Embracing VR and esports in the age of remote learning: Lenovo

April 07, 2020 12:34
Esports Players from Chinese Taipei compete against Hong Kong in 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Reuters.

In response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Hong Kong's Education Bureau announced mandatory closure of all campuses across the city since February.

However, discontent has been brewing among stakeholders over the new practice and the inconvenience of distance teaching and learning.

A recent global study from tech giant Lenovo reveals how smart technology is impacting education and transforming the daily lives of teachers, parents and students. As one of the highlights in the findings, 66 percent of global respondents believe virtual reality (VR) has the potential to increase understanding of other cultures even more.

"Personalized computing for content creation and emerging technologies such as AR and VR offering immersive, interactive edutainment can help students learn, engage, and create like never before," said Ronald Wong, General Manager of Hong Kong and Macau of Lenovo.

"As a trusted partner, Lenovo understands the challenges schools face in transforming education with new models of teaching, learning, and collaborating, all while managing cost, efficiency, and security," he said, adding that one of the major challenges could be how to make sure students can retain their concentration at home as if they were sitting in a traditional classroom setting, while another would be how teachers can deliver online teaching in an undisturbed manner.

Lenovo, as the largest PC company, provides the devices that populate schools' digital learning ecosystem from classrooms and laboratories to esports arenas, according to Wong, as he believes these emerging technologies can specifically cater the demand for 'digital natives', the generations of youth that are growing up with technology as a natural extension of their lives.

"We believe that AR and VR offer students the chance to immerse themselves in experiences they normally may not have access to, like learning about wildlife on other continents through a virtual field trip."

"During this period as people practice social distancing to reduce the impact of the ongoing pandemic, games are proving to be a great way for people to connect with each other virtually and can be used for teaching to make learning more fun and engaging."

Wong also suggests schools can introduce esports in the curriculum: "Esports in a school setting is an adult-supervised gaming experience that contributes to learning and development."

An esports curriculum encourages interest in STEM subjects and powers learning for students, while also boosts student engagement and promotes soft skills such as teamwork and problem-solving.

Popularity of games and tournaments in the esports sector has experienced an explosive growth in the last decade. Ranging from professional gamers, analysts, content creators, broadcasters and producers, the new sector represents an emerging career opportunity, especially for youths today.

"An esports curriculum prepares students for tomorrow," said Wong, "as an early exposure helps ready students for careers in game design, streaming, and esports marketing and management."

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EJ Insight writer