From the moment that we wake up in the morning, technology is a part of our daily routine. Many of us wake up to an alarm set on our cell phones, click on our smart TV’s to catch the morning news and a quick check of our email before, syncing our phones to the radios in our cars on the way to work.
It only makes sense that more technology is on its way to the classroom. The effective use of educational technology in the classroom offers students the ability to transform their learning environment, and the research of how to implement these tools is currently under way at Texas A&M University.
Dr. OP McCubbins, professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications at Texas A&M, is currently researching the use and impact of immersive technology in the classroom. McCubbins joined the department in July of 2018, and has been hard at work exploring how utilizing augmented, mixed and virtual reality (VR) in the classroom helps students learn different aspects of agriculture.
“Immersive technology will transform how people learn,” said McCubbins. “The technology we have access to, and technology not yet realized, will move society closer to a democratized education.The immersive technology we are exploring is already capable of eliminating so many barriers that learners face.”
Immersive technology has the ability to transport students to any place in the world, or even another planet. It can provide realistic experiences to novices that mitigate safety risks associated with real-life experiences in dangerous occupations.
In addition to the various projects McCubbins is currently developing, he is also spearheading an immersive technology laboratory. The lab will include VR equipment, 3D visualization technology and VR/360-dgree media production capabilities.
The primary goals of the lab will focus on:
– Determining knowledge/skill acquisition in VR
– Do they transfer to real-life situations?
– Develop best practices for using immersive technology in the teaching/learning process.
– Develop students’ technological knowledge/skills as it relates to sound pedagogy.
– Aid in transitioning them from simple content consumers to content creators.
– Develop immersive content for use in classrooms.
– Promote formal/informal STEM learning through immersive technologies.
“The lab should be operational within the next month, then we can start exposing students to the transformative power of immersive technology,” said McCubbins. “We will be in search of motivated students to assist in designing and conducting research aligned to the labs goals. “