While it may be smaller than its predecessor in San Diego, Renton City Comic Con is a local “celebration of all things pop culture.” A couple of Renton Prep students were lucky enough to speak on a panel with Jess Albrecht, the Virtual Reality Manager from Virtual Sports Northwest. Jennifer Fernandez and Matthew Lee, who have attended Renton Prep since preschool, presented on the panel which addressed the future of gaming and educational technology. Alongside Jess Albrecht and Dr. David-Paul Zimmerman, our students highlighted how virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence will affect education.
Getting Virtual at Renton City Comic Con
First, the panel defined what each of these technologies are, including “mixed reality” which blurs the lines between virtual and augmented reality. Dr. David-Paul Zimmerman demonstrated an example of mixed reality using a HoloLens. It’s a wearable device that has no cords. You can see your entire surroundings and the device projects holograms with which users can interact.
They also discussed artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is the process of teaching machines tasks that are or were previously done by humans. The rise in this technology could lead to more jobs being performed by machines.
Shifting Role of Educators
At Renton City Comic Con, our panel also addressed the roles of educators and education. Through the use of this newer technology, teachers may find their roles changing. Teachers would no longer need to stand in front of the room and recite dates and facts. A machine could do that. Instead, teachers would have time to engage with students on a more personal level. This interaction could help to inspire debate, promote critical thinking, and teach research methods.
Additionally, teachers play an important part in the development of civic responsibility in students. By stepping away from routine memorization lessons, teachers could further educate their students on the process of democracy. This would include a deeper understanding of responsibility for freedom and ethics.
How Reality Changes
One of the panel’s other discussions revolved around the far-reaching affects of this increased technology. While technology is globally ubiquitous, access to it and the education needed to learn how to use it are still not universally available. Since learning new technologies will lead to broader opportunities and careers in the future, making sure access is available is increasingly important.
Matthew and Jennifer were very pleased to participate in this panel at Renton City Comic-Con. The highly engaged panel audience asked a lot of questions. Matthew and Jennifer also attended a VIP event the night before Comic Con, hosted by Virtual Sports Northwest. This event was a meet and greet of Renton City leaders and other Comic-Con participants. There was also light-saber laser tag and other games.
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