Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are allowing users to interact with their surroundings in ways that seemed impossible a decade ago and are fundamentally changing the current educational landscape for IT professionals in training, say Jacob Hess and Terry Kim , co-founders of NGT Academy.
Traveling the world without taking a single step was once science fiction. Today, anyone can immerse themselves in a new world by simply picking up a smart device or putting on a headset.
Augmented Reality (AR), which enhances a real environment with computer-generated information, and Virtual Reality (VR), which introduces an entirely new reality through a simulated 3D environment, allow users to interact with their environment as well only with scenarios imagined in a way that seemed impossible only ten years ago.
Today, augmented reality and virtual reality are changing the way consumers interact with brands, information and each other. AR, in particular, is now mainstream, occupying 1.1 billion mobile users worldwide, with an estimated 1.7 billion AR users expected by 2024. Among younger digital-first generations, AR is part of everyday life. Snapchat overlays AR filters over their selfies, and Pokémon Go discovers animated characters lurking in their living rooms and neighborhoods.
However, augmented reality is much more than a recreational tool, and many brands have made it an integral part of their sales strategies, such as IKEA, which uses augmented reality to help customers imagine furniture in their own homes. , and Sephora, which leverages technology to offer customers virtual makeup try-on sessions.
VR technology continues to find its audience in the market, with 50.2 million virtual reality users in the United States, however, consumers are increasingly turning to it for attending concerts, sporting events, conferences and, more recently, as a substitute for the traditional desktop.
These uses have also begun to translate into the classroom, where augmented reality and virtual reality are welcomed as natural additions to a teacher’s online arsenal of educational resources, taking EdTech platforms to a new level. of interactivity and immersion.
AR and VR in the classroom
While both can dramatically change a student’s learning environment, each technology has its strengths: Augmented reality brings isolated technical topics to life. At the same time, virtual reality is useful for understanding the most complex facets of a subject through a fully immersive experience. Combine the superpowers of these emerging technologies with EdTech platforms, and the result is a game-changer. Students who normally learn from home or in an online classroom can now experience what it’s like to work in a computer data center, access a network operations center or perform virtual repairs in a telecommunications cabinet. Even the most expensive equipment can be within reach of an entry-level computer science student through the magic of augmented reality and virtual reality, enabling the development and launch of newly qualified computer science careers in months rather than in a few years.
The surreal capabilities of these next-gen tools can make EdTech advancements seem like they’ve peaked. However, the horizon is filled with innovations that will continue to positively impact the way young professionals experience and study information technology for decades to come. Cybersecurity, network engineering, software development, and similar IT roles will require their level of evolution and adaptation to remain relevant and effective. With AR and VR, teachers can implement these updates into their virtual classroom experiences in ways that can only be imagined today.
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Supercharged hands-on training
Mixed Reality, which combines the real and virtual worlds to allow users to interact with their surroundings using sensory and imagery technologies, will add an even richer level of real-world education to the classroom. . With this capability, students can take advantage of digital overlays to see inside a material item without actually opening or taking it apart, and teachers can add more nuance and depth of understanding to training sessions. . For IT professionals, this means experiencing visual overlays of traffic flow that sit on top of actual physical IT infrastructures.
The importance of these new capabilities will prove monumental for the field of education, as virtual reality and augmented reality energize hands-on learning and create experiences far more effective than traditional classroom environments or training opportunities. on the job could provide. What improvements will the future bring? Massive breakthroughs in resolution that will dramatically reduce pixelation and bring stunning detail to training rigs are expected over the next decade, and smart glasses, highly sensitive wearable controllers, and complete virtual worlds that simulate all aspects of training from within the VR environment will add an even more realistic focus on hands-on virtual learning.
As these technologies improve and become more ubiquitous, training methods across industries will continue to see improvements through EdTech platforms powered by AR, VR, and mixed reality. The future of interactive, hands-on classroom learning is here for students training for roles in information technology, like network engineering and cybersecurity.
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