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An education guru reveals a new classroom trend that 'this year is going to explode'


The Mexican Irving Hidrogo Montemayor runs a laboratory where they test the latest technologies applied to teaching. Interview with Clarin.

It may sound very distant with respect to the urgency that Argentine education has today, but the world keeps turning.

And in this world, in addition to new pedagogical approaches, new technologies

(devices and applications) aimed at teaching

are also advancing .

The Mexican engineer Irving Hidrogo Montemayor is director of Innovation with Emerging Technologies at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, a university center where these latest technologies are currently being tested and implemented.

- What are the most disruptive technologies you are testing?

- During the last years we have been working with those that are generating the most impact in education and we see that this will continue to happen: virtual and augmented reality.

We have deployed educational spaces with these technologies in libraries.

The students go and do the practices that the professors designed as part of the courses.

We have 26 campuses, 11 of them with these spaces called "VR zones", which are used by nearly 14,000 students per semester.

600 professors design activities per semester for this technology, ranging from medicine to engineering or social sciences.

Virtual reality test at the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

- Tell me a specific case of how it is used.

- I count two.

In the school of health sciences, in the locomotor and digestive system class and in the basic morphophysiology class, they use virtual reality to develop spatial location skills for anatomical structures.

It is a competence that is sought to be developed in the first semesters in medicine, and by doing research on how students learn with and without the use of this technology, it has been found that the groups that use virtual reality develop more competence.

We have published a



Frontiers in Education

, which shows how students who use virtual reality gain greater knowledge than those who do not.

In my introductory physics class, I use it to help students visualize vectors, which are the arrows that represent force, acceleration, and velocity.

It is very abstract knowledge and for them it is very useful to be able to visualize it, have it graphically, be able to manipulate it, see the angles that are generated and see it in three dimensions. 

- Is this all virtual reality with the helmet?

- Yes, with a viewer in which you are immersed, in a digital world created precisely to develop the activity that is planned.

- So, virtual reality is the most disruptive technology today?

- It is the one that has a sufficient degree of maturity so that every day we see it with greater incorporation within schools and universities.

Although today it is necessary for us to have a VR space, what we are going to see in the next two or three years is that students will acquire their own devices.

So it's going to be like the iPad or cell phone was before.

Or the computers.

At first, universities had to put them out for students.

Today it is already a


: the students need it, they have it at home, they bring their laptops, etc.

What we are going to be seeing in the coming years is the massification, the democratization of virtual reality.

More than the most disruptive, it has such a degree of maturity that it is already going to become part of the daily life of each student.

That is why it is important that universities are prepared to design valuable activities for them.

Irving Hidrogo Montemayor, Director of Innovation with Emerging Technologies at the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

- Is it with a special helmet or can you use the cheapest ones?

- There is a lot of virtual reality technology, from the simplest, which are those that are placed with the cell phone inside a cardboard, but little by little they have been leaving the market.

Companies like Google stopped supporting it because the experience was so poor.

Today the simplest virtual reality headsets are the ones that have everything incorporated,

all in one

: they have sound, vision, computer, everything is in the helmet, they have battery, and they are quite accessible.

We are talking between 300 and 400 dollars, which is less than what a new cell phone costs.

So the technology is already ripe to reach the consumer.

And we're going to see it explode this year because Apple is going to release its augmented reality headset.

And when Apple launches its products it is because it has well studied the market, and just as when it launched the iPod it revolutionized the way we listen to music: goodbye walkman and discman and here came the mp3 player.

Then it incorporated telephony with the iPhone and smartphones emerged in the world.

Or the watches, the smartwach.

In addition, Y in the educational part has many advantages that have been proven in different

papers .

, not only from Tec de Monterrey.

- What skills should a teacher have to develop activities in virtual reality?

- The first thing to consider is that programming and designing a new virtual reality application is very expensive and takes a long time.

Although it can be done, many universities that have gone down that road have realized the time and cost involved.

In the market there are a large number of companies, including


or other universities, which generate content and there is a lot that can be incorporated into the courses.

I'll give you an example from my class on three-dimensional vectors.

An application that is for the design area, where students make prototypes of shoes, objects, cars, etc. (it is designed for all prototyping of objects), as a physicist it allowed me to have a three-dimensional whiteboard where I could work with three-dimensional vectors , cast shadows, make measurements with angles.

You do not need to go looking for the applications that specifically apply to your course, but rather be very clear about the pedagogical need that you have.

In my case, for example, the abstract part of the concept of three-dimensional vectors and looking for existing virtual reality tools that could be useful. 

Another recommendation is to be aware that if the students do not have the viewers at the moment, a space dedicated to virtual reality can be set up in the institution, which makes it easier for the teacher to try it for the first time and to start developing their first activities, and at the same time that the student loses fear and sees how it is used.

Activities can be as small as we want, so that it does not mean a superhuman effort, beyond the activities that are saturated in the academic part.

But allow that in the coming years, when this technological trend explodes, and everyone has these viewers, the implementation is very fast and we are not wondering what it is about.

Students from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of El Salvador test a new virtual reality laboratory.


- The recommendations so far are for the educational authorities, but not for the teacher...

- Well, the teacher also has the opportunity to start testing.

Maybe the investment in the viewers can be complicated, but with the cell phone, something that works quite well, which is augmented reality.

Although it is not exactly the same, it can help generate immersive learning in the course.

There are a large number of applications for both iPhone and Android that give the possibility of taking courses with augmented reality.

The other option is to incorporate other digital worlds that exist from the computer.

For example, applications such as

Frame VR

, which allow the teacher to have their first approaches.

Or something as simple as searching YouTube for classes from other teachers who are using virtual reality.

That can give you ideas of what kind of things can be done in class and be ready to start designing classes with specific pilots to see what is useful to the student and what is not generating value.

Irving Hidrogo Montemayor, Director of Innovation with Emerging Technologies at the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

- What guarantee that it is better taught with virtual reality?

- It is not guaranteed, it depends on the design you make, that they have value for the student.

For example, if you are going to work in a digital environment and what you are going to do is stand in front of a digital whiteboard and write as if you were in the classroom, then do it in the classroom.

Or record a video and give it to them to watch.

You don't even have to do it in person.

But what this technology does allow is to explore from different perspectives, have an experiential experience, socialize as if you were face to face with the person even when you are at a distance.

Or try some activities that would be very expensive or dangerous to do in real life but thanks to virtual environments you can do the practice over and over again.

chemistry questions,

engineering or even immersing students in complex situations.

There is a large amount of 360 video (recorded with a special camera that generates a sphere of content of what is happening) that can help you in your ethics or philosophy classes, to get the student into a specific situation, and that the student feels that he is there and that he can have in him an emotion that allows him to be predisposed to learning.

- Until now we have been talking a lot about universities.

Can virtual reality be useful in basic education?

- It is already used in some schools, although other aspects must be considered, for example that some people get dizzy and there are studies on what is the right moment for the human body to start using it.

At this time the question remains open.

It is true that it has been used and there are applications for basic education.

The recommendation is to keep abreast of the research to find out if the student by level of biological development can use the lenses.

- Is the metaverse for education more in the future?

What situation are we in?

- You have to understand that they are digital environments that you can access from virtual reality or from your computer or cell phone.

To be a metaverse it must have three components.

Corporeality, that is, there is an avatar that you can move.

Interaction, you can interact with the environment and also with others.

And persistence.

If you leave the world, the world continues to exist.

In a video game, if you turn off the console, Mario Bros. ceases to exist. In a metaverse, you leave there and there are still academic activities or whatever.

The metaverse has been a topic in the pandemic, and at Tec de Monterrey we have incorporated the "Tec virtual campus", which is the institution's metaverse, which has already been used by more than 14,000 students, which has allowed do both academic activities and student experience.

The metaverse now

Due to the investments that are being made worldwide, from different companies, it is a topic that we are going to see explode in the next two years, and many universities are beginning to test how to use it, how it can be useful.

We have published three


on what we have tested at Tec de monterrey, which allows us to see the advantages and disadvantages of this tool. 

In the metaverse of the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

- How is knowledge evaluated and accredited in the metaverse?

- Like in person.

The teacher observes, supports, provides feedback.

The only thing is that he has to learn how to use the tool.

But it is a relatively digital friendly environment, the learning curves of using the metaverse are quite short.

Like in any other digital platform, you have to move, talk, you have to know how to project, like when you are in the classroom and you want to use the projector.

Here too, as in zoom you share your screen, or upload an object that you already have saved in your digital library at your university.

- Is there any technology that is not on the agenda and that may be coming soon?

- One is hyperrealism, which is digital worlds indistinguishable from the real world.

There are several technologies that are allowing the development of digital worlds to be very realistic, allowing people, environments and objects to be observed and not really knowing if it is something digital or real.

It would be a realistic metaverse.

Hyperrealism is one of the technological trends that will allow us in education to have a better training of students, because instead of being something abstract, caricatured, we will be able to have this experience, as if we were in the real world.

Another is haptic feedback.

Gloves, suits, vests that allow you to feel the digital world, where if you go to work with a pipette you can feel that you are touching it, if there is a wall or a chair, touch that chair.

- You have to lower the price...

- Like all technology, correct.

Within 5 years we will see it grow with more affordable prices.


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Source: clarin

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