Japanese student, Haru, is standing and using a VR while her classmate, Haruto, is using a PC. Both are working through this module on Transparent, Translucent and Opaque, but at their own pace and answering questions along the way. The content is the same, the delivery is slightly different. Right now, Haruto could be in a school or at home, but the learning will still be the same. Haruto is using Veative WebXR, and Haru is using an Oculus Go. Both are using the Veative Learn platform.
We find ourselves in extraordinary times, and it is within such times that we look for what is important, what is necessary and what is lacking. We see that in health care, and we see that in education. It is through that lens that we need to view our current assumptions about technology in education. For that, we will narrow our focus upon immersive learning.
It is becoming well established that the VR is more than a compelling piece of technology, as it fills a few gaps in the learning process (such as the ability to visualize something which previously needed to be imagined) and, when paired with interactivity, creates an ideal learning environment for more focused attention on key concepts and ideas. We know this because the prevailing research (cited in previous posts) is both positive and encouraging and is consistently showing a strong correlation between immersive learning and cognition. But what happens when those experiences are not available to students because hardware devices (VR) are not in the hands of students who are studying remotely? Therein lays the problem.
Some may consider Veative as a “VR company”, but that would certainly not tell the whole story. We are very much an educational contents company and our value is in helping to connect students with tough, abstract concepts, while simultaneously keeping teachers connected to those students via analytics. However, we too are at a crossroads. What do we do when our means of delivery (the VR) is suddenly not available? Like everyone out there, we adapt.
The promise of VR and spatial learning made years ago is now upon us. We all know interactive, immersive content is extremely efficient at acquiring new skills and knowledge. The problem up to now has been accessibility to a large community of potential users and the need for multiple devices to do a variety of spatial learning. WebXR levels this inequity of accessibility and reduces device costs to run different experiences. As more developers are utilizing this technology in their projects, the end-user base will grow exponentially as a broader spectrum of devices running WebXR-capable browsers can be used for the same experience… regardless of the device. It is an exciting time in immersive learning!
James McCrary, M.Ed.
Director of Technology, St. James Episcopal
James McCrary, technology in education specialist, makes a great point. Heeding this very thinking, we drew upon work we had recently completed with UNICEF (https://www.veative.com/blog/open-source-webvr/) and we are converting our entire VR STEM library into a WebXR format, playable on a PC by students who are currently at home. We are calling this Veative WebXR. An example of this is freely available to anyone who visits covid.veative.com
Veative WebXR simply means that students can access our entire library from home, on a PC. But it also means that as they work through these modules (already aligned to their curriculum), they will need to answer assessment questions and complete tasks just as they would within a VR environment, and their teachers will still be informed of progress and are able to intervene early when at-risk students are identified, even from the comfort of their own homes. This is good, and this answers an immediate need. But what about post-COVID-19?
A Veative module always consists of three elements: learning objectives, attention to a core concept, and assessment. This does not change because of how this content gets consumed. We have preached device agnosticism from the very beginning. That has not changed. Over the years, that has meant that if you use the Veative EduPro, a Lenovo VR, the Pico Goblin, Oculus Go or even a phone and viewer, you still have access to our content, and teachers can easily track progress of their students. The difference now is that we are taking that concept of agnosticism to a whole new level… the PC.
One could view this as a game-changer, or someone else could see this as a natural progression from a company who long ago stopped identifying as a “VR company” and saw itself as an educational contents group helping students to learn difficult concepts while helping teachers remain an important part of that process. For us, Veative WebXR is simply another part of the package, which you have likely come to know as Veative Learn.
Either way you look at it you can be sure of one thing. Veative will always continue adapting to the needs of schools, teachers and students, everywhere.
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