Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality - Pioneers of the Immersive Technologies, Future of the Education?

Which instant associations arise in your mind when the subject of a conversation touches upon virtual or augmented reality? The chances are, it has something to do with sophisticated headsets, drawing the curtain into the realm of digital experiences, massive headphones, and Bradbury-inspired unwillingness of the players to interact with anything but various controllers and treadmills. And, albeit equipment remains truly essential for the quality of virtual immersion, at Bit, we know in practice that the technology has much more to offer than simulated shootings at Fallout 4 and Hitman. The pitfalls of traditional educational methods, VR and AR in bridging the gap between theory and practice, the case of Bit and other delights - let us guide you through. 

Wearebit-VR-sigmund-unsplashImage source: Sigmund at Unsplash

VR or AR?

Firstly, given the prevalent confusion between the concepts of virtual reality and augmented reality, we face a vital need for setting common theoretical ground. Hence, whenever we speak of absolute absorption in the world of pixels and its GTA-like inhabitants, we imply virtual reality – the dimension that is not interconnected with the factuality by any means. Of course, unless you happen to mistakingly knock out a by-standing sibling with a remote. The augmented reality, in return, speaks for itself and suggests adding extrasensory experiences to the existing outside world. In other words, the iconic Pokémon Go, having blown up 2016 by granting ordinary folk with an unprecedented merge of real-virtual interaction, as well as Snapchat and Instagram face-mangling effects represent multilayeredness of the augmented reality. Sounds complicated, and yet there it is – right on your smartphone, which coincidentally remains the most affordable way to step beyond the limits.

Immersive Tech For Good: How Can the Education Benefit From Diluting Conventional Learning Tools with the Computerized Simulation?

Regardless of your initial area of expertise, you must have heard tons of narratives on the prospective panacean impact of VR and AR on the educational sector. Namely, through enhancement of student learning and engagement, these presents of high-tech are capable of tackling 2 historical pitfalls of traditional tutoring – fact retention and information incomprehensibility - at once. No need to jump through hoops to claim that cramming has always nested at the spotlight of learning, where consumption of facts is deemed to outshine the importance of actively operating with the knowledge. Alongside, traditional learning evidently manifests its inadequacy for certain students, whose understanding either relies on interactions with the information or simply requires additional attention to some of the five senses. To put it simply, an assumption about a standardized set of methods to equally benefit distinctive individuals is delusional, at the very least.

In the light of the immersive tech, however, the study ambiance seems to take over an entirely novel course, depending on the field. History classes are no longer pages of plain text and mundane dates, but a genuine journey through a scene, infused with auditory sequence and a formerly unattainable opportunity to participate. Complex datasets, in return, can now be easily visualized and interpreted in three dimensions with the use of VR and the latest computing advances, thus considerably facilitating users' understanding. Art exploration, surgery preparation, or military purposes - either way, I could go on for ages. So, why don’t we just refrain from theory and have a look at how Bit successfully managed to implement VR in the education sector? Start taking notes.

Public Speaking Skills

Virtual and augmented realities are already being vastly deployed in various therapeutic environments in order to help people combat their deep fears and phobias. Well, public speaking is not an exception. Tell me, who on Earth did not have their palms restlessly sweating and the stomach in knots right before presenting any kind of pitch, slightly more important than a Sunday brunch suggestion? Bingo.

Anticipating your question on the use of traditional public speaking coaching, I have to highlight that the main competitive advantage of VR-based training lays in its actual efficiency. While so-called presentation trainings mainly focus on the speaking skills, such as the pace of speech, gestures, and intonation, VR provides one with an opportunity to genuinely feel the surrounding environment and accompanying exposure to unpredictable changes. In essence, simulation allows learners to practice raising their voices in public gatherings and events, which, frankly speaking, seems to be way more realistic than mumbling in a small-scale classroom. Besides that, another strength of an application is guidance: as the system delivers real-time feedback, a presenter can continuously improve their speaking skills.

How come we are so sure about it? Well, our little advantage is that Bit happened to be lucky enough to experience the application's affordances first-hand. In the joint effort with a Dutch educational institution, Bit stepped on the path of the virtual environment development, so that the students could engagingly master their speech in realistic conditions. In order to achieve the latter, the team has been passionately working over each minor detail of the simulation, starting with the interior, appropriate lighting, and background clamor to the diversity and hairstyle of the animations. After a long run of demo sprints, the feedback on the final product's effectiveness paid off, as the tutors ended up feeling as if they were truly speaking to the group of people, sometimes inattentive and frantic. Have I already mentioned that we push status quo?

You see: I would really love to use adjectives in the spirit of "cutting-edge", "emerging", and "groundbreaking" on the subject of VR and AR, yet we both understand it would be nothing but an attempt to sell a pretentious lie. The technology cannot be labeled as brand-new by any means, yet it is not the focal point either. The question we primarily face is how the already existing advances can be exploited and adjusted for the better future - appropriate application, not a race for endless demagogy.

If you want to know more about virtual and augmented reality, and what value they carry specifically for you, get in touch with us!


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