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by Elisheva Lightstone, Professor in the School of Nursing and the Teaching & Learning Centre
Not long ago, using Extended Reality (XR) in the classroom seemed like something from a sci-fi movie that would happen in the distant future. However, the use of XR in higher education is growing across the globe, and coming soon to classrooms at Seneca.
What is the difference between VR, AR, and XR? VR is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment, often using a headset such as Oculus or PlayStation VR (Bardi, 2022). Instead of sitting in front of a computer, the user is immersed and interacts in a 3D environment. XR is the umbrella term that combines VR (immersing in the environment), augmented reality (AR) (adding to the user’s surroundings), and mixed reality (MR) (a combination of VR and AR) (Gerencer, 2021). To learn more about XR, check out the XR guide.
Experts predict that in the next few years there will be more wearables and fewer handheld devices (Bardi, 2022). For example, smartglasses and smartwatches will replace smartphones. These wearables will allow for more use of XR. Also, headsets will decrease in size (Bardi, 2022). Here’s an example of what a typical day may look like with smartglasses in the future.
But why use XR in the classroom? What are the advantages of XR?
What are the disadvantages of XR in education?
Currently, there are two XR projects in the development stage at Seneca in aviation and nursing. These projects allow students to practice skills, problem-solve, and use critical thinking to navigate a variety of scenarios all while being immersed in a 3D environment.
XR can help prepare students for work life after graduation through practicing in immersive environments that mimic real-life situations. Also, XR is a lot more fun than just looking at a computer screen, which encourages students to practice again and again to hone their skills.
Bardi, J. (2022, April 28). What Is Virtual Reality: Definitions, Devices, and Examples. 3DCloud Marxent. https://www.marxentlabs.com/what-is-virtual-reality/
Boyles, B. (2017). Virtual reality and augmented reality in education. Center For Teaching Excellence, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Dwyer, F. (2010). Edgar Dale’s Cone of experience: a quasi-experimental analysis. International Journal of Instructional Media, 37(4), 431–437.
Gerencer, T. (2021, April 3). What Is Extended Reality (XR) and How Is it Changing the Future? HPTech Takes. https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/tech-takes/what-is-xr-changing-world