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VR as a sustainable teaching tool

With technology inserting itself in different sectors and industries, education is not far behind. The world has seen education evolve. Books are becoming e-books and lectures have turned to videos.

The University of Newcastle, according to a recent report, aims to be at the forefront of enabling new and innovative ways of teaching and using digital simulation technologies.

Because virtual reality (VR) and other simulation technologies are making their way into teaching and education, the University is not far behind.

It is launching the Simulation Technology Evaluation Pilot (STEP) Program to position VR as a sustainable and lasting teaching tool.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have the ability to transform the way educational content is delivered and taught at the University.

These technologies offer the transfer of critical skills and quality procedural training in a highly immersive and controllable digital environment.

These will be allowing a level of training and experience that would normally be too dangerous or too expensive.

These can be done in the classrooms, in a highly scalable manner, which also addresses current challenges associated with transferring procedural knowledge to a large number of students.

This technology is not entirely new to the University as multiple leading educators are already using simulation technology to engage and immerse their students into their teaching curriculum.

For instance, the University has transformed how nursing and midwifery trainees learn by using VR and AR.

Assisted by VR headsets, a laptop, smartphone or PC, the students are guided visually through the internal stages of childbearing.

The interest in this technology from both the teaching staff and students is growing.

Implementing these technologies across the institution and as a supported, long lasting resource, however, requires careful consideration and forward planning.

The Simulation Technology Evaluation Pilot (STEP) Program is being introduced in order to better understand how the University can take advantage of the next generation of digital simulation technologies.

A key initiative of the NEW Education Framework, the University wide program is seeking to evaluate the development and implementation of simulation technology into the curriculum.

Its key focus will be the consideration of benefits and costs of the technology as well as how to generate the infrastructure around this potential resource.

The program will soon be looking for expressions of interest for staff to participate in this fully supported program.

This will entail designing, developing, and implementing digital simulation technology within an existing degree program.

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