Exploring New Ways To Educate – Virtual Reality Conference Coming to Campus

The “XR Festival,” presented by Bethany Lutheran College’s (BLC) Christ in Media Institute, will be held on the BLC campus April 1–2, 2022. XR = extended reality, which includes Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). While the focus of the XR Festival is primarily focused on educational uses, the event is encouraged and open to anyone interested in learning more about this fascinating and useful technology, including exciting applications of extended reality in medicine, various kinds of therapies, care facilities, real estate and other sales and marketing, training programs, law enforcement, and in Gospel and church outreach.

In preparation for the campus event, Lutheran High Schools nationwide have been invited to participate in the Festival in either of two ways. The first option involves students and teachers attending the XR Festival activities on April 1–2, and secondly, these same schools are also invited to participate in the “XR Project” during the current school year, that is, form a team of students who will explore “extended reality” and (perhaps) come up with ways to use VR and AR technology in meaningful education situations or in the effort of Gospel outreach. Those schools accepting the assignment will send their student teams and their advisors to the Festival to present a “show and tell” of their best ideas.

The five high schools that have already registered and are participating in the research/idea gathering during this school year are:

  • California Lutheran High School
  • Fox Valley Lutheran High School
  • Luther High School, Onalaska
  • Northland Lutheran High School
  • St. Croix Lutheran Academy

The XR Festival’s main keynote speaker is Christine Lion-Bailey. Lion-Bailey is the Chief Strategy Officer of Ready Learner One, LLC, an innovative solutions provider for learning and training. She is an instructional design expert with a clear vision for how technologies of all types can enhance the overall learning experience. She is the co-author of Reality Bytes: Innovative Learning Using Augmented & Virtual Reality (Jan 2020) and The Esports Education Playbook: Empowering Every Learner Through Inclusive Gaming (Nov 2020) as well as numerous articles and publications surrounding innovative learning and leadership. She also serves as the Director of Technology & Innovation and Elementary Principal in the Morris Plains School District in New Jersey, and is an adjunct professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey where she teaches instructional technology to undergraduate students. Lion-Bailey’s presentation will be thought-provoking for all educators interested in incorporating technology and virtual reality into their curriculum.

Breakout sessions include a discussion of Lion-Bailey’s book Reality Bytes, time to observe and experience a Bethany Lutheran College’s esports varsity competition, learn about Bethany’s broadcast studio and telecasts, discover the many aspects of Bethany’s media arts major, and hear what our corporate partner ByteSpeed can offer. Also, individual consultations can be scheduled with keynote speaker Lion-Bailey.

All presentations will be held in Honsey Hall on the Bethany Campus. Online registration for the Festival began in January 2022 and continues through March.