An ongoing debate within the world of education and academia is if students should receive more or less support for integrating technology into their learning. While arguments can be made for both sides of the spectrum; it is our opinion that virtual reality, along with other technology may prove to be highly beneficial in the future of education, and may in fact help us change the ways we see learning and how it is performed in classrooms and public and private settings like job training or management meetings. Regardless of where you sit in this argument, we’re provided a list of reasons and ideas why we believe VR could be the saving grace of the modern educational system.
VR provides a fresh look at how we learn and the processes we go through in education. This can be an important factor in child learning, as it can help to identify the students’ specific learning needs, their learning ‘method’ (explanation, touch, trial, and error, etc), and enhance their overall engagement with the learning experience. Apps like IMAG-N-O-TRON can be used to help students improve reading skills, while Cleanopolis offers users valuable skills to help protect the environment and assist in preventing climate change. The sheer number of apps available for your students is one of the primary benefits of VR learning.
In VR, many industries have already taken the path of automating their training in order to speed up the process of getting their workers out in the field. Many programs, such as zSpace allow your students to get on-the-job training and technical education all from the comfort of their classroom. These applications showcase the training of a variety of different professions and jobs and can help your students gain the confidence and skill needed to be successful in their dream job down the line.
One exciting feature of the VR platform is its innate ability to take us away from ourselves and put us in the shoes of someone else. For historical lessons in the classroom, you can use this to your advantage by allowing students the opportunity to experience different moments in history through the use of VR. University is an example of such an application; as it allows you to explore ancient ruins of antiquity and history, ocean depths of sunken ships, and the secrets and structural designs of some of the most impressive architecture on the planet; from Versailles to the Vatican.
Beyond the educational prospects of virtual reality, VR also lends itself to helping students realizing and fostering their artistic skills in the digital sphere. A variety of different art programs and perspectives can help students hone their abilities, and become more comfortable and confident showcasing their work in a gallery-like setting. Tilt Brush allows students to paint in VR and share their creations as images or animated gifs, while the program Boulevard can be used to allow students to explore museums, view beautiful works of art, and learn the rich history surrounding the works themselves.
One challenging task of the education sector is providing equal, consistent, and quality education to those with learning disabilities or special needs. It can be difficult to meet all the different factors these needs cause, but things like virtual reality can in fact be a great way to help these students reach their full potential. For students with vision problems, for example, Near-Sighted VR can be used to control contrasts of fonts, text size, and audio commentary to simplify the learning process. SignAloud Gloves, another application; allows the use of sign language in VR environments and broadcasts them as human speech to make communication easier for deaf or mute students.
One unique rite of passage for most high school students in the Western world is the dissection of frogs in a biology classroom. While this typically goes off without a hitch, the odd student who conscientiously objects or rejects the dissection due to being grossed out is not unheard of. If you want to leave this drama out of your biology class, VR has you covered with a number of applications you can use in teaching anatomy, biology, and other relevant body sciences. InMind helps showcase the anatomy of the human brain, providing explanations behind the various chemicals, proteins, and white and grey matter that makes up the human brain. The Body VR and Anatomy 4D are two other popular programs; which explore over 2,000 anatomical structures which are unique to the human body. Cut down on the blood and guts and increase the intrigue, by getting rid of the frogs and getting a few pairs of VR headsets.