I have to admit that when I heard about Virtual reality and Augmented reality I thought about gamers. Like Jaymee wrote in her post, I thought about all the useless hours kids spend in their basement playing games.My eyes rolled and my mind went to, “sure another excuse for gamers and game developers to rationalize the virtual world of gaming”. Is it not enough that kids are in the basement playing this stuff that we have to bring it into the school where they can have a break from the fantasy world they life in? My brain automatically goes to the negative effects of gaming and videos on kids and adults. So I thought that I would play devils advocate and search out the negative effects of gaming on kids to prove that this technology is not all good and that we should be cautious about what we bring into the schools.
I found a TED talk about the brain on video games and was excited to hear about all the negative effects. Daphne presented the question that many of us may have thought, “playing video games all day will give you vision issues.” I remember my mom saying, “Do you have to sit so close to the TV, you will go blind?” Don’t forget TV’s were really small back then…
Daphne took this question to the lab to test what vision issues are related to playing video games. What she found surprised me! A gamer has better vision in two ways!
- A gamer can resolve small details in the context of clutter. This means that a gamer will be able to read the small print on a pill bottle better that a non-gamer.
- A gamer can resolve different levels of grey better. This means that if you are driving in fog a gamer will be able to see better in the fog than a non-gamer.
Okay so that’s only one issue that was proved wrong. What about the negative effects that gaming has on attention? Daphne took this to the lab and to my dismay gamers can resolve conflict more quickly that a non-gamer. For instance a gamer can track objects around in the world better and quicker that the non-gamer, meaning that the glance at the phone while driving may not be as bad as “they” say.
Okay I kept watching the video for the negative effects of gaming, I figured they were still coming. The next issue presented was the idea of multi-tasking. Are gamers better at multi-tasking? Argh….yes they were. Gamers can switch from task to task very quickly. The only time this is not the case is with multi media tasking. So people that multi media task (listening to music while searching the web and talking to friends on Facebook or instagram) do not do better. Yahoo I found one, but only one :(.
She did point out that gaming is beneficial in moderation, as everything. If your interesting in watching the video the link is https://embed.ted.com/talks/daphne_bavelier_your_brain_on_video_games” target=”_blank”>Your Brain on Video Games – Daphne Bevelier (TED).
Okay so I was not ready to give up yet! I found a short video from Stanford university on the psychology of virtual reality. Here was my saving grace, finally the negative.
Stanford university examine the psychology of virtual reality in this short 2.5 minute video.
Sadly no, the video only managed to explain that virtual reality is an effective way to educate students and more and more research is being done on the best ways to use VR and AR in the classroom.
Okay so maybe VR and AR are not so bad…in moderation. How might we use it in the classroom? Adam Krammer talked about Google Cardboard in his post. I had never heard of Google Cardboard before Bill and Logan’s presentation. Adam did a great job of explaining and describing the advantages in the classroom. Amy Singh did a great job of talking about the potential for real-life problem solving. This linked really well to our reading Augmented Reality Teaching and Learning by Dunleavy and Dede. They describe the situated-learning theory (p. 5). Situated=learning theory is that, “learning takes place within a specific context and the quality of the learning is a result of interactions amoung the people, places, objects, processes, and culture within and relative to that given context “(p. 5). Therefore learning is “transformed through their actions and reactions in the world” (p. 5). Dunleavy and Dede write about augmented reality in relation to research and experiences. For example, one experience is Outbreak at MIT. This is an inquiry based simulation that investigates a disease outbreak and attempt to contain it (p. 9). These types of simulations will help teach and support learning in case of a real outbreak. This type of knowledge transfer allows a person to solve related problems in real-world contexts (p. 6).
I certainly can see the advantage of this type of learning and now I see AR and VR beyond the games and I believe that there are classroom benefits (hate being proved wrong, argh). Students would benefit from experiences that support problem solving. In the article When Virtuality Meets Education there is a great quote, “Perhaps the most utopian application of this technology will be seen in terms of bridging cultures and fostering understanding among young students” (p. 1).
Thanks for reading:)