The notion of existence of parallel worlds or universes has intrigued mankind for a long time and we keep trying to find a passageway into those mysterious worlds. While those efforts are still underway and have yet to see any success, we already have the virtual world in our access with increasing control through the use of immersive technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality or both,
This virtual world gives us complete control in a simulated environment and lets us be more creative and experimental with what is possible. This ability to control, experiment, learn and apply, is transforming the classroom experience all around the world. There is nothing better to make a child become more focused and learn better than by transporting them to a wonder world. As of now, this is the impact that these immersive virtual experiences are having on young minds where the two worlds of imagination and knowledge meet together.
What’s more exciting is that the technical and hardware limitations are also being progressively overcome by premium tech companies such as HTC, and we are able to do more within these virtual environments without breaking contact with the outside world. Dr. Sana Farid, the ARVR & Ai Strategist and Co-founder & CEO of VRXOne, has been taking HTC VIVE to classrooms all over Middle East, and has talked about her experience saying, “We have found HTC to be a game-changing experience in VR education. It has been a great experience exploring the potential of experiential learning and bringing classroom lessons to life with VIVE and the highly immersive platform of Lifeliqe, and we are hoping that the VR education will become still more enhanced in future.” Making school lessons fun and exciting, Lifeliqe is a visual learning platform that offers an extensive range of digital curriculum including highly interactive 3D as well as AR, VR and MR models designed for STEM learning.
Going back to the hardware, HTC VIVE FOCUS, the world’s first standalone virtual reality headset, actually packs some great updates to that end including smartphone integration which enables us to receive calls, messages and even view social media notifications within the FOCUS VR interface without having to take off the headset. Additionally, we have more control via FOCUS with the inclusion of gesture recognition, greater Depth of Field (6DoF) and better battery life as well as the Passenger and Surroundings modes. The ‘Passengers’ mode lets us enjoy a seated VR experience without tracking constraints whereas ‘Surrounding’ mode lets us view our surrounding real world through the Focus camera which means we don’t have to remove the headset every time we need to do something outside of the virtual world.
Alvin Wang Graylin, the China President of Vive at HTC, certainly has a bright vision for the VR future, “Standalone is a trend that will become the mass market product”, adding further he said, “I believe that VR can change the world.”
Indeed, standalone devices will have a big impact on the VR market increasing the overall accessibility and usability of the technology. As per the Technovio’s Market Research Report the global virtual reality market in education sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 59% until 2022 whereas the VR gear in education market is expected to reach $1,060.87 million in 2021. These are huge statistics for VR market and we certainly can’t wait for VR technology to become mainstream in education.
Change is probably one of the most powerful and inevitable phenomena in the world. Someone once said – teachers change the world one child at a time. This statement really sheds light on the influential role of teachers in the life of nations. But today, in this particular time, teachers have added responsibility beyond their traditional role as instructors, mentors, and resource providers. Today they also have to assume the role as leading facilitators for pioneering and affecting modern ed-tech practices and immersive learning in the classrooms.
In view of which, the Ministry of Education, UAE, is presenting various programmes across the year for teachers’ training in Ajman Teachers’ Training Institute, focusing on STREAM education approach and state-of-the-art learning facilitation practices in schools. The objective of such platforms is to instill a culture of innovation and a sense of entrepreneurship in the Emirati teachers in addition to promoting STREAM based education and community partnership.
Speakers and trainers would deliver invaluable exercises and discussions in practices and methodologies to boost research and creative competencies of teachers expanding upon their central role in preparing a generation that can nourish the growth and expanse of knowledge based economy in the Middle East by way laying the groundwork for integration of STREAM approach as well as linking STREAM schools with universities and ultimately labor markers.
Considered a key to sustainable leadership and innovative practices in a changing world, STREAM education is perceived as a crucial catalyst for accelerated socio-economic and ecological growth and development in the age of 4th industrial revolution. In that regard, the UAE teachers are exposed to exclusive opportunities to receive substantial training in implementing the ways to promote student learning, participation and entrepreneurial aptitudes through creative practices – from employing innovative STREAM education approaches to immersive ed-tech technologies in the classroom.
One of the highly acknowledged trainers in the Ministry of Education, UAE, coming from Bahrain, is Dr. Sana Farid, a pioneer ARVR & Ai Strategist, Research Analyst, Coach and Entrepreneur. Contributing to conduct training session in implementation of innovation and technology in learning practices in view of STREAM approach to education. Previously receiving the Award of Appreciation from the UAE Ministry of Education, in appreciation to train large scale of nearly 10,000 teachers for immersive technologies in the classroom, Dr. Sana is the President & Ambassador Women of Wearables MENA, Co-Chair VRAR Association MENA and one of the World Top 101 Women in ARVR.
Bearing in mind, how the training in STREAM approach and experience in immersive technologies is expected to raise a self-motivated and highly skilled generation for optimum attainment of a knowledge based economy, His Excellency Dr. Hussain Al Hammadi, the UAE for Minister of Education, commented, “To instill a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the students of primary education schools and to provide a specialized environment that embraces students’ initiatives in innovative aspects is one of the most important requirements of STREAM education.” [link] For this reason, the fourth session of the Forum was dedicated to encouraging and promoting practical applications driving the management of innovative practices and projects based on STREAM education which could then further attract the interest of local and international sponsors for forging relations, potential partnerships and accreditations within educational communities.
With the recent developments in the Middle East, it isn’t difficult to see what the future looks like for the region. And the reason for this foresight is the way immersive and innovative technologies are being channeled into the very fabric of the society. To quote the words of the driving force behind the shining bright face of UAE, the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, “Our goal in the UAE is to shape the future… We have a ministry, future accelerators, national plan and passion to succeed.” And certainly, His Highness is determinedly connecting all the dots and filling all the voids in the process.
Since the modern education technology is based on experience-based learning and real time performance assessment, this not only requires retraining of teachers but also their active involvement more than ever before. Luckily, the government of UAE is well-aware of this challenge and the Ministry of Education has taken many initiatives to address this issue. With the Qudwa – Global Teachers’ Forum, Teachers Forum, and the Arab Gulf Teachers Forum at Ajman Teachers’ Training Institute.
The Arab Teachers’ Training forum is another cog in the chain of projects to help introduce modern educational and teaching strategies and the mechanisms for their successful implementation within the current schooling system. The objective of the event is to communicate ways to help build a competitive and comprehensive learning environment and specifically, redefining the role of teachers and develop and improve their performance and contribution in order to garner the desired positive outcomes from schooling systems in the UAE.
Innovation in education has become a global phenomenon today where new approaches to classroom learning are fundamentally transforming the long-standing learning methodologies in the teaching profession. The new slant will not only transfigure the way students are taught in classroom but also introduce advanced techniques for the way teachers prepare for the new curriculum.
As Virtual Reality technology is being introduced in schools in the Middle East, such event provide a great opportunity for the teachers to experience VR technology. Whereas, the leading VR education program – VRXOne is bringing the technology to classrooms through 1 million Virtual Reality lessons with Google Expeditions, [News]. Educating teachers about integrating edtech tools in the classroom empowers them to upgrade the conventional learning system.
Google Expeditions has a “Guide” mode that teachers can use to prepare their lessons and to enhance their understanding of how best to go about a virtual tour prior to a classroom lesson. The acclaimed VR/AR/Ai Strategist, Speaker and Entrepreneur, Dr. Sana Farid, is conducting training session in VR-based education and implementation of VR technology in classrooms and empowering thousands of teachers across the region.
Thanks to VR edtech, the teachers and students can be trained pretty much simultaneously, saving valuable transition time as well as redefine classroom experience and create an innovative learning environment that will bridge that technology-inspired communication gap between student-teacher relationship.