Virtual Reality

Pearson Pilots Mixed Reality Educational Resources

Pearson is developing and piloting mixed reality content for use in K-12 and higher education.

Mixed reality combines virtual reality technology that immerses the user in a simulated environment with augmented reality technology that overlays digital information onto the real world. "Mixed reality merges the virtual and physical worlds to create a new reality whereby the two can coexist and interact," stated a news release from Pearson.

The company has partnered with Microsoft to develop mixed reality educational content using the Microsoft HoloLens, a self-contained holographic computer. The companies envision a wide range of applications for mixed reality content, including online tutoring and coaching, nursing education, engineering education and construction training. "HoloLens gives students access to things they may never be able to see in real life — historical artifacts, natural history, hands on training and a connection to the broader world," said Lorraine Bardeen, general manager for Microsoft Windows and HoloLens Experiences, in a prepared statement.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and San Diego State University have been piloting Pearson's mixed reality content for nursing education. Pearson is using Microsoft's holographic video capture technology to film actors portraying patients with various health concerns. Pearson will then convert the video into three-dimensional images that nursing students can view through the HoloLens as they participate in simulations.

Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania is piloting Microsoft's Skype for HoloLens software with Pearson's Smarthinking online tutoring service. The college is also experimenting with mixed reality to let students explore three-dimensional content and concepts in physics, biology and archaeology classes.

Pearson is also working with teachers at Canberra Grammar School in Australia to develop mixed reality content for use in classrooms. The University of Canberra is collaborating on the project to measure the effect of mixed reality content on teaching and learning.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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