial world experience, which can be again used to education sector’s advantage.

The motion sensing devices like Leap Motion or Kinect has shown a lot of potential, currently in the application at very limited levels (mostly to gaming).

GPS Tracker for Kids

While VR content developers are challenged with user experience design that should be physiologically and psychologically aware, they need to be even 100 times more careful, if they are serving content to young minds. Motion Sensing somehow eliminate these challenges at some extent, as you are not dealing with a whole different world, and user is already physically aware.

Even if all of these technologies are experimental and expensive at some extent, they are still at their infancy.

And the steep pricing of these gadgets limits them only to very small percentage of users so far. Apart from the limitations of early bugs, pricing and reach, there is no doubt the sophisticated versions of these technologies are going to bring the next revolution in technology.

So without any delays, the product manufacturers, education industry veterans and content developers should now become aware of this opportunity, and go ahead with developing some outstanding learning experiences for the future generations.

Rather than bringing some new ways of learning that have no significant edge over existing ways of learning, these advanced technologies should be well understood, before creating content for them. While Smartphones are severely bounding the physical activities that kids can do, Motion Sensing and VR can avail many opportunities to bring them back to achieve an active lifestyle. Kinect games are already letting them jump out of their couch and play, but they need to evolve in a way that very younger kids can also learn while they play, or simply learn using such technologies.

Undoubtedly, the solution should be a low-cost technology that can penetrate massive user base across the globe, have almost no learning curve and should have a variety of content.

We experienced the Smartphone revolution across the world in past few years, in fact for some countries it’s still happening. But that ship has sailed, at least for the educational sector to make it even more interesting. Also, it has its flaws that are well known, and it is not something we feel safe handing over to our toddlers, for many reasons. But upcoming technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Motion Sensing, can be that ‘Revolutionary Change to Learning’.

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