Creating a multimodal learning focus: Using AR and VR to meet students in their digitalized world


Teachers use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to captivate a digitalized generation.

Photo: Bigstock

With generations experimenting their personal lives in the digital world, it makes sense that to capture their attention, the education they get also migrates to a more technologically focused model.  

From Google Classroom to Minecraft Education Edition, teachers have many options that they may apply in their courses.

Multimodal learning

Michael Torrence knew this, which is why he implemented a multimodal learning focus in his English class at Volunteer State Community College (VSCC). He argued that teachers should meet students where they are, a digitalized world, and help them succeed in the workforce in the future.

He started by gamifying his classes using Minecraft to increase engagement and begun experimenting with visual, tactic, auditory and kinesthetic styles to form a multimodal learning classroom.

Teaching with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) catches up with the digitalized native generation because they already live in virtual spaces and augmented reality spaces with games and social media.

Torrence noticed that 85% of his class completed the lessons successfully. They also appear to be more attentive and started coming to class more prepared.  

For his English topic, using AR/VR allowed him to transport students to a refugee camp using the New York Times VR, for example, to promote critical thinking while teaching. With this tool, the class gets to experience a real situation in the classroom while promoting group discussions about what is happening nationally and globally, thus creating a conscious community. In addition, the exercise concluded with the proposition of business ideas of how VR can provide solutions to the problems seen in class.

There is a gigantic opportunity to use multimodal education in all kind of subjects to help students deepen their learning base, and Michael Torrence is not the only one using it.

AR/VR at a microscopic level

In the high school Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Hidalgo, two teachers; Astrid Garnica Correa and Yéssica Contreras Fuentes notice that schools without microscopes left students using their imagination to learn the parts and functioning of the cells, so they came up with “VC Trip Cardboard.”

The app (available on iOS, Google Play, and Oculus Store) teaches students the animal and plant cells at a microscopic level, allowing them to visualize the structure and components.

Photo: VC Trip Cardboard

Photo: VC Trip Cardboard

The digital journey takes the student up close and personal with 3D images of each part of the cell, and each organelle’s functions with the objective of transporting them to a biological world.

AR/VR also helps the students to improve their teamwork, increase their interest, and motivate them in their learning process.

Learn more about their experience here.

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