New technologies radically alter the way we interact with information
Since the introduction of the smartphone, about 10 years ago, there has been a relative lull in the popular adoption of new technology that radically alters the way we interact with information. That is, until the past year or so, when virtual reality and augmented reality regained the attention of the public eye. By merging digital and physical objects and experiences, mixed reality (as these technologies are collectively known), capture environments in which learners can explore instructional material in the form of situated media, simulate actions and motions that are typically part of real-life training situations, and safely immerse students in a lesson that includes digital information layered on top of the recorded physical environment.
Here are some examples of products Pearson, under the leadership of Mark Christian, has developed that utilize these immersive learning systems.
Interactive 360° VR Lessons via Aura 360
Aura 360, a subscription-based 360° courseware development tool, is brought to you exclusively by Pearson. In this demo, you can tour the London Transport Museum in 360° video while also interacting with hotspots for more information. You may experience this interactive video tour using your Chrome browser or, for full effect, using Google Cardboard.
Pegs & Boards HoloLens app
Pearson’s first HoloLens app was created for the construction industry. These pegs and boards are used to mark large sites for excavation. Typically, this work requires days of work, during which the student physically inserts these objects into the ground, with much effort. This app enables them to do it anywhere and in minutes rather than hours or even days. A crucial feature to HoloLens is that the virtual objects remain situated in the physical space. In other words, upon returning to various different locations in which pegs and boards have been placed using the HoloLens, the representation of them remains as situated media.
360° Video VR tours
This example is a narrated 360° Video VR tour, developed for the London Underground. The narrated instruction utilizes the immersive experience to orient the students while providing additional, digital information on top of the “real-world” visual information. When the student is in the actual environment, the lesson will have provided valuable information not so apparent when not in the simulation, but hopefully remembered.
Pearson will continue to explore new ways to support existing Pearson products as well as client needs, such as those of the London Underground. Our newly-formed Pearson Immersive Team team is dedicated to positioning Pearson as the leading provider of immersive educational content, and as new technologies become available, learning experiences will edge closer and closer to full immersion, enabling richer interaction and engagement. We will be building and always learning.
If you would like additional information, please contact Mark Christian.
About the Author
Denis Hurley is the director of Future Technologies at Pearson and a Futurist at heart. He has worked on dozens of projects exploring emerging technologies, including augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, facial recognition, and more.