KnowledgeWorks Research Explores Potential Impact of Wearables, AR and VR Technology in the Classroom

Topics: Future of Learning

This paper explores the potential for wearables, augmented reality and virtual reality to help create more responsive learning environments. Imagine a student staring at a blank page of homework, unsure of where or how to start. What if a piece of wearable technology could sense their stress and give them the access to mentors and coaches to get the help they need with just a click of a button? Or imagine a group of students curious and eager to learn more about another culture. What if they could use augmented reality to interact with groups of students from different countries to work on a shared project without ever having to leave the classroom?

KnowledgeWorks’ new publication, Leveraging Digital Depth for Responsive Learning Environments, explores the potential future impacts of using wearables, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the classroom and other learning environments, while encouraging educators to develop a critical filter to sift through the hype and determine the value and use of these new technologies.

“Often educators are given market-driven approaches to implementing technology in the classroom that end up being ineffective,” said Katherine Prince, vice president of strategic foresight for KnowledgeWorks. “It is our hope that educators can use this research to think critically about how they can use emerging technologies to benefit their students’ unique needs.”

Leveraging Digital Depth for Responsive Learning Environments explores how technologies such as wearables, AR and VR may support current learning environments and create new opportunities to engage students, personalize learning and build learners’ social-emotional skills through a deeper understanding of themselves and others’ experiences.

To help educators and education technology leaders explore these technologies, the paper features in-depth research on the potential future impacts. It offers illustrated futuristic vignettes, along with insights and implications for education stakeholders to consider when evaluating potential uses of wearables, AR and VR. The paper also includes an action guide for assessing applications of the technologies in specific settings.

The publication highlights potential ways that educators might be able to use these technologies inside and outside the classroom to add a layer of “digital depth” – the layering and integration of data, computing, and connectivity atop physical reality – to create more responsive learning environments that:

  • Increase student engagement
  • Enhance the personalization of learning
  • Increase understanding of others’ experiences and perspectives
  • Help develop greater levels of self-awareness
  • Foster critical thinking.

As highlighted in KnowledgeWorks’ 2015 forecast, The Future of Learning: Education in the Era of Partners in Code, wearables, augmented reality, and virtual reality can support the creation of responsive learning environments. These technologies have the potential to open the doors to more inclusive, positive group learning environments to better prepare students for the future.


About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a national nonprofit organization advancing a future of learning that ensures each student graduates ready for what’s next. For more than 20 years, we’ve been partnering with states, communities and leaders across the country to imagine, build and sustain vibrant learning communities. Through evidence-based practices and a commitment to equitable outcomes, we’re creating the future of learning, together.