We had a blast exploring immersive learning at the 2015 New Media Consortium conference in Washington, DC, creating a Wearable Pop-up Studio for the NMC Idea Lab.
Increasingly, we live in a world where the lines between the physical and the virtual are rapidly blurring. With the rapid developments in Wearable Technology, immersive learning environments (ILEs) will draw upon visually rich and deeply compelling augmented and virtual reality experiences, creating realistic scenarios that give learners the opportunity to interact with others and master new skills.
NMC Idea Lab
To demonstrate the way virtual, visual and sensory experiences will transform learning we created our own Wearable Pop-up Studio at the annual New Media Conference (NMC) Idea Lab. The NMC Idea Lab captures the best thinking from the NMC community. Participants share the latest Edtech projects through interactive displays, posters, and a variety of formats that showcase how the future of learning is happening now.
The goal for our interactive experience was to give participants the ability to touch, play and try out the many devices coming to consumers this year. For two hours, this highly experiential session featured multiple Virtual Reality (VR) Glasses, Google Glass, Apple Watch, the Narrative Clip lifelogging camera, Disney’s Magic Band, Fitbit, the Muse Brain Sensing headband, and more.
While the Apple Watch raised many questions, the audience unanimously focused on Google Cardboard. Participants lined up and waited patiently for their turn to try it on. We discovered that for the majority of the attendees, it was their very first experience with Google Cardboard. Many has seen or heard of the low-cost Cardboard VR units but only a few had actually tried it out.
Walking Through the Temple at Luxor
As part of our demonstration, we used an immersive learning experience developed by EON Reality, an industrial training company that recently partnered with Google to develop and distribute virtual reality simulations. You download the VR file to your Smartphone, insert your phone into Google Cardboard and within seconds, you are transported to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.
After 3-4 minutes of walking through this virtual reality field trip, the reviews came pouring in – jaw-dropping excitement and questions that came down to – Where can I get one?
Many educators expressed interest on the impact and application of these devices in the classroom. The truth is, we are only at the beginning of a journey that will transform education through an entirely new arena of immersive learning experiences.