This week has been immersive in a virtual sense of the word. I had the privilege in meeting a number of virtual reality providers and virtual world providers and I have to say, what is in line or actually possible is amazing. I have been downplaying the reach of virtual reality a bit in favour of the augmented reality relative. The reason for it is that virtual reality requires a specialist headset or goggles, often on top of that headphones and motion controllers. I personally always felt that the costs involved and tech savvy required to make it all work and navigate around is a bit out of reach for most people. Now I still see cost for the complete virtual experience as a barrier to mass consumption, but with the things I experienced this week I can see that for some purposes the return on investment into equipments and content will be made back quickly by a reduction in travel cost and ease of spreading wider knowledge in a practical sense.
I know this sounds a bit high level. But basically I tried out some of the functionality of the Immerse Learning platform. I ended up putting my joysticks into a machine locking and unlocking bolts, opening compartments with instruction from someone in the room next door. He could see my every move and what I was doing. I got feedback from the system through the joysticks when the bolts locked into place. I could see what I was doing. I threw blocks across the floor and could be playing with blocks or tools with someone else anywhere in the psychical world with connection to this space. I can see their tools being used for on the job support for repairs of physical machines, medical operations sampling and sharing. So whilst I was the only person carrying out the tasks, there could be a large number of people looking in and also a few more people from different locations stepping into the virtual world and working together.
The whole touching of the blocks and throwing them around was a fun experience, then actually seeing how I could work on a machine and afterwards being how he could see my every move and getting feedback visual and sensory of bolts going into the right place, made the whole experience very realistic. The Immerse Learning platform has the bonus that you don’t have to download something to make it work, which for most corporate firewalls is a bonus and avoids a lot of red tape.
The other environment I got to play around with extensively this week and even showcase to a potential client is edorble, basically provide 3D virtual worlds for educational purposes. Their graphics are beautiful, the interface is easy to use and navigate, even someone with limited computer experience can create an avatar and walk around, which is not always the case with virtual worlds. In previous cases I have ran into walls, not found what I was looking for or not understood how to navigate my avatar. With Edorble this was a total breeze, I downloaded their application onto my laptop and within a few minutes I was exploring the world with an auditorium, campfire, private hub classroom type of space. So when it was time to meet the guys from Edorble in the world and see how two or more people could interact, the same positive easy to flow experience carried forward. Basically if you are in the education world right now and want your students to experience 3D classrooms and project work, get in touch with the guys (do tell them you found out about them on my site all the same :-)). They are looking to recruit more pioneer teachers and educators to use their tools.
With further talks to the founders, they are keen in building out their pioneer base in the educational sector and have more people experience their world. I am putting our new relaunched membership also known as The Gamification Nation on their platform so my clients have the option to experience forward thinking technology first hand. Their tools are VR ready and inclusion onto Hololens technology is also on their roadmap.
I personally believe the forward thinking nature of both companies totally stretched my mind of possibilities. I also revise my statement that augmented reality will be bigger. After what I saw and experience or immersed myself in this week, the future is definitely in mixed reality, a blend of current available technology, augmented and virtual reality and good old school face to face reality. Blended learning in mixed reality is going to take our learning experiences to a whole new level, with speed of learning accelerating and test environments allowing paths to mastery to be achieved much more easily.
Where do you think blended learning, VR, AR and mixed reality is heading?