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The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Immersive Tech Nears a Tipping Point

Higher education is closing in on a tipping point for immersive learning, according to Marci Powell, chair emerita and former president of the United States Distance Learning Association. Immersive includes 3-D, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), which refers to a hybrid environment where physical and digital entities interact in real time.

For Campus Technology’s midpoint check-in on the year’s ed-tech trends, Powell noted that the prices for virtual-reality headsets are heading sharply down as new models continue to roll out, and AR- and VR-ready laptops are negating the need for expensive hardware and servers to support VR. She added that the growing number of VR lesson plans available makes assembling a curriculum with the technology faster and easier.

However, since have/have-not gaps haven’t yet been fully bridged for such comparatively common needs as smartphones and broadband access, the market is still far from a point where all students can use more advanced immersive tech at home or in the classroom. Institutions should be working now to ensure they’re able to provide such access as the technology becomes more mainstream.

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