What is Extended Reality?

Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by

Written By Miranda Zavala  |  Education, Elementary School, High School, K-12, Middle School  |  0 Comments | November 1, 2023

Extended Reality (XR), an umbrella term encompassing Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR), is revolutionizing industries, creating immersive experiences that were once only envisioned in science fiction. Utilizing advanced technology, XR bridges the gap between the digital and physical world, offering a myriad of applications from education to healthcare entertainment to real estate. Its transformative potential is remarkable, promising a future where digital and physical realities are seamlessly integrated. Schools are beginning to take advantage of these experiences as they get more funding from grants and fundraisers.

What is Extended Reality, and Why is It Important?

Extended Reality (XR) is a term that encapsulates all real and virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology. It includes Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR). In essence, XR allows users to experience not just the physical world around them but also the virtual world created by technology. It’s like stepping into a new dimension that can be molded and shaped according to the user’s needs or desires.

The importance of XR lies in its ability to create immersive, interactive experiences that can transform various industries. In the educational sector, XR can create interactive lessons that enhance student understanding and engagement. In healthcare, instructors can use it for virtual surgeries for practice, patient education, or even therapy. For entertainment and real estate, XR can offer virtual tours or games that provide users an experience as close to reality as possible. The potential applications are as limitless as our imagination. As we continue to innovate and explore the capabilities of XR, it will undeniably play an increasingly crucial role in shaping our reality.

Three Types of XR Technologies That Can Reshape K-12 Learning

  1. Virtual Reality (VR): VR immerses students in a wholly digital environment. With VR headsets, students can take virtual field trips to historic landmarks, explore outer space, or even step inside a human body. This level of immersion can significantly enhance students’ understanding and retention of complex concepts.
  2. Augmented Reality (AR): AR overlays digital information onto the real world. For instance, through an AR app on a tablet, students can interact with 3D models of historical artifacts or see dinosaurs come to life. AR allows for hands-on, interactive learning experiences that can make abstract concepts tangible.
  3. Mixed Reality (MR): MR combines elements of both VR and AR to blend the real and digital worlds. Doing this allows students to interact with holographic objects in their natural environment. For example, students studying engineering could manipulate 3D models of mechanical parts, or biology students could dissect a virtual frog. MR creates unique opportunities for experiential learning, exploration, and innovation. 

These three XR technologies are ushering in a new era of immersive, student-centered learning in K-12 education. By leveraging these tools, educators can create dynamic, engaging lessons that appeal to various learning styles, and students can explore and interact with educational content in ways never before possible. Integrating XR technologies in K-12 education holds significant potential for transforming the learning experience and fostering a more profound understanding among students.

Benefits of Using XR VS Traditional Technologies

Extended Reality (XR) technologies present many advantages over traditional teaching methods. One of the most notable benefits is increased student engagement. XR technologies permit interactive and immersive experiences, making learning more enjoyable and memorable. This increased engagement often translates into improved retention and understanding of the subject matter.

Another significant benefit is the personalization of education. With XR, teachers can tailor these learning experiences to suit individual students’ needs and learning styles, making education more inclusive and effective.

A third benefit lies in XR’s ability to simulate real-world scenarios. This capability is especially beneficial for complex or dangerous subjects, where practical experience is vital but difficult or risky to acquire. For instance, medical students can practice surgeries risk-free, while engineering students can learn to operate heavy machinery without actual physical risks.

Lastly, XR can bridge the gap between theory and practice. It provides students with a platform to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical, hands-on manner, enhancing their comprehension and preparing them for the real world.

XR technologies offer distinct advantages over traditional methods, making them a powerful tool in modern education. While conventional technologies still have their place, integrating XR into education can enhance learning experiences, making them more engaging, personalized, efficient, and practical.

Student Hires Programs

Student Hires is an innovative educational platform empowering students through student-led learning programs. With an emphasis on fostering self-motivation, leadership skills, and practical experience, Student Hires provides a unique learning experience that complements traditional academic curricula. Their student-led programs emphasize collaborative problem-solving, project-based learning, and the application of knowledge in real-world settings. These programs are designed to equip students with essential 21st-century skills and to prepare them for success in the modern workforce. They offer a diverse range of resources, which include articles on topics like How to Launch a Student-Led Learning Program and The Benefits of Student-Led Learning. These resources provide valuable insights into the principles and benefits of student-led learning, offering practical guidance for educators looking to implement this innovative approach in their classrooms.


In conclusion, Extended Reality (XR) technologies and student-led learning are powerful forces shaping the future of education. They offer immersive, engaging experiences and provide opportunities for personalized, practical learning. Whether it’s VR taking students on a virtual field trip, AR bringing historical events to life, or student-led programs fostering leadership and problem-solving skills, integrating these innovative methods can profoundly enhance learning effectiveness. The best part about these programs is that they can be implemented together.

Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Miranda Zavala

Miranda Zavala

Miranda Zavala is currently a student at California State University of San Bernardino earning her degree in Design with a concentration in marketing. Miranda enjoys inspiring students, and helping them find their passion just like her.

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