NEWSFLASH: The Arthur Holt Library recently acquired a first-of-its kind HTC Vive Virtual Reality (VR) headset. This technology is a fully immersive first-person experience that may hold the potential to change the future of education.

Can you imagine teleporting through boundless virtual worlds, or traveling back in time and physically walking around a virtual historical site? Or using the room as a canvas to paint in 3D? Or accessing a library/museum of experiences all while never leaving your  classroom?

The future is VR and it is here!

Many Universities are currently using VR to support their teaching and learning, offering students a simulation or the opportunity to experience a skill virtually before they need to face it in real life. For example, the University of Newcastle’s School of Nursing & Midwifery are currently conducting a randomised trial using VR to simulate a real-world delivery room, providing midwifery students with a virtual emergency neonatal resuscitation scene.

Lecturer-in-Midwifery-Jessica-Williams-L-and-Midwifery-student-Erin-Bonett-R-crop
NGLSD Conference Chair & University of Newcastle Lecturer, Jessica Williams, assisting a midwifery student with a virtual reality headset
(image taken from https://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured-news/a-new-world-in-sight-virtual-reality-to-advance-human-health)

I learned about this, and many other, exciting educational developments in the virtual and augmented reality space at the 2018 New Generation Learning Space Design (NGLSD) conference held in Sydney earlier this month. At this conference, I participated in a panel discussion about virtual reality (VR) learning environments and the evolution of technology used to enhance student exploration, collaboration and discussion. This was an enjoyable and thought provoking professional learning experience.

Learning can and should happen anywhere, and, if we consider the new technologies available with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), the future possibilities of learning spaces are boundless. So, where to from here?

The Library team are currently working in collaboration with classroom teachers, eLearning specialists and industry experts to better understand the changing innovations in immersive learning and to explore the potential for augmented and virtual spaces to complement and integrate with our physical learning spaces here at Trinity Grammar School – #watchthisspace!

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