Top 5 tips for Diving into Reality- Augmented and Virtual that is…

Guest blog by Kim Murphree, EdTech Trainer in Mansfield ISD.

So as I have become more familiar and brought more of this knowledge to educators of all levels I thought I would share my Top 5 Tips for getting started with AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality). Some seem simple and obvious, but I have found those the steps you definitely don’t want to skip.

1. Read the instructions. Seems silly to actually not only write that but start with that one, but AR/VR apps often have specific instructions that will make or break your success with the program. Be sure to peruse them to make sure you are doing everything required to get you the best experience… also as a facilitator its best if you read them to know all of the ins and outs that could be asked by participants.

2. Locate Necessary Triggers. Most AR specifically utilizes triggers in order to create the experience. Sometimes those triggers reside within the app, which requires a download and then a transfer process to print out, or they reside on a companion website which also may require a download and print situation. Next, refer to step 1… you may see specific instructions on whether or not the trigger must be printed in color to work.

3. Don’t Be Device Dependent. Lots of people, especially when exploring VR get very caught up in whether or not they have a Cardboard, a Vive, or a Viewmaster. Then the next step is what devices to use in those headsets, and how to get a class set. These are all valid questions, but I would challenge you to notice that a vast majority of VR apps are not device dependent. Meaning that you can utilize them with a tablet or other mobile device sans viewer. So don’t let the headset be a hindrance.

4. Be Aware & Share. This bit of advice could be a part of any educational tidbit. AR/VR (and really all of educational technology) moves fast and in the ever famous words of Ferris Bueler if you don’t stop and look around you might miss it. In that vein, utilize all your resources especially social media to locate, follow and stay abreast of what’s going on, what’s updated, and what’s coming soon. This way you can stay on the forefront, because if you know better you do better. Now along those lines, don’t horde remarkability. If you find something new, share it. If you see something cool- shout it out. As we all know sharing is caring, and I guarantee if you share something out you will get back something just as good if not better for your efforts.

5. Connect to the Content. I generally say; and while it often makes no sense it does make a point, a turtle on a skateboard is really cool but what does it have to do with anything? AR/VR is case in point. Audiences and participants of AR/VR will be wowed with very little effort on your part, it will dazzle even some of the toughest to reach, but if it is not connected to the content it will have very little impact on improving your curriculum. You are the content expert and its up to you to help participants make those connections. Apps and devices don’t make those connections- you do.

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