Today we covered the Virtual Reality and the Augmented Reality Technology Competencies.

Virtual Reality is a computer-generated simulation that is used through equipment such as a helmet with a screen inside of it (which look like big goggles) and often gloves with sensors.

By contrast, augmented reality is done when you are not fully immersed in a virtual environment, which can be used in many contexts including work environments.

We learnt about how Augmented Reality is being used as a resource right now at a high school in Vancouver to teach Social Studies and History in a way that is engaging. Students were using virtual reality to physically go to the places where certain war events occurred. They were assigned with a few different things such as writing a letter to a loved one, taking on the persona of someone who was struggling with the decision to enlist in the War. The virtual reality component of this unit does not only make it much more engaging, it also prompts empathy and for students to really take on the point of view of another.

We also learnt how “HP Reveal” can be a really valuable tool for augmented reality for younger students. We downloaded the app and gave it a go with some classroom objects, but it was a bit tricky for me and my partner to figure out. I believe that if I had more time to work with it perhaps, I would have been more successful. But we only got a limited amount of time before we were off to try out Virtual Reality!… Overall, I think that augmented reality tools such as HP Reveal can be really useful and definitely have a lot of learning potential, especially with younger students.

With Virtual Reality, we tried out the “helmet” and did some different activities. A few people did a rollercoaster simulation, one person did a drawing simulation, and I tried out a Google Earth simulation. In the Google Earth simulation, I was able to fly around the world and zoom in close to explore different places. We started and China and slowly made our way over to the Island! It was a bit disorienting but really interesting and fun, and would certainly provide students with a great opportunity to learn more about our World by visiting places they would otherwise have no exposure to.