Another dot in the blogosphere?

Not just about fun and novelty

Posted on: October 1, 2021

Video source 

The video above is another resource I will be adding as a resource for a Masters level course that I design and facilitate. It is a good example of authentic and local use of technology for military training. But that is it. It is NOT what the news report tries to label it: Peripheral, emergency use, new, fun. 

The short clip mentioned how virtual reality (VR) simulations were used during the current pandemic. This could imply that the technology is for emergency or peripheral use.

A military representative reminded viewers that one of the simulations had been in use since 2014. While pursuing my Ph.D., I had the privilege of experiencing a navy’s VR simulation in 2002. This sort of technology is not new. It is evolving. 

My least favourite sell-it-to-the-masses word is “fun”. The report mentioned how fun the simulations were to learn with. They might be, but fun is not the point. Simulated contextual practice and problem-solving are, and these activities can be challenging. The best games can be difficult and even frustrating, so simulations that are realistic borrow such design principles.

Rising above, this is how I use videos I share with my students — they are not the low-hanging fruit of content, they are launch pads for critical thinking. I want them to go beyond a lay understanding of technology for learning. If a technology is to be integrated powerfully for teaching and learning, it cannot be peripheral, used only in emergencies, sold on novelty, or driven solely by fun.

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