Visualising mixed reality simulation for multiple users

Concise paper

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Michael Cowling
CQUniversity Australia

James Birt
Bond University

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Monday 4 December, 1.50pm – 2.10pm
Stream 1
Room H102


Blended reality seeks to encourage co-presence in the classroom, blending student experience across virtual and physical worlds. In a similar way, Mixed Reality, a continuum between virtual and real environments, is now allowing learners to work in both the physical and the digital world simultaneously, especially when combined with an immersive headset experience. This experience provides innovative new experiences for learning, but faces the challenge that most of these experiences are single user, leaving others outside the new environment. The question therefore becomes, how can a mixed reality simulation be experienced by multiple users, and how can we present that simulation effectively to users to create a true blended reality environment? This paper proposes a study that uses existing screen production research into the user and spectator to produce a mixed reality simulation suitable for multiple users. A research method using Design Based Research is also presented to assess the usability of the approach.

About the authors

Michael Cowling

Dr Michael Cowling is an information technologist with a keen interest in educational technology and technology ubiquity in the digital age, and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering & Technology at CQUniversity Australia. He is currently a partner in an OLT Innovation and Development grant and is the recipient of 3 CQUniversity Learning and Teaching grants for teaching technology. He is a recipient of an Australian Government Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, and a three-time recipient of a CQUniversity Learning & Teaching Award.
Dr Cowling has a passion for the practical application of technology in the classroom, focusing on how technology can be weaved into the pedagogy of a classroom setting, rather than bolted on to the side. Living by the mantra “pedagogy before technology”, Michael helps teachers and academics to innovate with technology, leveraging it as a tool to improve the overall education process.

James Birt

James is an Assistant Professor of Interactive Media and Design in the Faculty of Society and Design at Bond University, where he runs the Mixed Reality Research Lab ( His research spans computer science and visual arts, with an emphasis on applied design and development of interactive mixed reality (virtual reality, augmented reality, 3d printing, mobile) experiences assisting learning, skills acquisition and knowledge discovery. The distinctive contribution James brings to education scholarship is in digital media teaching and learning, where he received a 2014 Australian Office of Learning and Teaching citation for outstanding contributions to student learning. James utilises novel pedagogical approaches, curriculum and resources to balance the science and art predilections of his students, whilst supporting them with learning how to learn. His service to the university and wider community has formed around his experience in emerging technology, teaching and learning, where he takes an active role in supporting learners and peers through mentorship, presentations and expert judging.