… is make it contextual, or as I heard a colleague put it recently ‘reduce the transaction distance’. Essentially, it involves enabling learning at the point of need and (the choices we make with) technology can make this possible. Let’s take Google’s app which makes it possible to translate signs in real time as an example.

If you like that, you might like this video showing Microsoft’s Holo Lens, which augments the virtual and physical worlds.

Well, what’s different from Holo Lens and its precursor Google Glass? Well since Google Glass, technology has become ever more pervasive with wearables, such as exercise trackers and the Apple iWatch. What’s more, Microsoft and NASA are collaborating on Holo Lens which will allow scientists to work virtually on Mars. The technology has the potential to enable astronauts on the international space station to collaborate with those back on the ground. How long will it be before it’s possible for you and I to explore the surface of Mars?

What’s the relevance?

Technology has done much to help widen access to education. Experimentation with emerging technologies will inform how we use them in innovative ways in the future. Augmenting the virtual and physical worlds might be in its relative infancy but its potential to create more experiential, user-led, learning experiences is huge. It could enable forensic science students to explore crime scenes, display representations of objects for designers using computer aided design software or support the performance of critical tasks in the workplace, e.g. fixing aircraft engines. We might be in the discovery phase but I doubt it will be long before we see the disruptive influence of augmenting the virtual and physical worlds in education. In essence, emerging technologies offer the potential for us to experiment with our pedagogies to create immersive learning experiences closer to the context in which we need them.