Empowering the teachers of today, for the citizens of the future

Carlos J. Ochoa, Co_Chair VRARA Education Committee. Piacenza (Italy) 24.09.2019

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination” A. Einstein

New technologies are an emerging industry creating employment opportunities and entrepreneurial possibilities. Virtual reality and augmented reality represent incredible areas of opportunity for future job skills. “VR” failed to live up to the wildest promises when the new VR systems launched in 2015. Nevertheless, the number of job postings for “VR and AR” have risen 93% since 2015, with 17% of that growth happening in the past year. 

According to projections set out by the European Commission, market demands for qualified information and communications technology (ICT) specialists will not be met, seeing a shortfall of up to 500,000 ICT professionals in 2020. Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions are amongst those with some of the highest market demand in the ICT sector by Marketwatch. The global market for augmented reality and virtual reality is estimated to reach USD 766 billion by 2025, registering a 73.7% CAGR during the forecast period of 2018 to 2025

New skills development for more complex jobs is a daily industry demand. Technicians and engineers need to be proficient and continue to change rapidly as tasks become more complex. They need to find the right information at the right moment. Technicians need fast access to all integrated data, to take fast, right and complex decisions.

Education is the driver to sustainability of our economy and functionality of humanity. Educating the individual is the country’s most valuable investment. It represents the foundation for progress and development. Every day we seek to learn new information and the way we take the lessons and apply to our everyday lives, is the core of how we explore we grow and we build futures for ourselves. 

If we wish to prepare a generation of citizens, entrepreneurs and leaders for the 21th. century who can face real-world problems, we must give them real-world problems to solve. Future jobs opportunities around VR/AR.

Through virtual and augmented realities, the technology allows the user to immerse themselves into a virtual experience or location and the immersive lesson is retained at a much quicker time frame with a more impactful lasting memory. VR & Learning, by the National Training Laboratory, advised retention rates for lecture style learning were at 5%, with reading rates at 10%. Meanwhile, the teaching method of VR scored a retention rate of 75%.

Understanding we are moving into a world with exponential growth, there is a necessary requirement to update our education system to support innovative technologies to understand how it will be applied to job creation and support digital support systems and processes.

The demand of the companies in the industry sector, with respect to their future workers, is that they have social skills and competencies such as leadership, motivation, perseverance, flexibility, communication, etc. Focusing on the development of skills and abilities aimed at a specific sector, in this case the Virtual Reality subsector ensures its better assimilation, greater effectiveness of training and a more complete response to what companies demand in profiles of these characteristics. For instance, in the Vocational Training includes subjects oriented to career guidance and orientation, but they lack a transversal skills development approach and these are not addressed directly in the itineraries.

The integration of transversal skills required for the sector, as well as technical competencies related to the latest trends, will comprehensively cover the labour market demands of new technologies and will ensure the best inclusion of VET students in the technological labour market of the future. The Future of Work by EAPN.EU.

It is time to take actions and introduce disruptive elements in our education system. Traditional methodologies and normalization already fail to provide rapid solution to the society needs. Velocity and acceleration are key factor for this unpredictable horizon, where education will play a key role for citizens of the future. Disruptive Innovation in Education?.

Humanity is at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is building on both VR & AR applications and solutions. The changes to the way we teach, and the curriculum needed to support innovative time is required to support the graduating generations into a workforce rapidly changing and evolving using digital applications not yet taught in our schools’ systems. Day to day operations and day-to-day systems will be using VR and AR systems to be engaged in the operations.

VR & AR for Education is mandated for the following reasons:

  • To engage our current students and future generations in the Digital Age
  • To provide education of the tools, the technology, the applications of VR & AR to be used in future jobs
  • To provide best practices for the classrooms
  • To provide engagement tools for Students, Parents & resources for Teachers & Mentors
  • To be the leader and resource of VR & AR applications that relate to extending knowledge to support the application, build or creation of the technology to use in our everyday lives

At this moment, some relevant topics need to be include in the Disruptive School Environment and new teacher’s agenda for Schools of the Future:

  • Reimagining new Smart Spaces at schools
  • Classroom as a set of devices
  • 5 Senses learning a immersive learning technologies
  • Improve the hierarchy of needs in XR in Education
  • Convergence of technologies with and integrated vision
  • Soft skills integration with IT in the “Teachers Training Program”.
  • Collaboration Platforms. Virtual environments where the educational community can share best practices and experiences in a global and multicultural environment. Videos, presentations and forums integrate education materials from different sources in different formats.

It is in this context where Carlos J. Ochoa, Co_Chair of VR/AR Association Education Committee and Co-Founder of ICICLE ( X-Reality for Learning and Performance Augmentation, collaboration with Acer Education presented “Immersive Realities in Educational 4.0 Ecosystems” in the framework of Scuola e Virtuale in Piacenza.  Scuola e Virtuale, an international event along with Liceo Melchiorre Gioia, Impara Digitale, Indire and Microsoft, to spread awareness about immersive technologies in education, where more than 1000 professionals attendants ( teachers, students, managers and experts from different industries and sectors).

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©

The New Digital Era is Here to Stay.

The Contemporary Era is already a matter of the past. It finished by the end of the last decade and the “New Digital Age” has subtly come into our lives, but directly impacting each and every one of our daily activities.

Future is digital

Without realizing it, we begin a New Year in the same way we say goodbye to past years. It is already stacked in our minds, and almost falling into oblivion. But one thing’s for sure: we, full of good intentions and broken promises, are willing to face the New Year 2013 challenge.

One of the most common and rhetoric exercises we all do around this time is to set goals for the New Year. Objectives that we tend to forget to review or evaluate them in a critical and constructive way on its completion in order to learn something new. And I honestly think that this exercise should be prior to set ourselves new challenges, which are often product of an unrealistic Christmas euphoria that will lead us, “once again if time and strength do not prevent it”, to a sense of frustration and discouragement. But just in case we want to still remember them by the end of the year.

Last year has been really complicated in every respect, especially in referring to social, working and economic factors. And when I speak of “complicated”, I speak of “an optimistic view of the situation”. The most pressing projections are not good omens for the first several months of 2013.

However, this should not prevent us not to set ourselves realistic targets, which allow us first and foremost to have a strategy and a personal attitude and which help us to grow as a person and develop our excellent skills. Those stand out in critical situations, in which we are fighting endless external factors. Our primary purpose is to cope with optimism the path of life and feel better about ourselves in a complex environment.

The permanent feeling of dissatisfaction, frustration and fatigue, the wake of the protracted crisis, increased by pessimism, bad mood, apathy or disenchantment, does not take us into the best situations to overcome any internal or external situation and face daily tasks with a clear personal mission. And this undermines our physical and emotional capacity to react and act both freely and with a blind faith in ourselves.

Human beings have shown throughout their life that they have been able to adapt and evolve in much more complex and adverse situations than the current ones. The fact remains that the current situation affects a relatively small part of the total world population. However, it was the source or origin of modern civilization.

This makes me to reflect more deeply on our goals and not just on the speculation of the capitalist economic theory. We should perhaps deepen beyond the origin and rules governing our today’s democratic society models and the educational model (single model), based on a training aimed at the attainment of a qualified work oriented to training productive people for society and not to free and independent citizens able to think and choose freely, change the rules and adapt them to the real needs of a new, sustainable and modern society. A model change is a structural shift in its widest extent. That’s the definition of an Era change.

When the Contemporary Age was defined as the historical period between the French Revolution and today, it was determined at its maximum extent by including in the definition the word “today” as an infinite element in time. Throughout this time, we have lived in “the present”, in which great changes have occurred: demographic transitions, large demographic growths, arising of new emerging and developed countries, consumption generalization, etc., by raising the standard of living of most citizens from all over the world. In contrast, human beings create wide short-term disparities and uncertainties, such as the environmental impact and the scarcity of natural resources, among others.

And we return to the “today”, where the definition of Contemporaneity was set. Some major changes at a rate much higher than in past centuries are still happening “today”. Time has become a critical factor to measure and evaluate the changes and their impact in this new digital age.

This new contemporary and necessarily sustainable digital age is taking shape with the so-called Mega-Trends. Or, in other words, major trends that affect each and every one of the components existing on Earth that should ensure the sustainability of a global society model.

Seeing all this, I have no doubt that we find ourselves in a New Scenario, in which we are looking to a New Age following a remarkable process towards Digital society. The Contemporary Era is already a matter of the past. It finished by the end of the last decade and the new Digital Age has subtly come into our lives, but directly impacting each and every one of our daily activities. In this new Digital Age, ” the network ” has become the axis of our way to communicate, keep us informed, train and develop ourselves, work, participate, etc.

The Mega-Trends of the new Digital Era that will change the world we are living in.

I have tried to reflect on the following chart the common dominator from Mega-Trends, which were defined by several organizations, international consulting companies and universities in their studies for 2020, by analyzing the digital impact on each of them.

  1. Society: a community which takes place in a network system and is affected by demographic changes and new mobility patterns.
  2. Business: A new business environments’ development and a great impact of the knowledge-based economy.
  3. Technology: With a view to an interconnected digital world with great impact and dependence upon technological convergence.
  4. Energy: The demand increase for the emerging countries growth and the alternative and sustainable development.
  5. Citizens: A significant increase in the ageing, diversity and globalization of population. A development around big smart cities.
  6. Environment: A substantial impact of the climate change and the recycling of natural resources.
  7. Time: A smart and efficient time management in order to anticipate unforeseen situations or to compete favorably in a global situation.

And this, which appears to be a brief summary of a science fiction film, is the immediate present. In order to evaluate it visually and simply, one just has to go back ten years and see the impact of the changes made in present-day society by the Internet world, for instance.

In short, after this journey of the intangible things, the metaphor of digital and finite space in which we are living, through time, we just have to value “the person”, the human being, us. Humans are going now from being “the patient” to “the subject of the present”.

I wish each of you a good night, good luck and all the best for this “New Digital Age” we are about to enter.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©