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Nexus Review: Elevate Awareness in Education Through Experiencing

Updated: May 22

Awareness Learning with AR & VR

 

Introduction

In the evolving landscape of education, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have emerged as a powerful extension of traditional learning methods. These technologies enable students to step into the content of textbooks, actively engaging with and feeling the environment around them.


Why Learning Through AR/VR is Effective

The effectiveness of AR/VR in education lies in its ability to captivate learners’ attention in ways that traditional learning mediums cannot match. They create immersive environments for students to interact directly with the subject matter. This virtual "hands-on" approach allows students to learn through experience, rather than passively absorb information.


The benefits of experiential learning are also well-supported by research. American educational theorist David Kolb mentioned that "learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience" (Kolb, 2014), and emphasized concrete experience as the crucial first step in his effective four-stage learning model.


The vividness of an AR/VR experience means that things learned during such sessions tend to stick longer than those in traditional classroom settings.


Leverage AR/VR to Elevate Awareness

AR and VR can serve as powerful educational tools to promote awareness and empathy. For example, an AR/VR app can immerse students in the daily lives of refugees, highlighting the consequences of war and the challenges faced by Syrian people.  These new technologies can be effectively utilized by selecting applications that align with educational goals, use existing technical infrastructure, and are accessible to all students, including those susceptible to motion sickness.


Once the appropriate applications are in place, the implementation of AR and VR complement traditional teaching methods rather than replace them, serving as a tool to engage students and raise awareness/empathy. Additionally, continual evaluation is another essential piece in maintaining the effectiveness of AR/VR in awareness learning. Regular feedback from students and iterative improvements based on this input help educators ensure AR/VR remains relevant and helpful in the current teaching environment.


Here are some selected AR/VR apps that can be used to increase and develop social and historical awareness:


Exemplary AR/VR Apps for Awareness Learning

  • Mission: ISS  Overview: Recreates the International Space Station (ISS) in VR, allowing students to explore the operations and interiors of the ISS. Highlights: Offers an immersive experience that fosters understanding of the complexities of life in zero gravity and international collaboration in space missions, promoting appreciation for science and global teamwork. 

  • On the Morning You Wake   Overview: It puts users in the harrowing reality of facing a nuclear threat (the 2018 false ballistic missile alert in Hawaii), emphasizing the value of global peace. Highlights: Engages students emotionally, prompting them to think critically about the real-world impacts of nuclear warfare and the importance of diplomatic strategies in global politics.


  • Child of Empire Overview: Takes learners through the turbulent events of India's partition, highlighting the personal and collective challenges during this significant historical moment. Highlights: Immerses students in the personal stories affected by India’s partition, enhancing their understanding of the emotional and socio-political ramifications, and nurturing empathy for those impacted by such historical events.


  • The Key Overview: Offers an introspective journey through emotionally charged, dreamlike settings, facilitating a deep exploration of personal and universal themes. Highlights: Encourages students to delve into personal reflection and philosophical inquiry, enriching their understanding of the human experience and the resilience needed in facing life’s adversities.


  • Home after War Overview: Confronts students with the lasting impacts of global conflicts, focusing on the human repercussions and the ongoing challenges in war-torn societies. Highlights: Exposes students to the enduring consequences of war, such as the risks from unexploded ordnances and the emotional and physical rebuilding required in post-conflict areas, deepening awareness of peace-building and the necessity for humanitarian efforts.

  • Anne Frank House Overview: Takes user on an immersive dive into the secret annex where Anne Frank, her family, and others hid from the Nazis during World War II. Check more in our previous blog post. Highlights: Enhances historical empathy and encourages discussions about the Holocaust, equality, and human rights.


Concluding Thoughts

Awareness learning, enhanced by AR/VR, engages students with hands-on, interactive experiences that boost retention and deepen understanding. These new tools offer profound opportunities to engage students and play a crucial role in fostering awareness and empathy for the subject matter. When integrated thoughtfully and effectively into the curriculum, AR/VR can be a powerful aid for educators aiming to cultivate a more empathetic and informed learning environment.


 

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