This week's midweek post introduces this potential player in the technological future of education.
I was quite intriqued by this article in the latest (Sept 2009) Campus Technology magazine, titled “Best of Both Worlds”. This article discusses the use of Immersive Technologies in Education. Immersive Technologies include things like simulations, virtual reality, and augmented reality (Second Life and many gaming systems incorporate immersive technologies). “Immersive Education” (a term coined by educator and Grid Institute Director Aaron Walsh, recognized by Computerworld in 2007 as one of the 40 most innovative people in technology) is basically centered on the idea that when students are immersed in an experience (‘doing' rather than just seeing or hearing) they learn better. Per Walsh, “Immersive environments help students retain more information and speed up their learning. There's an enhancement in the way they learn.”
By combining the best of virtual worlds and immersive environments with the real world, perhaps we can raise learning to a new level? The article goes on to mention a study in which a majority of surveyed educators and executives claim that the use of tools like online gaming and simulation software (the building blocks of immersive environments) will see a growing role in education in the next five years, while today's social networking, IM, wikis and other Web 2.0 technologies will decrease in use. So where is this all going? Click the article link above to learn more!