Training & Education

Let’s go virtual: VR and AR at school – Vision or Reality?


In Corona times, it would be easy if every student could log into a virtual classroom in the morning according to the normal timetable and the teachers could hold their lessons as planned.

The homework could be a lot of fun, if

  • the textbooks were enriched with virtual additional information in text, picture or video formats,
  • in addition to the history book VR-Experiences could transport students back into the past where they could experience at first hand how things were e.g. in the Middle Ages,
  • when games consolidated vocabulary and other things learned.

And after the Corona crisis, augmented reality contents illustrate the learning material in the classes.

Complete utopia?
What is possible?
What is not yet possible?
What visions do the media education advisors have?
Which steps are necessary to achieve these visions?
What can and should the universities contribute to reach the goals?
What other measures are necessary?
These questions were discussed on 15 April in episode 2 of our online talk show “Let’s go virtual”:

– media education advisors (“Medienpädagogischen Berater digitale Bildung (mBdB)):

  • Florian Kubiak for Munich and Ebersberg and
  • Ralf Loheit for Landsberg/Lech and Starnberg,

– Dr. Anita Stangl, MedienLB – Media für Lehrpläne und Bildungsstandards GmbH (Ltd. for curricula and educational standards?, and

– from the Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Chair for Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI):

  • Prof. Dr. Marc Erich Latoschik and
  • Dr. Sebastian Oberdörfer.

– Moderation: Wolfgang Kerler, 1E9 Denkfabrik

The unanimous opinion of the group is that the widespread use of XR in teaching is not yet possible due to a lack of competence and technical equipment. The interest in the use of virtual and augmented reality however is growing. Florian Kubiak has already offered 2000 teachers an introduction to XR technologies in his training courses. Prospective teachers should become acquainted with the possible applications of XR in their studies and ideally implement them in their classes as soon as possible. Up to now, there has been a lack of feedback as to how far they dare to use XR technologies in class without the good technical support at the university.

It is exciting to follow the developments in how students and teachers will communicate with each other in virtual rooms. Since the avatars do not yet enable comprehensive body language, it can already be seen that the use of hands to express oneself is increasing.

The active experience of complex situations in VR increases the learning success. Experience also shows that students are highly motivated to learn with XR.

It would be desirable to make the hardware cheaper and more user-friendly and to expand virtual classrooms. Open source solutions would be important to guarantee sustainable growth through independence from industry interests.

Sebastian Oberdörfer is leading a seminar at the Julius-Maximilians-University, where HCI students and educators develop their own XR projects together. One example, which was also presented in the talk show, is the project “Frog Horst”, which playfully shows the inner organs of a frog using AR.
The videos show further examples that were created during the seminar:

About the author

Written by:

Silke Schmidt ist als Leiterin des XR HUB Bavaria für die Strategie, die Koordination der drei Standorte in Bayern und deren internationalisierung zuständig. Zuvor war sie im im Bayerischen Staatsministerium für Digitales im Bereich "Audiovisuelle Medien: Film, Games und XR" tätig. Kontakt: silke.schmidt@xrhub-bavaria.de

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