Much has been said about the growth of virtual reality in the fields of entertainment like gaming and film industry. But the future of VR is going to touch other relevant sectors of our lives, as well, including the education system. In today’s article, we’ll discuss the common benefits VR techs can bring to the classroom. For more detailed information about educational VR applications, view page on the dedicated blog.
Some Speculations on VR and Digitalization of Education
We’ve already seen broad strategies for schools dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, over 700 universities and colleges now use Zoom for online lectures. In case you didn’t know, Zoom is an American communications technology company that offers video and audio conferencing, chat, distance education, etc. It comes as no surprise that many people wonder whether we need to attend a specific physical space to get educated altogether. Of course, one could argue that learning is much more than just gathering information from a video conference call through an online platform and physical presence is a critical component for group learning. But as virtual reality technology gets better, these arguments become weaker. For instance, with the development of VR graphics and haptic sensors, by simulating two of the most crucial ways in which we experience the world, which are the sense of sight and touch, we could possibly emulate any university lecture. Imagine sitting in your VR chair, all from the comfort of your home, putting your VR headset on and attending the lecture given by an AI Albert Einstein on general relativity. Not even the sky’s the limit.
Of course, the idea that we will no longer have to go to school or at least go to the school building to get educated might seem a bit concerning to most of us, especially regarding kids, as they need communication with peers to develop critical social skills. But this process would not take place overnight. And it doesn’t have to be a binary process, meaning the use of VR technology and education could be implemented by physical location of the school. The purpose for using virtual reality in education institutions is not to hinder physical presence or contact between the students. The purpose rather is to supersede an ancient old technology that is still widely used, to decompress information in order to get educated.
VR in Primary Schools
Using VR in primary schools can go a long way in facilitating students’ collaboration and improving interaction amongst more introverted students or kids with autism. Collaborating in a virtual environment helps reduce social barriers at a young age is extremely important. Therefore, more and more primary schools are turning to VR these days.
Dedicated VR techs can be effectively used to help students with special needs and learning difficulties to acquire knowledge and critical skills. Primary school learners can benefit greatly from immersive classrooms, where images, diagrams, figures, or other educational visuals are projected onto the walls. Since there is no need for VR headsets, kids have a chance to consume information in groups and immediately share their experiences with other participants in the education process.
VR in Secondary Schools
When it comes to secondary education, both teachers and students can take advantage of VR headsets. These techs enable secondary learners to explore virtual environments on their own and make unique conclusions that can be subsequently shared with the class. With the entire field of view enclosed, students can completely immerse in the learning atmosphere without relying much on a teacher’s assistance and guidance. Thus, VR can improve students’ research, analysis, and critical thinking skills and motivate them to develop an individual learning style.
VR and Writing
Obviously, from a geological perspective, writing is a recent invention, since it’s only about 5200 years old. But the evolution of a human brain and the way it processes the information is hundreds of thousands of years older. People are primarily visual creatures and decoding information from writing, which is to say, reading with the exception of mathematics, perhaps, is a very inefficient way of learning. Just imagine watching an educational video on YouTube, which in fact is a black screen with captions presenting you some sort of information. How successful will you be at remembering or at least understanding the information presented? The combination of writing and visual learning technologies could be the future of education. And virtual reality could be a bridge between the two.
Today, lots of schools successfully embed ClassVR into lessons to boost their students’ creative writing skills and enrich their vocabulary. According to educators, VR reality headsets can serve as a great tool to stimulate writing and help students to use descriptive and emotive language. So, the diversity and quality of students’ written work may increase even more in the future if VR techs will be used to engage learners within the classroom.
These are only some of the education benefits and applications of VR technologies. Undoubtedly, in the near future, we’ll see even bigger growth of VR within education, which will bring about new positive chances and innovations and help revolutionize the education sphere for the better.