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Virtually Playing

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A child plays on a mobile phone in front of a christmas tree
Virtually playing

Today is Christmas, and as I wrap up the third course in my program, it seems fitting to reflect on the concept of play. Childhood Christmas mornings always brought me two immense joys. The first was the thrill of unwrapping gifts, each a mystery waiting to be unveiled. The second joy was deeper: engaging with these new treasures. Whether it involved learning the rules of a new game or piecing together a new toy, Christmas was synonymous with imagination and creativity for me.

A tricycle is wrapped in christmas paper
Whatever could it be?

This week, my studies revolved around virtual reality (VR), game-based learning, and gamification. The timing couldn't be more perfect. As the holiday season unfolds, I'm constantly reminded of the universal delight that new experiences bring when we're given the liberty to play.

Reflecting on this, my thoughts gravitated towards VR and its potential in educational settings. As a lifelong gamer, VR isn't a novel concept to me. My gaming journey began with the simplicity of Pong, and I've witnessed the evolution of gaming into an immersive experience that continually blurs the line between player and avatar, virtual and real. The burgeoning field of haptic technology is fast closing this gap, soon making it challenging to differentiate virtual experiences from real ones. We won't just see a virtual world, we'll feel it!

This technological progression offers a plethora of opportunities for safe, engaging, and exploratory play in environments that are otherwise dangerous, improbable, or outright impossible. Amidst the excitement about these new technologies and their myriad applications, it's important to remember that the essence of play remains unchanged. VR doesn't overhaul the fundamental principles of play, nor does it redefine educational paradigms. Instead, it provides a new medium through which the timeless process of learning through play can continue to flourish.

Many packages tied up with string
What's in the box?

As I delve deeper into the possibilities of VR in education, I am excited by the prospect of integrating this technology in ways that foster creativity, engagement, and immersive learning experiences. Just as my childhood Christmases were a playground for imagination, I envision VR in education as a tool to unlock new realms of exploration and discovery.

As we move forward, embracing these technological advances, it's crucial to hold onto the core values of play and education. VR can enhance and enrich learning experiences, but it's the joy of discovery, the thrill of exploration, and the power of imagination that remain at the heart of both play and education. Let's not forget that as we embark on this exciting journey into the future of learning.


All images contained within this post are courtesy of Media from Wix.

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