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How the new Apple Vision Pro Will Impact Higher Education

After watching the product release video for the new Apple Vision Pro, I find myself, once again, having one of those goosebump evoking, insert mind-blown emoji moments… not only because of the sheer technical beauty, comfort, and elegant design of the product itself but also because it represents another stride toward the intersection of technology and education, “seamlessly blending digital content with your physical space.” One element I cannot stop thinking about is the impact of Apple Vision Pro in higher education.

As the son of two educators, we were one of the first homes in our neighborhood to fight over using the Macintosh LCII. Since then, I’ve been a loyal Apple-person, perpetually sporting MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, and Apple earbuds. In this sense, Apple is brilliant at cultivating brand loyalty and advocacy.

An original apple computer monitor from 1984. The color of the monitor is faded yellow due to it's advanced age. The computer itself is on display as an important historical invention

Recently, the apple of my eye has been the AirPods Max. My most recent trip to the Apple store found me on a mission to replace my ailing earbuds. As a long-time audiophile, I couldn’t resist trying them on. While I sincerely wish I could have justified the $549 investment, I was awe-struck at the quality and comfort they offered. The audio dynamics and ergonomics were equally excellent.

A pair of white apple AirPods pro max

Based on the recent Apple Vision Pro product unveiling video, the Apple headphones were the closest reference point I could conjure – multiplied by the smart, sophisticated, and intuitive user experience and technology that Apple is known for. It appears both products use similar materials and textures.

The game-changing Apple Vision Pro appears to offer a more intuitive, comfortable, and future-forward alternative to the Oculus Quest 2. As someone who owns the Oculus Quest 2 headset, I can attest that this piece of technology is just not quite **there** … yet.

Granted, the adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ certainly holds true, as the Oculus Quest 2 is a mere $300, but the Apple Vision Pro retails at $3,499. Let’s face it, this is cost-prohibitive, which is the primary drawback – definitely for students, but also for the average higher ed professional.

Ok we get it, you have a soft spot for all things Apple, but what will be the impact of Apple Vision Pro in Higher Education?

In its release video, Apple describes Vision Pro as “familiar yet groundbreaking,” which makes you wonder how this technology will stand apart from others before it. Here are a few specific ways it could be used that come to mind immediately:

In the classroom

In the physical and virtual classroom alike, the Vision Pro’s powerful camera and AI/AR capabilities could be used to create more engaging and interactive learning experiences. For example, students could use the Apple Vision Pro in higher education to take 3D scans of objects and then use those scans to create virtual models. This could be used to learn about anatomy, physics, astrology, engineering, or a myriad of other subjects. The multi-sensory and highly immersive experience yielded through the new Apple Vision Pro will surely have a positive impact not only on learning new information but also retention of that information. While some believed that ‘prompt engineering’ for Chat GPT posed a threat to active and engaged learning, we believe that the ability to navigate by simply using your eyes, hands, and voice could greatly assist with democratizing and demystifying digital education. Also, we know that the human brain processes visual information 3-4 faster than plain text. Surely, this matters greatly when it comes to measuring learning results that could stem from a tool of this nature.

In research

Educators can utilize Apple Vision Pro in higher education to analyze data from scientific experiments. This could help researchers to make new discoveries and develop new technologies. With this technology, you can even pull a 3D object from an app and look at it three-dimensionally right in front of you. It could also help researchers communicate their findings and impact in a much more compelling way, ultimately advancing strategic objectives and unlocking greater potential. Further, Vision Pro may facilitate the personalization of working environments, helping to create new spaces that may either nurture collaboration or concentration.

In student life

The Vision Pro’s augmented reality capabilities could be used to create new ways for students to interact with their campus. Imagine how students could use the Vision Pro for an immersive virtual tour or orientation experience – the ability to see directions, find information about campus events, or even play games will elevate the digital imagination of marketers. Interestingly, through the digital crown of the Vision Pro, users will be capable of controlling their level of immersion while using Environments, which will further establish the website as the digital doorstep of an institution.

In Institutional advancement

Taking donors and future donors into the heart of a student-centered story may be one of the most immersive opportunities to engender philanthropic support for a campaign or initiative. The ability to connect with colleagues and donors through life-size video tiles may one day redefine the standards of stewardship.

The impact of Apple Vision Pro in higher education will be revolutionary because of its AI and augmented reality capabilities. It has the potential to enhance personalization in learning, tracking student progress, and tailoring curriculums. Its augmented reality features could boost collaboration, facilitating shared virtual environments for projects. Moreover, its advanced camera and AI could significantly augment research across diverse fields like medicine, engineering, and arts.

Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of Apple products, or if you work in or around the field of higher education, this is one new product that is worth paying attention to.

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