Virtual and augmented reality is a modality to potentially enhance educational experiences where computer generated simulations or enhancements mimic real world environments and scenarios. In fact, it is already used to improve the way people work and learn from simulating surgical procedures to practicing performing speeches to optimizing manufacturing processes. People can now experience the unattainable – like virtually travel the world, or even walk on the surface of Mars!
The Immersive Learning @SSU Program is an umbrella over two divisions: the Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning (VITaL)* Laboratory and the Immersive Learning Development Track.
The VITaL Laboratory is an immersive space where faculty can engage students in a hands-on, constructive learning environment. Since 90% of what people do is generally remembered when performing a task [Dale, 1969], the VITaL Laboratory is an ideal module for learning. Students can explore scenarios they would never have been able to experience previously in a traditional academic setting. Additionally, the VITaL Laboratory serves as a research platform for conducting studies on the merger of virtual and augmented reality in an academic environment.
Considering the lack of current available educational virtual/augmented reality software, the Development Track will offer a great opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration to harness the expertise among Sonoma State University’s talent to create open-source educational content. This will not only benefit the students taking the coursework to enhance their learning experience, but will also provide the development team, with the guidance of faculty, the experience necessary to enter the workforce upon graduation with a solid experience.
Other applications of virtual and augmented reality in education include:
Virtual Field Trips
Show students the realities of war with 360 videos such as The Displaced
Experience the protests that women seeking abortions face with Planned
Parenthood’s Across the Line 360 video.
Simulate the experiences of solitary confinement
Reenact real life crimes in VR such as the shooting of Trayvon Martin