Have you noticed the subtle expansion in extended reality or XR in our daily lives? Extended Reality or XR is the umbrella concept that covers a range of modified or extended experiences that take true reality and either recreate or overlay computer generated content. This content can be broadly categorized into Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, and Augmented Reality.
Virtual Reality is an established learning technology, however it can be a large investment in time and money. VR does has many practical applications, and is worth doing in particularly situations where cost and safety are concerns. For example investing resources in developing a VR for training an airline ground crew to service an airplane. Prior to VR an airline might have to remove a plane from service for crew training, in addition, using an airplane for training could prove costly if a training accident occurred. In this example a fully immersive virtual reality learning experience may be worth doing.
Augmented Reality is an emerging technology and is a relatively accessible. Augmented reality overlays computer generated content over a live image. For example the yellow First Down line on an football television broadcast or the strike zone box on a baseball broadcast. Educators can experiment with an augmented reality tool called Zappar (first month free). With the Zappar app, students can waive a mobile tablet or phone over an instructor setup image, illustration or text and have a video, audio, image, or web link pop up. Static paper is a thing of the past, Zappar can bring them to life and it is relatively easy to do. We recently shared it at Tech It Out Day 2018, if you are interested in Zappar and its applications for supporting student learning materials let us know.
Mixed Reality fills the space between computer generated world (VR) and real world with computer overlay (AR). Like VR, Mixed Reality also requires a large investment of time and resources to develop. An example of MR is a theme park experience which mixes kinesthetic and sensory markers to enhance your experience. For example watching a computer generated visual while physically being moved, or sprayed with water or sniffing scented air.