How Microsoft Hololens is being used in Education (Augmented Reality)
Microsoft has begun promoting the concept of mixed reality. This includes the projection of images onto our world through their Hololens. By looking through the lens of augmented reality students will be able to view digitally created objects in 3D and then effectively interact with them.
The Hololens has been designed so that the viewer will see holograms projected onto objects and places, even people. It is also possible for digital 3D images to be created that are then able to be explored.
With standard computer learning, students are looking at and interacting with the screen. It does not have any element of social connection within their local environment. With VR headsets they are completely cut off from their local environment visually until they take them off and start to do activities. The AR headsets allow students to be able to see an instructor, each other and also to interact. They will be seeing the same model but from different viewpoints.
Supporting a Digital Curriculum for STEM
Recognising the need for development in this area, and seeing an opportunity to develop a business operation to support digital learning, Lifeliqe has developed a digital curriculum for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This is able to cover learning from elementary to high school and potentially beyond. There is information that is able to be accessed through computers and VR, which is supported by lesson plans.
Lifeliqe has developed digital models that are able to be manipulated by students to be able to explore more deeply how things work. Augmented reality headsets will be highly effective in supporting this. Recently the Hololens headsets were tested at a school along with the Lifeliqe lessons and models. Responses from students indicated that they preferred the augmented reality over the VR headsets but further investigation was to be undertaken to identify the reasons for this.
Currently, Lifeliqe is also partnering with academic research organizations to gain a better understanding of the impact alternative learning methods have on information retention by students.
Medical Science Training
The Hololens has also been involved in testing associated with the training of medical students in areas relating to anatomy and physiology. This includes looking at 3D perspectives on how the muscles of the human body are placed on the skeleton, as well as the ability to zoom in and out on certain structures in the body’s anatomy. By providing students with a 3D image of blood vessels, a beating heart and the movement of blood through a heart, they are able to gain a much better visual understanding of the functions within the body. The development of a digital approach to a full anatomy curriculum is being assessed as part of the development for the Hololens.
3D Geometry in the Classroom
By having digital images projected for a student to see something directly, it allows them to learn about it first hand. An application has been developed for geometry so that teachers would no longer be drawing 3D images on a two-dimensional whiteboard. Instead, students will be able to see the shape in three dimensions and they will be able to interact with it in all of those dimensions.
It is considered that the Hololens could be well suited to some students who have not been able to learn as effectively from traditional methods. By having the electronic models there in front of them, being able to manipulate that model and interact with it in a positive way to explore and learn, then it will be possible to offer a new approach to visual learning. It is a much easier way to grasp three-dimensional concepts than seeing them represented in a two dimensional way.
Bringing The Solar System to School
In Norway, a group of school children was given the opportunity to use the Hololens to gain a view of the solar system. In effect, they were able to view plants, moons, and asteroids moving within the classroom environment. It is also able to give them a view of the earth from outer space which allows them to understand more about the size of their own country and the locations of other places across our planet.
Learning and Developing
The University of Washington hosted a 10 weeks class for computer science students using the Hololens. They were provided the opportunity to develop applications that would be suitable to be used with the Hololens.
As the technology continues to develop, and the applications that are available to be used on the technology expand there will be an ongoing interest in the Hololens and its application in the education environment. It will be an opportunity not only to use new technology to help students to learn but it will also be a shift in thinking about how we learn. One thing is for sure, the number of instances where Hololens is being used in education will continue to grow and expand..
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