The educational possibilities of AR, VR,…

The educational possibilities of AR, VR, and MR, while still in its infancy, have enormous potential to increase student engagement, creativity, and authenticity of the learning experience. As a science teacher, I can absolutely see the potential of AR and VR in teaching biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and more. Many science topics are abstract in nature, and visuals are powerful ways to help learners understand and interact with the content; with VR and AR, students can manipulate (in 3-D) dangerous chemicals without fear and look inside a human heart without having to open up a cadaver. In the long run, VR and AR can create savings in the educational system by eliminating physical materials previously used for lessons and replacing them with virtual (non-expiring) versions. Another example of savings would be the use of virtual field trips, as mentioned in the 2017 Horizons Report for K-12 Education. Imagine taking a class to a field trip in the Amazon, or exploring Italy during the renaissance. Of course, there is still great merit in performing live chemistry demonstrations, filling a set of cow lungs with air (my professor did this in class!), and going on a real hike while breathing in the fresh mountain air; however, in the future, VR may be able to replicate enough of our human sensory inputs to create a fully immersive (or one very close to reality) experience.