We are reading much in the media these last months about 4IR (the Fourth Industrial Revolution) and its matrix of cyber-physical systems, these disruptive technologies, but what do these actually amount to in terms of education itself?

Augmented Reality (AR) which is quite simply using technology to superimpose an image generated by a computer, on your real world, enhancing the things we feel, we see and hear, is unlike virtual reality, which puts us into a completely virtual environment.  AR uses your natural environment and overlays virtual information on top of it.  And with Apple’s latest extensive patent application indicating we may be looking at an iPhone Augmented Reality future, AR is set to become a mainstream experience for everyone as the smart phone holds its own at the centre of it.

But climbing into Virtual Reality (VR) is really exciting space for the future of education.  On one level alone, using VR-enhanced education boosts learning comprehension and retention.  On another level, we are excited about VR for South Africa specifically, as the technology enables the creation of stand-alone environments which distance learners can access.  Could this be the solution to reaching the thousands of children whose education in our country is being challenged?  Imagine being able to give all South Africans access to our best teachers?  The highest level and quality of content shared through pre-recorded lessons from top educators and organisations, not just in SA, but from all around the world.  Consider the use of VR with education field trips to the aquarium, a manufacturing plant or an apple farm, no longer are trips out of reach for some, but available to all learners to experience and learn from.  They could experience the wonders of foreign lands, the joy of learning in classrooms with learners from other countries, or simply benefit from a great teacher.

While we focus on developing STEAM skills to prepare our youth for a new and very bright future, already we have the technology to expand access to quality STEAM education, with platforms currently available to engage VR in education.

Could VR be a solution to our education crisis?

Join the Inspire S.T.E.A.M. Facebook Group and talk STEAM with other educators.

#WorthWatching on VR & education published by HTC VIVE on YouTube.

#WorthWatching on VR experience in the classroom published by AMD on YouTube.

Check out our Inspire S.T.E.A.M. programme that uses drone technology for applied learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics.