Immersive Media in Higher Education

Immersive media like virtual reality, augmented reality, and 360 video technologies can help improve the learning experience and is accessible for both students and faculty. 

Where are we now with immersive media?

Believe it or not, immersive media has been used by people for quite a long time. A few readers may remember the View-Master, a device that allowed the user to see still images of new and wild environments. Immersive technology has evolved over time and instead of using still imaging, it uses computer-generated images that interact with the world around us through augmented and virtual reality. The opportunity that teachers have now is that we can begin to innovate their curriculum and create, with even better virtual and immersive tools, experiences that were once only possible in science fiction.

What are the different kinds of technologies that exist in the immersive media space?

360 Video – Using smartphones and simple cardboard, you can use the phone to project a world, much like the View-Master, to the students. As they move their head around, the screen changes too and appears to transport the user into that world.

Virtual Reality – Virtual reality is a completely simulated environment. Unlike 360 video, where the user can change their point of view but not their movement, virtual reality can do both. Complete interaction with this digital world allows for a much more immersive experience. They can go to another part of the world, universe, the possibilities are endless.

Augmented Reality – This technology takes the world in which we live and adds virtual specificities which can interact with what’s going on in the real world. The first popular game of this kind was Pokémon GO, in which users would see the world and their phone would add the pokémon to give the appearance that it really was there.

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