AI in VR and AR with Rachelle Dené Poth

AI in VR and AR with Rachelle Dené Poth

Episode 812 | 10 Minute Teacher Podcast 🎙️How are augmented reality and virtual reality merging with artificial intelligence? What does it mean for the classroom?

In this show, AR/VR guru Rachelle Dené Poth delves deep into the transformative potential of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the classroom. Fresh from her appearance on the ISTE mainstage, Rachell highlights the surging interest in immersive and emerging technologies. She encourages teachers to shift their mindset from apprehension to curiosity and eagerness to learn something new.

As the landscape of education technology rapidly changes, Rachelle shares some ideas of what the future of classroom learning could look like. Listen to this Spanish teacher talk about using these awesome tools in her classroom and in classrooms around the world. 

With this episode, I've created a new format for the show notes and look forward to hearing your feedback. – Vicki

812-AI in ar and vr rachelle dene poth

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This week's guest

Rachelle Dené Poth is an edtech consultant, presenter, attorney, author, and teacher. Rachelle teaches Spanish and STEAM: Emerging Technology at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle has a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. She is currently pursuing a second doctorate, focused on Educational Technology.

Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. She is the past-president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and served on the Leadership team of the Mobile Learning Network for five years. She received the ISTE Making IT Happen Award in 2019 and has received several Presidential gold and silver awards for her volunteer service to education. She was named one of 30 K-12 IT Influencers for 2021. In 2017, Rachelle was selected as the 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year by PAECT (the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications in Technology, the PA affiliate of ISTE) and by the NSBA as one of the “20 to Watch” educators.

Rachelle is the author of seven books. ‘Her newest book “Things I Wish […] Knew” includes the voices of 50 educators from around the world. .She has also contributed to eight other books related to education. She is currently working on two new books for educators.

She presents regularly at state, national and international conferences and provides professional development and coaching for educators and school districts.

Rachelle is a columnist for Getting Smart, Edutopia, Defined Learning and NEO LMS. She has a podcast ThriveinEDU. Rachelle is also a host of ThriveinEDU Live and leads a community of educators on Facebook.


Hosts, Guests & Featured People:
Key Segments:
  1. Introduction and Rachelle's Credentials

    • [00:02.028 – 00:27.876]

    Vicki Davis introduces Rachelle Dené Poth, highlighting her expertise in AR, VR, and her recent appearance at ISTE.

  2. Emerging Technologies in Education

    • [00:49.93 – 02:38.929]

    Rachelle discusses the increasing interest in AR, VR, and AI in education. She mentions her sessions at ISTE and how educators' comfort and interest levels have evolved over time.

  3. Apple's AR Glasses vs. Meta's VR

    • [02:53.228 – 04:24.106]

    The conversation shifts to Apple's announcement of AR glasses and how it compares to Meta's full VR approach. Rachelle shares her thoughts on the potential reasons and implications.

  4. AI's Impact on AR and VR

    • [05:08.118 – 07:48.801]

    Vicki and Rachelle discuss the exponential change that can occur when AI integrates with AR and VR. They explore the potential benefits and challenges, as well as the future of these technologies in education.

  5. Anthropomorphism of AI

    • [09:07.722 – 11:28.5]

    The conversation delves into how people perceive and refer to AI, touching on the humanization of technology and the implications for education and society.

  6. Advice for Educators

    • [11:34.571 – 12:50.495]

    Rachelle offers advice for educators looking to integrate emerging technologies into their classrooms. She emphasizes the importance of taking risks and learning alongside students.


Vicki Davis (00:02.028)
So I'm so excited today to talk to my friend, Rachelle Dené Poth. She's an ed tech consultant and presenter; yes, she's an attorney, author, and teacher. She does so many different things. You're still a teacher in the classroom, though, right Rachelle? Okay.

And those of you who went to ISTE will recognize her from the ISTE main stage. Those of us who do AR and VR recognize her as our go-to guru for all of those things and more.

Rachelle Dené Poth (00:15.87)
Yes, yes I am.

Vicki Davis (00:27.876)
And I hope you'll check the show notes for all of her many credentials and awards. And Rachelle, so today we're going to talk about, you know, what's hot in AR VR, the intersection of AI and AR and VR. And, uh, so you're fresh back from ISTE, even though this will air in the fall. Um, what was hot?

Rachelle Dené Poth (00:49.93)
Yeah, a lot of things, which, you know, I think probably for the last five and a half years at different conferences, ISTE of which is one of those, I have been presenting, I have a session that I've done because I can never just narrow it down to one thing. So I've been doing a session that's like immerse students in learning, AR, VR, I added in XR, and then I had the AI. So it's a nice combo of all of those topics. And those were the biggest topics that I found. As far as like… immersive technologies and emerging technologies while at ISTE. And I had a session on Monday morning. It was like a 90 minute workshop and it was a sold out session. So I was pretty excited about that. Like people getting up early on a Monday, but the levels of, I mean, the interest has definitely increased. I've seen with every passing conference and also the level of comfort.

Especially with AI, I noticed like back in December, I did a session in Tennessee, I did one in January at FETC, and I always use a survey to see, you know, what people's interest is, what their concerns are. And it has really kind of shifted to more of a, I don't really know if I need to know how to do this, I don't know where to begin, you know, should we be using this? And a lot of negative, I mean, they're all concerns. I mean, they were more on the negative kind of side, like I don't know, now it's shifted to.

Vicki Davis (02:01.356)

Rachelle Dené Poth (02:06.054)
I want to learn this, I know that I need to understand this, I'm curious about it. And even the level of like how people rate themselves has gone up a little bit. So it's just neat to see the people having conversations and embracing it more. And then there were great opportunities. I mean, there were tons of sessions. ISTE had the ISTEverse, which is a three-day experience for ARVR. And that was awesome. And then other organizations had things set up too. So it has definitely increased in terms of interest from people, but also I think more.

Vicki Davis (02:25.848)

Rachelle Dené Poth (02:33.95)
of a willingness to take that risk and dive in, even if you think, like I used to say, I'm just a Spanish teacher. The word just that goes in there because you don't see that it's relevant to what you're doing, but you can have it in all levels. So it's been neat to see its gradual increase in conversations and in application in the classroom.

Vicki Davis (02:38.929)
Hmm. Hmm-hmm-hmm.

Vicki Davis (02:53.228)
So in June, as you know, Apple announced their, I guess, AR glasses, which aren't out yet. You know, we're looking at what 2024, I think is what I read last. So it's interesting that they're going with augmented reality versus meta, which went, of course, full VR. What's your opinion on that?

Rachelle Dené Poth (03:16.83)
Yeah, that's what a lot of my students were asking. Well, one, they're like, are we going to get some of these in our classroom? And like, no, not unless you're bringing them in or, you know, we just, who knows. But I don't know if my perception of it, it seems like maybe that's kind of a, on the business move side of it, because it is such a big investment in creating these products, and you don't know what the response is going to be. So testing it out and like, one area first, maybe potentially, or maybe they see more applicability and different uses, like in the classroom for augmented reality, just like other augmented reality apps that we're using that seem to be more like hands-on and you can kind of compare and contrast like something that's real in your world with something that's not real and have that experience. So, I mean, that's just my initial kind of, I wonder why they would do that. Maybe it's a competitive thing too, like…

Vicki Davis (04:03.233)

Rachelle Dené Poth (04:12.158)
what's already out there. All right, let's take what they have and kind of up it a little bit. Who knows, we'll see what happens over the next couple of months or even years if they add on more or how the features change and what the response is.

Vicki Davis (04:24.106)

So, you know, I've always thought augmented reality had so much potential for teaching. You know, for example, you teach Spanish. I mean, it could label all the it could talk to you in Spanish. It could immerse you in everything Spanish. There's so many possibilities. But there's a great book that my computer science students and I study called The Future Is Faster Than You Think by Peter Diamandis. And he says that when AI jumps on the back of any technology, the change becomes exponential.

So what do you think about AI jumping on the back of AR, augmented reality and VR and where you think this is heading?

Rachelle Dené Poth (05:08.118)
That's the big million dollar question right now, because like, you know, and you know too, with like all things when you talk about anything in EdTech and the tools that are out there, it's kind of like, is this going to stick around, you know, or is it a passing fad? And I think people are realizing more like, yeah, these things aren't going away and they're seeing the benefits of them. And it's like just another emerging technology. And a lot of these, like the AR, the VR, the AI.

People tend to think, I know in conversations that I've had, it's like, oh, it's new. And like, none of these are new. Like these are things in technology that have been around for years. It's just, you didn't realize that it was something that you were relying on in your everyday life, whether it's like, oh my gosh, Netflix knows me and it makes a recommendation or things that you might be using in the classroom that have AI already built into it. So when I've had some different sessions, it's great to have people that come in that are from like tech companies

and say, hey, you know, in my work, we've been using this product and now we're building in the AI. And this is the difference because one, I'm not an expert. I understand a good amount of the technical kind of components of it, but seeing all of those things come into play together, what the benefits are. I mean, I just, I'm thinking like, and this is totally maybe far fetched, but you know, imagine as students are learning using augmented reality, like if I could go back to the

Vicki Davis (06:33.217)

Rachelle Dené Poth (06:35.218)
Merge cube, for example, and I could look at the shapes and I could see and understand. So I wouldn't get the grades that I got in geometry. But then let's say you add in the AI component and as I'm interacting with that, it can track whether or not I'm understanding the different angles and the different shapes. And it can give me extra practice, you know, converging those. And again, I'm making this up on the fly. That would be really cool. Especially like… things like the solar system where you're like, okay, I still cannot remember where the planets are in their order. So it's gonna keep giving you some practice. I think we'll start to see, especially then if you start diving into metaverse conversations as well, and all of these components coming in together. So I think it's a really exciting time, not just in education, but in the world. And I've gotten a lot of questions and I'm sure you have too about, should we ban these things? Should we bring these things into our classroom? And…

Vicki Davis (07:02.959)

Vicki Davis (07:12.405)

Vicki Davis (07:17.163)

Rachelle Dené Poth (07:24.862)
And I've said, no, I mean, we have to be cautious, of course, with, you know, all of the things we have to worry about. But we're in the best position as educators to bring these into our classrooms, to work with our students. And we don't have to be the experts, but to like learn with them and definitely from them, because these things are going to be in their future because they're here now. So I will be curious to see, you know, if we go back five years from now and have this conversation, like what the technology is like, even a year from now, because of how rapidly it's changing.

Vicki Davis (07:48.801)

Vicki Davis (07:53.696)
Well, you know, you think about, we know that great teaching tends to be hands on in real world and what's the first thing we do when we're really trying to teach something, we do a hands on project. We have them create. We have them do all of that. But what if all those creation materials are right at our fingertips and don't require all the setup, don't require the teacher to have to go out and beg on Twitter or whatever to finish my list so that I can do all the hands on stuff. And it's just built into the classroom and the environment. I mean, I think there is. So much potential and of course anything with a lot of potential can be clunky at first. But you know there's so many things that can happen. So let's shift to another topic that I'm personally passionate about which is I personally have some concerns with the anthropomorphism of AI. I heard one presenter at ISTE say “ChatGPT got mad at me.”

I've heard somebody call it a he or she. And so do you, what is your opinion on the language we use around AI?

Rachelle Dené Poth (09:07.722)
Yeah, you know, I don't know that I feel strongly one way or another because I feel like some of the, especially the generative AI in the ChatGPT, it's so new. I think when I think about it, when people refer to it, I feel like they've just given it their own persona perhaps. And so when they're using my ChatGPT, oh, well, she told me this or they, however they define it.

Vicki Davis (09:30.785)

Rachelle Dené Poth (09:33.522)
And I haven't really thought about it that much, but it's interesting because I had a conversation with somebody, oh, let's see, a couple of weeks ago now, and they were talking about how much they were relying on ChatGPT, for example, for some feedback for some things. And it was kind of like a substitute because a friend wasn't available or a colleague wasn't available and they just wanted some feedback on what they were writing.

Vicki Davis (09:54.498)

Rachelle Dené Poth (09:57.166)
And they were saying like, oh, and she said this and she said that. And I, and it didn't occur to me then until now, like I'm thinking back to this conversation and I'm like, oh, I, I just referred to it as like chat GPT and I'll say like it, but I know some people are, are defining it and giving it these kind of like human qualities because it is conversational and it is a chat bot and it does feel like you're having a conversation with a person. And I think maybe they do that because it has been fed with data that's been created by people.

Vicki Davis (10:11.298)

Rachelle Dené Poth (10:27.287)
Unless it's been, you know, AI, some things built in there, because I know it's not always accurate. So maybe that's where it stems from. Yeah, I don't know.

Vicki Davis (10:30.306)

Vicki Davis (10:36.096)
Well, you know, a lot of people called a Siri and Alexa a he or she. And I would always teach my students that it's an it. Um, it's an it, it's not a he or she and, and because it's not human. Um, yeah, we could go on and on and I'll probably record another show about this. I just think we have a generation that's, um, you know, some of my students, when I started using AI with them, they were, they were a little scared.

Rachelle Dené Poth (10:51.086)
I don't.

Vicki Davis (11:00.556)
kind of like the teachers are at first, because so often as humans, we define ourselves by what we do, and see we as humans, I believe, have intrinsic value. There are different times in our life where we can produce more, but I'm not worth more when I'm in my 50s or 40s or 30s than I am when I'm in my 80s and maybe at a different phase of life, right? So I think it's kind of shocking when we start seeing what AI can do.

Rachelle Dené Poth (11:02.23)

Vicki Davis (11:28.5)
And we just have to be real careful because this generation is just so struggling with meaning and purpose. You know, uh, anyway, that's, and that's a totally, totally different topic. Okay. So as we finish up Rachelle, um, where the educators that want to follow you and follow all the trends and keep up with what's going on without getting overwhelmed, what's your advice for them?

Rachelle Dené Poth (11:34.571)

Ha ha ha.

Rachelle Dené Poth (11:52.414)
Yeah. You just need to dive in is the first thing and not worry about being an expert because anything, if anybody has ever heard me speak, I say it often, I'm like, I didn't know what I was doing. I just knew what I was doing wasn't working. Or I know that as a Spanish teacher, not all of my students are going to be Spanish teachers. So you have to get rid of the word just in your vocabulary when you say I'm just a, and there are opportunities to learn about all these technologies that we talked about, whether you're pre-K through 12 or higher education.

Vicki Davis (12:10.316)

Rachelle Dené Poth (12:20.982)
because there's a lot that's out there that's for free. So you don't have to do all the things, you just have to think about, think about something you teach in your classroom and how maybe AR, like my geometry example, could really give students that enhanced on experience, especially if they're struggling with grasping shapes and things and how it can enhance learning. But don't be afraid to make mistakes, like just use this as an opportunity to really learn and connect with your students and show them that taking risks is okay. And there's plenty of resources out there to choose from. So.

Vicki Davis (12:23.679)

Rachelle Dené Poth (12:50.495)
No worries on that.

Vicki Davis (12:50.616)
Mm-hmm. Awesome. Well, thanks for coming on the show, Rachelle.

Rachelle Dené Poth (12:54.294)
Yeah, well thank you for having me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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