Mixed reality combines virtual and augmented realities for enhanced learning experiences--and institutions are already implementing it.
A new collaboration between Pearson and Microsoft is using a self-contained holographic computer to develop “mixed reality” learning experiences for students.
The collaboration will explore how mixed reality can help solve real challenges in areas of learning, ranging from online tutoring and coaching, nursing education, and engineering to construction and surveyor training.
Microsoft says its HoloLens is the world’s first self-contained holographic computer. Pearson is developing and piloting mixed reality content at colleges, universities and secondary schools in the United States and around the world.
HoloLens leverages virtual reality and augmented reality to create a new reality – mixed reality. With virtual reality, the user is immersed in a simulated world. Augmented reality overlays digital information on top of the real world. Mixed reality merges the virtual and physical worlds to create a new reality whereby the two can coexist and interact.
By understanding the user’s environment, mixed reality enables holograms to look and sound like they are part of that world. This means learning content can be developed for HoloLens that provides students with real world experiences, allowing them to build proficiency, develop confidence, explore and learn.
To develop the content for this pilot, Pearson will use Microsoft’s holographic video capture capability, filming actors to simulate patients with various health concerns and then transferring that video into holograms for the student nurses to experience in a clinical setting. When student nurses participate in the simulations using HoloLens, they will have a real world experience diagnosing patients, building the confidence and competence that they will need in their careers.
Here is how 4 schools plan to integrate mixed reality:
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock and San Diego State University are both part of a Pearson mixed reality pilot aimed at leveraging mixed reality to solve challenges in nursing education. Today, many nursing programs hire and train actors to simulate scenarios nurses will face in the real world — a process that is hard to standardize and even harder to replicate. As part of the mixed reality pilot, faculty at the two universities’ schools of nursing are collaborating with Pearson to improve the value and efficacy of the types of simulations in which students participate.
At Bryn Mawr College, a women’s liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, faculty, students, and staff are exploring various educational applications for the HoloLens mixed reality devices. They are testing Skype for HoloLens to connect students with tutors in Pearson’s 24/7 online tutoring service, Smarthinking. If successful, this solution could provide struggling students with richer, more personalized, just-in-time support from expert tutors as if they were sitting side-by-side.
Bryn Mawr also will experiment with using holographs and mixed reality to explore 3D content and concepts in a number of academic disciplines, including physics, biology, and archaeology.
Not Just Higher Education
Pearson’s work with mixed reality and HoloLens isn’t limited to higher education. The company is in the early stages of evaluating the impact of holographic learning at the late grammar school stage.
At Canberra Grammar School in Australia, Pearson is working with teachers in a variety of disciplines to develop holograms for use in their classrooms. The University of Canberra is partnering with Pearson to provide support for the project and evaluate the impact these holograms have on teaching and learning.
“We are thrilled to partner with Pearson to expand the curriculum available to students to learn through the power of holograms on Microsoft HoloLens,” said Lorraine Bardeen, general manager for Microsoft Windows and HoloLens Experiences. “Complex systems are more easily understood in 3D and learning through holographic computing in mixed reality provides students a higher level of understanding and experience that they can then bring into their real-world interactions. HoloLens gives students access to things they may never be able to see in real life – historical artifacts, natural history, hands on training, and a connection to the broader world.”