In Canada, a University of Waterloo professor is leading a project called “Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation,” which aims to educate future generations about the history of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children through virtual reality (VR) technology.

According to an article in the Toronto Star, this new project will take students on a digital journey through VR starting in the fall of 2018. The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, which opened in 1921 is a former orphanage that was the site of alleged mistreatment and suffering from the 1940s through the early 1980s. The VR experience is intended to educate students about the history and lives of Black Nova Scotians, as well as the personal stories of three individuals who were residents of the orphanage years ago.

Enhanced and immersive learning

Nearly two in
five Canadian consumers say they’re interested in the ability to show content, such as videos, from other devices

Virtual reality is being used to offer unique and visceral experiences and consumers are embracing this immersive technology, especially when considering their interest in how they’re viewing media and video content. Nearly two in five Canadian consumers say they’re interested in the ability to show content, such as videos, from other devices, including tablets and smartphones, according to Mintel’s Home Electronics (Video/Audio) Canada 2017 report.

As such, we’re seeing brands use VR in a variety of ways, from offering educational experiences to boosting their entertainment features. We’ve seen a museum in Rome allow visitors to stroll through the palace and gardens of Emperor Nero through VR, and VisitScotland launch a VR app allowing tourists to experience 26 of the country’s leading attractions from the comfort of their own home. Baidu tapped into augmented reality to resurrect Beijing’s nine ancient city gates as they were in the past, while the Obama Administration in the US allowed Americans to take a tour of the White House led by Barack and Michelle Obama in virtual reality and 360-degree video.

There’s an opportunity to use VR and AR in ways that allow for enhanced and immersive learning. As highlighted in Mintel’s 2017 North America Consumer Trend, “Reality 2.0,” brands and organizations that work to harness the power of storytelling through these technologies will likely attract consumers who are increasingly interested in engaging with unique video content, especially when it’s seemingly transporting them to a new time and place.

Iliana Alvarenga is the Trends Analyst for North America and a member of the Global Trends team at Mintel. She identifies and examines relevant and emerging consumer trends across all categories and provides insight as to how these trends can apply to different markets and channels.

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