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How virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality could be used in education

Christina Mercer | Feb. 1, 2017
The biggest barrier to full adoption of these technologies in education is cost

Like augmented reality, MR can be used to provide training to medical staff, construction workers and even town planners.

As mixed reality projects a virtual image or video on a real world scenario, it is ideal for people at university-level studying subjects that require exceptional details and technical accuracy.

A prime example being civil engineers that need to find pressure spots and weaknesses in their bridge designs. Or perhaps someone studying brain function that needs to see what happens to the brain if its been put under immense stress.

However, mixed reality does have a few flaws. As it is enterprise-led, it's less accessible to primary and high schools as it requires a lot of time for implementation and the creation of the mixed reality applications themselves.

While these schools could work with Microsoft to create educational apps, the cost of this - while not known - would probably be more than what an average school could afford.

However, in 2016, Microsoft partnered with educational materials firm Pearson to create educational applications and mixed reality learning tools for the HoloLens. These tools are to be used across a broad range of areas such as nursing, construction and engineering, and working with colleges, universities, and secondary schools in the US.

If this is a success, it could be the case that Microsoft offer these educational services to UK schools and colleges in future.

Right now, it seems that the most accessible - in both price and set up - is mobile VR, however the 'experience' is very limited, not only by the apps on the market but also by the level of student interaction that mobile VR can provide. Whereas, AR and mixed reality could be the next step up for early-adopting schools.

The benefits of VR in classrooms could be huge and for some schools a reality in the future, but for now it seems that the technology might be better used at universities where the budget and access to these technologies is much higher.


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