Page 32 - Campus Technology, June 2017
P. 32

Incorporating Virtual Reality
Into Classrooms
The project leveraged existing in-house expertise to create these opportunities for students in a variety of classroom settings across campus. The UITS Learning Technologies division provided expertise related to active learning and classroom design. The Research Technologies division provided expertise related to VR technology, as well as workflows for the effective use and creation of immersive applications. Additionally, faculty using VR in the School of Art and Design, School of Media and School of Informatics & Computing were instrumental to both the planning and implementation phases. Their enthusiasm helped secure the backing of university leadership, and their willingness to experiment and adjust their curriculum will directly correlate to the project’s success and student adoption. Collectively, these groups collaborated to form a team with the comprehensive vision and necessary skills to create an innovative and scalable solution for the entire university system.
Next Steps: Expanding Reality
To capitalize on the rapidly growing interest in VR and expand it to as many faculty and students as possible, IU has an aggressive plan to deploy at least six more Reality Labs across its Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses by fall 2017. In addition, the team is developing a support model that includes
a technology integration specialist to assist faculty interested in exploring this technology.
The UITS Learning Technologies
division has spent the last few years
creating a variety of active learning
classrooms, purpose-built with a
variety of designs and technologies.
The introduction of VR continues
to create new challenges for the
learning space design team. The
current project is to redesign a
large Reality Lab that will not only
foster peer review during the design
process, but also allow for final
viewing of student products within
the space. This space will be the first redesigned specifically to foster the technology activities in the classroom. Findings will drive the expansion of these technologies to further innovative experiences for students.
And virtual reality is only the beginning. The Reality Labs will evolve over the next several years to incorporate emerging and maturing areas of technology, including augmented reality (AR) and methods for capturing reality. AR blends our view of the real world with synthetic media and graphics, and requires a smaller physical footprint with fewer input devices
Instructor Jon Racek provides feedback and comments on a student’s design while she walks through her project
than VR. Methods for capturing reality include 3D scanning and 360-degree and 3D cameras; these methods further lower the barrier of entry for faculty and students wanting to create their own content for VR or AR.
Julie Johnston is the director of Learning Spaces for Indiana University. Michael Boyles is manager of the Advanced Visualization Lab, University Information Technology Services Research Technologies, at Indiana University.
Indiana University

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