The following presentation is revised from GOWM 2019 where the XR Project and Festival was announced for the 2019-20 school year. Of course, circumstances prevented its completion that year. We are revising the venture for the 2021-22 school year. At this writing, the following five Lutheran High Schools are participating, with more welcome:
For more information, go to the
Festival website or contact Dr. Tom Kuster.
How can XR technology be used to serve the Lord? We don't know the answer but we know how to find it: ask the kids!
"XR" (extended reality) includes VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality). [google "XR VR AR MR what's the difference?"]
During the current school year, the Christ in Media Institute at Bethany Lutheran College has invited high schools, both Lutheran and public, as well as our fellowship colleges, to explore the potential in XR technology for education and outreach. For Christian schools, "outreach" means creating and delivering effective Gospel messages using XR.
Participating involves two stages: the Project and the Festival.
In this fall semester of 2021, schools are forming teams of interested students. Together, they are working to learn all they can about XR technology in general. Then they will select one narrower aspect of XR (VR, AR, MR) to explore in depth, and finally, they are invited to create either a description or a demonstration of a way to use their chosen aspect of XR for either education or outreach.
While this at first seems like a Project only for "geeks" or "techies," we are emphasizing that it is not. Students interested in any subjects should be interested in XR. Designing a virtual tour of the Tabernacle, or creating an immersive children's story, or conducting a virtual hymn-sing (to imagine a few ideas) requires imagination, research, and creativity. It's the ideas of those students we are looking forward to seeing at the Festival.
As an incentive to encourage participation, each school that registers is receiving a free Oculus Quest 2 standalone Virtual Reality headset. Generous donors have also made funding available to assist school teams, especially those at a distance from Mankato, to travel to the Festival.
In addition to the school showcases, the Festival will feature other events, including workshops, fellowship, worship, a demo by Bethany's varsity E-Sports Team, and two outstanding keynote speakers.
Expert in emergent XR technology and its impact on learners, Christine Lion-Bailey has promoted AR and VR in her own "Certified Future-Ready" New Jersey school district and in local, national, and international conferences. A Google-for-Education certified innovator, a BrainPop certified educator, and adjunct professor of educational technology at Ramapo College of New Jersey, she is Chief Strategy Officer for Ready Learner One LLC, providing educational solutions with emergent technology for educators in K-12 and higher ed. Her book, Ready Learner One: Harnessing the Power of AR & VR in the Classroom, came out in January 2020. Prof. Lion-Bailey says, "By leveraging VR, educators can expose students to the world far beyond the walls of their communities, make international connections that build empathy and awareness, and foster informed and motivated global citizens who will someday become global decision makers."
At various times during the Festival, individual consultations can be scheduled with Christine Lion-Bailey.
The cost of attending the Festival is low; a Festival registration fee of $40/person covers four meals and all materials. Festival registration will open early in 2022.
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