Future of Learning: Virtual Reality for Education

Steven Spielberg’s movie Ready Player One presented a very interesting picture of our future, where everyone is connected to a virtual world. From drones delivering pizzas to people seeing themselves turn into superheroes and their favorite video game characters, the movie had everything.

Whether or not we end up living exactly like that is debatable though. What is certain is the impact of Virtual Reality in the education sector. According to a survey of investors by law firm Perkins Coie and the XR Association, a whopping 41% placed their bets on education.

However, understand that incorporating something as radical as VR for teaching requires a complete makeover of an education system, like teaching techniques, curriculum, projects, assignments, etc.

That said, adoption of VR has begun and there is no doubt that it will be playing a major role in the education sector in the years to come.

Here is the relevance, impact and uses of virtual reality in education we are looking at:

  • Making sense of the tech
  • Making immersive experiences accessible
  • Better scope for personalised education in terms of pace and accessibility

Making Sense of the Tech

Using any technology for the sake of it doesn’t serve any purpose, at least not in the long run. For example, if you’re planning to take students to a nearby amusement park, take them there rather than giving them a virtual tour of it.

Before you decide to make VR a part of your classroom teaching, ensure that it enhances the teaching and learning processes dramatically. Give it a try before making it a regularity.

Understand that VR is something that can become an addiction, especially when it comes to children. It is not intended to replace teachers and traditional methods of teaching entirely; it is meant to revolutionize them.

For example, zSpace provides dedicated zSpace laptops and Glasses to enable lifelike VR experiences. They use kinesthetic realism to create immersive visual content, as the objects in the VR program respond to natural body movements of the person. The company also offers a wide range of educational content for students and teachers alike.

Educators should ensure that any VR experience educates students, rather than simply entertain them.

Making Immersive Experiences Accessible

Virtual Reality can give practical sessions a whole new meaning. VR can bring distant places to your fingertips through dedicated VR applications. Some of the most popular VR projects like Google Expeditions are offering some genuinely immersive VR and AR (Augmented Reality) experiences to students. Students can virtually explore any place in the world. How does climbing Mount Everest sound to you?

Virtual Reality infuses realism and simulates practical interactions, making learning more impactful compared to conventional techniques. Science projects and experiments can be experienced with no risk at all, which further gives more freedom to teachers and students on diving deep into experiments.

MergeVR makes VR and AR-enabled applications to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) learning in students by making it more interactive. Students indulge in STEM-oriented VR & AR games, thereby learning by playing.

Better Personalised Learning & Specialised Content

One of the benefits of some modern-day gadgets is that they add personalisation in usage as well as unbounded accessibility in terms of time and place.

These benefits extend not only to students but to teachers as well. For example, VR Education is a company which provides dedicated VR & AR programs enabling specialised lessons for improved learning and interaction in a class. Teachers can record their sessions, share it with their students and review them at their leisure. The sessions can even be uploaded to VR Education’s Engage platform so that the students can access them anytime.

Alchemy VR creates some of the most breathtaking VR programs that have even won the prestigious BAFTA award. They have tie-ups with some of the most renowned filmmakers like David Attenborough in creating unforgettable experiences like the Great Barrier Reef Dive VR. This, and many other similar programs, can be used for providing specialised content and experiences to students.

Beyond theoretical teaching, there is a universal requirement for making education more interactive and engaging. Leveraging VR to make that happen is ensuring meaningful use of it.

VR is a technology which encourages curiosity and conversations around itself. One of the best things that students and teachers can do is indulge in discussions, offline and online, to know more about VR. There are a lot of free to use, online platforms, like Quora, Yahoo Answers, Discuss, StackOverflow, and some more, that provide an ideal space for open interaction and knowledge sharing. From general education questions and answers to more specific subjects like VR, you can discuss literally anything.

Virtual Reality is revolutionising education unlike anything else, by digitising traditional content, injecting realism and new levels of interactivity in learning.

Looking for other ways to introduce technology in the classroom? Take a look at these 3 word game apps to help improve children's vocabulary.

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