Micah Shippee, PhD

Instructional Design & Development #edtech #GAFE

Future Ready: VR, AR, and MR in the classroom beyond the novelty


Future Ready: VR, AR, and MR in the classroom beyond the novelty.

Classroom level application of VR, AR, and MR content is a form of job readiness. These emergent technologies are fun and exciting, they can be used to captivate students but what’s the learning value beyond that? As educators we regularly asking ourselves what is the educational value, how will this help me achieve my content goals and prepare my students for the world that awaits them. Fair and valid concerns that I hope this blog post will address.

AR has been around since the early Nineties1 but until recently it was slow to be adopted by the masses as a useful technology. One exception would be video games which have heads-up displays (HUDs) in car games, war games, in just about everything with a live score (constant feedback). These entertainment venues have now informed the real world, one example is John Madden Football being used by the NFL to create a better viewing experiences (augmented experience) for viewers.3,4


We should define VR, AR, and MR, since the purpose of this blog is to explore career readiness I will use the definitions as explained by the AREA (Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance), the only global member-driven trade organization focusing on reducing barriers to, and accelerating the smooth introduction and widespread adoption of Augmented Reality by and for professionals.

Virtual Reality (VR) – technology that relies on software, hardware, and content but without the physical world and is 100% imaginary or “synthetic.”2

Augmented Reality (AR)always involves adding digital information in a manner that’s tightly synchronized with the physical world. Augmented Reality is the suite of enabling technologies and the resulting experience of a user when highly contextual digital information (in the form of text, images, graphics, animations, video, 3D models, sound or haptic stimuli) is presented in a manner that’s synchronized in real time, and appears attached to physical world people, places or objects.2

Mixed Reality (MR) On one end is the physical world without any digital enhancements and, on the other, the purely digital world (Virtual Reality). Augmented Reality is a form of mixed reality that is closer to the physical world than the purely digital world.2


At the AR in Action Summit (MIT Jan 17-18, 2017) vendors, academics, and industry professionals gathered to share AR experiences and develop a future for AR. AR’s application across many different industries was prevalent.



I learned about how architectural firms are regularly using AR and VR to illustrate designs and models for their clients. This powerful example shows AR and VR applied in the workplace, here is one example from Arrowstreet.6

And another example from Balti Virtual (http://baltivirtual.com/) showing their work with Baltimore’s Port Covington project.

These examples allow architects and developers to have meaningful discussions with clients about the projects that they are working on. In both cases, these companies have found that AR/VR opens the door to discussions with clients that were previously much harder to attain and that lead to a higher quality end product. Visuals of doctors with an Oculus headset connected to a live camera reminded me of FPS gameplay.



Medical practitioners shared examples of enhanced Spinal and Lung Surgery all aided by VR/AR/MR applications. Doctors reported more effective and efficient surgery aided by these technologies, leading to higher quality medical care.


Emergency Services

During the summit Fire Department Captain Kirk McKinzie gave a call for help to industry professionals to continue to develop AR hardware to support the rapid rescue of victims in emergency situations.



Among the vendors were HoloTats & UA Play which offer an AR experience for consumers.



PTC’s Thingworx demonstrated how manufacturers and servicemen can repair and build products aided by AR visualizations of tasks and steps for a wide variety of projects.


Further, in the workplace it became clear that subject matter experts are now able to work at a distance and can guide lesser skilled/qualified people through complex tasks all through AR.



The emergent fields of VR, AR, and MR are rapidly expanding and are among the few technologies that we can most definitely target as relevant to our students’ future workplace. Our students will be called upon to leverage this technology and to improve it in their future careers. Recent predictions state that by 2025 14 million workers will use AR in their workplace, up from 400,000 presently.7


So what can we do in the classroom? We need to share our experiences with AR to better inform educational applications on their creation and development of student learning experiences. Current research states: “While AR technology has been improving, it can still be difficult for students to use; therefore, more studies related to the development and usability of AR applications are needed. Within this line, learners’ opinions about usability and preferences must be examined in AR based learning environments.”8 These “studies” can include our classroom experiences as a form of action research to promote meaningful change in practice and use of innovative technology.



  1. “Augmented Reality in Education” http://www.arined.org/?page_id=43 retrieved 1.25.17
  2. Augmented Reality Defined“ http://thearea.org/augmented-reality-defined/ retrieved 1.25.17
  3. Gordon, Bing “Gamers know AR“ Lecture at AR in Action (MIT, 1.18.17) www.arinaction.com
  4. Pierce, David “25 years of Madden, the video game that changed football forever” (2014). http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/31/5365700/25-years-of-madden-the-game-that-changed-football-forever retrieved 1.25.17
  5. “The AREA Faq” http://thearea.org/area/faq/ retrieved 1.25.17
  6. Arrowstreet www.arrowstreet.com retrieved 1.25.17
  7. Gownder, J.P. (2016) “How Enterprise Smart Glasses Will Drive Workforce Enablement – Forecast: US Enterprise Adoption And Usage Of Smart Glasses” published April 21, 2016.
  8. Akçay, M. and Akçay, G. (2017) Advantages and challenges associated with augmented reality for education: A systematic review of the literature. Published in Educational Research Review 20 (2017) 1-11.



AugmentEDU goes Higher Ed #edchat #AR #edtech @kgg521

At the EdTechTeam Buffalo Summit held at Canisius College (August 4-5, 2016) I had the pleasure to meet many educators in both K-12 and Higher Education. While presenting, I actually ran into a young woman who I had in class as a 7th grader, she was about to start teaching… I’m getting old. My presentations included Introduction to Google Classroom, Virtual 360 Fieldtrips, BreakoutEDU, and Augmented Reality (AR) in the Classroom. In the AR presentation, I met Dr. Kathleen Gradel, a professor in the College of Education at Fredonia State University, who was very excited about bringing the AR process (found at http://www.augmentedu.org) back to her classes.

This past fall Dr. Gradel’s First-Year Seminar (FRED101) completed a mapping project around Fredonia State University (see the Animoto video below). Thank you, Dr. Gradel for taking this project to HigherEd!


#edchat #grades


Technology is the answer! But what is the problem? #edtech #edchat


There are many articles exploring the issue of technology integration in K-12 education. Don Ely’s work with technological innovations is among the most notable. Ely points out that “Implementation” of technology requires special knowledge to do the job efficiently and thoroughly (Ely, 1990, p.298). Ely’s research directs researchers to variables that can be used as an assessment tool when studying teacher centered technology integration. Ely states “Technology is the answer! But what is the problem?” his comment promotes further research into efficient use of technology in instructional settings. Discussed within Ely’s eight variables to consider when facilitating the adoption, implementation, and institutionalization of educational technology innovations are:

  1. Dissatisfaction with the status quo: may come from teachers who are not motivated to consider change in their teaching procedures.
  2. Knowledge and Skills Exist: a teacher must possess the competencies to teach students the use of these tools
  3. Resources are available: tools and relevant materials are accessible to assist learners to acquire learning objectives.
  4. Time is available: Paid time. Teachers need time for in-service training; they need time to revise existing teaching plans; they need time to practice with new materials; they need time to try out and evaluate new teaching procedures.
  5. Rewards or Incentives Exist for Participants: Why should anyone change? If current practice is going reasonably well, why risk new techniques? Whatever the reward, intrinsic or extrinsic, it should be there in some form.
  6. Participation is Expected and Encouraged: Shared decision making, individuals should be involved in the decisions that will affect them. Participation may occur at many levels: during problem identification. During consideration of alternative solutions, and during decision making when new programs or approaches are adopted.
  7. Commitment by Those Who are Involved: Administrators should provide clear and visible support that endorses implementation.
  8. Leadership is Evident: Leaders should ensure that the necessary training is given and the materials to do the job are easily available; they are available for consultation when discouragement or failure occur; and they continually communicate their enthusiasm for the work at hand.



Ely, D. P. (1990). Conditions that facilitate the implementation of educational technology

innovations. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 23(2), 298.

5 groups of technology adopters. #edtech


#BYOD #mobile #edtech


#mobile #edtech #edchat


Using Revision History in Google Docs #edtech #GAFE

My current work with AR including slides to support PD #edtech