Immersive technology: Asset to the classroom or another tech fad?


Can schools integrate AR, VR, and mixed reality into the classroom and curriculum effectively?

When thinking about how this technology can transform learning, redefinition becomes especially apparent. These tools can put users ahead of what they’re normally capable of allowing students to experience—things that would be impossible in real life, such as taking a walk on the moon. Also, as they are given more opportunities to use this technology to create content, students will take more ownership of their learning.

While these tools have the ability to transform learning, that doesn’t mean we can assess the success of the integration of that specific tool. Any tools should be supplementary as opposed to making up the entire learning experience, so there are measurable things that can be tied into that. We can evaluate that growth over time as students take more ownership of their learning. Luhtala added that one measure of this could come from interviews asking students how the technology is changing their feelings about their learning or abilities.

Getting started with immersive technology
First and foremost, talk to everyone about the implementation. This includes the curriculum department, technology department, administrators, and coaches. Make sure everyone has a common goal and understands the issues that need to be addressed with students, and that the technology used is driven by the curriculum, not the other way around. Understand the school’s needs as well as limitations before the planning process. Bottom line—don’t let the excitement for the initiative overpower getting started properly. When it comes to the point of implementation, the integration will be solid, keeping stakeholders more likely to stay on board.

About the Presenters
Jaime Donally is a passionate technology enthusiast. She began her career as a math teacher and later moved into instructional technology. Her desire to build relationships has brought about opportunities to collaborate with students and educators around the world. She provides staff development and training on immersive technology as an edtech consultant. Her latest adventures include the launch of Global Maker Day and the #ARVRinEDU community. She works as an author and speaker to provide practical use of augmented and virtual reality with more resources at Experience in ARVRinEDU.

Michelle Luhtala is the library department chair at New Canaan High School in Connecticut and was one of five school librarians named as a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal in 2015. She is the winner of the 2011 “I Love My Librarian” Award and the Library Association’s 2010 Outstanding Librarian Award. The New Canaan High School Library won AASL’s National School Library Program of the year in 2010. Follow her on Twitter @mluhtala.

Join the Community
Emerging Tech for Schools and Libraries is a free professional learning community where school librarians, teachers, and administrators can explore all the ways to integrate technology and 21st century learning into school library programs.

This broadcast was hosted by edWeb.net and sponsored by Mackin Educational Resources.

The recording of the edWebinar can be viewed by anyone here.

[Editor’s note: This piece is original content produced by edWeb.net. View more edWeb.net events here.]

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.