Nine things you need to know about immersive technologies for education: Part 1

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Immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) create distinct experiences by merging the physical world with the digital world. They provide the opportunity to engage audiences with cultural heritage in new ways, and offer exciting possibilities for education.

These possibilities are fully demonstrated by Built with Bits, a mentoring and educational challenge program for students and teachers, organized by the Europeana Initiative. The second version is run by partners Macedonia Studio, in the second half of 2022. It has trained 262 students, 19 educators and cultural heritage professionals to use Mozilla Hubs (a virtual global platform) to develop virtual spaces that use cultural heritage resources to deliver an innovative solution to a local issue. In doing so, the program has fostered collaboration between schools, universities, museums, local libraries, digital artists, UX designers, researchers, historians, architects, local authorities and tourism centres.

The projects developed for the program are diverse, inspiring and provide rich answers to the question: Why do we use immersive technologies in education?

1. Immersive technologies allow you to bring digital elements together in one place to engage students (and communities) with their cultural heritage.

This is what Ioannis E. Virtual Museum of Natural History The project that created the first immersive cultural experience for his city. Together with nine elementary school students, Ioannis digitized 2D and 3D exhibits from the local city museum to create a digital museum at Mozilla Hubs. The project won an award Best Digitization Project Award.

Ioannis says, “The Virtual Museum of Natural History envisions a museum open to the local community. It’s a great digital version of my city museum. As a teacher interested in creating links between students, parents and the community, I suggested this because it created an excuse to get all my school students involved in a unified proposal to ask the local municipality to reform The actual museum.In this way we spread the message of cohesion in the community.