How Mixed Reality is Shaping the Future of Education

Matthew Bumford

Matthew Bumford

October 10, 2017

The last several decades have set the stage for rapid technological advancements. Personal computers, smartphones, and the Internet are some of the milestones that have completely changed our lives.


Education, in particular, has been extensively redefined by technology. Gone are the days when taking notes was done solely with pen and paper, and research was confined to physical libraries. The students of today now have access to learning tools and resources that make studying easier, efficient and much more exciting.


The latest advancement in the world of technology is mixed reality, and unsurprisingly, many are keen to see how it will influence the education scene. Essentially a combination of virtual reality and augmented reality, mixed reality is set to play a big role in training the students of the future.


Below is a look at how MR is changing the face of education.


1. Learning from everywhere


Virtual reality, augmented reality, and now mixed reality are breathing life to the notion that learning can be accomplished anywhere, and not just within the confines of the classroom. Digital reality is enabling students to benefit from immersive experiences, which prepare them for real life in a more hands-on way.


As technology evolves, more institutions are bound to come to terms with the importance of through demonstration rather than intensive lectures. Mixed reality will also foster better relationships between students and their future employees by introducing them to their prospective career fields earlier.


Japan airlines is already using HoloLens Mixed Reality to train new pilots, giving them a realistic feel of handling holographic jet engines. It won’t be long before other companies adopt the technology.



2. Collaborative Learning


Education experts place interactive discussions among the most efficient methods of teaching young learners. A healthy discussion allows students to test their ideas and express their opinions freely with their peers, which boosts memory, nurtures confidence and makes learning much more fun.


Developers are appreciative of the role of collaborative learning in the classroom and are introducing VR, AR and MR technologies with which young minds can work on projects, visit learning sites, and participate in lectures together, even when they're not in the same physical space.



A good example is EON Creator, an interactive tool from EON Reality, which enables users to combine learning materials with videos, sound effects, notes, and PowerPoint presentations, explore the creations of other students and teachers, and meet virtually for collaborations from nearly anywhere and at any time.



3. Education at a greater scale


Mixed reality is opening doors to learning avenues that were previously well out of reach. Today, a proper VR ready laptop and a pair of MR headsets are all a curious learner needs to explore harsh deserts, dive into deep seas and walk on alien planets, all while in the comfort of their classroom or home. Although the price of entry is still far higher than most educators would like, technological advancements, such as Mobile VR and Microsoft’s $300 headsets, point towards a future where mixed reality and virtual reality tech are affordably placed in the hands of every learner.




Both developers and educators have already started finding new ways of using mixed reality as a comprehensive learning tool. One day, it’s more than likely MR will have found application in the teaching of nearly, if not all subjects.


One of those showing great promise is history, where learners are already travelling back in time and witnessing events like early evolution, dinosaurs or the Collosseum in Rome.



4. Meaningful competition


Competition has always been a major hallmark of a student's learning journey. However, experts have complained for years that modern education, particularly at the university level, tends to lay too much emphasis on competition among students than the actual learning experience.


With mixed reality, study tools can be adapted to enable students to learn at their own pace. By creating environments that are primarily driven by positive reinforcement, and not competition, MR will offer the students of tomorrow a chance to choose the academic experiences they find most intuitive.




We're heading into a future where mixed reality will take center stage in the continuous assessment of students to ascertain their grasp of information without a need for formal examinations. Evaluating a student's performance while learning is ongoing will lead to deeper understanding and better retention of information.


5. The end of traditions


Despite heavy influence by technology, educational institutions have maintained a somewhat adamant commitment to tradition. The teaching methods in many classrooms have therefore not changed in decades.


With mixed reality comes different approaches to teaching, which promise to deliver learning experiences that don't depend on lectures and physical classrooms.


The desk-and-chair arrangement that we've grown so accustomed to will be replaced by empty spaces, as students will need to move around and interact with the digital environment more than sit through learning sessions.




MR study tools will likely also change the criteria used to define the best schools. Rather than evaluating past achievements, the high-ranking institutions of tomorrow will be those that will have best utilized and adapted to the current and future technological demands.




Mixed reality is undoubtedly poised to change the way teachers deliver and students acquire new information, knowledge, and skills, both in and out of the classroom.


MR technology will not only make learning more enjoyable, but it will also increase the efficiency of education by engaging students in a manner with which textbooks simply cannot compete. With tech giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft investing big in mixed reality; it won't be long until it becomes standard for classrooms to be equipped with MR gadgets.


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