Episode 39 – Interdisciplinary approaches fostering VR-/AR-/MR-competences

Kristina Bucher is currently working on design aspects of AR, VR and MR in an educational context. One goal is to teach students about AR and VR by letting them design own applications. Thereby, teachers will learn that they don’t need to be tech-experts for using AR/VR in education. In this context, the chair of school pedagogy is collaborating with Prof. Dr. Marc Erich Latoschik, professor for Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Wuerzburg. In interdisciplinary projects, students from both courses of study benefit by looking at common issues in the use of AR and VR for educational purposes from different perspectives (VARID, Virtual and Augmented Reality Interdisciplinary). While students of Human-Computer Interaction work on questions about how to design media to have a good usability and user comfort, pre-service teachers think about which content could be taught with AR and VR and how the media offer could and should be designed from a pedagogical perspective. A real-life example is the development ofan interactive VR simulation in which you have to go shopping in a british supermarket and order different things.. The special thing about the VR application, is that you actually talk to avatars in an authentic setting and they behave accordingly. Research has shown, that design plays a significant role. Moreover, media format is not automatically linked to learning success. In a recent study by Parong & Mayer 2018 there has been shown, that Power Point slides were more effective for teaching science content than a VR environment. In this case, the result was linked to the fact that in contrast to the VR environment there has been a thoroughly didactical design of the slides. Didactical design determines at least parts of the success. So, VR or AR do not provide additional value just because they are available – didactical and design aspects also play an important role. In the collaborative interdisciplinary project, the students discussed how to arrange the VR environment and how psychological issues and learning theories can be integrated

VARyFast (Virtual and
Augmented Reality together with the Franconian Alliance of Science and
Technology) is a cross-university and interdisciplinary cooperation project of
several universities in northern Bavaria / Frankonia – University of Applied
Science Aschaffenburg and Wuerzburg-Schweinfurt as well as the
Julius-Maximilians-Unviersity of Wuerzburg. The project is co-funded by the
Bavarian State Government’s program „Digitaler Campus Bayern“. The main goal is
development of technical concepts in VR, AR and MR, technologies that have
entered industry. Competences in these fields will be relevant in the near
future and the question is, how (didactically) can relevant knowledge be
transferred. The participating universities and disciplines combine their
competencies in the project in order to develop related teaching sequences,
that can be composed for new courses or integrated in existing ones (www.schulpaedagogigk.uni-wuerzburg.de/en/research-projects/varyfast). Goals of this project are to increase and foster media-didactical
competences related to VR/AR/MR and enable students to plan, design and produce
VR/AR/MR applications for their subjects and use-cases. 

Classroom and skills of the future Moreover, we talked about future classroom environment and skills of the future. Besides the fact that there will be emerging use of useful technologies like AR and VR for particular sessions, we should not expect substitution of teachers by robots or machines. Instead, emerging technologies like VR/AR provide valuable complements. Along with the technological progress, there is a need for education concerning teachers, instructors and students. Besides that, social competences and profound knowledge of basic tasks are highly important, in times of digital change and progress.

For more details, listen to Episode 39 of the Podcast and leave me a feedback.