Mixed, Augmented and Virtual Realities (MAVR) is not a new concept or area of study, but it an area that is beginning to be implemented at a larger scale in many other fields. Environments that employ these tools and concepts are being applied to medicine, engineering and education. There are those of us working in this area connected to education here in Japan and more specifically language education in Japan. That is why we are looking to form a new JALT-SIG, the MAVR SIG. The following is a primer to the current state of the research and where it may be headed. Please contact the authors if you are interested in getting involved in the MAVR SIG.
Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality: How Are They Different?
Virual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality represent stages or layers of digital content integrated into the real world. (Milgram & Kashino, 1994).
Augmented reality has more of the real world represented than virtual, the opposite is true for augmented virtuality which is mostly a simulated environment. An example of AR in this context would be a heads-up-display in the cockpit of a commercial airliner. The view out the front of the aircraft is augmented with information from the various flight instruments. An example would of augmented virtuality might be a digital map of an area that is enhanced with pictures and video from respective locations in an area. Using Milgram’s continuum educators can now start to think about where how much the learning can benefit from simulation vs. real-world interaction. Some affordances of AR over VR is the connection to the real world and the inclusion of face-to-face interactions. Situated learning theory states that learning is taken from physical and cultural settings (Brown et al. 1989). That suggests that augmented reality environments have learning merit if it can enhance face-to-face interactions.
Our SIG is not just about the technology, it is also looking into what these technologies mean for how we communicate and learn as we create and augment our own reality.