1.6c entertainment. With VR and Mixed Reality (MR)

1.6c Positives in Education

Virtual reality has begun to make it impact on education as
seen see by its introduction into educational bodies such as University of San Diego as stated by Ramsey (2016)
as well as studies conducted by Pan, Cheok, Yang, Zhu and Shi (2006) into
virtual learning environments concerning issues with learning, training and
entertainment. With VR and Mixed Reality (MR) being proposed as a technological
breakthrough in being able to facilitate learning, its current research and
applications in education have not only provided rich teaching patterns and
contents but also helped improve a learners’ ability to analyse problems and
explore new concepts. When integrated with the immersive, interactive and
imaginative advantages that VR and MR bring
it creates a virtual learning space that can share
and be accessed by an international variety of students that inhabit the
virtual community.

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Pan, Cheok, Yang, Zhu and Shi (2006) suggest that based
VR/MR techniques, learning action may be incorporated into History, where
students are able to learn about ancient Greece by walking through its streets,
visiting its buildings, and interacting with its people in a virtually
constructed environment. Biology students can, for instance, learn about
anatomy and physiology of the human body by taking a guided tour through the
body’s inner systems. The range of worlds, environments and scenarios that
people can explore and experience can be somewhat unlimited, with its only
limitations being from an informative or imaginary scope as well as the limits
of the equipment itself. Pan, Cheok, Yang, Zhu and Shi (2006) believe that this
is the VLE’s first most important task. Within this forming virtual community,
students and learners can create, perform and express anything they want within
the limits of the system. As an advanced
facility toolkit for learning, training and simulation, Pan, Cheok, Yang, Zhu
and Shi (2006) suggest that the key components for the creation of a VLE

“Knowledge Space provides integrated
learning resource, including the tool that helps to access to learning
resources, assessment and guidance.

Communication Community supports general
communications, including email, group discussion, web access and social

Active Action functions as the tool for
learners that express their active actions. In VLE, learners are not simple
knowledge accepters. They are information providers, question askers, question
answers and concept analysers.

Facility Toolkit helps to map of the
curriculum into elements (or ‘chunks’) that can be assessed and recorded, helps
to track student activity and achievement against these elements.”

They also suggest that in addition to these, the precision of knowledge visualisation for
creating learning materials and realistic social interaction among learners are
two critical technical factors for building functional VLEs.

Current industries have anticipated that internet
technologies will find their way into
future factories replacing traditional components dynamic and intelligent
cyber-physical systems (CPS) that combine the physical objects with their
digital representations. Reducing the gap between the real and digital world
makes the factory environment more flexible, more adaptive, but also demand
broader skill of human workers. Interdisciplinary competencies from engineering,
information technology, and computer science are required to understand and
manage the diverse interrelations between physical objects and their digital
counterpart, meaning that an opening of high skilled jobs is on the rise.
Quint, Sebastian and Gorecky (2015) have proposed a system architecture for a
mixed-reality based learning environment, which combines physical objects and
visualization of its digital content via Augmented Reality.

Agency, Embodiment, & Affect During Play in a
Mixed-Reality Learning Environment. Keifert, Lee, Dahn, Illum, DeLiema, Enyedy
and Danish (2017) have found that beginning from the assumption that young
children (ages 6-8) are capable of reasoning about complex phenomena, they set
out to better understand dimensions of the Science through Technology Enhanced
Play environment that provided support for children to learn about
relationships between multiple levels of an emergent phenomenon states of
matter. They conducted an interactional analysis
of several moments in two classrooms as students developed and refined
understanding of rules that connect micro behaviour of particles of water to a macro understanding about states of matter.
They argue that central to students’ disciplinary work were (1) multiple forms
of agency negotiated within the STEP environment that were deeply intertwined
with (2) students’ embodiment. Agency and embodiment both supported students’
consensus understanding of relationships between levels of the states of matter
phenomenon (3) through students’ joyful and playful collaborative work.

Teaching training in a mixed-reality integrated learning
environment In Fengfeng Ke, Sungwoong and Lee Xinhao Xu (2016) mixed-method
study, they examined the design and potential impact of a mixed-reality integrated
learning environment (MILE) in providing a simulated and immersive teaching
practice for university teaching assistants. A virtual-reality-based learning
platform integrating a Kinect-enabled sensorimotor interface was developed and
used by twenty-three university teaching assistants. Qualitative and
quantitative data on the participants’ participation behaviours, engagement,
and perceptions were collected via video/screen recording, interview, surveys
on teaching self-efficacy and sense of presence, and eye tracking. Results
indicated that the MILE reinforced a sense
of presence and supported the performance of an ample range of virtual teaching
tasks/actions with avatar-embodied live gesturing. The environmental fidelity
in the mixed-reality learning spaces, the design and arrangement of virtual
agents and avatars, and the affordance of embodied gesturing and walking are
salient MILE design features that affected participants’ sense of presence and
their virtual teaching performance.

Examining Low-Cost Virtual Reality for Learning in
Low-Resource Environments. Aditya Vishwanath, Matthew Kam and Neha Kumar (2017)
describe their experiences co-designing low-cost Virtual Reality-augmented
learning experiences with and for an after-school learning centre in Mumbai,
India that caters to low-income children from neighbouring communities. In
partnership with 5 staff members and 16 students at the centre, they spent 7
weeks co-designing, piloting, and iterating on VR lessons targeting 28 academic
topics over a total of 15 classroom sessions. They found that VR was used to
demonstrate real-world phenomena, illustrate abstract concepts, compare and
contrast places in the curriculum against virtual landmarks, and motivate
students. Most importantly, VR’s representational fidelity appeared to arouse
students’ curiosity, leading them to ask more questions that reflected a deeper engagement with the topic.

Virtual reality has been found to assist users particularly
children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who usually exhibit various
certain communication deficits, such as “difficulties in verbal and non-verbal
communication, deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, inability in
interpreting facial expressions correctly, difficulties in self-emotion
control, etc”, Ip, Wong, Chan, Byrne, Li, Yuan, Lau and Wong (2016) found that
statistical evidence also showed that ASD commonly co-occurred with other
mental health issues such as anxiety disorders and  Attention-Deficit Hyper active Disorder
(ADHD). Finding that these characteristics of children with ASD, particularly
those around school age, had their learning significantly affected when in an
inclusive learning situation. VR has become known as a promising means for
helping children with ASD. The early adoption of Virtual Reality Environment
(VRE) for the psychoeducational training
of children with ASD can be traced all the way back to the 90s with Strickland,
D., Marcus, L.M., Mesibov, G.B., Hogan, K (1996) conducting two studies using
virtual reality as a learning tool for autistic children. Usually, children with ASD require a training
and learning environment that can be authentic, safe, controllable and
manipulatable to meet the special learning requirements for children with ASD
as suggested by Moore, D., McGrath, P., Thorpe, J. (2000).

Ip, Wong, Chan, Byrne, Li, Yuan, Lau and Wong (2016) believe
that Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) can meet the requirements to allow VR
being used for the training and learning for children with ASD. With Ip,
H.H.S., Li, C. (2015) and Dalgarno, B., Lee, M.J.W. (2010) finding that there
are increasing signs of advancement and decreasing costs in VR technologies in
recent years, it would become possible to bring and provide affordable training
and learning activities via VR technology to the mass population for education
in general and those with ASD as an aid. Ip, Wong, Chan, Byrne, Li, Yuan, Lau
and Wong (2016) proposed a VR-enabled system that facilitated social adaptation
training in children around school-age who are clinically or have a suspected
diagnosis of ASD. They designed and implemented six unique VR scenarios with
four of the six scenarios covering various social situations and social
instances related to school life school life.


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