Virtual reality (VR) is definitely one of the biggest technological trends to emerge over the past few years. Its applications are limitless, including in the world of education. There are already examples of VR experiences that are specifically targeted to the needs of students.
The benefits of VR utilization in the classroom are numerous. The human brain tends to remember a lot more visual information than text. Immersive experiences make students pay attention to the details, learn faster and grasp complex scientific concepts easily.
The example presented in the introduction is just one of the possibilities for VR introduction in the classroom. There are numerous other ways in which this innovative educational strategy can be utilized.Easier, Safer and Readily Available Field Trips
A field trip is a powerful educational tool that’s still applicable and effective in this day and age. Virtual reality technology simplifies the process of taking students on a field trip.
VR headsets make it possible for students to “visit” all kinds of locations – museums, archaeological sites, world heritage sites and even industrial facilities. In some instances, these will be located far away, making it impossible for an actual field trip to take place. In other situations, students may be physically or financially incapable of taking part in an actual field trip.
A virtual reality field trip delivers an authentic experience due to the immersive nature of the technology. In addition to that, kids love gadgets and technologies. They’ll be curious about the experience and this curiosity can easily translate into an enhanced desire to learn.
Virtual field trips are a whole lot safer and teachers will be free from the responsibility of making sure that all students come back to the classroom unharmed.
The educational potential of VR field trips is limitless. These could even be used to “take” students to the surface of another planet or the Earth’s core.Enhanced Tech Savviness
Apart from being used for educational purposes, virtual reality technology will teach students a number of additional important skills.
Tech savviness is becoming increasingly important for ensuring professional competitiveness in the years to come. The earlier kids master new technologies, the better employment opportunities they’ll enjoy in the future.
VR technology is still quite new and there’s serious demand for people who understand and can work with it. Children have the amazing ability to get acquainted with new technologies incredibly fast. Exposure to such technologies at an early age can be used to detect technical skills and interests that could be life-defining for a student.Educational Platforms
Educational platforms that focus on VR technologies have already been developed (VR Immersive Education and Altspace VR are just two examples). These platforms are entirely developed for instructional purposes and they give educators brand new opportunities to utilize the technology.
Such platforms focus on meeting people from different parts of the world to interact in VR settings, attending live events and even playing games like painting pictures, exploring different spaces and even witness the sinking of the Titanic.
Through such technological platforms, educators can easily interact with each other and focus on the development of new instructional games. Cross-cultural communication can easily be incorporated into the classroom experience to broaden the horizons and help students see the world from a different perspective.
The multi-player sessions available make it possible for artists to attend museum field trips and give students even more information about the artworks that they’re seeing. Since the technology and the platforms are already available, the manners in which communication and collaboration could take place are entirely dependent on individual needs.Practical Trainings
One final aspect of virtual reality education that deserves mentioning is practical training. VR headsets can be used for much more than simple observation. They’re also ideal for teaching students new skills and testing out practical educational concepts.
The applications of VR training go well beyond the classroom. Even companies could rely on such technologies to help employees acquire new skills.
In the classroom context, VR training could be utilized in many different ways. Students may join archaeologists and participate in excavation work. They could conduct a surgical procedure or land a spacecraft on Mars.
Virtual reality can be used to make the abstract STEM concepts a real thing. Students can carry out biological experiments, they could test out physical laws or complete safe chemical reactions. Texts and pictures are great but participating in a scientific experiment, even if the participation is virtual, would take learning to the next level.
This type of practical training is applicable in elementary school, high school and even college. Just about every educational and professional field can benefit from simulations and practical training options that will stem from the immersion in the VR educational material.
It’s very important to understand the fact that students today are pretty different from prior generations. They’ve grown up having technology at their disposal from an early age. They’re familiar with smartphones, gaming consoles and tablets. As a result, traditional classroom methods are somewhat outdated and insufficient for the explanation of important concepts.
Virtual reality is making its first steps but the potential for growth is a huge one. While the technology is still relatively expensive today, it’s expected to become a whole lot more affordable in the future. VR developments for educational use will also increase in number as professionals become more acquainted with the technology and capable of producing educational materials.