S. Aldridge

Drexel University (UNITED STATES)
In contemplating the future of so-called connected teaching and learning, there are more than a few forward-thinking institutions in the process of inventing it, using an array of emerging technologies and innovative practices to engage students in active, authentic, and customized learning experiences. After conducting rigorous research, comprising dozens of interviews with faculty, administrators, and training officers worldwide, we concluded that virtual reality, augmented reality, and holography are three such technologies.

For example, by enabling sophisticated educational games and simulations, virtual reality (VR) technologies empower students to actively and authentically learn by doing, through repetitive and thought-provoking practice, within a safe and multi-sensory environment, a proven approach for mastering expert knowledge and complex skills. In fact, VR learning activities typically incorporate immediate feedback systems, which stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain, a powerful neurotransmitter known to increase knowledge recall and retrieval, over time.

Augmented reality (AR) takes virtual reality to an even higher level, by using computer-generated imagery to superimpose three-dimensional virtual objects over either a three-dimensional real environment or a two-dimensional surface. Thus, AR provides a highly effective tool for teaching a variety of skills, such as technical drawing to engineering students or contemporary design concepts to emerging architects.

In a similar vein, holography allows students to create and manipulate their own three-dimensional, free-standing images through photographic projection, using special headsets and other wearable devices. As such, this technology can support any number of authentic and customized learning experiences, from virtual field trips through 16th century villages to science experiments that are too dangerous, expensive, or difficult to perform in real life.

This narrated video presentation will showcase a few of the many ways these three technologies are being effectively optimized for teaching and learning, in universities and training institutions around the world. In doing so, the audience will actually see these tools in action, while exploring why and how they are rapidly reinventing higher education in the age of connected teaching and learning.