AR and VR technologies in education
The idea that it is important to use the most advanced technologies in everyday education does not leave the minds of not only modern researchers, but practically every one of us. According to experts in the field of linguistics and psychology, the most favorable conditions for the assimilation of new knowledge - in childhood and adolescence. But lack of interest, dispersion and inability to concentrate on difficult things do not allow us to effectively receive education at any age. And the modern education system competes with the entertainment sphere and needs perception mechanisms that will allow students to be involved in the process of learning new knowledge. After all, effective learning is driven by interest, which must first be formed and then maintained.
Only in the 21st century it is hardly possible to captivate students with drawings, watching old films or reading rapidly aging literature. Therefore, today in education, devices with VR and AR support are becoming more and more popular.
Until now, in many countries, the path to new knowledge is being laid through books, pencils and heavy backpacks. At the same time, already from secondary school, not every child is ready to cope with the load of knowledge that a typical school course throws on him. Remember your school years, because the unsatisfactory grades of the majority of the class testify to this. To solve this problem in some foreign public and private schools have found a solution - the use of augmented and virtual reality.
What is the reason for using VR and AR for training? Imagine: school teachers no longer need to monotonously or, conversely, overly diligently talk, for example, about the Egyptian pyramids and the peculiarities of their construction. With the help of virtual reality helmets, you can go hiking through the tunnels with sarcophagi right at your desk, hear the rustling of labyrinths and independently assess key historical events that unfolded thousands of years ago. Under such training scenarios, one can grow a whole generation of such professions, which today remain less in demand in society, but are still essential for maintaining the versatility of modern science.
What is the advantage of virtual and augmented realities? They allow you to create an environment that is perceived by man through the organs of sensation. In fact, VR / AR allows you to simulate comfortable conditions for obtaining new knowledge, and especially for the education of children, adolescents and young people. Nobody thinks about the student, he himself rethinks all the perceived information. Who knows, maybe VR and AR will solve the problem of “cleanliness” of new knowledge and information in the learning process.
Not only start-ups, but also large companies offer their solutions in the field of virtual reality for educational purposes. For example, the project “CLASSVR” gained particular prominence in Europe. Its creators offer not just a complete set of virtual reality tools (device + software), but a comprehensive solution that allows for mass training. With this set, you can conduct training not only in small groups, but also in the most real classrooms with a large number of students. Within the framework of the project, teachers can independently create plans, develop programs and create visual elements of a training course using an adapted and understandable interface. In addition, teachers absolutely do not need to have any programming skills.1 .
Augmented reality also gradually takes its special place in learning. A feature of AR is that it allows you to expand the understanding of the processes taking place in the environment. Updated sensory data is formed not in a new, but quite familiar environment. Placing any objects in a specific environment in which they are initially absent allows you to simulate the most unusual practices for the implementation of educational tasks. The emergence of augmented reality is largely due to educational tasks. It is precisely the drawing of additional arrows and signs in various teaching materials that made it possible to point out certain objects, making them more visual for perception.
One of the earliest in the field of augmented reality was the project “Handheld Augmented Reality”, sponsored by scientists from the three largest American universities. The project was implemented with a grant from the US Department of Education. As part of the study, the developers placed in a free access a significant data array dedicated to the creation of augmented reality algorithms for the purpose of teaching American schoolchildren. Moving through his very real school, depending on the locations, the student received educational tasks that he had to solve not only with his own knowledge, but also with the help of certain skills using the augmented reality system 2 .
But are virtual and augmented reality technologies capable of helping to train adults? Of course. Modern education does not know age limits and frameworks. In addition, virtual and augmented reality are becoming more accessible, because in the current period for their use it is necessary to have only a modern smartphone. In just a few years, mobile app stores filled with thousands of VR and AR-enabled programs.
Not only among astronomers, but also ordinary users, the advanced Star Walk and Solar Walk applications from VITO Technology have gained particular fame. The company has rather large offices in the USA, Germany and Russia. In 2010, these applications were demonstrated by Steve Jobs himself during the annual presentation of Apple. More than 7 years ago, the head of the largest technology corporation in the world pondered how such applications allow not only to train professional astronomers, but also to acquaint ordinary users with the virtual reality technologies of the cosmic world 3 .
We expect a trend towards the integration of VR and AR solutions in the mobile industry, because users want to have wide opportunities in a single device, which is close by 24 hours a day. Many of us cannot imagine our life without mobile communication and fast Internet access. Few are willing to pay for additional equipment that may be difficult to manage. Therefore, the active expansion of VR and AR technologies in the mobile industry meets consumer expectations.
Quite originally to learn a foreign language came to Japan. The Tokyo Shoseki publishing group has released a series of English-language tutorials and a mobile application that supports augmented reality on a smartphone. The company offers a new look at the familiar world of learning and not discard the old books, combining the usual things and modern technology. The more practical printed tutorials of the English language with AR elements may not yield in terms of interactivity to the typical learning of a foreign language on the iPad screen, but remain a more accessible solution for the educational system. Studying the “New Horizon” series of books, readers can point the smartphone to the appropriate section of the page to hear a dialogue or try to talk to fictional foreigners. Anyway,4 .
Perhaps the most visual application of AR and VR technologies is possible in the study of exact and engineering sciences. The project of Hannes Kaufman and Bernd Meyer's PhysicsPlayground is focused on the simulation of physical experiments in the field of mechanics. A huge number of tools for analyzing the effects of force, mass, trajectory, speed and other characteristics of objects in the physical world make it possible to study in detail the processes taking place and experiment in three-dimensional virtual space, excluding the cost of the original tests. The program operates on a modern physical engine, which was originally created for gaming, but its capabilities more than provide the implementation of educational tasks in practice.
Formats AR and VR in education may be different, but their advantages over full-time study are obvious. The transfer of experience and pictures through virtual and augmented reality is primarily due to the effectiveness of the involvement, and, consequently, the improvement of the educational process. According to VRAr lab research, more than 90% of students successfully learn such material, which gives hope for the effective use of virtual and augmented reality in education 5 .
The developer community has one important problem that stands in the way of the full integration of these technologies in the educational environment. The rapidly growing amount of knowledge about the world around is very difficult to implement in a timely manner in interactive forms. For any modern scientist, the publication of the book does not present any particular problems, because to record their research, it is enough to open just an office application on a computer. However, the mechanisms that everyone understands to create interactive content without using specialized knowledge using virtual and augmented reality are simply absent.