Virtual Reality and Education 4.0

By Carlos J. Ochoa, Co-Chair Education Committee    carlos@thevrara.com 

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Preface
Today, we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology, to name just a few, are all building on and amplifying one another. This will lay the foundation for a revolution more comprehensive and all-encompassing than anything we have ever seen.

Smart systems—homes, factories, enterprises, grids or cities—will help tackle problems ranging from supply chain management to climate change. The rise of the sharing economy will allow people to monetize everything from their empty house to their car. The question, then, is how business, government and individuals will react to these developments. To prevent a worst-case scenario—technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality—reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers will be critical.

Building Innovation Bridges
While much has been said about the need for reform in basic education, it is simply not possible to weather the current technological revolution by waiting for the next generation’s workforce to become better prepared. Instead, it is critical that businesses take an active role in supporting their current workforces through re-training, that individuals take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning and that governments create the enabling environment, rapidly and creatively, to assist these efforts.

Disruptive changes to business models will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years. Many of the major drivers of transformation currently affecting global industries are expected to have a significant impact on jobs, ranging from significant job creation to job displacement, and from heightened labour productivity to widening skills gaps.

Education 4.0 vs Industry 4.0
In such a rapidly evolving employment landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment is increasingly critical for businesses, governments and individuals in order to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends—and to mitigate undesirable outcomes.

We can talk about Education 4.0 in a future and adequate context to train students in a scenario of needs and new skills demand for Industry 4.0. In this Industry 4.0 scenario, new technologies converge in a disruptive and complex ecosystem and basically comprise it.

The Smart Innovation Space

Advanced reality (Virtual, augmented, mixed…reality), Additive manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Cars/ Drones, Big Data and Real Time Analytics, Cloud Services, Cybersecurity, Digital Twins, Internet of Things, Machine-Machine interface, Robots, Total Systems Integration…

To do this, new training, skills and training are required, which will enable this new industrial revolution to be addressed in an efficient and sustainable manner.

  • Empowering teachers: Empowering and training teachers with tools and methods to become real entrepreneurs of the educational community and improve the engagement factor with students as coachers.
  • Diversity of time and space: Through immersive learning, students have the opportunity to study at different times and in different places, encouraging self-training.
  • Adaptive learning: Different levels of complexity will be adapted for each student, empowering those who present more difficulties for learning.
  • Experimental Learning: From a simply ‘learning’ topic to ‘interact and experiment’ the content. This allows a student to explore, to experience or to be involved in something “real”.
  • Free choice of content and learning path: Each student can prepare with the tools and topics needed to perform in the industry.
  • The Immersive Experience: Traditional educational materials fail to inspire and engage further learning with most students as it forces them into a form of memory testing rather than retaining knowledge through practice and immersive experience.
  • New Evaluation Methods and Processes: In this new context, new evaluation process has to be defined, according the new “student learning objectives”, and defining new performance indicators according to that. That means, the exams should change radically. With the help of technology and new methodologies, it is possible to carry out a complete follow-up on the training process, measuring the different indicators according the evaluation criteria, impact in society and added value provided.

Now, let´s think about it. This is the future that VR/AR technology promises and it’s not that far away.  Will you take it one-step further?  Participate in our Education Committee today!

Virtual Reality: The Next Generation Of Education, Learning and Training

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When people hear about virtual reality (VR), images of a person wearing a headset and holding a gaming console usually come to mind. However, for the education sector, VR is an opportunity to finally connect with both learners and teachers in a novel and meaningful way. For example, EON Reality collaborated with Oral Roberts University to create the Global Learning Center, a dedicated facility for augmented and virtual learning. 

As the global executive director of the global VR/AR Association, I've watched our 3,900-plus registered companies and our Education Committee and Training Committee work on best practices, guidelines and standards to accelerate the VR/AR industry for all, one committee in particular being devoted to education and training.

Today, VR can enable experiential learning by simulating real-world environments. Students can test their skills, record their work and interact with experts all within VR. Students have responded overwhelmingly positively to active learner engagement. A recent study shows that "93 percent of teachers say their students would be excited to use virtual reality and 83 percent say that virtual reality might help improve learning outcomes." This points to a universal trend as these students will soon enter universities and then the workforce, where job training scenarios will become the new classroom.

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For visual learners and individuals with learning challenges, VR provides an alternative medium to meet their needs. Likewise, educators see increased engagement levels and improved test scores across the board with VR education programs. Hands-on learning techniques like VR education directly contribute to increased cognitive memory.

The benefits of incorporating VR/AR tech into educational experiences include better, more immediate engagement and the opportunity for learners to "feel" the experiences and better remember and express what they learned. A student can experience what was not possible to experience before and become better prepared for when such experiences occur in the real world.

The basic functionality of VR in education is to bring learning to life via a virtual environment. The more a learner is able to participate in life-like engagement, the easier it is to personally feel a connection to the subject material, making it easier for application and retention of the subject matter.

The most popular trends in VR learning include enterprise and education. In enterprise, Walmart is using VR to help train its employees on topics like management and customer service. Soon, all 200 of the company's U.S. training centers will use VR instruction to educate the estimated 150,000 employees going through the program annually.

In education, there's Star Chart, an iOS and Android app with over 20 million users that brings the universe a little closer. Users learn about astronomy by pointing their phones to the sky at night and utilize other features to learn about planets and space discovery.

It’s important to pay attention to this trend and adopt VR solutions in your organization to educate employees in new and better ways and teach students with more engaging and effective tools. However, like many new technologies before it, awareness is the first barrier to entry followed by cost and content.

Many are still not aware of VR training solutions that are proving to be effective. At The VR/AR Association we are doing our part to promote the industry and help organizations locate the best VR solutions for their use case. Meanwhile, quality VR headsets come at around $399 (already down from $599 ore more just a few months ago). Cost is steadily declining our research points to $199 being the sweet spot price point for “mass adoption.” Finally, better content — specific for each use case — is needed and is being created for enterprise use cases and educational curriculums.

In 2018 we will see the costs decrease, better content emerge and more awareness spread, which will propel the VR/AR education market to high growth.

Ultimately, VR in education will revolutionize not only how people learn but how they interact with real-world applications of what they have been taught. Imagine medical students performing an operation or geography students really seeing where and what Kathmandu is. The world just opens up to a rich abundance of possibilities.

 

Virtual Reality, the Next Generation of E-Learning in Schools

Co-Authors:  Kris Kolo, Harry Evry, Carlos J. Ochoa, Rachel Ralph, Derek Jacoby, Yvonne Coady, Craig Vezina, Alisher Farhadi, Ross Cohen

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This article was written by VR/AR Association's Education Committee and features examples from Association members. 

Thank you to our sponsor CingleVue.

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VR and AR technology is rapidly evolving and is beginning to impact many fields and industries.  VR has the potential to immerse audiences, capture attention and dramatically reveal and showcase crafts, skills, sciences and systems in very memorable ways.  It can transport students into real-world or simulated locations or simulated environments, and interactively test and record their skills and reactions in a wide range of situations.

VR and AR can be used to invite world-renowned experts into the classroom, and introduce exhibits and examples that might be otherwise too costly, rare, destructive or hazardous to actually bring into the academic environment.  Both technologies can be leveraged to overcome issues of risk, time and scale, allowing students to experience situations, processes and phenomena that might be difficult to perceive or observe in physical reality.       

Today, educators can provide experiential learning without ever having to leave the classroom. Companies like VReducation have built VR experiences that take the concept of ‘learn through experience’ seriously. The company, based in Waterford, Ireland, created an education platform called ENGAGE that gives students and teachers the ability to communicate in a safe, virtual environment. The system allows up to 30 users into an experience at a time and has virtual assets such as presenter tools, interactive whiteboards, and streaming media features to keep things focused. The company’s Apollo 11 VR experience has already won multiple awards, and the upcoming Titanic VR is set to debut later this year.

Example: Schell Games SuperChem VR

Schell Games is one of the largest independent game studios in the US, and it aims to bridge education and entertainment. With support from an IES SBIR grant, one of their experiences is called SuperChem VR, a VR chemistry lab that feels every bit as tactile as its real world sibling. Students can perform specific measurements, conduct real lab procedures, and get real-time assistance. SuperChem VR prototype currently runs on the HTC Vive to allow for maximum hand and body movements in the learning space. The high-quality hardware allows players to focus on realism and accuracy without sacrificing visual and gameplay quality.

 

Example: WebGuys VR E-Learning Platform

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WebGuyz provides educational experiences through VR AR. Currently, Webguyz is partnered with NYC Dept of Education, UFT, NYIT, and Jump into the Light as well as Cisco Netacad to make VR and MR accessible to public as well as private school students. WebGuyz has created VR/AR experiences and curricula that are fully aligned to the common core and NY State Regents Examinations. Students are learning animation development and web development for VR, along with VR cyber security training. With more and more opportunities being developed for e-learning, WebGuyz is excited to clearly see VR/AR at the forefront of experiential education.

 

Example: ONE Digital SmartEducationLabs

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SmartEducationLabs (SEL) is a platform for educational services from ONE Digital, which includes VR & AR. SEL is compatible with traditional, multimedia and smart classroom lessons, and is used as a complement and not as a substitute for current systems.  Some Schools in Emirates and Spain are already working with SEL.

In 2016, The Ministry of Education of Emirates, implemented a Learning Resources Centers (LRC) Program in schools. Every LRC is equipped with VR/AR devices. The software suite includes virtual learning worlds complement text and pictures with a 3D experience.

 

Example: Steven Bambury at the JESS Dubai School

Head of Digital Learning and Innovation at JESS Dubai, Steve Bambury, uses VR headsets for use across the curriculum and staff regularly harness applications like Nearpod, Google Expeditions and YouTube 360 to share content with students. JESS continues to pioneer and seek new opportunities, running pilot schemes for LifeLiqe in Science, Kubity in DT and ImmerseMe in the Modern Foreign Languages Department. Another key pilot scheme has been Timelooper, an amazing VR platform for learning about history that transports students back in time using a clever mix of re-enactments and digital effects. Timelooper is primarily being harnessed in Key Stage 4 with GCSE students but younger students have also been able to engage with some truly unique experiences such as the Year 6 students who travelled in time to experience The Blitz in WW2.

 

Example: RealCast VR History & Culture

Founded by pioneers from education, robotics and game production, RealCast is using VR AR to fundamentally transform our relationship with history and culture. Based out of Paris’ Station F (stationf.co), the company develops new forms of multi-user interaction in VR AR to create seamless interactions between historical characters, settings and artifacts so as to powerfully enhance users' understanding of bygone times.  Its first In Situ Experience (ISXP) use-case provides interactive AR experiences via HoloLens for medieval castles with leading international educators and scholars as content and storytelling advisors. In addition to high-level content, RealCast is also developing a platform which will serve as sort of "time machine" for developers to build their own VR AR content with the aim of bringing history alive in powerful and unprecedented ways.

 

Example: Transmersive VR AR Exhibits

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Transmersive Media and Exposition Online, Inc is developing linear, interactive and location-based VR AR exhibits and attractions.  Two such educational VR AR exhibits include NightLife and Windows on the Past developed in collaboration with Playground Media Group and Red Gypsy Animation for the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.  In NightLife, students and museum guests gaze out a large simulated window through mounted, swiveling, “Night Vision Goggles” searching for and capturing images of nocturnal desert wildlife.  Virtual expedition guides, appearing on a large monitor describe and explain the nature and unique habits of the various animals as they are virtually encountered.  

Windows on the Past employs AR technology to restore and bring to life the native inhabitants and culture of an ancient puebloan ruin.  Museum guests explore the reconstructed physical pueblo, then, gazing through augmented reality windows, they see the pueblo as it might have looked during its use and occupation many centuries before.  The current rapid accelerations in VR devices and technology have made it possible to economically deliver similar types of immersive learning experiences into every modern school and classroom.   

      

Example: QVirt VR Installations for Student Learning Center

The Center for Digital Media, Royal BC Museum, University of Victoria, and QVirt are developing installations for the soon to be opened Student Learning center in Victoria British Columbia.  In these early days of educational VR applications, it is critical to establish best practices for exploring quantitative and qualitative data revealing the subtle relationship between virtual experiences and learning.  We are building on previous research that explores quasi-experimental ways of measuring successful VR experiences through various knowledge pre- and post-tests for measuring content knowledge [1, 2]. We are combining these with surveys to measure the VR experience in general [3]. Still other researchers have measured presence, immersion, and flow as a way of understanding immersion and interaction, which can lead to learning [4, 5]. There are several survey questionnaires that have been developed and validated that would be appropriate for measuring learning, such as the Presence Questionnaire and the Immersion Tendency Questionnaire [5, 6].

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Presence is described as a “psychological state of being there mediated by an environment that engages our senses, captures our attention, and fosters our active involvement” [5]. Immersion is also a psychological state and can be characterized as “perceiving oneself to enveloped by, included in, and interacting with an environment that provides a continuous stream of stimuli and experiences” [5].  Flow is a state where “people feel involved in meaningful actions, maintain a sense of control and stay focused on a goal” [4]. The flow experience “seems to occur only when a person is actively engaged in some form of clearly specified interaction with the environment” [6]. Similar to presence and immersion, flow is focuses on active engagement within an environment. For example, Bressler and Bodzin [4] used a short flow state scale to measure flow in a post-survey with students.

References:

1.      Chen, C.-T., Development and evaluation of senior high school courses on emerging technology: A case study of a course on virtual reality. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology - TOJET, 2012. 11(1): p. 46-59.

2.      Hauptman, H., Enhancement of spatial thinking with virtual spaces 1.0. Computers & Education, 2010. 54(1): p. 123-135.

3.      Tcha-Tokey, K., et al., Propostion and validation of a questionnaire to measure the user experience in immersive virtual environments. The International Journal of Virtual Reality, 2016. 16(1): p. 33-48.

4.      Bressler, D.M. and A.M. Bodzin, A Mixed Methods Assessment of Students' Flow Experiences during a Mobile Augmented Reality Science Game. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 2013. 29(6): p. 505-517.

5.      Witmer, B.G., C.J. Jerome, and M.J. Singer, The factor structure of the presence questionnaire. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 2005. 14(3): p. 298-312.

6.      Witmer, B.G. and M.J. Singer, Measuring presence in virtual environments: A presence questionnaire. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 1998. 7(3): p. 225-240.

7.      Csikszentmihalyi, M., Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. 1990, New York, NY: Harper and Row.

8. Developing Cyberspace, 2017, Harry J. Evry

9.         Carlos J. Ochoa Fernandez. Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education. Are we ready for disruptive innovation in Education?. 2016. ICERI (9th International Conference in Education, Research and Innovation). Pages: 2013-2022, ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-, ISSN: 2340-1095

VRARA Education Committee & WebGuyz VR Education Platform

By Ross Cohen, WebGuyz.nyc, Co-Chair VRARA Education Committee

WebGuyz is an industry agnostic startup on a mission to innovate the way students learn in the education system. WebGuyz's revolutionary SaaS platforms makes up the structure of educational programs, unifying all students and teachers, online and offline. WebGuyz created an entire modern and idealistic approach for education using VR & AR technology from Microsoft HoloLens and Oculus Rift. The solution provides students with a higher caliber of technology and puts them in a VR setting that enables each student with a visual, hands on, educational portal; The environment is controlled by the school’s administrator, and is fully integrated with the school’s curriculum.

Currently the program is running in several schools across the five boroughs of NYC with prodigious success and most importantly impeccable results. Student involved in the futuristic curriculums reported having new born set of skills and eagerness to scale and sharpen. WebGuyz program involves high demand curriculums such as, 3D design, backend managing skills, front-end management, developing applications for IoT devices as well as launching them, and cyber security awareness.

Together, the VR/AR Association (via the VRARA Education Committee) and WebGuyz will expand to more schools, revolutionizing and strengthening the learning process of the education system. The collaboration of The VR/AR Association will bolster the variety of devices and custom programming utilized within the curriculums, additionally improve the program as a whole from the input of industry leading experts within the association. The future for all looks virtually bright, teachers of the school systems will receive more classroom engagement, student attention span increases, and be prepared for the competitive world awaiting them, and the school district reputations rise from happy parents, students, and teachers.

WebGuyz has worked with Microsoft, CISCO, Google Education, New York State Career & Technical Education Organization, NYC Department of Education, Jump Into the Light VR Lab, New York Institute of Technology, and Metaverse.

The modern day teenager has a lower attention span than a goldfish, teenager coming in at 8 seconds and goldfish coming in at 9 seconds. The average attention human span back in 2000 was a whopping 12 seconds, and research proves the impact of this decrease in classrooms all around the country. The students are not to blame, the surrounding environment is the issue, giant social media platforms with massive amounts of content easily accessible with the touch of a finger, and evolving technology that trends for a day before the new best thing is introduced.

Instead of stripping students from their technology (i.e., mobile phones), and trying to control their personal environment in the classroom, WebGuyz strategically innovated an entire modern and idealistic approach using VR & AR technology from Microsoft HoloLens and Oculus Rift. The solution was to provide students with a higher caliber of technology, and to put them in a controlled VR environment, contrary to controlling their personal environments. A VR setting, entering each student into a visual, hands on, educational portal, completely controlled environment by the school’s (or university’s) administration, and fully integrating the school’s curriculums.

Not only do the students enjoy their technology ‘fix’, their attention span will increase as the WebGuyz program embeds into the education system. That’s just the immediate effects, the SaaS learning platforms is the other arm of this operation, working parallel to the controlled virtual reality environment. The learning platform is designed not only to help increase attention span, it increases engagement between teacher and student (a teacher’s dream come true), encourages teamwork (getting them ready for the real world), teaches responsibility and sharpens essential skills of tomorrow and beyond. Providing each student with a head start in a highly competitive and busy career environment.