Toward future 'mixed reality' learning spaces for STEAM education

Digital technology is becoming more integrated and part of modern society. As this begins to happen, technologies including augmented reality, virtual reality, 3d printing and user supplied mobile devices (collectively referred to as mixed reality) are often being touted as likely to become more a part of the classroom and learning environment. In the discipline areas of STEAM education, experts are expected to be at the forefront of technology and how it might fit into their classroom. This is especially important because increasingly, educators are finding themselves surrounded by new learners that expect to be engaged with participatory, interactive, sensory-rich, experimental activities with greater opportunities for student input and creativity. This paper will explore learner and academic perspectives on mixed reality case studies in 3d spatial design (multimedia and architecture), paramedic science and information technology, through the use of existing data as well as additional one-on-one interviews around the use of mixed reality in the classroom. Results show that mixed reality can provide engagement, critical thinking and problem solving benefits for students in line with this new generation of learners, but also demonstrates that more work needs to be done to refine mixed reality solutions for the classroom.