Homeschool Resources – Augmented and Virtual Reality

Hello, dear ones, I hope this finds you all doing well! I’m very excited to discuss this topic. If you have children at any stage of learning, you’ve probably already had to deal with the question of technology. How do we protect them? Should we even let them have it? If so, how often? Those are questions every parent will be able to answer for their family, as parents are uniquely capable of teaching their little ones. After all, who knows them better then you do? For us, we spent hours researching, weeks and weeks talking over the pros and cons, long before Kayliegh could even understand what a phone was for. It was imperative to us that we neither held her back, nor pushed her to far, with technology.

We’re from the generation that saw computers come into the home, we heard dial-up, then saw dial-up become wireless. We were already married when my husbands little brother brought home his first IPad. We new that the next generation would not have lived a day without a cellphone, or WiFi nearby. Their generation will be able to say they saw reality go from the five senses to augmented and virtual. As much as we talk about the good old days without all the technology we have today, we ain’t seen nothing yet. Within the next few years stores will be augmented, you’ll put on your shopping glasses and Amazon’s vast directory will appear before you Star Trek style. Cars are already implementing safety features using AR. When visibility is poor lines indicating the road, and computerized cars will appear on your windshield to show you where everything is that you can’t see due to weather. Surgeons are already practicing surgeries through free AR apps like touch surgery. It’s going to save as many lives as 3D printing.

It’s not without its dangers, however, as games, social media, and pornography will all be more addictive, and realistic. This is where the discussion comes in; what is a Christian parent to do? If we don’t teach our children to have self control, how to protect themselves, what to avoid and why, they’ll find those dark places on the web without our knowing it. Thankfully, with as much technology out there, we’ve got an equal amount of ways to prevent dangerous situations and protect our little ones. My advice to any parent of children at any age is to always know what’s going on in their devices, and to put every protective app and option in place at all times. At the same time, be sure to explain why those are all needed, explain the risks to them in a way they can understand based on their age. Teach self control, and have self control yourself. If you are always on your phone, don’t assume your children haven’t noticed.

All that is to say, we’ve introduced AR goggles to our curriculum! After Christmas, there was a ton of toys on clearance. We even managed to find a pogo stick 90% off! Kayliegh takes pogo breaks between lessons, it’s pretty cute. I also found a fancier version of the AR goggles, that came with a base, headphones, and remote control at a huge discount. Originally I thought they would be neat for the museums, as many all over the world have created VR apps so you can travel through their halls and see the treasures they hold. It seemed like it would be great for geology as well, visiting major global landmarks. To our joy, there is a large movement towards educating with AR and VR. This includes Discovery channel, Titans of Space, Eon, and Anatomyou, to name a few. There were so many it was a little overwhelming, and I would recommend all parents thoroughly vet each app before allowing your kiddos free access. Several times I’ve downloaded an app that was supposed to be for Kayleigh’s age range, only to find violence, elicit behavior, or fowl language.

I know the amount of access our children have to technology is a touchy subject. There’s a good deal of concern, and there should be. God has given us these children, made in His image, and we are tasked with teaching them, preparing them, and protecting them. While we’ll be proceeding with caution, we’re very excited to add a new way to educate. Have any of you found AR or VR apps that you enjoy? If so please feel free to let me know! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.