There is a lot of noise about virtual and augmented reality in the news and its impact on marketing in education these days. Are these technologies just another gimmick, like 3D TVs, or do they stand on the precipice of changing our lives forever?
One of the first applications that springs to mind is video gaming. We’re all familiar with how Pokémon GO turned millions into Pokémon players overnight. Games are designed to pull us into alternative worlds, so it’s a natural fit. Game-based learning is an effective instructional strategy in many classrooms. It’s quickly apparent when watching VR demonstrations that applications in biology, chemistry, sociology, astronomy, history and more are almost limitless.
As technology marches forward, the obstacles to immersive AR and VR experiences are crumbling. AR and VR are becoming mainstream because they open up a new realm of possibilities. Imagine a history teacher taking a class through a virtual tour of the building of The Great Wall of China, or a science teacher showing a class the electron orbital of a hydrogen atom. The possibilities for education and more specifically, marketing in education are limitless.
What’s next for AR and VR in today’s classroom?
Some of the most innovative AR and VR inventions are still the stuff of dreams, locked in the heads of high school and college students. Just as the internet led to a “wild west” explosion of new products and functionality, AR and VR will engender a wide range of new niches and services. But not right away—these nascent technologies require entirely new physical environments, security considerations, training, evaluation, curricula and more. Hence the business opportunities.
According to the Speak Up 2016 survey, AR and VR have a long way to go before full implementation in K-12 districts. Only five percent of teachers say they are using AR or VR tools in their classroom, but 20 percent of administrators say AR and VR professional development is a priority in 2017.
As AR and VR begin to take stronger hold in K-12 districts, you will want to consider how your products and services fit into classroom uses of the new technology. For instance, take note that VR is often not a part of a 1:1 program. Students share headsets in groups to complete activities.
AR and VR’s Impact for Marketing in Education
Now is the time to determine the resources teachers need to implement AR and VR, and fill those gaps with your company’s tools and expertise.
Brainstorm ways to integrate AR or VR features into your product or service. If this is impractical or too costly, consider how they could be bundled as a complementary resource or feature. For example, if you sell equipment for the classroom makerspace, consider a strategic partnership with an AR or VR vendor to transport students to a robotics lab or product development site.
Evolving your products or services to embrace virtual and augmented reality technology may seem daunting at first, but the potential for reaching new markets is real, not virtual. This is transformative technology, and the ed tech industry is embracing it. To start discussing how to leverage this movement for your marketing in education, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.