How Virtual Reality is Used in Education
How Are Schools Using Virtual Reality?
The methods and tools used in the educational system have changed drastically over the years. Gone are the days when a simple chalkboard would suffice for instruction in the classroom. Today, educators are using all sorts of breakthrough technology as primary mediums of schooling, especially in the universities and other higher institutes of learning. In particular, the rise in popularity of virtual reality technology is astonishingly fast.
Students and teachers alike have willingly embraced the rapid developments in the area of virtual reality. In 2018, revenue from enterprise virtual reality products was just above the $800 million marks. Today, as VR technologies are being applied in various educational disciplines, the expected yearend revenue is much higher. Furthermore, experts predict that in 2023, the income from enterprise VR technology will reach US$5.5 billion.
Applications of Virtual Reality in Education around the World
At first, you might find it tough to develop practical uses of virtual reality for educational purposes. After all, VR is typically associated with gaming, which admittedly still holds a vast market chunk. But there is indeed a broad area of education that will benefit from virtual reality technology.
Schools of medicine in different parts of the world are among the most ardent virtual reality technology supporters. In the Czech Republic, biology students in the Mendel Grammar School are learning about eye anatomy with VR's help. In China, VR applications have become instrumental in teaching medical students the acupuncture techniques at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.
You’d think it unlikely for virtual reality to be part of an aspiring lawyer’s education. But London’s University of Westminster has set up a virtual training center for criminal law students to search for clues to build a murder case.
Students of St. John’s School in Boston, Massachusetts, are experiencing virtual reality differently. They are taking part in immersive education with the help of Minecraft and virtual reality applications.
Virtual Field Trips
Virtual reality is not only for the education of older students. Young learners also have a lot of benefits to enjoy from VR applications. In the United States, Pennsylvania State educators are taking students on virtual field trips to give them exposure to the real world without going outside the campus. The Arlington Science Focus School in Virginia uses the Oculus Rift to take their students on similar field trips.
There are now dozens of virtual reality apps with extensive collections of VR field trips. Parents can take their children anywhere around or inside the world, in outer space, or even back in time. Google Expeditions, for instance, can let you explore various famous destinations. AirPano is an excellent app for taking a virtual journey around the world. The Titans of Space is a perfect VR app that takes you around the solar system. With the Timelooper app, you can enjoy interactive visits to places and times of long ago.
The use of textbooks or other traditional mediums of instruction is often unproductive for students with special needs. With the introduction of virtual reality technology, outstanding education students have become more interested and responsive. At Charlton Park Academy in London, teachers are now using assistive technology to address their students' unique needs better.
Although not an area of learning, recruitment is a significant university process. Today, all the top universities have virtual tours of their campuses up on their websites. These virtual tours let potential applicants experience what it is like to be in the university, even while they are just at home in front of their computers.
Advantages of Virtual Reality versus Traditional Methods
Virtual reality presents endless opportunities in the field of education. Here are some of the primary advantages that it can give.
VR makes learning more interesting
A lot of people, children, in particular, do not always have a very long attention span. This is even more so when it comes to school lessons that are not engaging. One of the most meaningful impacts virtual reality may make is that it has potential to make learning more enjoyable. Students are more engaged in the studies when immersed in the virtual world than if they are listening to a professor talking in front of the classroom or from an online meeting.
VR adds a new level of learning to lessons
Virtual reality allows the learner to experience their lessons on a whole new level. Instead of just reading a textbook about marine life at the bottom of the ocean, you can be there, which is very unlikely to happen in real life. According to studies, people retain only about 10% of the information they read, compared to 90% of the information they experience.
VR makes demonstration of practical skills easier.
Often in education, some procedures need to be followed or techniques that need to be learned. Conventionally, students learn these by reading step by step instructions. Sometimes the instructions are accompanied by helpful illustrations. With VR technology, you will not only see the actual procedures, but you can also practice the techniques yourself. In interactive VR programs, you can even see the result of your actions and thus get instant feedback. Indeed, this method is much better than just analyzing it all in your mind.
What is the Future of Virtual Reality in Schools?
With all the advantages of virtual reality, many wonders, will VR soon become a standard tool in education? It's certainly not impossible, especially since VR gadgets are now much more affordable than a few years back. As the prices continue to drop and as more educators become aware of VR's benefits, we can see it being part of the standard classroom setup soon.