Trend #3 - Extended reality
Exploration through education. This is the fourth realm of learning outlined by ASU President Michael Crow that calls for more immersive learning experiences. Technologies like XR, VR and AR are often used in this space.
Extended reality (XR) is a collective term for digital spaces, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). ASU is leading the way in immersive learning experiences through a partnership with Dreamscape Immersive, the world’s leading virtual reality company. Together, the teams have launched Dreamscape Learn, which offers fully immersive VR learning. Last year, students taking introductory biology experienced DSL as part of their learning.
“At ASU, we’re blending real and virtual worlds to effectively remove barriers to where, when and how learning happens,” shared Gonick. “Through the use of technology, we can enhance, amplify, and facilitate deeper and more authentic learning experiences.”
Dreamscape Learn is held inside the Creativity Commons on ASU’s Tempe campus. Directly next door is a space where additional XR experiences are being designed and developed for students, by students at Learning Futures.
One such project is Huddle, which offers classroom experiences in VR. And last semester, students in HST 130 slipped on the Oculus headset, strapped on the hand controllers and were transported to trenches of World War I inside the Huddle experience.
Trend #4 - Digital twins
Simply put, digital twins are virtual representations of an object, system or space. These indistinguishable digital counterparts have been used for decades.
However, building off technology trends noted in the first installment – including virtual reality, artificial intelligence and metaverses – digital twins are having a resurgence.
At ASU, students are developing a digital twin of the campus. The ASUniverse models, in full 3D scale, the architecture, classrooms and even southwest landscape of ASU’s Tempe Campus, accessible from anywhere. Future use cases of the digital twin include touring the Tempe campus, attending class, enjoying live entertainment and more.
Additionally, the ASU Smart City Cloud Innovation Center (CIC), powered by Amazon Web Services, is developing a digital twin of downtown Phoenix for improved and strategic urban planning.
Trend #5 - The metaverse
In keeping with the previous two trends in virtual communities, the global metaverse is extending beyond organizational silos to connect people in a digital world. A main mission of the recently established Zoom Innovation Lab at ASU is to extend Zoom into the ASUniverse.
“The first-of-its-kind Zoom Innovation Lab at ASU will combine the resources available across the ASU Public Enterprise — including the university’s expertise, research, networks and learning assets — with Zoom’s technology and talent to create solutions that better connect society,” Gonick shared in a recent interview with Forbes.
Additional opportunities for more immersive experiences inside the ASUniverse include sporting events, telehealth counseling services and more.
The world, and by extension ASU learners, are shaped by technologies like those represented in these five trends. Check back next week for the second installment of this two-part series that will share trends around the Internet of Things, blockchain, gamification and more.
Edited by Tristan Ettleman; photos by Mike Sanchez